Impact of Leadership Transition on Ready-Made Garment Manufacturing Plants

Operating a garment production unit involves the crucial functions of factory management. Company owners prioritize the recruitment of capable managers and department heads capable of efficiently overseeing factory operations, thereby fostering consistent annual profit growth. Consequently, numerous family-owned small and medium-sized garment manufacturers opt to change their top management, including managers and operations heads, when they perceive that the current leadership is not yielding the anticipated results for the company.

While acknowledging the prerogative of company owners to make managerial changes as deemed necessary for their business, it is advisable to scrutinize the potential repercussions of frequent transitions on both the company's overall growth and its loyal employees. I recommend a thorough analysis of whether the existing policy aligns with the company's long-term objectives and if it is, indeed, contributing to its sustained success.

In this post, Babul Singh shares his insights on a relatively less-explored subject. It's important to note that the perspectives presented in this article may not be universally applicable to all garment companies.
  • Increase job insecurity among employees
  • Change in MIS reporting
  • Reduces line performance for a few months
  • Workers could not establish connections with management
  • Disruption of the existing systems
  • Adverse effect on employee’s career profile
  • Negative branding about the company

Leadership transition in apparel manufacturing

1. Increase job insecurity among the employees

It is normal that when managers leave the company the mid-level employees who work under that manager feel insecure about their job. It may be any employees working as supervision staff in multiple positions. It affects their lack of interest in the work that they are doing currently.

The new manager often prefers to bring his/her old team from the previous company and earlier close contacts. As the new manager needs to run the factory (or a department), he likes to build his own team with known people. The company owner and HR team do not stop their new manager from doing so. In that process many experienced and good employees need to leave the company without their faults as they need to vacant the position for newcomers.

Even employees who stay back in the company silently start looking for a job in another company. For sure mid-level employees would not be able to concentrate fully on their job when they find job insecurity in the current company.

This scenario has been observed in other countries as well. 

2. Change in management reporting

When a change of management happens, the new team tries to control the production floor as fast as they can. One of the first jobs they consider improving the systems in the company without understanding the existing systems. The new team and new managers change the existing system of the organization. Mainly they introduce new reporting systems, MIS, and basic report formats for day-to-day reporting.

When a new system is implemented and mid-level staff is asked to follow the same, they take some time to understand it and try to implement it in their departments. Sometimes it has been observed that employees feel that they are given extra work other than their core job responsibilities. But they can’t ignore the instructions of their new manager. Eventually, competent employees feel harassed, and they leave the company without complaining about their dissatisfaction.

3. Reduces line performance for a few months

Management change affects the factory’s performance like a style changeover effect on a production line. You know during style changeover; the line loses its performance and takes time to get back its pick performance.

When a new manager takes control of the factory, two things happen on the shop floor.

First, sewing operators and other workers slow down their working pace as they know the new manager would take time to understand their floor and know the people, and line supervisors. There will be a lot of meetings for the initial days with the floor staff discussing systems and work culture. As a result, the floor in-charge and line supervisors would not be concentrating much on the production lines.

Secondly, the new manager and new supervisor (if changed) need to understand the products of the company and working system and get cooperation from other departments and outside vendors from where outsourcing is done. It slows down the working pace within the production floor, business processes, and other business supply chains.

As a post-effect, you will observe a reduction in floor performance.

4. Workers could not establish connections with management

When a change of management happens every 3-5 years, workers do not connect well with the company management. They think and behave casually with the new management team. They used to feel that the new manager would be in the company for a couple of years only.

Floor-level workers started feeling that they were the real assets of the organization. They used to think that company owners valued them as they were loyal to the company, and they had not left the company for years. As the management is not stable for more than 2-3 years, the owner may not trust the new manager as much as the owner trusts the floor-level workers.

The shop floor workers think that they can leave the company anytime they want. They are free anywhere to go and join if they want to return, they can come any time. This thought process among the workers in all departments impacts the quality of production of the organization.

5. Disruption impacts on the existing systems (in some cases)

A company is known as a good company based on its working culture, the systems it uses, the skill level of its employees, and employees’ love for that company.

A garment factory develops its system (MIS systems, quality systems, and standard, defined workflow) that passes through many challenges during the implementation. It takes a long time and an enormous amount effort of from employees to train and implement the systems. When the system runs, all goes well. It becomes a culture of the company. Good systems bind employees at all levels. But when these mid-level staff, who were steering the existing systems, leave the company, workers and employees stop following the existing systems. Thus, in some factories, good systems may be dissolved if the new manager does not control the existing systems.

6. Adverse impacts on employee’s career profile

When an employee needs to leave a company due to management changeovers and unfortunately if that happens in the other companies consecutively, it affects the employee’s career profile. With such a profile, when an employee goes for an interview with another organization, he may need to face questions about his stability and skills. 

Sometimes, interviewers may reject candidates due to that reason only as during the interview the interviewer cannot assess their potential. They consider the candidate had to leave the earlier companies (short service period in multiple companies) due to their own failure and the interviewer does not bother to think of it may be the organizations’ failure to retain skilled employees.

7. Negative branding for the company

If a company promotes frequent employee changeover and keeps firing managers in 2-3 years rotation, that will impact the company’s image. It would spread over the regions and among people (job seekers) working in the garment industry. In such a negative image of the company, nobody would be interested in joining them for vacant positions.


I hold no intention of causing harm to individuals reading this article or those employed in the garment industry. Additionally, I do not endorse negative marketing practices for our garment companies and fashion manufacturers. My purpose is to share observations and findings regarding the aftermath of significant changes in garment factories.

For those with a decade of experience in the garment manufacturing sector, it's likely that they may relate to the points highlighted in this article. I welcome your thoughts and any additional points that may have been overlooked in my discussion.

Babul Singh

Babul is an industrial engineer in garment manufacturing. He has working experience of more than 10 years in various positions. He has worked with BL International, Orient craft, Team Krian, and Radnik Exports.

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