The Global Innovation Index (GII) has ranked India as the 57th most innovative nation in the world.The country has improved its ranking from 60th position last year. India has been improving steadily since it was ranked 81st in 2015. Meanwhile, China improved its ranking from 22nd in 2017 to 17th this year. But is this enough, and where is India as far as innovation in textile industry matters!
‘Make in India’ was launched to boost India’s ranking in global textiles and garments space. But still India has miles to go in fields like textiles and garments!
Vietnam textile industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.82 per cent, in terms of revenue, during 2018-2023. Vietnam, one of the top textile producing nations in the world, is today third-largest garment exporter. The garments segment accounted for a little over 50 per cent in terms of revenue, in the Vietnam textile market.
What gave an edge to the Vietnamese apparel industry? Product development is the backbone of apparel industry, and it is convinced that the more innovative and exclusive the products are, the brighter will be the future of the industry. Even though India is the second largest producer of textiles and garments, it is not doing too well in the export front. Lack of innovation culture could be one of the principal reasons for India’s poor performance. Some research indicate lack of product as well as organisational innovation culture in various textile regions, which may be a serious bottleneck to competitive export market.
The Indian textiles and clothing industry is finally witnessing the first ever innovation contest that has been launched in India. The Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) has taken the charge to introduce an innovation in Indian textiles and clothing by launching ‘InnoTex 2018’.
One of the most important pillars of growth of textile industries in countries like China, Korea, Taiwan, etc. is their relentless focus on innovation in their products and continuous upgradation of technology. Globally successful textile companies invest millions of dollars in these areas to maintain and enhance their competencies. Indian textile industry on the other hand, has been lacking on this front. For the industry to compete in the global landscape, it has become imperative for the Indian companies to adopt innovation and technology as a tool to achieve superior product quality, design and product development, faster turnaround and high service levels.
One more area in textiles that needs to be toned up as far as innovations are concerned is the fast-emerging technical textiles, in which India has not even scratched the surface. The global technical textiles market is projected to exceed $225 billion by 2025. The growth in the market would be primarily driven by rapid technological advances, which are fueling development of advanced technical textiles. These next-generation technical textiles are witnessing rapid adoption in new application and end-use markets.
There has been a growing need to improve the efficacy of the technical textile industry operations in the recent years and this has led to the development of next generation technical textiles. The superior strength, durability, technical performance and versatility of these technical textiles have enabled their use in numerous domestic, commercial and industrial applications.The textile industry’s persistent efforts aimed at improving the efficacy of technical textile products are driving the market growth.
Strong growth in automotive industry in the emerging economies of Asia-Pacific region is expected to drive the global technical textiles market growth through 2025. In addition, the growing use of technical textiles in construction and electronics industry applications is also expected to drive the market growth. Consumer electronics applications are expected to see strong growth in consumption of technical textiles over the next few years. Advent of new technical textiles and rising demand for geo-textiles and non-woven technical textiles in varied end-use market segments augur well for the technical textiles market growth.
What follows are the views of stalwarts from the textile and their recipes to enhance the competitiveness of the textile industry:
’To grow, improve quality“
– Ajit B Chavan, Secretary and CEO, Textiles Committee
If we need to grow, we need quality. I am not happy to see the scenario of quality compliance and efforts towards the value chain is concerned.
We have the complete value chain with us, but yet our textile industry is a distant second to China. Even countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam, etc. are picking up the speed and is giving stiff competition to India. Why is this happening? Unless we have the cutting-edge technologies, unless we have the best of quality, we are not be able to compete with these countries.
India is the one of the largest exporters and manufacturers of cotton. The contamination level of Indian cotton is very high. According to the Cotton Contamination Survey done by the International Textile Federation, five of our varieties have been rated as the most contaminated cotton in the world. With selling cotton, our country makes more than $4 billion. Imagine the potential of quality work in this. If we move up the value chain or improve the quality, imagine the value realisation we can get. This also includes a reduction in defects. This is why quality is important. We don’t have diversified export destinations. Our major export destinations include the US, Europe, and the Middle Eastern countries, especially UAE. More than 60 per cent of our products are exported to these countries. We need to look at diversifying our exports. We need to look at other countries as an option.
’Innovation led by market & R&D“
– Manohar Samuel, Senior President – Marketing, Birla Cellulose
Innovation is probably led by two things – market and R&D. Brands and retailers are innovating and leveraging technology. They are using Big Data analytics to increase their sales. In fact, the impact of Big Data analytics is the highest in retail with 49 per cent. Nike uses virtual reality to put you in the shoes of soccer star. You can feel it what’s the shoes is like.
