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EBRD know-how helps Kyrgyz garment manufacturer to expand, improve quality

Bishkek (AKIpress) - garment industry The EBRD helped Aselina, a small garment manufacturer in Bishkek, gain the know-how they needed both to expand and improve quality and productivity.

When Nina Jumasheva, CEO of Aselina, launched her own business in 2000, she had little idea how far the venture would take her.

With four sewing machines and the help of her husband and a small group of relatives, she launched Aselina. Starting out as a wholesaler, the company began manufacturing skirts and other women’s clothing in 2002 in a range of styles, all of which Ms Jumasheva designed (and still designs) herself.

From originally producing a maximum of 40 skirts a day, Aselina now makes more than 1,200 daily and employs more than 50 people.

Such growth has not come easily. As the business expanded, there were many challenges: from limited working capital to confusion brought on by the lack of a formal strategy and business plan. But the main recurring problem was quality management.

The EBRD’s Small Business Support team helped Aselina to connect with a Bishkek-based consultant to provide the company with a technological solution adapted to its needs.

In a project funded by Switzerland, the consultant installed and configured computer aided design software. They also helped the company restructure its production processes and implement new procedures to give better quality assurance.

“Before, we cut everything by hand,” Ms Jumasheva explained. “This naturally brings more inaccuracy and it meant that 10-15 per cent of what was produced did not pass our final quality control checks.

“It also takes a lot of time to produce patterns and then modify them for different sizes. With the new system, we’ve cut down the time needed to produce a new model from 14 days to only three.”

Quicker pattern making and less waste has meant better margins. Only a year later, productivity has risen by 50 per cent and turnover by 90 per cent.

For Ms Jumasheva, the priority was then to build new premises – moving her business and her workers out of her basement and into a purpose-built factory.

As the business continues to improve quality, the next step will be to open a shop in central Bishkek and she would like the company to be selling internationally within the next 10 years.

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