The BIF garment market strategy is based on a detailed market analysis conducted by BIF from October 2013 to October 2014. Our market analysis identified:
- Constraints around the quality of jobs, including an apparent inability to pay workers more, reduce overtime, improve health and safety, remove low paid below age workers and invest in other areas of worker welfare; and
- Constraints to the industry being able to achieve potential growth and thereby provide a lot more good quality jobs.
Why this Intervention is important for Market System Change
In Myanmar there are significant skills gaps around management and HR capability, as well technical expertise in productivity improvement. This means that garment factories are unable to access the skills and experience they need in order to improve their productivity, management and labour standards.
There are a number of reasons why this skills gap exists. Firstly, there is low demand for such services, and secondly, training and education programmes in Myanmar are not well set up to equip people with these specific skills. In addition, the consultancy market is highly under-developed with few domestic consultancies in business, and few if any of the international consultancies that are working in the country serving the garment sector. This means the necessary expertise is not readily available either within Myanmar or externally. Poor management skills exacerbate productivity and compliance issues, further impeding business growth and reducing profitability.
To address this issue, BIF is directly support the development of new consultancy skills and capabilities in the market by establishing new local consultancies as well as encouraging more regional and international consultancies to offer services to garment factories in Myanmar. BIF will also engage international brands to support consultancies to enter the market. This intervention goes hand-in-hand with the work that we are doing to build the business case for investing in worker welfare and productivity. Establishing a link between worker welfare and productivity means that BIF will be able to build demand for consultancy services, while simultaneously building a cadre of local consultants who can meet this demand.
This intervention will be further refined once we have learnt about how factories use consultants and the benefits they experience (therefore their ability to pay for services and what kind of services will be most useful or in highest demand). The approach will also be shaped by the results of the garment factory training programme and Randomised Control Trial (RCT) which is currently underway.
Through this intervention, BIF aims to:
Make commercially sustainable, affordable consultancy services readily available;
Help factories in Myanmar to become more technically advanced; and
Benefit workers in the factories through better HR and management practices, leading to better working hours, pay and treatment at work.
Developing capacity of consultancy providers