The tragedy in Bangladesh is a rude awakening that clarifies the real truth about countries that manufacture for the world. There is a reality that safety and standards in construction are not part of the norm in most of these countries.
The goal for many manufacturers is to create clothing that has a good price and is appealing. This is really important now especially with the economy under stress. Many folks are out of work and need to buy in a price range that is affordable.
The challenge is how to manufacture a quality garment at a good price, and to do so in an environment where the workers, who are proud to be earning a living, have the best safety measures in place to protect them.
One solution might be to create an industry task force with engineering and construction talent who would help local builders build or renovate work spaces that are safe, clean and accessible. Garment industrY inspections and due diligence in a factory may not successfully include the way the factories were built. Therefore merely checking the box about the quality of local conditions may not be adequate if we wisH to prevent future disasters.
Perhaps the most important alternative for us is to refocus and do the same here. We need to restore and build out new facilities to manufacture in the USA. We need to create more specialized types of clothing and accessories at a price that is appealing to a broad market that can be made here. We can train workers who may have been phased out of a sector, no longer relevant to who we are now as a country, and give them another opportunity.
The horrible event in Bangladesh is hard to fix by just finding another factory. These are disruptive times and we need a fresh look at the way we do everything especially when it comes to providing jobs for workers here