Apparel manufacturing industry in India today is witnessing a sea change amid several impacting factors – domestic as well as global. Growing competition due to internal and external factors have led to deliberations on areas that need to be focused on for continued growth of the industry.

In order to provide a common platform to the industry experts and Government bodies to address the aspects which are being faced by the companies that is hindering the growth of apparel industry in India, Okhla Garment and Textile Cluster (OGTC) hosted 14th International Conference on Apparel and Home Textiles (ICAHT) 2018 on 8th September, 2018 at New Delhi with the theme “Creation of Ten million Jobs in Apparel Sector- Double the Industry’s Size and Another Ten Million Jobs will be created”. The conference highlighted the challenges prevailing in the segment with a special emphasis on the role of people & technology play in the development of an organization.

The event was attended by industrialists, manufacturers, and garment industry professional (mid and high-level management), research institutes and government representatives. The speakers and delegates shared their views about the current status of the segment, challenges being faced and discussed the initiatives that are required to take this sector ahead. The conference was divided into two sections; presentations and workshops on production, merchandising and human relations.

Inaugural Session
Mr. R. C. Kesar, Director General, OGTC welcomed the dignitaries Speakers and delegates of the conference. He highlighted the agenda of the theme “Creation of Ten million Jobs in Apparel Sector- Double the Industry’s Size and Another Ten Million Jobs will be created” and explained how the theme addresses the challenges in the apparel segment.

Session 1: Dignitaries and Presentations

Session Chairman: Mr. Prashant Agarwal, Joint Managing Director, Wazir Advisors
Speakers:

  1. Mr. Deenpanshu Sharma, Ex-Microsoft & Dr. Suruchi Mittar: Building Resilient Organizations for Smart Manufacturing
  2. Mr. Jagdish Ramaswamy, Chief Digital Officer & Head- Business Excellence, Hindalco Industries Ltd., Aditya Birla Group: Framework for Evolving from Traditional to Smart Factories
  3. Mr. Ram Sareen, Head Coach- Founder, Tukatech, USA: Process Improvement through Automation and Digitalization

Mr. Prashant Agarwal initiated the conference by welcoming the dignitaries and giving a themed presentation on “ Manufacturing Competitiveness as the Sole Mantra for High Growth and Job Creation”, who spoke about the core values that lead to manufacturing excellence.

He set the tone of the conference by emphasizing how India can reach its potential by 2025 and what factors can be adopted by manufacturers to achieve Manufacturing Excellence for Supply Chain, Manufacturing & Marketing.

Dr. Suruchi Mittar highlighted the accomplishments attained by the apparel industry and how we need to evolve with the change in fashion and technology. She emphasized the increasing demand and how can we fortify against the competition in terms of productivity, affordability, and creativity.

Mr. Deepanshu Sharma, who continued the presentation by quoting examples of companies like Apple, General Motors, Starbucks etc. and how these companies are resilient and smart in terms of people, process & technology. He presented various options in Smart Technology like 3D printing, Robotics, RFID, IoT, Artificial Intelligence etc. and their application to reduce TAT, improve yield, enhance quality and customer experience. He then shared his idea on Smart Processes of Agile manufacturing, Environmental sustainability, and product customization. Further, he talked about Smart Human Resources which form the foundation of Smart Manufacturing and their association which will lead in weaving the new jobs in the industry.

Mr. Jagdish Ramaswamy focused on aligning digitalization to business strategy and performance improvement which will lead to better asset maintenance, improve quality and customer centricity.

He focused on the hierarchy of data usage to move towards process digitalization and trends of digitalization in sales & marketing which will lead to smart actions which are cognitive and are without human intervention. He also highlighted the Operations Digitalization and how it can improve performance through real-time data.

Mr. Ram Sareen started his presentation by focusing on the change in technology and how it is changing the face of the industry. He highlighted that for the fashion world, Industry 4.0 is not just about speed, it’s about agility and ability to adapt quickly. Talking about the challenges for technology to fit into the Indian market he highlighted that the lifestyle, demand, timing and good fit are necessary to satisfy the consumers as well as the buyers. He explained good fit by illustrative pictures of body forms & video of Lulusar, Pakistan and focused on a zero difference between the real and virtual models.

Session 2: Dignitaries and Presentations
Session Chairman: Mr. Sudhir Garg, Joint Secretary & Additional Development Commissioner, Ministry of MSME, Government of India.

Speakers:
1. Mr. Samath Fernando, Chief Information Officer, Hirdaramani Group Sri Lanka: Product to Productivity- Data-Driven Decision Making on the Shop Floor
2. Mr. Imal Kalutotage, Chief Executive Officer, n-Cinga Innovations Pvt. Ltd., Sri Lanka: Using Smart Technologies to Produce Faster, Better and Cheaper
3. Mr. Gunish Jain, MD, Royal Datamatics Pvt. Ltd.- Top Five Technology Disruptors in the Apparel Industry.

Mr. Imal Kalutotage started his presentation by explaining the connection between technology push and market pull, which makes it a mandate to overcome the challenges in Apparel Manufacturing Business to reduce cost and provide continuous improvements in productivity, efficiency & quality.

He then highlighted the process of making factories smarter by doing root cause analysis, becoming digitally lean and using descriptive, predictive & prescriptive analytics.

He talked about the challenges to adopt smart factories in apparel and how human capital & skills shortage are leading to obtaining smart factories in this highly manual labor-intensive industry. He also gave a framework for building smart factories with the background Industry 4.0. Further, he gave insights into his company and how can they help the Indian apparel sector to adopt smart factories.

