Can Automation Save the Bangladeshi Garment Industry?

Can Automation Save the Bangladeshi Garment Industry?

December 10, 2018

Second only to China in the world’s clothing export markets, Bangladesh focuses on efficiency in its textile factories to defend its market in the face of increased competition from Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and some African countries.

Automation helps Bangladesh modernize apparel factories, with two workers able to do the work of 15.  These improvements help offset increasing costs, as the government mandates a 51% wage hike, and Western brands demand better fire and safety standards in the factories.


Video Spotlight: How Automation Impacts Garment Workers in Bangladesh


This post is based on the Nikkei Asian Review article, Bangladesh fights for future of its garment industry, by Mitsuru Obe, November 4, 2018, and the YouTube video, How Automation Impacts Garment Workers in Bangladesh, by Electric Runway, June 7, 2018. Image source: igor kisselev / Alamy Stock Photo.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does the cost of production in Bangladesh compare to that of other countries, and how does it impact the viability of its apparel industry?

Guidance: Currently, labor costs in Bangladesh remain low by global standards, with an average monthly wage of $101, compared to $518 in China.  However, some African countries like Ethiopia have average Continue reading

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Ripple Effects of China’s Recycling Policy

Ripple Effects of China’s Recycling Policy

December 9, 2018

Trash piles up around the world as China’s 2018 “National Sword” policy cuts off global recycling at the knees.

It used to be that ships bringing Chinese goods to the U.S. returned home full of our recyclables, feeding a lucrative industry in China.  However, corruption, abuses, and environmental pollution in China led the government there to put the brakes on this industry beginning this year.

Whereas China and Hong Kong bought 60 percent of the G7’s plastic waste in the first half of 2017, that figure decreased to 10 percent in the first half of 2018. Bales of plastic that U.S. recyclers used to sell for $20 per ton now cost cities $10 per ton for disposal.

While China will still accept some cardboard, plastic, glass, and scrap metal, it can only have an impurity level of 0.5 percent, a standard most U.S. recyclers cannot achieve. Recyclers, governments, and consumers around the world are being forced to rethink their use of plastics, paper waste, and e-waste.


Video Spotlight: China Trash Ban Creates Crisis for US Recyclers


This post is based on the Australian Financial Review article, The $280b crisis sparked by China calling time on taking in “foreign Continue reading

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Wind-Powered Plant Builds GM’s SUVs

Wind-Powered Plant Builds GM’s SUVs

November 18, 2018

GM is planning to use 100% wind power to manufacture SUVs in its Arlington, Texas, plant.

The company is on track to meet its goal to power all plant operations with renewable energy sources by 2050.  Besides cost savings, the use of renewable energy sources will position GM as a green company ahead of its competitors.


Video Spotlight: GM will power its SUV plant with wind


This post is based on the ThomasNet.com post, GM Will Produce SUVs in TX Using Only Wind Power, and the video GM will power its SUV plant with wind, both by Anna Wells, October 23, 2018 Image source: nachai © 123RF.com.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does GM go about meeting its goal to power all plant operations with renewable energy sources?

Guidance: GM currently sources its wind power from the Cactus Flats Wind Farm in Eden, TX, to run all plant operations in its Arlington, TX, plant.  The wind farm also supplies some of the energy for its other Texas locations.  GM is planning to reach the remaining 80% of its renewable energy goal by relying on wind and solar as the only energy sources. Continue reading

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