Bangladesh’s sweater exports to the western world are rising because of competitive prices and longer winters due to climate change. Exports in fiscal 2016-17 were up 5.64 per cent year-on-year. Three years ago, the window for sweater sales was at the most four months, from November to February. However, now, the window opens in October and continues until March.
The shift of work orders from China to Bangladesh is also another factor for the higher shipment, which exports nearly three million pieces a year. Knitwear is no longer confined to winter and is worn year round.
Given the higher demand, most factories have started automating their production line to boost output and cope with strict lead times. Recently, Vietnam and Cambodia have become major competitors due to their shorter lead times. The lead time from Bangladesh is around 40 days, whereas it is 20 days from the other two Asian nations. Bangladesh has more than 500 sweater factories in operation and nearly 60 per cent of these have switched over to automation to ramp up productivity. Prices of sweaters dropped and customers placed more orders in the jacquard category. An automated jacquard machine is not only able to produce diversified and fashionable products, but can also fabricate critical designs.