Boosting business success of SMEs in garment industry with global recognized SCORE method

SMART Myanmar co-operated with the ILO and Kaizen Institute to develop the SCORE program for garment industries in late 2015 and early 2016. SMART Myanmar is presently the only accredited locally based service provider to teach the ILO’s SCORE program for companies in the garment, footwear and accessories manufacturing industries.

In addition to the 3 factories finishing SCORE II, 10 new factories joined the certificate ceremony to learn about SCORE III.

SCORE is a global program developed by the ILO and focuses on boosting company performance through workplace cooperation. It is designed with five modules: Workplace cooperation, managing continuous improvement, productivity through cleaner & leaner production, workforce management for business success and safety & health at work.

Starting in September 2016, SMART Myanmar conducted a second SCORE program round with three locally owned garment factories: Nine Two Nine, Htike Htike and MP Garment. Over 6 months these factories received three days of classroom training. A half-dozen of SMART Myanmar’s ILO SCORE certified trainers delivered this “SCORE II” Program, during both classroom trainings and on-site coaching with the EITs (EIT=Enterprise Improvement Teams: a key part of the SCORE method for achieving common goals).

U Aung Ko Ko Oo shares his positive experience in SCORE II.

In February 2017, SMART Myanmar celebrated the successful participation of these companies in the program with certificates of recognition and promoted the SCORE III program for new factories. SCORE III will continue the success of the 6 month on-site training program approach.

During the ceremony, SMART Myanmar’s Team Leader, Jacob Clere, introduced the SMART and the structure of the SCORE program. Two of SMART’s ILO certified SCORE trainers presented details on modules and U Aung Ko Ko Oo, Operations Manager from MP Garment shared his knowledge and experience during the SCORE II program. He said, “Middle management staff like me often get caught between workers and owners but since we started the SCORE program, that problem is gone. With the EIT team, we are now better aware of improper procedures regarding with labor rights, management issues and health and safety issues”. He also encouraged other companies to join the SCORE program, which can be very beneficial to SME factories to help them become competitive & responsible companies.

SMART is currently recruiting new factories for SCORE III, and has capped the maximum company size for this program at 400 employees. Companies larger than this are encouraged to consider the SMART Social Compliance Academy™, a similar project program designed for medium and large garment factories.

SMART Team Leader Jacob Clere presents a certificate of recognition to Nine Two Nine for making improvements during SCORE II.

SMART technical experts are now accredited to teach ILO’s SCORE program

Starting in 2015, SMART Myanmar and the International Labour Organization partnered together to develop the SCORE program for Myanmar’s garment industry. (SCORE = Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises).

SCORE is a globally recognized program run by the ILO and is designed to boost productivity and workplace conditions in SMEs. SMART Myanmar’s 8 local technical experts received coaching from a senior international expert contracted by the ILO to develop this approach in Myanmar. SMART Myanmar has thereafter piloted the program successfully within 4 garment factories in 2016.

Based on this quick initial success, SMART Myanmar has further fine-tuned the training module to complement the project’s other social compliance programs. Now, the project is running:

The SMART Social Compliance Academy™ – A factory improvement program designed for medium-to-large factories.
The SCORE program by SMART Myanmar – A globally recognized program methodology, suitable for small factories and further adapted by SMART Myanmar to cater to garment & footwear factories.
The SMART Energy Reduction Audit program – An innovative approach to energy reduction consultancy in garment factories – combination of coaching and mechanical, staff & building assessment.

SCORE induction ceremony

To honor the trainers and factories who participated in developing SCORE in Myanmar, SMART Myanmar and the ILO organized a small induction ceremony. Factories interested in applying for the next round of SCORE trainings were invited to learn about the program. In total, over 3 dozen managers and factory owners gathered for this event.

