|1. Organization of firms and the provision of information dissemination mechanisms.
Systematize statistical data collection and upgrading: Effective policy requires correct and detailed information on the industry. The textile and garment industry is composed of a large number of firms that varies vertically as well as horizontally, and changes in market conditions and enterprise activities are dynamic. Statistical data and analyses on the industry, however, are limited in scope and access. A system to collect information on a real time base is therefore needed.
Encourage information exchange and dissemination through the organization of enterprises: The Vietnamese textile and garment industry is expanding quantitatively, particularly in the non-state sector. The government must support revitalizing industry associations to encourage the organization of enterprises, and actively seek feedback on the industry's needs. While the most comprehensive association in terms of coverage in this industry is VITAS (Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association), its activities are limited due to constraints in financial and human resources, therefore subsidies should be provided for educational and research oriented programs.
2. Education and Training -- Strengthening Support for Managerial and Marketing Skills.
Upgrade education and training institutions: Enhanced managerial skills are urgently needed in all sectors of the industry to meet customers' quality and delivery conditions as well as to boost productivity. Moreover, the development of the domestic market requires effective marketing skills. Educational institutions must provide basic training in these skill areas.
Build systematic knowledge and skills through training managers: Training courses have so far been limited to operators, but this should be extended to managers. Courses offered by organizations including the JODC (Japan Overseas Development Corporation) have been administered under VINATEX and VITAS. The duration of such courses, however, has been too short to allow participants to acquire systematic knowledge and skills needed.
Provide training in marketing skills: Training professionals in marketing skills (including design, pattern and merchandizing skills) is critical for Vietnamese garment manufacturers to increase value-added. Educational support, including seminars, must be provided to facilitate these.
Address problems in the education system: The major problems in the education system are three fold. Firstly, management related textbooks specific for the industry is lacking. Textbooks should not be just translated versions of imported ones, but should be tailored to suit the Vietnamese context. Secondly, training opportunities for the trainers is lacking. Participation in seminars or study tours both domestic and abroad with some form of financial support is desirable. Thirdly, adequate training equipments are lacking.
Expanding the education and training system: While training and educational institutions under VINATEX are promoting curriculum expansion, their financial resources is severely limited. Moreover, budget allocation must allow development and upgrading of courses related to production management, product development and marketing. The establishment and operation of new training institutes must be pursued according to needs and potentiality.
3. Consultation and Material Testing and Analysis
Solve individual problems through consultation and material testing/analysis: Training programs and seminars have their limits because the problems each firm faces are diverse and concrete. In order to address these problems, individual consultations as well as technical support in the testing and analyses of input materials and machineries will prove effective.
Train the trainers and upgrading equipment: While advice from international experts is needed in the initial stages of consultation and material testing and analysis, this role should be gradually taken over by Vietnamese experts. In the long run, provision of such services must be done by testing and research institutes, VITAS and related educational institutes.
4. Upgrading and Investing
The spinning and textile industry -- invest in quality enhancing and pollution-free technology: It is critical that the spinning and textile industry adopt technologies that provide stable quality goods and are environmentally friendly. The dyeing sector deserves particular attention. The main source of low quality in this sector is because basic equipment is lacking or severely outdated.
The garment industry -- upgrade managerial skills, not machinery: While the garment sector is competitive internationally, it still suffers from problems including low productivity due to high deficiency rates in the production process. These problems, however, are purely managerial. On the other hand, signs of shortages in its labor force and the resulting increase in labor cost are becoming apparent. Increasingly many firms respond to this by automatizing the production line in hope to boost productivity. However, the garment sector is a labor intensive industry by nature, and better management practice is often more effective to increase productivity. Moreover, superficial encouragement of automatization runs the risk of increased depreciation cost and may worsen financial standing of garment firms.
5. Support Institution Building for Facilitating Domestic Production Linkages to Expand the Domestic Market
Encourage commercial activities and intra-industry linkages: Commercial and trading entities are key to develop domestic input sources as well as distribution channels. They have information on both producers and consumers, and some are actively engaged in supplying their own brand garments by organizing independent producers. While these activities are important for future development of the industry, information on those remains scarce. Detailed research is needed to provide effective policy support in this arena.
Enhance quality and customer confidence through establishing external testing organizations: Gaining customer confidence in the export market through the establishment of external testing organizations is important. The Textile Research Institute, however, lacks adequate testing equipment and financial support is needed.
Activate industry associations: Industry associations including VITAS play pivotal roles in bridging information between the industry and the government. Moreover, they provide the platform where industry quality standards can be set, information shared and successful role models developed. Common industry quality standard or specification measurements will play important roles in the expansion of the domestic market.
Support apparel firms with strong potentiality in product development: Creating opportunities where talented designers can meet apparel firms is important to produce garments with Vietnamese originality. While FADIN (Fashion Design Institute) is currently the main catalyst in this, most of Vietnamese talented designers work abroad. If garment firms operating under the CMT modality face difficulties in applying new and innovative designs to its own production, then alternative measures including supporting designers in enterprise establishment or facilitating linkages between designers and small-scale producers are necessary.