Monday, September 25, 2017

Japanese training brings productivity upswing

Trainers from Japan have helped Myanmar garment workers improve their productivity by about 30 percent over the past two months.

The training began earlier this year as a result of cooperation between the Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers’ Association (MGMA).

As of today, supervisors and managers from top and middle management in more than 70 of the country’s 120 garment factories have undergone the training.

“As a tangible result, participating factories enjoy an increased productivity rate, 23pc up in July compared to the preceding month, and a 67pc increase in August,” Mr Eitaro Kojima of JETRO told The Myanmar Times last week.

On the average, the productivity rate of factories where training has been provided has increased by about 28pc, according to an evaluation conducted by JETRO and MGMA.

Middle management are receiving the training in four places in Yangon’s industrial zones, namely Hlaing Tha Yar, Shwe Pyi Thar, Mingalardone and South Dagon.

“There is no doubt we’re seeing a significant productivity development,” said Mr Kojima.

The experts were provided by the Association for Overseas Technology Scholarship (AOTS) of Japan to ensure that garments produced in Myanmar met the high standards required by the Japanese market.

Because of the improvement, factories which have not yet received the training are interested in participating, said Mr Kojima.

U Myint Soe, president of MGMA, said: “Since the Japanese market is very sensitive in terms of quality, our workers must be skilful enough to meet their demands.”

Myanmar garment exports are heavily reliant on Japanese market, which absorbs more than 35 percent of total garment exports from this country, said U Myint Soe.

Increased productivity means staff and workers should see their pay and bonuses rise.

Currently, wages in Myanmar are relatively low compared with those earned by garment workers in neighbouring countries like China, Bangladesh and Cambodia and Vietnam, partly skills and productivity are lower here.

MGMA officials are now hoping the improvements will bring more market penetration in Japan for Myanmar-made garments.