SMART Myanmar anticipates to train another 4 factories using the SCORE program starting in August. Applications are open until July 29th. Further details can be found here:

SMART SCORE flyer (Myanmar language)
SMART SCORE flyer (English)

Fifteen factory managers & company owners sign-up for intensive six month training consultancy

The 3rd SMART Social Compliance Academy™ kicked off in February with another social compliance masterclass scheduled to begin in July.
Written by May Mi Kyaw, Social Compliance Expert

In February, the SMART Myanmar technical team was pleased to launch our 3rd social compliance academy. Two previous compliance academies were piloted and developed in 2015. Now, we are proud to offer the SMART Social Compliance Academy™ as a comprehensive and proven approach to factory improvements in social compliance. The Academy is led by Ms. Nancy Feng, our senior technical expert, along with our team of 8 local experts, including myself and seven of my colleagues.

SMART expert explaining requirements of BSCI 2.0
Our objective is to help garment factories eliminate major occupational health and safety risks, reduce employee turnover, and improve workplace relations through effective HR management and workplace communications. All of these things are essential conditions for European buyers. As such, putting in place effective management systems and sustainable business practices equips companies for long-term success.

Every Academy we run starts with a two-day group training. This happened most recently, on February 24th and 25th and another batch of factory managers will begin in July. Three foreign-invested garment factories and four locally owned factories joined the current training batch, which means 15 participants from top and middle management attended the induction masterclass and have agreed to be present for the on-site consultancies within their factory. The training covers: management systems, trouble-shooting of common issues, self-assessment procedures, corrective action strategies & the continuous improvement approach, and especially root-cause analysis.

The Academy was opened with a greeting and introduction by Mr. Jacob Clere, Team Leader of the project. Participants introduced themselves and shared their expectations from the training and the risks/challenges in their own factories which they had already identified and which had caused many of them to want to join our improvement program.

Over the course of both days Ms. Feng explained to the group:
• Why social compliance must be part of a factory’s core business in order for the company to be successful. Factories with safe environments and healthy workplace relations are more productive and enjoy better business possibilities.
• The necessities of BSCI and comparisons with Myanmar’s specific legal requirements, especially as it relates to child labor, young workers, general management, working hours, remuneration, freedom of association, grievance mechanisms, forced labor, disciplinary actions and discrimination.
• The topics of environmental health and safety (EHS) were introduced, especially how to handle chemicals safety and about the impact a factory has on its surrounding environment.
• The assessment process was discussed, including how to address issues and make corrections, especially within the “SMART” approach (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound).
• Root cause analysis and the continuous improvement approach were demonstrated as key tools useful for ensuring permanent solutions rather than quick fixes.

Our approach following the induction training is to hold on-site social compliance assessments at each factory. This is further followed up with several follow-up assessments over nearly a half-year to support and advise the factories as they work to implement improvements.

We have found our Academy approach to be extremely effective at achieving systemic and sustainable solutions and plan to run this program for the next four years, in addition to our many other actions. In this way, we hope to elevate a significant percentage of the industry to a higher standard.

Request for proposals – service provider to conduct factory energy audits and ToT (amended April 29th)

SMART Myanmar is seeking proposals from qualified service providers to conduct training with our project’s technical experts on garment factory energy audits. The ‘terms of reference’ are available here:

ToR for Energy Audit Training (Amended April 29th)

Proposals are due by May 6th, 2016.

Please note: The terms of reference were amended on April 29th, 2016. The amendment and answers to questions received are included in the new attachment.

Benefits for workers and business through higher productivity in garment factories in Myanmar

(How Shwe Yi Zabe succeeded in increasing productivity and setting up an incentive system for workers)

This article provides an account of a garment producer in Myanmar with a vision of combining increased productivity with incentives for workers.

Shwe Yi Zabe was not always able to achieve the expected and pre-planned productivity of daily and monthly outputs. They could not identify the problem, because the management had no data on the efficiency of each department and worker due to lacking records. All workers received the same wages based on their skill levels no matter if they reached their daily production target or not.

SMART Myanmar and experts from the German company ESGE recommended a payment system which allows to pay wages according to each individual worker´s performance. Apart from transparency of workers’ performance the payment system also captures figures of overall productivity throughout all production departments.

