Managing Director TUV Rheinland India
What is the position of countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Middle East countries when it comes to adopting apparel testing standards and getting such certifications?
There is a long way to go for all such countries compared to developed countries like European countries, America, Japan, Korea as well as China. Though with globalisation, more and more people are traveling, consumer awareness is increasing in these countries which should drive these requirements in near future.
One of the leading apparel brands was found using toxic dyes in its apparels, which can also cause adverse effect on human health. What should be ideally done in such cases?
In Europe and America there are controlling bodies that checks the products randomly. In case any product is found having harmful chemicals beyond the limits, these are recalled from market and retailers are penalised for the same as well. The same is published in the media which results in bad publicity for retailer apart from enhanced scrutiny of their products in future.
Apparel brand should do a comprehensive review of their quality system to see whether there are enough check points which are effective and controls the use of harmful chemicals in their supply chain. Apparel brand should make a policy to ensure mandatory testing is done for all their products lot wise apart from doing mill/factory audits to ensure proper systems are followed to avoid the use of harmful chemicals in the entire supply chain during the manufacturing process.
Do you agree that testing is equally important for home soft furnishings just as for garments?
Yes, testing is equally important for home furnishings also. Testing is done to see that product is durable,safe for human health and environment apart from meeting all the regulatory requirements of a particular country .It’s important to see in case of home furnishings also to check that products are safe for use as like garments most of the furnishings products also come in direct skin contact of the user.Some of the homes furnishing products come in contact with food also. These products are tested to ensure that these are food safe. Most of the global home furnishing retailers have their own quality system in place to ensure regular testing of their products just like garment retailers.
While adopting for ethical business practices, how can an apparel maker maintain its profit levels as well? Does it actually need to raise the product cost?
There are various studies done to see the impact of cost of quality on the overall cost of the product. This has been established that there is initial cost to have a proper quality assurance system in place and compliance to all the social and product requirements which results in savings in terms of efficiency enhancement and reduction in internal failure cost. As per a study conducted with support from Ministry of Commerce, Govt of India, a textile manufacturer can increase their profitability by 50% by reducing the quality cost from 14% to 6% in which major cost comes from internal failure cost which can be addressed with a proper quality assurance/control system in place.
Can you please tell us something about functioning of TUV Rheinland Softlines Labs in India?
In line with our global strategy, we invested in 3 labs in India (Gurgaon, Bangalore and Tirupur) which ensures that we are covering all the major sourcing locations which are important for textiles, leather and footwear industry in India. Our Gurgaon lab works as a centre of excellence for other two labs in India.
Our labs are the backbone of our company which helps us to serve our customers better. We concentrate more on developing our capabilities in-house asapparel and footwear is a fast fashion industry where customers want faster turnaround time when it comes to testing.We have laboratories which are well equipped with cutting edge technology to perform mechanical as well as chemical, safety and regulatory testing including REACH for apparel, leather, footwear, home textiles, toys, jewellery, fashion accessories etc. Some of our high end imported chemical testing instruments include LC MSMS, ICP MS, XRF, GCMS,FTIR, HPLC, GC ECD etc. We have totally invested close to 3.4 million euros in our softlines lab network in India.
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