Many a time, in the hunt for a source of competitive advantage for India’s textile sector’s survival and growth, innovation has been identified as a key factor.
The absence of product innovation is a policy concern. In the globalised competitive market, product innovation is essential for catering to consumers choices. Vietnam’s textile industry is currently among the top-five textile and apparel exporters. After more than 20 years of continuous development with an average growth rate at 17 per cent per year, the textile and apparel industry has emerged as a major economic activity, with Vietnam’s export industry accounting for 10 to 15 per cent GDP. Vietnam’s industry focused on coalition of forces for improved profitability and product innovation. This propelled it to occupy a major place among global textile exporters. Bangladesh is another small country, which could strike it rich by finding how profitability rises with more sophisticated products. Interestingly, the transformation happened there after the country went for functional apparels, technical textiles and nonwoven products. Gradual transformation came into play when the industry started embracing innovation; innovation in technology, innovation in design, innovation in process for which customers pay a better price. The future of textiles is moving towards technical and nonwoven products and the in-thing in apparels today is functional wearable.
New technologies are being launched year after year to produce a variety of functional products in the field of technical textiles, functional apparel and nonwoven. In fact, technological innovation has become the driver in growth of the textile industries in the textile value chain.
Textile engineering is no more a labour-intensive, factory-based industry in which workers sweat out with winders and looms. The clickety-clack of the old wheels has been replaced by modern computer-controlled technologies that are able to produce revolutionary products with a diverse range of functionalities. Basic textile and apparel production is passe now. But the industry cannot make a big leap at one go, and the roadmap must be laid to transform the industry slowly and steadily in the upcoming years. India has some more time left for this transition so that it should not miss the bus this time!