Read More: Article Shwe Yi Zabe final

Repair and maintenance of machinery and equipment ensure smooth production flow

(How Shwe Sakar Co. Ltd. managed to overcome bottlenecks in production capacity)

Regular maintenance of machinery and equipment at Shwe Sakar was practically non-existant. Unused sewing machines were stored in the production area and partly in a separate storage room. None of these unused machines were covered to protect them from dirt and dust; nor were they serviced or repaired.

In case of a sudden machine break down in the sewing lines or an unexpected requirement to increase the production capacity, stored machines needed to be cleaned and adjusted first to make them ready for production. This hampered the production flow and led to bottlenecks and, in the worst case, stopped the entire production.

Read More: Artikel Shwe Sakar

Higher productivity, higher profits and higher wages through lean management in Myanmar’s garment sector

The example of Myanmar Synergy Garment Co. Ltd. linking productivity with benefits for both, business and workers
Myanmar Synergy is a vivid example of successful collective action. As a company with young leadership, Myanmar Synergy quickly realized that business is not only about higher profits but depends to a large extent on good worker-management relationship. For solving production related issues Myanmar Synergy always involved line supervisors and workers. This strategy paid off, as we can see in this article.

Myanmar Synergy has practiced pre-production meetings based on internal experienced method. General order information´s were discussed with staff members of all departments, including production issues such as workmanship matters and capacity planning. Nonetheless not all departments were prepared on time for collective production start. Now and then the fabric was not ready for cutting because the relaxation period was not completed, or some sewing machines were not prepared and adjusted for particular order on time.

Myanmar Synergy was introduced to a pre-production meeting method which is commonly used in the garment industry international wise. A major component during pre-production meeting is to create a time table for all department in-charge. Based on these dates each department in-charge must plan and organize his area of responsibility according to start and end date.

Myanmar Synergy confirmed that their practiced pre-production meetings are similar to introduced version, but the major component “Time Table” has not been included in their current proceeding. Myanmar Synergy created a new pre-production meeting procedure by implementing the time table system and a few more other suggestions from advised SMART Myanmar´s version by modifying according to their purpose.

Read More: Article Mynamar Synergy final

Myanmar’s garment sector enhances production capacity for better business and working condition

Maple is a family business and is led by a new generation of business managers. Thus, it was no surprise that Maple is keen to successfully increase its business and at the same time implement good social and labour standards for its workforce.

Maple took a step-by-step approach. It first set itself the goal to enhance their production capacity. As a first measure they placed additional sewing machines on the production floor but quickly realized that this obstructed the production flow and posed a challenge for achieving the required higher daily out-put. So they decided to do away with the space constraints and expand their sewing department using an area which was previously unoccupied.

Maple trading

Productivity before

Maple requested SMART Myanmar’s international experts for suggestions on how to plan the new area. As they were also considering to shift and reconstruct the canteen, the expert from ESGE Germany along with SMART’s SCP trainees visited the factory several times to take measurements of the area. Based on these dimensions the consultant created a floor plan.

Floor plan II

Maple was inspired by this layout and implemented the majority of the suggestions. They were particularly impressed by the two rack station system. One functions as a partition between cutting and sewing department and another between sewing and finishing department but does not separate them. One rack station is for “bundles ready for sewing” and the other one for “bundles ready for finishing” that allows the department in-charge to overview the production feeding and work progress at any given time without having to move between sewing and finishing production floors, and communicate with responsible. According to Mrs. Winnie (Maple Executive Director) this “indirect communication” facilitates a smooth work flow and production planning.

