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Collaboration along the value chain is the biggest mantra for growth

by Deepak Mohindra

01-December-2018  |  4 mins read

I have always believed that transparency and collaboration along the value chain are the only ways for the Indian garment industry to flourish. And I am happy to note that this fact is now being widely accepted by the leaders of the industry!

How many other countries can claim to be strong along the complete supply chain…, very few, significantly China, which is our biggest competitor on this front but is slowly opting out of this industry to pursue more technology and IT-based products. Right from the cotton fields to the retail shelves, India has strong players who not only understand the industry but are also willing to invest for the future. This was obvious at the CITI conclave recently. It was indeed heartening to see industry leaders from all segments of the industry talk in one language.

The latest edge that the textile and garment industry is looking at is the emerging organised retail, which has added a new dimension to the country’s industry. No longer, does the value chain need to search for markets, spending huge resources on market development.

The domestic market is presenting an opportunity that every manufacturing destination is looking to encash upon. So, why not the exporters? This however does not mean that apparel manufacturers should stop concentrating on exports. Growing in that segment is equally, if not more important.

The exporters in India have spend a lifetime creating relationships in the West and now that there is a real possibility of increased sourcing, post a strategic shift by most retailers, wherein the sourcing now will be based on China +1 policy, will India be that +1 country? This will be decided by the determination of the value chain to work in tandem to give amazing products, the best of quality and what buyers call value-price. It is not a single day job, but we have the wherewithal to achieve this goal. That brings us back to where I started… Collaborations!

If every company in the chain is making products that are market-driven and is investing in the same common goal, how can there be any clash of interest? In fact, by sharing market feelers and developing products that are not only saleable but also ‘unique’, the challenge of pricecompetitiveness is automatically taken care of.

Every retailer is looking for that ‘special’ product that will pull in the customer. And that special product can be developed only with the collaboration of the spinners, weavers/knitters and garment producers…; together the end result will be of value for everyone. The starting point of this collaboration is a common textile policy, where every segment feels special and there is no clash of policy favouring one segment over the other…; where every segment is given opportunities for growth and wherein the policymakers officially declare the value chain as a single industry with a common agenda.

I know it is easier said than done and many years have gone by waiting for such a policy, but with the changing mindset of the industry, I am hopeful that the roadblocks for the same are now eroding.