Time and again it has been said, ‘our industry needs to change the mindset’ in order to become more competitive and get work from renowned buyers. Apparel Resources raised the issue with the industry across India and asked how did they see this? As an individual, have they ever changed their mindset; or felt that it is not required? Or does the industry needs to see this from a different perspective. Like, adopting and learning new methods, systems and upgrading technology is always a continuous process? Given below are some of the interesting excerpts on the same:
Lalit Thukral, President, Noida Apparel Export Cluster, Noida
“Mindset is very much an individual and subjective matter; it depends on person to person, time to time. The top companies are working in a totally systematic way and their teams have proper approach… But it is a little segment of the whole industry as the industry is majorly into SMEs. We need to bring change at SME level which is hard as change at this point is only possible by giving them incentives. One of the most important things is to execute these incentive schemes properly. Majority of SMEs don’t have proper finance facility. If they get orders, they struggle for resources to complete orders because they don’t have proper support. If the SMEs get enough and right support, India’s apparel export can double and the mindset will also change. Yes, there are various schemes and policies for SMEs and start-ups, but still more such active steps are needed for their upliftment.
As far as my personal experience or change of mindset is concerned, I tried to enter into mass manufacturing but soon realised that I can only be successful in quality products and products which belong to the boutique type.”
Ajay Kumar Kak, CEO, Jay Pee Knit Fab, Faridabad
“I agree with your point as our industry needs to change its mindset or needs to improve constantly not only in terms of its way of working, adopting automation but even in terms of raising the quality parameters. There is always a scope for improvement and we should always be ready for the same. In our organisation, we always try to implement all such things.”
Punit Chowdhary, Director, Priya Global, Noida
“Yes, certainly there is a need to change the mindset, especially with regard to the use of technology, to adopt innovations, to reduce costing, to enhance productivity and efficiency… overall continuous improvement is another way of saying that mindset has changed. We are trying to change as per the time and requirement. We installed CAD on perfect time, started working as per TNA (time and action calendar). We adopted professionalism, started a comparison of our output. I must say that all this is not easy as it takes a lot of investments as well as energy, personal involvement, but there is no other way for survival, so one has to do it.”
Yusuf Dohadwala, CEO, Intimate Apparel Association of India, Mumbai
“I see this issue from the manufacturers’ as well as brand perspective. Our industry (manufacturing) has moved from a traditional, homegrown to a young professional one; still a major share of manufacturers are from the old generation while our primary customer base is the young generation. So, there is an evident gap and this gap can be filled with a changed mindset only. Our customers are changing every day and so are their expectations, demands. We have to adopt to all these changes well in advance, otherwise someone else will grab our market share.
Not only customers, market dynamics, policies, other allied things are also quickly changing; so we have to keep pace with all these changes and this is only possible by having a change in mindset.”
Animesh Chakraborty, Senior Executive Sourcing & Merchandising, Benetton Asia Pacific Limited, (United Colors Of Benetton) Noida
“Scope for improvement is always there and more than changing the mindset, as an individual, I believe it is all about the learning you gain from your experience which indirectly reflects as your mindset. In our industry, the business mostly depends on two factors:
- Sourcing (which includes products at cheaper price, better quality and shorter lead time)
- Providing a better service to the customers/buyers (which includes communication skills, maintaining records and developing PR)
Definitely, things cannot be changed overnight and it is a continuous learning process. We are in that sector which provides the second largest employment in India, and despite all the hurdles, the sector will continuously grow.”
Ashish Goyal, Director, Goyal Fashions, Jaipur
“I will only say that India is facing stiff competition within the country as well as globally. Overall costing is also increasing, so in this scenario, all stakeholders need to think, especially with regard to labour. Though it is difficult, there is no other way. Use of automation is growing but we have to depend on labour. Worker shortage is still there and workers also need to be efficient and productive.”
Rajesh Kumar Surana, Director, Sabnam Exports, Mumbai
“Mindset needs to be defined and it is a difficult thing. Our industry demands our 120 per cent, so that our clients can get 100 per cent. Accordingly, we have to set formula to attain this goal and that too within our available resources. We need to fine-tune our quality parameters. Despite all best efforts, there is always scope to do better. So far, we are in the process to apply such formula or approach in our company but have not succeeded completely.”
R Sabhari Girish, Director, Award Associates, Tirupur
“It’s high time that the apparel industry prepares itself for a drastic change to stay in the business. It is no more a copycat business. We need to come up with more and more newer ideas with out-of-the-box thinking to sustain. We have to be proactive on all fronts right from sourcing quality raw materials at competitive rates, to curtailing the wastage, enhancing production efficiency, doing things first-time-right, working on design inputs, better financial discipline, to skilling employees to the next level and so on.
With regard to the machinery, we need to be at par with our peers. But when it comes to human resources, our strategy all these years has been to pay little higher wages than our fellow exporters and get their employees to work on our machines. How long can this work? Its high time every factory creates its own dedicated training line, which would work for all the seasons so that our industry never runs short of workforce. Constant skill upgradation should be given to the workforce to make them more efficient.
Sustainability is another key factor, let it be recycled polyester or regenerated cotton which are going to be the game changers in the next decade. Any invention like water-less dyeing can help us grab more business.
Buyers are expecting newness and if we fail to provide the same, the volume of business will go down affecting our production cycle. Upgrading is a continuous process, and with the way new inventions are coming in, there is only one option, either adapt or perish!”