The cutting department caused high and unnecessary raw material wastage, by not cutting the inner lining according to the paper pattern. The lining was only cut out roughly along the contours of the pattern and needed to be re-cut by hand to fit the size of the main fabric.

maple 1_2
Suggestion by SMART Myanmar´s German garment technician:

The sewing line in-charge was instructed to insist on receiving correct cuttings from cutting department to avoid unnecessary work steps. As noticed in many other Myanmar factories the cutting departments often hurries to finish their job quickly without being aware that they cause additional work for other departments. For example cutting 100 pieces might be completed in one hour but for sewing it takes one day. So staff of the cutting department should generally be made aware on how important their job is as quality of their work influences the efficiency of the other operations.
Based on this example and an annual capacity of 600 000 pieces (50 000 pieces per month) the savings of material and labor amounts to approximately US$ 3 600 :
Labor cost 34,6 %
Material cost 65,4 %
Direct savings for Maple = 1 245,60 US$ labor cost
Direct savings for customer = 2 354,40 US$ material cost
Comment from Ms. Winnie, Managing Director of Maple: “Very practical, easy to catch up and efficient. It will be much better if expert or in-charge from SMART (trainer) can implement (it) together (with us) in the factory by leading as an example “

Maple also participated in SMART Myanmar’s Social Compliance Academy conducted by Sustain Consulting.
Within only eleven weeks the management of Maple implemented successfully 14 out of 19 improvement measures. The implementation of the remaining 5 measures is in process.

Maple box list
Special praise: Maple installed a fully equipped medical treatment room with full time hired nurse.
Calculation: Labor cost per minute x time for hand cutting + wastage in cm² x lining cost


SMART Myanmar project launches SCP toolbox

toolboxSMART Myanmar has collected many relevant training materials which are useful for local SCP consultants to deliver quality services to the business community. These materials are compiled in a SCP toolbox covering the variety of topics related to Sustainable Consumption and Production used and maintained by the SCP consultants. It is their working tool to re-fresh the memory on some issues, to gather background information on others or to practically work with it by using checklists or sharing information through presentations.

The content of the toolbox was gathered and developed throughout the training of the SCP consultants during the three-year implementation phase of SMART Myanmar. It is a “working collection” that will be augmented continuously by the SCP consultants and the SCP component senior project manager.

Key documents for sharing are available in Myanmar language. The range of documents include productivity, resource efficiency, social compliance, cost calculation, Myanmar laws and regulations regarding OHS and labor law and EU market orientation. For further details please look at the table of content of the SCP toolbox. If you are interested to receive selected documents please contact the SMART Myanmar Office, Ms Theeri Kay Thi, Senior Project Manager (SCP), UMFCCI (11th Floor), N0.29, Min Ye Kyaw Swar Street, Lanmadaw Township, Yangon, Myanmar, Phone: +95(9)5142642, Email:

Job Opportunities and Vocational Training for Young Engineers in Myanmar’s Garment Sector

Yangon, September 9, 2015

vocational box Have you ever heard about a job called “Sustainable Consumption & Production Consultant”? If not, you feel just the same as thirteen young Myanmar professionals who applied for such a training and job offer two years ago with SMART Myanmar – a project that aims to support the Myanmar garment manufacturers to become more competitive in the global market.

In July 2013 many Myanmar young professionals and fresh graduates were enticed by an ad that looked for applicants that wanted to become Sustainable Consumption & Production (SCP) Consultants. Although the job title did not tell them much they got interested in a job offer that included intensive trainings by local and international consultants and included key words such as environmental accountability and social compliance. The applicants came from different backgrounds, such as e.g. mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, sales & services, construction and even a broadcasting engineer applied. Their motivation varied, many were interested in a better carrier opportunity and international trainings, while others were specifically keen on some content related aspects such as manufacturing, productivity or environmental issues.

But remarkably, all of them were eager to support the development of their home country and wanted to commit to it. They saw this job offer as a good opportunity to contribute to the improvement of the Myanmar manufacturing industry while keeping environmental concerns and fair treatment of workers in mind.

End of July 2013 a group of 13 applicants was chosen and they embarked on their journey to become SCP consultants for the Myanmar manufacturing industry – with a focus on garment manufacturing, although none of them had experience in that industry sector. They signed up for the 2.5 months long full-time training that came with a trainee allowance which made it possible for them to fully concentrate on the training.

