However much we may wish that the world goes back to being what it was before the pandemic, the reality is that the world and businesses are going to change. Some of the changes will be at the macro level, like mindset change, while others will be in the way we work and execute.
I have been repeatedly saying on various platforms that post the pandemic, the market would be recessionary, consumer will become a bargain hunter, many big retailers will down their shutters and many others will downsize… Accordingly, the direction for manufacturers would be first survival and then revival. With so many order cancellations and payment pushbacks, the biggest challenge today is to survive and get through the next few months till the revival stage begins.
We all know that there is no one solution to fit all or address this problem. From where I see it, we need to look at revival from five angles – financial stability, operation re-engineering, business restructuring, value product and changing market. Every company will have to identify its own value path to revival…But, on a larger scale, supply chain partnerships or cooperatives, nearer to market production, more sustainable ways of working, small quantity with innovative manufacturing solutions like on-demand manufacturing, etc., would be the way forward.
Technology for sure will play a major role in achieving these goals. In fact, one of the biggest positives that has emerged from the lockdown period is the realisation that many activities can be done with equal, and in some cases, with greater efficiency through digital intervention. IT-enabled tools are going to be in great demand.
Some of the revival strategies we are talking about today have already been identified by progressive companies, much before the pandemic. I know many big giants (manufacturers) that have been working with such small quantity buyers/brands and e-commerce companies for a long time, in anticipation to the changing buying behaviour. These are the companies that will now be better placed to accelerate this process and revive faster than many others who will start the learning process and take time to master the business model.
With technology being at the centre of future growth, the industry will adopt ways to produce with less labour, and of course much faster. One such technology in knitting comes from German knitting tech giant STOLL, which is also our cover story. In an exclusive QA feature, the company that has recently been acquired by KARL MAYER, shares expected structural shift in business in the coming months – why it believes it has unmatchable knitting technology and its future plans.
Currently, manufacturing of body coveralls is much talked about, but the industry is still unsure about how to produce a body coverall and what goes into production of the same in terms of standards, fabric and technology. Our contributors have unfurled all these aspects in a special article for this issue.
As uncovering new technology for fashion retail is our continuous endeavour now, we have given space to two well-researched articles based on visual merchandising in retail and advanced Point of Sales (POS) technologies.