Hong Kong-based garment manufacturer Crystal Group, is a strong proponent of humans when compared to robots. The company is considering an increase in its staff by more than 10 per cent in Vietnam and Bangladesh as it is of the view that humans are more cost-effective as against sewing robots. This is good news for the industry and has come at a time when the industry is working hard towards automation in this sector.
Crystal also believes that technological innovations such as Sewbot is practical, but it’s not yet time for them to replace humans, more so in low-cost nations. Palaniswamy Rajan, Chief Executive, Softwear Automation also shares the same view that though its creation, Sewbot is the future of the industry, it is not cost-competitive when compared to humans, especially in countries such as Vietnam. The company is in discussion to launch its first automated T-shirt production line in the US.
The apparel manufacturer, which recently raised $ 490 million in IPO in Hong Kong, is confident that countries such as Vietnam will continue to see extensive growth given the exodus of companies withdrawing from China, following increasing cost of production. Labour wage in Southern China has crossed US $ 700 a month, which is higher than that in Vietnam ($300-350) and Bangladesh ($150-200).
Correspondingly, the Crystal Group is planning to use the IPO earnings to set up fabric production facilities in manufacturing hubs such as Vietnam and Bangladesh. Last year, the Group was one of the largest apparel producers in the world in terms of volumes.