During this intensive training phase a variety of training topics was covered, mostly in theory classes, to build a knowledge base. International experts and the local sustainability component team leader conducted the trainings and the majority of topics were a totally new arena for everybody. They were introduced to energy and resource efficiency, total quality management, occupational health and safety, business planning and company audits, to name a few. The vast collection of topics was already a challenge but the major dare was that all trainings of the international consultants were conducted in English! As a supportive measure English language courses were included throughout the whole duration of the initial training phase, which helped the trainees a lot.

After the intensive training phase the trainees were offered a part- time working contract as SCP consultant with a continuous on-the-job training component. Now the focus shifted from mainly theoretical classes in the initial phase to more practical instructions. The trainings became more hands-on, factory visits with international consultants on different topics were conducted and the trainees were able to get more exposure by attending international workshops with topics such as “Social Dialogue” or “CSR panel discussion”.

For many of them the two-week internship program in one of the garment factories was an eye-opener. Min Mon Myat and Zar Chi Tun explained that “during the internship program we were able to experience the daily life in the factory and fully understand the whole production process and its challenges.” This knowledge helped them when they wrote their detailed internship report with improvement suggestions such as the introduction of a new position in the organizational chart but also later during other consultations at factory level.

In February 2014 the “Factories Improvement Program” of SMART Myanmar started; initially with 16 companies that attended in a series of group workshops all geared to initiate a change to a more sustainable production and to social compliance. The international implementation partners of the program were garment production experts from ESGE Textilwerk Maag GmbH & Co KG and social compliance experts from Systain Consulting. The SCP trainees joined all workshops and trainings conducted by the international experts and assisted them as part of their on-the-job training. Other seminars outside the factories improvement program complemented the training e.g. on Myanmar labor law or fire safety.

When in May 2014 the factories improvement program changed from theory to a series of intensive in-house consultancies joined by ten garment manufacturers, the responsibilities of the SCP teams increased. Under the guidance of the senior project manager of the SCP component, Ms Theeri Kay Thi, the SCP consultants assisted in the in-house consultancies of the international experts, made follow-ups on implementation measures, wrote reports and kept the documentation up-to date.

SCP consultants and SCP component senior project manager Ms Theeri Kay Thi (center) during the Social Compliance Academy workshop (January 2015)


The learning effect was best during the practical on-site trainings and the in-house consultancies as stated by all SCP consultants. They mentioned that they learned the most by observing how the consultants adjusted to real-life situations in the factories and worked with the management and workers. In general they were very content with the trainings and workshops by the international consultants. Zeyar Oo said that “the consultants were open and patient and really wanted to share their knowledge.”

The more experienced they got, the more tasks they could fulfill. Around middle of 2015 the second training phase faded out and was replaced by the third phase where the SCP consultants work mostly independently but were supported by coaching through the senior SCP project manager and international consultants on specific topics. The shift from the on-the-job training to the coaching phase was incremental and took a few months.

graph SCP Training program

Today, the SCP consultants are able to cover most topics by themselves and feel confident enough to answer questions of managers and company owners. Some of them specialized e.g. in database management for production or in social compliance. They all observed that the acceptance of the SCP consultants, who are on average quite young, by the companies’ management increased a lot. May Mi Kyaw said that “in the beginning I felt shy and I did not know how to make suggestions and recommendations but now I can do it and my advice is accepted by factory managers.”

When the SMART Myanmar project goes into its second phase in 2016, the Myanmar garment industry can already avail of eight young sustainability consultants that can help them address issues on productivity, energy efficiency and social compliance. Moreover, eight young Myanmars are trained in a profession that they did not even know exists when they initially applied for it, driven by the wish to help their country on the path to sustainable development.

SCP consultants of the coaching phaseThe eight SCP consultants of the coaching phase (September 2015)

If you like further information about the topic please contact:

SMART Myanmar Office
Ms Theeri Kay Thi
Senior Project Manager (SCP)
UMFCCI (11th Floor), N0.29, Min Ye Kyaw Swar Street, Lanmadaw Township, Yangon, Myanmar
Phone: +95(9)5142642,