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How capacity building and greater employee involvement can address low productivity in the Ethiopian garment sector

The textile and garment sector in Ethiopia is undergoing a substantial boom right now, and this growth needs to be accompanied by improvements in working conditions and productivity. This case study shows how SCORE Training helps SMEs address the problems that lead to low productivity.

Article | 23 March 2021
The textile and garment industry is an important sector for the Ethiopian economy that is expected to grow 86% by 2025. With this growth, however, comes increasing concerns about the quality and availability of decent work.

To ensure a well-functioning labour market and business environment, job creation from growth must be accompanied by improved working conditions and increased productivity. Ethiopia’s government has recognized this by making improved working conditions in the sector a priority.

The ILO’s SIRAYE programme was launched in 2019 to promote decent work and inclusive industrialisation in Ethiopia. The programme aims to address the issues of low productivity and SME competitiveness in the garment sector. SCORE Training plays a key role in addressing these issues. To encourage sustainable development, SCORE Training provides SMEs with best practices in quality management, efficient resource use and most importantly, improved productivity.

But how does SCORE Training help in practice? The case of Gaber Garment shows us how a small enterprise can benefit from training and make improvements for the benefit of ALL.

Female worker inspecting quality using the skills acquired through SCORE Training

Company Profile

Name of the enterpriseGaber Garment
Number of employees76 workers (66% women)

Despite the complicated situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gaber Garment took advantage of the lessons learnt from SCORE Training to implement significant improvements and encourage greater employee involvement.

Capacity building spreads throughout the workforce

After the training, participants eagerly shared their new knowledge with other employees. During weekly meetings, employees identified problems and brainstormed solutions. These regular check-ins have led to greater involvement of all staff and more inclusive results.

On the job training on quality control

After the training, employees gained the confidence needed to share their ideas through the suggestion box. They engaged in improvements for the sake of a sense of ownership."
Kebede Disasa - HR Manager

SCORE Training also enabled the company to introduce several tools to record and analyze quality and productivity data. Checklists and graphs made it easier to identify production problems and opportunities for further improvement.

SCORE Training is not only beneficial for the company. The training helps us to improve knowledge and skills personally."
Meseret Giza - Quality Supervisor

Low productivity can be solved through the involvement of all

Better communication during meetings and identification of opportunities for improvement through the SCORE Training tools laid the foundation for the continuous improvement that followed in the months after the training. While communication was previously not actively encouraged, now everyone is free and willing to make suggestions.

In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, the company worked hard to improve its quality and productivity. It sought innovative solutions based on the lessons learned during the training to deal with this unprecedented situation.

SCORE Training enhanced our way of looking at problems and made us think outside the box."
Ermiyas Befikadu - Store Manager

The effort invested in training staff and identifying quality problems paid off. Previously, more than 33 per cent of the products had defects. Now only 6.5 per cent fail the quality test. By reorganising the production area, collecting quality data and identifying areas where defects occur, Gaber Garment's has prevented waste and almost doubled production.

Female worker inspecting the quality of products

Although some training was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, SCORE trainers quickly found virtual solutions to ensure companies could continue learning and achieve results in uncertain times.

By applying simple principles and thinking about optimising production, the company saved time on its production line. By teaching the company to produce more efficiently, SCORE Training has enabled it to nearly double its productivity. This how SCORE Training helps companies to develop their business while ensuring involvment of all.