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No visibly strong HR policies focus on growth and improvement of workforce
The Indian sewn products industry has miles to go to reach full potential. Methods Apparel Consultants is a leading South Africa-based provider of systems and services to enhance productivity in the sewn products industry. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion.com, Roger Thomas, MD of Methods Apparel Consultancy talks about the industry.
What is the size of the global sewn products industry?
The global textile and apparel trade is roughly worth US$ 770 billion, and India’s share is about 5.5 per cent. Of course, this may have changed in the last year or so.
What are the latest technological innovations taking place in the sewn products industry?
The latest changes in the industry are the use of computers in all aspects. Improvements in computer development have been quite spectacular in the past few years. They include continued development and improvement in CAD programmes, improvement in predictive systems covering sales and development of computer systems similar to ours which allow companies to monitor their personnel. We have also seen the development of RFID systems to improve information flow throughout the business. Some of the latest improvements also relate to equipments wherein operator performance and motion patterns are being tracked through the machine motor.
What are the five commonly practiced HR policies in the Indian sewn products industry?
This is one of the grey areas of our industry where there is huge scope for improvement. The current practices are not at par with international best practices. The HR department, except in a few good companies, are largely limited to giving out salaries. No strong policies are seen focussing on overall growth and improvement of the workforce. There seems to be a lack of motivation and increased absenteeism in the workforce resulting in decreased productivity.
Usually, the companies hire workforce on a six month-basis, and send them on a break to avoid giving them remuneration benefits like PPF, ESI etc. Discipline among the workers is not exemplary either. The HR department should have strong compensation policies in accordance with the knowledge, skill and performance of workers. They should staff strategically, which means knowing the type of workforce required - skilled or semi-skilled. As seen in many firms, the accurate skills matrix is not worked out. Hence, recruitment is more general than specific. There is lack of training facilities in factories, and the workforce is not multi-skilled to meet day-to-day challenges of production. Due to lack of training and education, the workforce is also resistant and reluctant in adapting to new methods.
The HR department should also have policies which bridge the gap between management and workers - basically, easing out the tension between the two, so as to increase productivity.
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