Dhaka, Saturday, 19 September 2020

Says Alexander Pinkas of Transfertex in an Interview

Sublimation printing industry finds ground in Bangladesh

Sublimation printing industry finds ground in Bangladesh

Special Correspondent: Mr. Alexander Pinkas is a man who is very familiar with the apparel sector from the first day of his life because he grew up in a family in Germany having a factory producing lingerie and nightwear for the German retailers. Pinkas has multiple experiences of working at various important positions in different world-class companies and brands in different countries. Now he has been staying in Bangladesh for last 16 years and deals with the German-based sublimation printing paper company ‘Transfertex’ since 2011, concentrating in marketing of this product in Bangladesh. Last week he has given an interview with The Apparel News where he talked regarding different issues of the prospects and challenges of the apparel industry of Bangladesh as well as the potential of sublimation printing works. He observed that garment value-added printing industry has been tremendously developed in Bangladesh in keeping pace with the RMG industry. The Apparel News Executive Editor Ibrahim Khalil Jewel has taken the interview, which has been presented bellow for the readers:

The Apparel News: How do you see the prospect of Bangladesh’s apparel industry in next 20 years?

Alexander Pinkas: I see the prospect of the Bangladesh apparel industry very positive, as the international brand buyers are now under process to source higher valued RMGs from Bangladesh market, due to the fact, that China labor costs in the apparel sector are almost 8-10 times higher than the monthly salary of the workers in Bangladesh. The relocation of Chinese factories from China to BD is a significant sign for that.

The Apparel News: What are the main challenges before Bangladesh’s garment industry in coming days?

Alexander Pinkas: Bangladesh garment exporters have to work hard to achieve better efficiency in their production line. The average SMV standard value is still at 50% against the calculated SMV of the product whereas - in comparison with Chinese factories – the SMV values achieved there round about 80 – 85%. Also additional costs arise in inefficient posts (helpers in production lines, dying and printing departments as well as in merchandising department and administration) due to lack of job description, monitoring and follow up. In the fabric sector, Bangladesh is still too weak. Seen from the history, BD is specialized in knitted products only. The woven fabric sector – aside of denim fabric producers – needs more local diversification, as still a lot of woven fabric is imported from China, India and Taiwan.

The Apparel News: Please tell us something regarding your career. When did you start and what was the motivation to choose this career? And, finally, how are you enjoying your profession?

Alexander Pinkas: I grew up in a family in Germany having a small factory producing lingerie and nightwear for the German retailers. My first pocket money I got in age of 13 carrying fabric bales into the cutting section. My mother was a designer and made the collection and her sister was responsible for the customer service and production. So garment business was around me from day number one. Later on I went to Textile AkedemieHohensteinin Germany and graduated as Garment engineer including time process studying (1982). After I took over the responsibility of production of our family company and relocated the production from 1986 onwards from Germany to Turkey and east European countries (Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania), due to the fact that labor costs were too high in Germany. In the year 1996 we had to close down our company as costs for collection and smaller order quantities could not be managed anymore. This was also the time where the smaller retailers in Germany started to close down. 1998 I was appointed from the well-known sportswear brand PUMA as quality and pre-production manager worldwide. Here my responsibility was to evaluate all PUMA suppliers world-wide from the technical aspects, meaning, whether these factories were capable to produce PUMA products as per their quality and fabric requirements. I travelled and visited factories in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, Bulgaria and in South America the PUMA license producers in Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico and Peru. In October 2000 I entered first time in Bangladesh and approved Robintex in Vulta as PUMA supplier. In April 2002 I was employed from Robintex as country manager, took over then 2003 the key account of Hermes Otto international in Eurocentra – Wuensche Group and was later on MD of Eurocentra. 2008 I opened the liaison office in Dhaka for the German-based trade financing company DS Concept factoring, the first international trade financer in BD. From 2015 I was responsible for the German based sportswear Brand JAKO in PN Composite as head of global sourcing. Besides that, my wife Sameera and me, we have the sole agency for the German based sublimation printing paper company “Transfertex” (www.tfx.de) from Germany since 2011 and going to concentrate in marketing on this product for Bangladesh on full time base. Sameera is responsible for the design correspondence with our Bangladeshi customers as well as for the selection and proposals of the designs of Transfertex, which are always up to the latest fashion trends.

The Apparel News: As you have been living in Bangladesh for last 16 years, you’ve obviously been observing the garment printing industry here. What is your evaluation over the industry?

Alexander Pinkas: The garment printing industry has developed tremendously and positively in the same way as the Garment factories had to. As part of the supply chain of the local garment industry the quality of printing in T-Shirts, AOP wet print on fabric improved quite well as per the higher standards of print and fabric parameters, imposed of the international buyers. Now even sublimation printing facilities are increasing as well as digital printing direct on the fabric.

The Apparel News: We know that you are doing business on sublimation printing. Please say something regarding your company.

Alexander Pinkas: Transfertex, founded in the year 1972, is one of the best sublimation paper producers worldwide. The sublimation paper of TFX is supplied in over 40 countries and all international brands are using the service of TFX, as TFX is not only supplying sublimation paper but also makes own design collection with latest forecasted design and color trends through own design studios in New York, Lille and France and Germany.
The Apparel News: What types of products and services are you providing?
Alexander Pinkas: Sublimation printing service incl. heat transfer and design support. Please visit our website: www.transferprintbd.com. You will understand everything perfectly after.

The Apparel News: Please tell the special features and benefits of your products and explain how it is price competitive than other products in the market?
Alexander Pinkas: Transfertex paper has high fabric parameters after printing (lowest value 4 in all ranges and goes up to 6-7) is member of Blues sign and Reach and Oekotex certified. As only electricity is needed for the sublimation printing process it is also a very clean and therefore GREEN product. Our sales network in over 40 countries is also supporting the customer communication and design selection in the country of the mother company. For example: our agents in Spain and UK: Zara Inditex designers are selecting our designs directly from our Spain office and UK brands from our office of our representative in London. Here in Dhaka it is us. The price of TFX sublimation paper is very competitive, if people consider our service in design consulting, which is free of charge.

The Apparel News: What is the future potential of sublimation printing in Bangladesh, according to your opinion?

Alexander Pinkas: In general sublimated RMG’s were produced mainly in China. Due to the fact that the labor costs in the Chinese garment sector are very high and that Bangladesh has duty free access to Europe still, more and more international buyers are looking for sublimated readymade Garments produced in Bangladesh.

The Apparel News: What are the key factors behind the success of your company?

Alexander Pinkas: High quality standard after printing in fabric parameters, extremely fast production of 700,000 m sublimation paper daily, no limit in quantity from 1 m to 100,000 m, own design collection, cost effective paper prices and printing. Through good and lean planning the lead time of a RMG can be reduced down to 45-50 days. Sales man samples can be made – after designs approval within less than 2 weeks, which is not possible in regular AOP wet print.

The Apparel News: Finally, what’s your message to the apparel industry people of Bangladesh?

Alexander Pinkas: Due to the fact that price pressure in buying and sourcing is getting more and more competitive, the tendency is clear, that the international buyers like and need to cut out the buying house sector. In general I have realized, that the skills of the merchandisers working for a buying house are higher than the merchandising teams in the factories. Therefore the Bangladesh Garment factories have to educate their people in the merchandising departments more in regard of customer communication and technical knowledge. Lack of proper talking, understanding, reading and writing in English is the biggest problem as a lot of important small information is getting lost in customer communication. Sender and receiver are not on the same page.