Other examples are: Amazon and Starbucks have partnered in China to create a Starbucks experience at home. Macy’s flagship store in New York at Herald Square offers fitness classes in conjunction with Nike. Three-dimensional (3D) scanning is a technology that produces a 3D model through scanning. An individual stands in the scanners view, while it captures his body image and produces 3D images within seconds. The scanner uses a series of light sensors to produce a 3D image. Images are captured in 360 degrees within a short period of time along with body measurements and human body surface. The entire bodies of electric vehicles can be made within days with 3D printing. In the clothing industry, 3D printed sampling has been widely adopted for quick turnaround.
The textile industry is believed to be one of the biggest consumers of water. In conventional textile dyeing, large amounts of water are used both in terms of intake of fresh water and disposal of wastewater. On average, an estimated 100–150 litres of water is needed to process 1 kg of textile material, with some 28 billion kilos of textiles being dyed annually. Waterless dyeing can save around 7 to 75 gallons of water of fabric dyed. Smart tailoring is a not a new trend to the world. Smart tailoring can increase fabric efficiency. It can reduce lead time by 50 per cent. Fabric cutting and designing happen simultaneously.
’Quit low-value business in MMF“
– Debabrata Ghosh, General Manager – Sales, Oerlikon Textile India
Oerlikon Man Made Fibre segment has been serving the growing need for better functional fibres and apparel. More than 35 million tonnes of man-made fibres (MMF) are produced at Oerlikon per year, which is nearly half of the worldwide MMF capacity.
The main steps that influence the quality of fibres and yarns are all controlled by Oerlikon Technology Solutions. Industry 4.0 solutions along with Manmade Fibers and yarns production value chain – Intelligent Plant Control – IPC 4.0. With the new “IPC 4.0” (Intelligent Plant Control) customer services, Oerlikon will also set new standards in the future in the production of BCF yarns.
The world’s largest textile manufactures trust Oerlikon filament spinning, texturing, BCF carpet yarn, staple fibre and nonwoven machine solutions. We provide systems used to manufacture manmade fibres. We offer technologies from melt to yarn for manufacturing industrial yarn, fibres and nonwovens.
Polyester is the most cost-effective and adaptable fibre type. It is recyclable and can be blended with other fibres like cotton and spandex for performance and comfort. Various uses of polyester include: women sarees and dress material, sports wear, leisure wear, home textile, automotive textile, industrial/technical textile, and carpets. In the recent years, India’s growth of polyester is 7.6 per cent CAGR. Since 2000, polyester has gradually eaten up the share of not only other man-made fibre but also cotton. The share of cotton will be only 26 per cent in 2020. The impressive growth and volume of polyester consumption is driven by the trends in global market. The changes is consumer life style and attitude drive the trends in the end products and the impact of such trends is passed along the textile value chain. Increased emphasis on fitness and health as more people are opting for sports and exercise, for that comfort and performance both are required (mainly for sports wear and leisure wear).
’Create fabrics to influence fashion“
– Rajendra K Rewari, Executive Director & CEO, Morarjee Textiles
After the introduction of technology upgradation fund (TUFs), today India’s textile industry is more mature. Technology-wise, we can say that we are shade better than any other country – whether it is spinning, processing or even dyeing.
We have improved by the introduction of a few thousand crores in the last decade. To meet and align with the global demand is a multi-facet activity. We have to grow technologically. While growing technologically, there were some issues from our productivity to other countries productivity.
Though an the international level, talking of global demand, we are second poor to China. Difference between us and China is significantly huge. In America, the fibre consumption per person is 25 kg and more, while in India it is little less than 4 kg. This consumption includes all types of fibre consumption - be it towel, bedsheet, etc. Our own consumption is quite low. How should we improve? There are different indicators involved, including poverty, consumption level, among others. Second is the usage of technical textiles. Everyone thinks that this is the future. As a country, we are far behind. Consumption and demand of technical textiles is always by the force of law. In foreign countries, each and product they use are fire retardant. This is not the case in India. Consumption needs to be increased. Consciousness comes over a period of time. It cannot be forced. As a manufacturer, we evaluate what people consume in the developed countries and try to bring them to India.
We do a lot of research on consumer behaviour patterns and try to bring products that are best suitable for them. When we want to increase people’s consumption, we as a manufacturer need to give a lot of options to choose. This can be done by creating new fabrics, new design patterns, new fibres, etc. We have to influence fashion.
’Innovation is our mantra“
– Anil Biyani, Executive Director, Damodar Industries
Product innovation has been a key driving growth at Damodar. At the end of the day, human being has to be tempted into buying. For e.g: If a consumer has five shirts, and when he sees a new design, he should be tempted to buy that sixth shirt. That essential mantra has been taken by Damodar to a great extent.
Textile needs a constant innovative approach, a visually creative product so that we can increase consumption. We need to partner to stay in the competition. As a yarn manufacturer, we need to partner with fabric manufacturer or even machinery manufacturers. Without them, we cannot survive. We need to keep partnering. We have a ready market, which are already established by the European players. We just need to grab it with our strength. We need to technically upgrade it, put some design element. We have partnered with Reliance, which means we are now servicing every home textiles customer.
