The testing, inspection, and certification (TIC) for textiles is still in its infancy. Consumer awareness about international benchmarks may be a bit limited now, but will eventually grow. As of now, the segment is being driven by companies who want to adhere to standards. Subir Ghosh presents impressions and opinions of those who are in the business.

 

In September this year, German testing and certification giant TUV SUD announced its entry into the advisory domain for textile manufacturing in India to, as the organisation claimed, drive product innovation, process and production management across the textile value chain from fibre to garment.

 

Sooner or later, the global industry leader had to enter the Indian market. The reasons were put in succinctly by the senior vice president (Consumer Product Services) of TUV SUD South Asia, Suresh Kumar. He remarked, "The size of the Indian textile industry is over $95 billion, including $42 billion in exports and is expected to grow to $221 billion by 2021. To achieve this target, it is imperative to have a robust infrastructure that improves the acceptance of Indian textiles across the globe."

 

The remark, of course, came with the brand promise: "Our services will provide end-to-end consultancy in product innovation and development while mitigating any risks that could hamper completion of the process. Due to the fragmented nature of this industry, we can also support with an efficient single point control that aids product development plan to be on schedule, control costs, improve quality and enhance user satisfaction." The entry of TUV SUD is significant since it shifts thespotlight on a factor that may drive both consumer trends as well as industry discourses in the days to come:

 

A global snapshot

The testing, inspection, and certification (TIC) industry may be relatively new, but it is growing by leaps and bounds. According to the 'Textile Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) Market by Application (Textile Testing, Textile Inspection, Textile Certification, & Toys), and Geography - Global Forecast to 2020' report, the global TIC market is expected to reach $7,221.01 million by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 4.6 per cent between 2015 and 2020. The report, published by Research and Markets, says that major textile testing companies such as SGS Group (Switzerland), Intertek Group (UK) and TUV SUD (Germany) have been focusing on geographical expansion, so as to broaden their portfolio and geographical presence. In February this year, the SGS Group opened a new softlines testing laboratory in Tianjin, China. The new lab offers testing services for various types of textiles, apparel, and leather products. And of course, TUV SUD started operations in India.

 

Increasing export of textiles from developing regions and growth of the technical textiles market are some of the factors driving the TIC industry. Then there are the challenges. According to the Research and Markets report, small to medium sized TIC companies are facing challenges in terms of receiving accreditation as it requires heavy investments. However, various government organisations the world over are providing incentives in the form of funds and relaxation of accreditations for the SMEs in the textiles TIC market, as the latter are required to make huge investments to get accredited by accreditation bodies such as International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).