SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. The company is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 95,000 employees, it operates a network of more than 2,400 offices and laboratories around the world. The company started its operations in Bangladesh in 1974, offering consumer products testing, Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences, Certifications and Business Enhancements, Government and Institutions services, Oil, gas and chemicals, Industrial and Environmental services in Bangladesh. To know more about the company and its further plans, especially for the apparel and textile industry in Bangladesh, recently Apparel Views Editorial team met and interviewed Engr. Abdur Rashid, Country Business Manager, SGS, Bangladesh. Given are some extracts from the interview…

Please tell us about your journey in Bangladesh market?

We were officially registered in 1974 and since then we are working quite actively in this market. Here, we are offering various services, we have state-of-the-art laboratory where we are providing testing services of various products, conducting Inspections to ensure quality of final products, offering auditing services to reflects social, technical and environmental issues of the industry; other than these we are providing various types of ISO certificates. We are also working on agricultural sector, oil, gas and chemical sector, providing environmental services and many more. We have really diversified footprints.

How much important is soft line business for you, especially the textile part of it?

In Bangladesh, soft line is the largest sector of this country and naturally for our company as well; Soft line is the major revenue contributors for us. We are providing many services but softline is the most important and largest sector in by far.

How do you look at the Bangladesh apparel and textile industry?

According to my understanding, Bangladesh’s apparel and textile industry has achieved a lot but still gets lots of potential. In the recent past, I have visited many countries in America, Europe, Australia and Asia, where I found everyone relevant to apparels sector is talking about Bangladesh. Those who are already here, are planning to increase their sourcing volume; they are shifting from China, Turkey while those who are yet to enter here, are planning to step in Bangladesh soon to start sourcing apparels.

In my views, the industry has got tremendous potential but ofcourse there are certain challenges as well, apparently impression of Bangladesh is not quite good to the world. Media usually circulates numerous negative news or events about Bangladesh and people who have not visited Bangladesh get influenced by those media sources and creates a negative image in their mind about our country. However, when they visit our country they experience a different scenario and start to like it a lot. So, we need to promote Bangladesh in right way to right place, if we can do that I feel apparel and textile industry has lot of potentials in Bangladesh.

What are the services you are offering through your lab?

We are offering chemical testing and physical testing of different products, like softline, hardline, shoes; agricultural products, environmental testing, food testing, consultancy services to the factories, organize different kinds of training and technical seminar/ workshops etc. We are also conducting waste water testing, Zero Discharge Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) testing from input, output and process water of factories.

In brief, we are rendering all kinds of testing, training and consultancy services for apparel related products, environmental issues and agricultural products in our laboratory.

Do you have the same set-up as you have in other countries?

Yes, being a global company, our set-up is similar in all the countries. Our tagline says, “When you need to be sure,” so if anyone needs to be sure about any products, he can visit any of our lab in any country. If you visit any SGS lab in Asia, Europe, US, Australia you will find similar level of quality standards, procedures and methods in everywhere. Capacity might vary in different locations; like for softline products, I visited our US and Spain laboratories and found that, we are quite bigger than them in terms of capacity, though in terms of quality it is same.

Who are your target clients in Bangladesh?

Our target clients are all the global brands, retailers, manufacturers, suppliers basically whoever produces or exports apparels, ceramics, leather & footwear, furniture or any other products are our clients.

What is your edge in this market?

We have great capacity and capability; we have largest laboratories and inspection team in Bangladesh. We really focus on our people as we think our human resources are our major strength, we provide them world-class training and we always strive to develop them. Continuous innovation is our another edge, whatever new services are developed any part of the world, we get ourselves updated promptly. Stronger global network is our another competitive edge.

Which is the most important market for you, globally?

Europe is our largest market followed by USA, recently we are focusing also in new markets like Canada, Russia, Japan, Turkey etc.

How do you look at your company in next two years in Bangladesh?

We consider ourselves lucky enough to reach at this stage where we are now over the years. Moving forward is our motto and therefore in next two years we plan to diversify our services. Due to our country’s situation, we are too much dependent on apparels and we need to deal with this situation certain time. Same time we need to diversify our portfolios; other than apparels, this year we have invested largely on leather and footwear laboratory.

We are coming with our leather & footwear services soon in big way. We desire to introduce testing and inspection services for new products like furniture, electronics etc. Basically, our main focus will be to diversify our services and make our company as the most diversified one in future.