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Expediting Engineers in Bangladesh

Tags: International Supply Chain VF in the Community

Expediting Engineers in Bangladesh

November 4, 2015

The volume of apparel and footwear manufacturing in Bangladesh has increased steadily in recent years as production has shifted from other regions. This move has facilitated VF Corporation’s drive to a “third way” of manufacturing, where strong, lasting partnerships are formed with third-party factories utilizing VF’s best-in-class manufacturing principles.

VF’s Third Way program assigns VF industrial engineers to factories, helping them to improve production capacity and deliver excellent quality products for VF’s brands and their customers. 

Yet, finding skilled industrial engineers has proven difficult in Bangladesh, where graduates make up a small proportion of the young population. So VF began to address the recruitment gap by forging a partnership with the Hinrich Foundation, which had already established inter-country scholarships in the region. Together, Maria Chan, with VF Asia’s Sourcing Office, and the Hinrich Foundation set up the Global Trade Leader Scholarship Program so VF could build a talent pool in the country, while also giving back to the region.

“The application and transfer of technological knowledge and forecasting skills are very important for developing countries like Bangladesh,” said Chan, a native of Bangladesh.

Open to Bangladeshis, the scholarship offers financial support to complete a master's degree in industrial engineering at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and a chance to see the discipline in action through work placements at VF.  Following completion of a master's degree, the students are offered three years' work with VF, either in the Asia Sourcing Organization or one of the numerous third-way factories in Bangladesh.

The first two graduates of the scholarship program started working for VF this summer in Dhaka where they are putting their new-found skills to test, fine-tuning production to drive improvements in efficiency and quality.

The application and transfer of technological knowledge and forecasting skills are very important for developing countries like Bangladesh.

“I have gathered extensive knowledge about VF and its brands, the office culture, working environment, organizational structure, and suppliers,” said Dipti Hassan, a scholarship recipient and one of the first women to participate in the program. 

The scholarship program has been instrumental in helping drive a highly qualified pipeline of candidates for VF in the region while also providing educational and professional opportunities to Bangladesh citizens. For more information on the program, visit the Hinrich Foundation.