The infrastructure of any industry is based as much on technical support system as it is on human resource.
The expanding world of flawless machines and superior software programmes has made it mandatory for industries to adapt to technology to communicate with customers, find prospective consumers, understand market requirements, keep an inventory and many other aspects.
What was once a Herculean task, either ignored or done manually, was prone to error. Now, it is easily done with information technology. This has brought with it operational efficiency, stronger customer loyalty, better security and higher profitability in the technologically advanced textile and apparel industry.
IT leads the way
Information technology (IT) has touched every aspect of the textile and apparel sector. It is required at every step from yarn production to finished product. One of the reasons of increased dependency on IT is the changing demographics and pace of growth in the fast-paced market environment in the Asian subcontinent. The average age of the population likely to splurge on clothes has decreased considerably. Earlier, teenagers and office goers conveniently ignored attire or spent very little on the same. Today, there is increased awareness among teenagers and professionals that apart from style statements, clothes also symbolise purchasing power.
The young and working population relies on social media to look out for best deals and latest fads. Most textile and apparel brands have their own websites and profile pages on popular networking sites. The role of IT is important here, as creating impressive web portals and checking online hits are crucial. The trend of online shopping is also catching up all over the world. One recent example of IT failure was when online shopping site Flipkart hosted a sale in 2014 and the site crashed following heavy traffic. Many customers were dissatisfied with the service, as some did not get the order confirmation after making payment and some did not see items they had added to their shopping cart. On the other hand, Amazon's online sale garnered rave reviews for its faultless operation.
The younger population relies heavily on a spectrum of digital platforms to know about trends, write reviews, or compare prices. With median age going young, reflected from China's 35.8 years and India's 29 years, around 35 per cent of consumers rely on recommendations from social networks, according to Mckinseyonmarketingandsales.com. It becomes mandatory for shopping sites and apparel brand websites to recruit strong IT teams that can ensure ease of shopping for consumers.
IT also helps the textile and apparel sector become more organised, an edge over the struggle of stores to maintain a balance between demand and supply a decade or two back. With the help of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) along with Point-of-Sale retail automation like barcode, payment terminals etc, these processes speed up the trade assessment easily. IT helps maintain electronic surveillance and provides inventory management automation options. It is also easier to develop designs for prospective clients and manage human resource, thanks to IT. The textile and apparel firms that have employed RFID have almost eliminated problems like product sizes or patterns getting out of stock or stock piling up. This thrift has translated into substantial increase in profits.