Productivity Project puts Jordan’s satellite garment factories on sustainable path
A policy paper on a Better Work Jordan training programme highlights improvements to business productivity and worker well-being since its implementation at the beginning of 2017.
24 September 2018.
Amman – Integrating Jordanians, especially women, into the local garment industry has been a priority for the Jordanian government since 2010. To this end, it introduced incentives to establish satellite factory units, with recruitment targets for Jordanian nationals, to create decent work opportunities in pockets of rural poverty. However, knowledge gaps in the satellite factories’ operations brought with them challenges to their productivity and economic sustainability.
Enter Better Work Jordan’s Productivity Project which, through tailored training courses, continues to deliver promising results to both employees and business owners, according to a new policy paper: Advancing Jordan’s satellite garment factories: A policy paper on Better work Jordan’s Productivity Project.
Six Productivity Project technical training modules were developed to match the needs of participating satellite factory units. “The best way to improve a factory’s productivity, culture and morale is by carefully assessing their needs and delivering soft skills and technical skills training as needed,” said Soledad Requejo, operations officer with the International Finance Corporation, which is supporting the project’s implementation. Between January and June 2018, the program has delivered 31 sessions of technical training in addition to 46 sessions in soft skills training.
Rania Abu Zaitoun, a garment factory manager who, along with her team, has participated in several training sessions said, “All the training has been very dynamic and informative. We welcome this training as our team is very capable and ready to improve their skills.”
Ali*, another factory manager, agrees. “We greatly benefited from the Supply Chain training as a team. Our female employees are eager and knowledgeable. It is important to note that action and adapting take time, as managers we are following up. All in all, I have seen improvement,” he said.
According to Manar Shaban, a technical advisor at Better Work Jordan, supply chain training has been of great benefit to factories. “Supply chain training is one of the trainings workers get really excited about. By learning about the production process and their role in contributing to the greater picture it instills a sense of ownership and integrity,” she said.
Lubna Qarqaz, also with Better Work Jordan echoed the sentiment. “This kind of knowledge raises awareness. Understanding the purpose of a job can positively influence how people work and as a result boost productivity,” she explained.
The paper uses as data sources, among others, a worker survey to study the impact of the intervention in 12 satellite factories implemented by Better Work Jordan, in collaboration with Tufts University; and, a survey distributed by Better Work Jordan to management representatives of the participating factories. The surveys found significant challenges mentioned included high absenteeism rates followed by high workforce turnover. Supervisor and manager technical skills and workplace relations, however, were two areas in which the sector faired noticeably well.
The policy paper found that more factories are taking investing in satellite units seriously, with establishments taking the initiative to implement a performance monitoring system upon Better Work Jordan’s recommendation and focus more on production.
Hussam Saleh, Chairperson of Jordan Garments, Accessories & Textiles Exporters’ Association (JGATE) noted that “…results of productivity project have been very positive. Better Work’s programs effectively impact participants, both Jordanians and migrants. These encouraging results should motivate more investors to establish satellite factories in Jordan.”
The soft and technical programmes combine to support factories by both instilling a sense of pride and ownership in employees, as well as by boosting the factories’ competitiveness. The training additionally promotes a sound business culture, which has inspired workers to take their careers to new heights. “The Productivity Project’s Supervisors Skills Training course has changed my life. I benefitted from it on so many levels. I used to work on a line with another colleague. My greatest achievement, thanks to the course, is that I have now been promoted to line manager,” said Hania*, a factory supervisor.
The road ahead looks promising for both the project and the industry, and Better Work Jordan is currently looking into ways to increase workforce development and investment, invest in viable planning systems and boost community engagement to yield further improvements.
“We have witnessed how this training boosts morale and helps businesses grow,” added Enas Al Rasas of Better Work Jordan.
Jordan’s garment industry’s garment and related exports accounted for about 25 percent of Jordan’s total exports, which exceeded USD1.6 billion in 2017. The Productivity Project is credited as an essential tool in its further progress. Fathallah Al-Omarani, President of Jordan’s General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment and Clothing Industries further underscored the value of Better Work Jordan’s Productivity Project, saying, “On the ground training such as the productivity project produce tangible results. They help increase productivity and competitiveness.”
*Names have been changed