BULAWAYO textile giant, Archer Clothing Manufacturers has increased employment figures to 1 000 and is looking forward to adding another 600 subject to forex availability to procure machinery and raw materials, an official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The company’s managing director, Jeremy Youmans, told NewsDay that the company continues to grow, having started with just under 500 employees in 2015.
“We are currently employing 1 000 people from nothing and we have made some significant improvements to the infrastructure and environment.
“We can employ a further 600 people, but we can only continue with this growth path as forex becomes available to procure the machinery and raw materials, which we need to import,” he said.
“We are buying whatever inputs we can locally. Our main input, though, is fabric, and most of the fabrics are not made in Zimbabwe.
“We buy whatever we can from the local textile mills, but they are struggling to supply even the small range they do manufacture.”
Youmans hoped the foreign currency situation will improve, as it was restricting the company’s growth.
He said due to the shortage of skilled staff, their training schools were running continuously to close this gap.
“We are trying to make the graduation of each class the driver of our growth path, but without machines and raw materials to work, this is unsustainable,” he said.
Youmans said they were still trying to source machinery to double their output of leather personal protective equipment (PPE), as the uptake of the product has been huge. The company was exporting most of the product.
He said capital investment into the clothing factory will continue as cash flows allow.
“We intend to make substantial changes to make the production processes more efficient, which will help to create more competitiveness to achieve the growth.
“We will continue to be reliant on the cost of doing business improving, particularly with labour costs and regulations.”
Youmans said the clothing sector has a very competitive market and every clothing factory in the world is fighting for the right to supply.
“So, we must continue to compete on a price, quality and delivery basis, or we will not be able to survive, let alone grow,” he said.