Clothing Factories Must Tread With Caution

Leading data and analytics company, GlobalData says that clothing factories must process with caution when returning back to business post-COVID-19 lockdown.

There is an abundance of clothing manufacturers and factories in some of the poorest cities in the world. They often operate in such cities to provide a steady income for those who need it the most. Thus, the reopening of production acts as a lifeline for many who are out of work during this time. The reopening of clothing factories have not only pressure to keep their employees paid and with a job, but also face intense financial pressure as retailers increasingly continue to cancel or defer payments.

Many manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to provide PPE and masks for their workers. The International Labour Organisation has outlined detailed recommendations that factories should follow if they are getting back into work. Such recommendations include the use of air purifiers, hand washing stations, temperature checks, disinfection of footwear, split-shift rosters for workers and the reorganisation of lunchrooms to enable social distancing.

"While the proposals sound reasonable, such safety measures can be very difficult to implement given the scale of many production facilities, and their frequent location in dense urban and residential areas," said Leonie Barrie, Apparel Analyst at GlobalData.

"Input from manufacturers is key to ensuring the new ways of working are applicable to a range of different situations. Likewise, brands must play their part by paying for goods received and in production when the coronavirus crisis hit."

The safety of factory workers is not an aspect that only affects the manufacturer. Retailers and brands should also do their part to ensure their suppliers are doing everything they can to stay safe.

"Leaving suppliers to carry the burden of a growing list of safety requirements should not be an option."