In the garments sector, lack of skilled staff is a major constraint particularly at the operations and mid-management level. Enterprises struggle to attract skilled employee and there is little access to training that can enhance the skills set of current staff. Currently, all companies in Fiji are obliged to pay a training levy which supports sponsored training for staff, but many don’t get the appropriate training in return.
United Apparel, seeks to enhance its technical capacity to improve operational efficiency and capacity particularly at mid-management level. This will enable it to accommodate and respond better to market needs. United Apparel is one of the largest clothing manufacturers and exporters in Fiji – operating since 1989 and employing around 900 workers, 80% of which are women. Its core product range covers suits, jackets, trousers, shorts, skirts, blouses and shirts. The main export markets are Australia and New Zealand.
United Apparel has identified two areas to improve its growth 1) operational floor efficiency, and 2) the suits segment. MDF is supporting United Apparel by providing required technical expertise to improve quality,efficiency and scale, improve employee capacity through training in new and efficient methods, enabling the business to grow in these segments.
By facilitating United Apparel to improve their production efficiency should lead to higher turnover for the company translating into additional employment created at the factory. It is envisioned that through this intervention other players in the market will adapt similar practices to improve quality and access greater market share with higher margins. Fiji is well-positioned in the global garment market to supply short orders at quick turnaround times and with strict adherence to quality assurance.