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Which domestic or global fairs do you attend and what do you expect to gain from there?
We regularly attend domestic fairs and also international fairs like 'Intexo - Iran' and 'Premier Vision' held twice a year at Paris. We do not expect big or immediate orders from such fairs, but they provide a platform to network and interact with existing and prospective customers and business associates, and provide insights into market trends and competitor offerings.
As a textile mill do you customise your offerings?
Yes. The product offerings may be the same but, we offer customised and exclusive design collection, quality and finishes as per the requirement of the customer. We are also very flexible in terms of orders' size. We also test the products as per the testing methods recommended or followed by customer. On a specific request by one of our customers, we manufactured for the first time using India's best cotton 'Suvin' to make the finest shirting fabric for the elite and niche class.
What are the top five steps that the industry needs to take to achieve its potential?
It is unlikely to achieve the industry potential with a 'business-as-usual' approach. A clear strategy, which can be implemented and would enable success, is an essential pre-requisite. Accordingly, the following steps are suggested for adoption:
1. Structural transformation with increasing value addition: The Indian textiles industry should attempt a structural transformation, whereby it exports mostly finished products. The industry should endeavour to become a net exporter of finished products only. This would maximise employment generation and value creation within the country.
2. Achieve scale across value chain: Spinning, weaving, processing and garmenting are fragmented, and lack the requisite scale for success in global markets. Most manufacturing units have small capacities and low manufacturing efficiencies, which are a disadvantage in the global arena. To bring them at par with global counterparts, there is a need to facilitate rapid growth and modernisation of existing firms with potential for success. In addition, it would be necessary to attract largescale investment to establish world-class manufacturing set-ups at each level of the value chain. The advent of large manufacturing set-ups, which will be able to realise economies of scale, will help India in achieving global competency. Largescale capacity additions will enable India achieve the targets of higher global trade-share, and generate significant employment opportunities in the sector.
3. Skill, quality and manpower: Productive and skilled manpower is the only way to achieve global competitiveness and the full potential of demographic and wage advantage that India would clearly have over the next decade. The recent initiatives on skill development through the textiles skill sector council in partnership with the industry need to be scaled up vigorously. Abundant availability of trained and certified manpower should become the norm in recent coming years. The objective should be to achieve average per-manhour and per-machine-output in terms of quality and quantity of the levels prevailing in China over the next three to five years. There should be a mechanism for tracking improvements in quality and productivity across the value chain.
4. Diversification of exports in terms of products and markets: Indian exports of textiles and apparel have been limited to only a few markets - the EU and US. The market mix has not been diversified significantly till now, with EU and US markets constituting 55 per cent of the total textiles and apparel exports from India. A higher share of global trade can be attained, only if Indian exporters also start looking beyond traditional products and markets, which of late has started. Specific strategies for achieving a significant market-penetration, with a market share and product mix target, would need to be evolved for individual countries. Country-specific market studies by institutions in that country would need to be financed by industry associations. The study would form the basis for implementation of the country-specific marketing strategy.
5. Promoting innovation and R&D: The Indian textiles and apparel sector is known for its traditional products. India is yet to make its presence felt on the global stage with brands, chains, products and processes. Without innovation and R&D, this would not happen. The government and industry need to work in partnership for this transformation. Business process innovation, in terms of building brands and creating designs, should be the immediate priority. Environmental concerns would keep rising in this century, and India should try and position itself in the global frontier as an eco-friendly hub in the entire value chain of the textiles and apparel sector.
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