Mr. Gunish Jain started an interactive session by talking about the disruptive happenings around the world since its existence and how these disruptions have helped in creating the current world we are living in today. He emphasized the fact that every disruption is a way for opportunity for the disruptors to create some new disruption which can change the world. He stressed on the new opportunities that the apparel industry should focus on i.e. usage of free energy like solar & wind, the virtual office, use of sensors, big analytics & how they are shaping the industry, and the adoption of robotics for the revolutionary change in the industry.

Workshop 1 (Production): Dignitaries and Presentations:
Session chairman: Mr. Animesh Saxena, Neetee Apparel LLP

Speakers:

  1. Mr. Jagdish Ramaswamy, Chief Digital Officer & Head- Business Excellence, Hindalco Industries Ltd., Aditya Birla Group: Process Optimization for Quality Management & Predictive Maintenance
  2. Mr. Samath Fernando, Chief Information Officer, Hirdaramani Group Sri Lanka: Product to Productivity- Data-Driven Decision Making on the Shop Floor.

Mr. Jagdish Ramaswamy had an interactive session with the members of the workshop where he talked about optimizing the process on the shop floor. The queries asked by the members of the workshop were focused on enhancing customer experience and how to overcome the challenges faced by the Indian apparel industry like safety, cost of disruption & manufacturing and quality. He delivered a framework for achieving a digital plant & smart manufacturing.

Mr. Samath Fernando gave a detailed structure of achieving the 5 layers of Business Application Architecture for integration of customer PLMs, developing interfaces for customer-supplier interfaces & demand-supply forecast, interface with eco-systems for customs & transport and developing a strong system for banks & other financial institutions. He focused on the various problems that need to solve on the shop floor which is degrading the quality and how can the people help achieve better outputs.

Workshop 2 (Merchandising): Dignitaries and Presentations:
Session chairman: Mr. Akshay Sahni, Director, Wear Well India Pvt. Ltd.

Speakers:

  1. Mr. Ram Sareen, Head Coach- Founder, Tukatech, USA: A Practical approach to Digital Merchandising
  2. Mr. Gunish Jain, MD, Royal Datamatics Pvt. Ltd: Dynamic Merchandising for the Apparel Industry

Mr. Ram Sareen started his presentation by highlighting the fact that Change is constant, growth is optional. He cited various examples of the history of the micro-factory that have to the growth of the industry. In 2008, Styku managed to do body scanning & shape analysis for a better fit. In 2012, USA based biker apparel company Voler started to make customized biker and cycling apparels. In 2014, T&FG, Sri Lanka, had a full-fledged system for ultra-fast design for high fashion garments and shorter lead times. In 2015 & 2017, Lulusar and Khaadi, these two Pakistani brands are now the most iconic fast fashion retails stores, using CAD for development of intricate designs and reviving the craft of handloom virtually. He emphasized what we need to by elaborating CAD room engineering, simplifying the process, centralizing data and connecting associated departments. He stressed on the fact that for improving the productivity we should begin reducing time at the sample stage by computerizing the pattern room, working with slopers & graded blocks, applying master grading to blocks and most importantly analyze samples products virtually. He summated his presentation by showing a video of Brandix & how they use TukaTech for sample approval of VS Pink, implementation of TukaTech in Sri Lankan companies and their impact.

Mr. Gunish Jain started the session by engaging the audience in the activity of merchandising by giving a real-life problem and asked the members to provide solutions. The situation was that if an order is placed in September with the delivery date on December, but now the buyer wants and early delivery of the order which is by last week of November. To solve such a problem he quoted that the team needs to have timely review cycles, need to prioritize our work according to critical or important, learning from history dealing with such situations like split delivery or overtime, the safe space where everyone is questionable, follow a single source of truth, document everything either manually or virtually and most importantly anticipate from the past.

Workshop 3 (Human Relations): Dignitaries and Presentations:

Session chairman: Ms. Chandrima Chatterjee, Advisor, AEPC

Speakers:

  1. Mr. V. Aswatha Ramaiah, M/S Unique Consultants, Bangalore: HR as an enabler to Inculcate Technology by Wriggling out of Status Quo Comfort
  2. Ms. Anita Stogel, Founder, Business Coaching Academy, Germany: Change Management- Building Resilient Organizations to move to Smart Factory

Mr. V. Aswatha Ramaiah started his session by explaining the hazards of status quo and importance of people in an organization. He explained the benefits of the adoption of technology for the organization, the customers and the employees, emphasizing that the employees are the most benefitted by such a change.

He highlighted the possibilities for technology adoption like E-Recruitment, E-Selection, Training, E-Appraisal, ERP, E-HRM, HRIS, E-Procurement, Electronic Payment and Demographic Data Management.

He laid down the key mantras of adopting the technology by people in an organization that is Belief, Responsibility, Techniques, and Patience. He summated the presentation by highlighting the components of technology adoption in the apparel industry and steps to be taken by HR for the same.

Ms. Anita Stogel delivered a presentation on change management and how can change lead to digitalization in an organization. She told the current status of our industry by highlighting competition from chine, uncertainty about digitization, change of legal conditions, not enough competent people in the sector and unpreparedness for the future.
She illustrated “The Clock” within a human, a team, a company or an industry by highlighting the four 4 factors namely warming, storming, norming & performing and the steps to overcome each factor.

She engaged the members of the session by having a group activity to explain 7 steps of Human Resources Flow- Basis, Recruitment, Selection, Induction, Bonding, Talent Management and Leaving. Each group needed to define one priority step in each flow which can contribute to the growth of the company