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India's Textile Sector: Driving Quality And Cost-effectiveness

By leveraging existing infrastructure and harnessing the potential of these macro opportunities, India can reinforce its position as a reliable and competitive global textile player, writes Pratik Gadia

Photo Credit : Yarn Bazaar


India's textile industry is renowned for its comprehensive infrastructure, spanning the entire supply chain from farm to fashion. Coupled with certain inherent advantages such as a large English-speaking population, abundant labour, accessible power and favourable tariff policies, the country has firmly established itself as a formidable force in the global textile arena. 

However, amidst a rapidly evolving business landscape, it becomes crucial for India to capitalise on specific time-sensitive macro opportunities, as they hold the key to driving both quality and cost-effectiveness in the industry. 

At present, there are two such significant macro opportunities on the horizon that demand our attention. Firstly, the "China Plus One" strategy, which entails global businesses diversifying their manufacturing bases away from excessive reliance on China, presents a golden chance for India to attract investments and expand its market share. 

Secondly, Bangladesh's anticipated graduation, in 2026, from the status of a least developed country (LDC) necessitates proactive efforts on India's part to maintain price competitiveness vis-à-vis its neighbouring competitor. As European nations are likely to treat Indian and Bangladeshi suppliers on par, it becomes imperative for the Indian textile industry to actively drive both quality and cost-effectiveness. 

It is important to note that this need to focus on driving quality and cost-effectiveness in the Indian textile industry extends beyond domestic benefits. We have to understand that it holds the key to not only ensuring sustained economic growth within the country but also enhancing India's contributions to international trade. 

By leveraging our existing infrastructure and harnessing the potential of these macro opportunities, India can reinforce its position as a reliable and competitive global textile player. 

Strategies, practices and initiatives: Driving quality and cost-effectiveness in the Indian textile industry 

To accomplish the dual goals of enhancing quality and cost-effectiveness in the Indian textile industry, it is imperative to implement effective strategies, undertake targeted initiatives and most importantly, align with global best practices, particularly in the realm of testing. 

Implementing rigorous testing of raw materials upon receipt is crucial to maintain quality standards. However, in India's textile manufacturing landscape, fabric manufacturers often overlook this critical step, which can lead to a range of challenges. 

One significant issue arising from the absence of testing is the production of defective fabrics. Given that the textile industry ranks as one of the significant global polluters, the accumulation of waste from defective fabrics contributes to environmental concerns. A considerable portion of this waste ends up in landfills without undergoing recycling or upcycling processes, perpetuating the negative environmental impact of the industry.  

What is more is that compromised quality also has a profound impact on the profit and loss (P&L) statement of textile businesses because the use of defective materials can lead to substantial financial repercussions, such as increased costs for rework, repairs, customer compensation, diminished sales, additional marketing expenses, and the need for extensive customer service efforts to address quality-related issues and maintain satisfaction - all of which can negatively affect the company's bottom line.  

However, the most detrimental consequence lies in customer satisfaction. Delays in delivering orders due to defective fabrics disrupt the entire value chain. For instance, if a fabric manufacturer realises after a significant lead time that the fabric is faulty due to poor yarn quality, the customer expecting the finished apparel is left disappointed. This domino effect negatively impacts customer relationships and tarnishes the overall reputation of the business. 

Thus, to drive quality and mitigate these adverse effects, it becomes imperative for the Indian textile industry to prioritise the regular testing of materials at different stages of production. It is ironic that textile manufacturers invest significant amounts in infrastructure and capital expenditure (capex) while neglecting comparatively smaller investments ranging from Rs 50 lakhs to 1 crore in testing machines. This discrepancy highlights an underlying attitude problem that must be addressed to foster a culture of quality assurance throughout the textile value chain in India.  

Thus, in order to drive quality and cost-effectiveness in the Indian textile industry, a fundamental change of attitude is required. It is essential to shift the perspective and treat manufacturing as a service industry, where meeting customer demands quality and timely delivery takes precedence. To achieve this, rigorous testing of raw materials before consumption, and implementing a comprehensive quality check (QC) process for the final output material becomes imperative. 

By adopting a proactive approach to quality assurance, fabric manufacturers can significantly reduce the chances of customer rejections. Testing raw materials before consumption ensures that only materials meeting the desired quality standards are utilised in production. Additionally, conducting thorough quality checks on the final output material guarantees that the finished products align with customer expectations. 

This shift in attitude and commitment to quality not only reduces customer rejections but also enhances the reputation of India's textile manufacturers and suppliers. Customers will perceive them as reliable and trustworthy partners, resulting in improved business relationships and increased opportunities for international trade. 

In conclusion, as the Indian textile industry continues to evolve, driving quality and cost-effectiveness will remain critical for its sustained growth and competitiveness. By embracing a customer-centric approach, investing in advanced testing and quality control measures, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, the industry can position itself as a global leader. 

Looking ahead, it is essential to prioritise innovation, sustainable practices, and collaborative partnerships to unlock new opportunities and navigate challenges. With a steadfast commitment to excellence and a proactive mindset, the Indian textile industry has the potential to shape the future of the global textile landscape and contribute significantly to economic growth and international trade.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Pratik Gadia

The author is the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Yarn Bazaar.

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