We are being forced to operate in world where plausibility trumps ability, where know-how is less important than know-who, and where the internet has become the tool for crooks and conmen.
You are a factory. You see the need to move up from low-value added commodities to higher value-added fashion. You need a qualified engineer. Where do you go? Certainly not the internet!
You are a professional. You want to increase your knowledge. You are a designer you want a short course in garment-costing and/or QA. You are a marketing specialist. You want to know something about IT and AI. Where do you go? Certainly not the internet!
You are a transnational factory group. You are investing heavily in a branch operation in Africa. To run a successful operation, you must understand the country and its people. Let’s face it, setting up in Gitega is different than setting up in Patterson New Jersey. Where do you go to find a qualified industrial sociologist with knowledge of Burundi? Certainly not the internet!
You are a government or an international institution. You want a strategy to develop a national garment export industry. In today’s world you publish a Request for Proposals (RFP) which typically runs 40-120 pages. The RFP is so complex that the project is invariably awarded to the organisation with greatest knowledge of application form-filling and where industry knowledge and experience have become irrelevant to the selection process. Where do you go to find people who actually understand the problems and can offer viable solutions? Certainly not the internet!
You are a garment industry professional. You have an original idea that may well bring benefit to the industry and real money to you. Where do you take your idea? Where do you go to transform your idea to a commercial concept, then to a business plan, then to a capitalised start-up? With very few exceptions, the answer is nowhere!
The Singapore Global Garment Institute (SGGI) will be the venue that meets the needs of the new industry:
- Providing databases of qualified professionals;
- Providing qualified instructors, either from the industry or academia, to teach the courses the industry needs;
- Providing R&D facilities with knowledgeable and experienced professionals to design and implement practical strategies that actually meet clients’ needs;
- Providing facilities to talented people to develop their original and creative ideas and bring them to market.
However, to be successful SGGI must overcome the greatest obstacle our industry faces.
In a world where we cannot tell the difference between the conmen/crooks and legitimate professionals/organisations, how can we trust SGGI to operate ethically and transparently? Why should SGGI be different?
The answer is Singapore.
The Corruption Perception Index ranks Singapore joint third after New Zealand and Denmark.
Many of us in the garment industry have never heard of Transparency International or their annual index of corruption.
But all of us know that whatever games we play, whatever our proclivities, when in Singapore we play it straight.
If we are looking for a place for the centre of the post-virus global garment industry, Singapore is the only place we can trust.
David has previously written on Just Style about the waning appeal of Hong Kong as the go-to for garment professionals – and why Singapore has been the great beneficiary thanks to its stable government and rule of law. But what’s still needed is the pull of a Singapore Global Garment Institute.
About the author: David Birnbaum is an internationally renowned garment industry specialist working for major importers, retailers, suppliers, governments and institutions. His latest book The Guide to Cost to Value Analysis is available at Amazon.