Friday, January 13, 2017

Factory Visit

January 10, 2017

Today was the day of a factory tour! We visited a garment factory called Fashion Garments Limited, Inc. FGL is a subsidiary of the Hirdaramani Group from Sri Lanka and LT apparel from the United States. FGL began operating in Vietnam in 1994 and now has four factories in Dong Nai Province. Mr. Channa, the General Manager, shared with us their plan to build five additional factories in central Vietnam, near Da Nang.

Mr. Channa delivers his presentation
I was able to learn about the company’s vertically integrated model which included the initial stages of garment development and the production of a finished garment. FGL Factory is capable of doing in-house embroidery, printing, dyeing, and bonding. The factory has five manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and caters to multiple customers, including Victoria’s Secret Pink, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Nike, Levi’s, and Columbia.

Samples from the meeting room and lobby
I was surprised to learn that the company was platinum LEED certified for its green initiatives and that they provided benefits to their employees like healthcare insurance and meals, prenatal and postnatal care, and a large training budget. The company puts great emphasis on corporate social responsibility and showcased its efforts to engage with their workers and give back to both the community and the environment through charity work and blood donations.

CSR board (plus Hunter)
After the meeting, we started the factory tour. Unfortunately for this portion of the trip, photography was no longer. We began with the design center which showcased new pieces of lingerie set to be marketed in 2018. We got a close hand look at the design process including fabric documentation to be sent out to customers and cost sheets.

Later, we explored the production floor where workers were sewing and cutting fabric for the garments they were producing. The production floor was organized into teams, identifiable by brand name. The workers were working in clean, regulated conditions and had scheduled lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, and water nearby.

After viewing the ground floor, we were able to view another design room this time equipped with multiple computers. Many of the workers were doing graphic design, playing around with various new styles and potential clothing items. It was very exciting to see the clothing we wear being made from first inception in design rooms. After this, we visited the sample room and were able to view and touch the finished garments that would be sent to the brands for final review and appraisal.

The final portion of our factory tour included conversations with workers on the ground floor. After conversation with one of the workers, I learned about the benefits that the company provided such as a “supermarket” for essential products at the plant and the 10 days off for Tet holiday. I was also able to learn about the approximate education level of a worker. One employee I spoke to had only completed the eighth grade. She also shared with us the demographic of the workforce which was 90% female and 10% male. Men work primarily in cutting whereas women are in sewing. Overall, the interview was educational and helpful in understanding the worker’s perspective of the factory.

With the HR staff

In front of the factory
The factory visit was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had in Vietnam so far and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to view the design, production, manufacturing of garments and speak to workers at the source. I look forward to many more educational activities to come! -Clara

1 comment:

  1. Wow, great post, well written and well researched. The demographic facts you put really showed the knowledge gained from the experience.