The newest garment sourcing hub in New York, Ethiopia is on the verge of emerging as the next garment sourcing destination. But, there are certain specific challenges the Ethiopia sourcing companies are facing regarding competing against the top-notch garment sourcing destinations like Bangladesh, India, and China. Concerned with the current sourcing situation of the country, Ethiopia’s International Labor Standard’s head arranged for a vital awareness program, a program which is mainly based on Inclusive Industrialization and Advancing Decent Work. This program was aimed at hosting a planned series of webinars, potentially trying to assemble the representatives from several textile and garment industry in Ethiopia to address concerns and challenges emerging in the country since the pandemic outbreak.

According to the reports published by the reporters who also attended the webinar to capture vital moments, twenty-eight local factory and FDI representatives attended the webinar. Apart from these successful and prominent figures, the webinar also witnesses the presence of some famed representatives from across the global Ethiopian brands. The webinar was organized and successfully executed on the 10th of April, 2020. The meeting served as a platform where the representatives from various localities and countries could place their point of view, success stories, challenges faced, and surviving strategies that would help them remain fluent in the competitive space. This platform also educated the leaders with ideas regarding helping employees throughout the pandemic situation and beyond, educating the workers about the virus risks, and put forward the potential ways to mitigate these hazards. The outcome of the webinar was quite productive that helped representatives and owners by addressing their core issues and helped them find the best possible ways to solve them. Some of the representatives who were struggling to survive learnt from the survival ideas and strategies used by those who were able to cope with the problematic situation.

In this context, you will learn about the main challenges faced by Ethiopian garment and textile industry owners and Ethiopia sourcing companies and the measures they need to follow to emerge as a reliable and resilient garment sourcing destination.

Challenges Faced By Garment Industry In Ethiopia

The global and regional fashion brands are closing down their factories leading to fewer or complete halt in production demand from several brands in the factory level. While some factories have decided to stop their production operations, others have decided to shift their stores locally to manufacture the much-needed PPE material during the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Before the ILO Siraye program was conducted by Ethiopian government, a digital survey found the preliminary findings:

  • In the first quarter of 2020 when coronavirus have started to how its colors to the world, the average utilization capacity rate decreased by thirty percent.
  • Almost fifty-four percent of the surveyed factories expected a decrease of revenue by twenty percent in the second quarter of 2020
  • The working hours of employees were reduced by factory owners to respond positively to the immediate shutdowns as owners were concerned about the retention of their employees
  • About fifty-eight percent of the manufacturing managers are willing to re-purpose manufacturing procedures towards COVID-19 response goods. They require support for sourcing raw materials, machinery, training workers, foreign exchange, etc.

Measures Being Taken By The Factory Owners

The government workers and workers from other relevant awareness spreading organizations are working diligently and generously throughout the days and nights to increase the awareness levels of employees from garment and textile industries. Some organizations have also started taking up the initiative to reduce the number of workers working on a regular basis by decreasing the number to half. Simply put, if one half of workers in attending today then the other half will attend tomorrow and this will continue for the alternatives days. This is a vital step taken by the managers at authority as this can allow the workers to maintain social distancing while doing their jobs efficiently.

Some other Ethiopia sourcing companies have also increased the number of buses by adding some more to ensure maximum safety of workers. The additional transportation service is also allowing workers to enjoy safe and reliable journey from home to office and vice versa.

Some organizations are putting effort to measure temperature of their employees on a regular basis. Frequent hand washing has also been made mandatory by several organizations for their workers. In fact, some organizations have taken up the initiative to install LED digital signage banners to improve information dissemination. In large spaces like factories and offices, it becomes hard for owners in an authoritative position to educate workers about the importance of hand washing and mask wearing individually. To cope with suce issues, led signage solutions are installed in factories and offices for quicker and easier distribution of targeted information. When positioned strategically, the digital displays of these solutions display various messages and information simultaneously. These information can reach a wide range of audience and in the right location.

It is important for organizations to develop sustainability programs to considerably decrease negative influences they have on environment and the society. They can also create positivity throughout their surrounding and benefit their own business by recreating their business model. If you consider innovative sustainable developments as dangerous, it would be of no help to you. Instead you can think about such developments as positive steps that drive the innovation and economic emergence of your business. With the inclusion of automated tools, buyers will get the opportunity to have better bottom-line impacts. The use of digitally advanced tools and technologies will provide organizations with the unparalleled fuel required to enhance profit margins while delivering value to customers. Procurement is already known to play its card in saving extra cash for companies through its incredible cost management facilities.

Also, concerns were spread among textile factory owners regarding the garment’s operational nature.


Way Forward

Despite raising awareness by the IPDC and Ministry of Health in Ethiopia, Ethiopia sourcing companies emphasized that work still needs to be done to educate workers about the preventive measures to mitigate the viral spread. Some factories even highlighted the need to set quarantine protocols and testing facilities in case of COVID-19 suspected cases within the organizational parks.

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