The importance of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ or ‘self-reliant India’ cannot be undermined and the current crisis has further heightened its relevance in all spheres of business, including the textile industry.
More significantly, there has been a strong self-reliant movement in the apparel technology industry, which has traditionally been an import-based segment with all machines and technology related to the sewing industry coming either from the West or from advanced Asian manufacturers like Korea, Japan and China.
This does not indicate that no machines in the textile industry are made in India. In fact, in the spinning industry, we have some really world-class players, but when it comes to apparel manufacturing, there are very few manufacturers who can match the benchmarks set by traditional manufacturers.
The only technology that India has developed in-house and which is truly at par with global standards is in the software segment. Be it ERP solutions, tools to measure productivity or retail technology, Indian technology manufacturers have a good reputation.
In what can be said as a positive movement, of late many developments in sewing technology are being showcased that were earlier the forte of high-end technology manufacturers with a long history of innovation.
When COVID-19 opened unchartered opportunities for the Indian industry to jump into mask and body coverall manufacturing, industries complained of the lack of machinery availability in India. Unfortunately, some players even attempted to compromise the product specification to get business. But very few dared to attempt to bridge the gap and take the shortage of machinery as a challenge to replace costly imported technology with indigenous machine of the same capability.
StitchWorld team has taken up the task of searching for these innovators and presenting them and their innovations to the industry. We look at these innovators as champions of change who have broken the stereotype of easy import and adopted the arduous journey of manufacturing of indigenous machines to support ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
In the October issue of StitchWorld magazine, we are proud to present the wonder boy, Vaibhav Agarwal, a seventh semester student of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi campus, who has created an indigenous N95 mask manufacturing machine that has already created many firsts in the industry.
Another import direction for the industry on a global basis is the uprise of the concept of smart factories. This issue also features a recent development in the segment, after a long time. Over the past few years, this concept was just a talking point for the industry, but lately, apparel factories can be seen adopting this concept in most critical areas within their factories, if not in the entire premises.
With this positive adoption by factory owners, one thing is certain – digitalisation in garment factories has been accepted as the ‘new normal’ because the factories had already been facing some prolonged challenges such as low efficiencies, labour issues, and suppressed prices from buyers along with some bottlenecks pertaining to raw material procurement.
As a lead article, the smart factory concept extensively covers two aspects – firstly, the way Raymond’s Silver Spark has implemented smarter concepts and NIFT’s initiatives for making the industry smarter. And secondly, technology implementation in pre-sewing, sewing and post-sewing functions to reduce heavy human intervention.
It is good to know that the industry is not only picking up and getting back on its feet, but it is also moving ahead with eyes firmly set on the future!