To increase consumption, we have to invest in the best technology. And then use to technology to create new products. We need to keep innovating.
We need to create a platform, wherein the entire supply chain should work as a family. As a yarn or fibre manufacturer, we need to align with companies like D’Decor so that he can come out with the best visually-creative product. Ultimately the whole supply chain is complete. We need to create product not for the consumer, but for D’Decor. This has to happen in the entire part of value chain. This can happen anywhere – be it in the fibre stage or during the end product. As a supply chain and work as a family.
’We need to be a solutions provider“
– Arvind Mathur, CEO, Raymond UCO Denim
If we look at global customers or global brands, it is very important to understand what they are looking at. Are they looking at a supplier or are they looking at a partner. If we look from a buyers’ perspective, they are not looking for a product supplier anymore. So we can make some of the best products in the world, but it may not be complete. So you need to be a solutions provider.
That is what the world is increasingly shifting to.If we look at global supply chains, there are two options: either it will be the cheapest or be a solutions provider. The other part is to go and just value add.
From my personal experience, I will find more comfortable with this. What is the need to be a solutions provider? Today as a world is changing, a lot of brands are facing challenges from the online platforms. There are companies, who had certain model, are now facing the challenge of fast fashion. What people want is much more flexibility from suppliers, transparency from the system, and speed. For e.g: we have a customer, who were facing low sales during a particular period. The basic understanding was that they were missing out on the volumes because of certain competitor and they were taking away their major share. It was not something of a copy product, it was mix of different fibres. We sat down together, worked with their design team. We developed something very quickly, mix of fibres, mix of chemicals, and tested out. All these new technology is all about speed.
On a regular basis, we have to come out with something new. If we don’t come out with new features, we may not be able to survive in the market. This is where we have to take next step and be a solutions provider. India has advantage in this. We have scale in some of the things or we may not have scale in some of the things, but I think India is known for its speed, nimbleness, flexibility.
’Innovate to get closer to customer“
– Aniruddha Deshmukh, MD & CEO, Mafatlal Industries
The textile industry in India is at absolute crossroads. If we objectively look into it, the past two years haven’t been good for the textile industry. I don’t think the industry has moved up to the expectations, which were there two years back. Also, one needs to look at textiles in the context of consumers. Ultimately, the consumer has a limited amount of money to spend. Now, a consumer has a lot more options. I can see people are spending a lot more on eating out, a lot more on travel than on buying new clothes. So these are trends that are seemingly reversible. Whatever we are doing in the textile sector has to be in the context that is happening globally. Global movement is towards nationalism. This is a global trend. We need to recognise that trend too. Being closest to the customer is far more important than what manufacturing capacities or technical capabilities. You may have the best of product, but if you are not close to the consumer, you have a very little choice. Some companies have developed that capabilities.
But if you look at the mass basis, people just want to send the fabric to the garmenter. They really don’t want to understand who actually is the end customer is. This thinking has to change. Bangladesh started off as a garmenting company, huge amount of garmenting capacities everywhere. Now they are getting into backward integration into fabric. The denim industry is suffering because of that. Even India is suffering because as a consequence of that. Whatever sales were happening in Bangladesh from the Indian denim industry has evaporated. This is because we as a country weren’t close enough to our customers. Some of the large companies are really investing in garmenting. The entire supply outside gets impacted. The buyer is also looking for a vertical integration. As you are vertically-integrated, you are in a much better position to supply to a consumer.
’Make customers long-term partners“
– Sumit Gupta, GOTS representative in India
Certainly, we must enhance our competitiveness. But simultaneously, we have to redefine the term competitiveness to fit the contemporary world. It can’t be limited to productivity and profitability. We must include some aspects of sustainability to evaluate if we are competitive enough. For example, United Nations defined UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in year 2015. The 17 SDGs set the path for sustainable business growth. Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) developed a factsheet for textile industry about fulfilling the SDGs. Similarly, the Indian initiative Zero Defect Zero Effect (ZED) is another example. The criteria entail productivity, product quality as well as environment.
For attracting investment—again—we need a bit of reconsideration. ‘Where’ should we invest? Should we focus on investments in a particular geographical location; or in a particular product sector? I insist that we must also invest in environmental and social performance of our businesses. As I always say, textile industry needs a top-down approach for compliance driven by principles of sustainability. The top management must take higher interest and responsibility to ensure highest level of environmental and social performance. The businesses must invest in this field and reap long term financial benefits from such investments. Few examples could be a well functional effluent treatment plant, solid waste management, health and safety of workers, building safety, fire safety, control on air emissions, and so on. Second big avenue for investment is educating your customers, both in business to business and business to consumer domains. For example, a survey in year 2014 showed that 21 per cent Indian consumers identified with terms like organic, recycled, sustainable, etc. A significant percentage of consumers were also ready to pay more for products that have a clean footprint. We can invest in customer awareness and they will become our long term business partners.