In these times the Covid-19 Pandemic and increasing focus on health & safety, the role at the industry conscience takes maintaining sustainability and maintains the standards of their manufacturing products. Mr. J. B. Soma, Hon. Ass. Editor & Publisher of JTA, took the opportunity to have the deliberate with you on the current plans to overcome from this pandemic.

Mr. Vilas Gharat is working as a Managing Director, for Gharat & Associates, having over 50 years’ experience in manufacturing function in all composite sectors of Textile Industry. Out of which more than a decade in Operations and HR with emphasis in Business Process Consulting,

Mr. Gharat is having Specialization in various field of textile value chain like;

  • Change Management, Business Development and Project Management; Project Management, Business Development; Supply Chain Management; Resource Allocation; Process Reengineering; Change Management, Production and Business; Planning Function and Training and Mentoring CEO’s et.

He has wide experience in

  • Business Consultant for Oswal Hammerle, for their upcoming state of art technology plant for manufacture of sophisticated Yarn Dyed Shirting Project, primarily catering to the needs of international garment manufacturers. This is a Joint Venture project of Oswal group and F.M. Hammerle (Austria)
  • His previous assignment involves restructuring and transformation of a large Textile units
  • He worked with various executive capacities as Executive Director -Suvin Advisors Pvt Ltd.; Senior President in S Kumar’s., Technical & Commercial Advisor in J. K. Cotton Mills, Senior President in Morarjee Brembana Ltd., Birla’s in Indonesia, Oswal Hammerle, Bhojsons, Nigeria etc.

Mr. Gharat was awarded with Best General Manager Award in MSTC – National Award for energy conservation for Simplex Mills & MSTC and Best Vendor Award from Johnson & Johnson.
Mr. Gharat was awarded with FTA by The Textile Association (India) in 1999,

Mr. Vilas Gharat is a President of The Textile Association (India) – Mumbai Unit during 2017-2019 and 2019-2021.

Q.: How we are mobilizing our content and expertise to support the global fight against corona virus?
Ans: It is more than one-year entire World is facing very difficult phase & trying all possible measure for survival. We Indians are defiantly much better in controlling virus & stabilizing Indian Economy. I have been reaching to ground level workforce in Textile Industry by video calling & sending solutions to their issues -both professional & personal. I am still doing online counselling to workers & staff who are in factory. Make them to follow heath guidelines & SOP in respective operation.

We have been advising people not to waste time in media & unsupportive messages but follow only Govt. guidelines received through proper authorities. We have been educating workforce regarding living healthy life & advising them to take care of their family members.

Q.: How has the worldwide lockdown impacted the textile & apparel industry? What are the immediate concerns and key takeaways?
Ans: Lockdown impact on textiles & apparel industry Worldwide is definitely huge & many reputed brands reduced their operations. No one is trying to add anything in wardrobe but trying to reduce by discarding old garments. It has given spurt to used garment sale in many backward countries -backward areas.

The demand has been shifted to anti-virus garments with innovative fashion designs. The concept of use & throw is been followed by young generations. The safety is more preferred than durability hence to reduce cost over engineering of product is not necessary.

Similarly, many companies changed their product to medical textiles as per present quality requirements are well placed. And it is the key for sustaining & survival of business.

Q.: Any comparison on how differently the Indian textile industry got affected compared to the world?
Ans: I do not have statistics but in general many reputed companies in India accepted challenge & change mind set of people to make products as per present requirements of customers. The PPE kits or masks are excellent example of Indian Textile Industry’s achievements. Many Indian Companies are catering our domestic requirements & exporting to needy countries. We have seen there is shortage of medical equipment but no shortage of medical garments in India. Compare to European Textile Industry we are better & will be doing excellent provided we change our products. Govt. active support is very necessary to control raw material prices so that we can be competitive in International Markets. Indian textile technocrats are capable of handling all such issues provided Top Management is proactive & supportive.

Q.: How critical would be the reduction of trained manpower on fronts like manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain etc for the businesses?
Ans: We can do everything online except manufacturing hence skilled workforce is very important for any business. Unfortunately, in today’s situation no importance is given to skilled workforce working on shopfloor. All staff members are allowed to work from home but shopfloor workforce is suffering in all such lockdowns. Very few companies have taken care of their workers.

The category of Skilled workforce is been totally neglected by Govt, & Entrepreneurs. It is resulted in migration of skilled workforce to different locations or different job profiles for their survival. We have seen many people walked down to their native place but no help is provided.

It will be very difficult to get those skilled workforces when business will have excellent opportunities. We have created this critical situation by neglecting such workforce. I am sure that it will be difficult for Top Management to take advantage of business in view of shortage of skilled workforce.

Q.: How can textile and apparel companies better manage their workforce and supply chain amid current situations?
Ans: As mentioned above everything can be done online except manufacturing hence retention of skilled & loyal workforce is very important. We need to dismantle pyramid management structure to flat so that major cost of salary & wages will be under control. It will help shopfloor workforce to get correct information & we will get many useful / innovating ideas from them. Similarly, ongoing training schemes should be implemented through professional trainer. Earlier there was training institute in Parel (Damodar Hall) who were giving training only to textile operators.

Olden days all textile mills had their workers & staff accommodation in mill premises with reasonable rent & hence there never used to be shortage of skilled hands. Govt. & Mill owners should create such infrastructure to avoid migration of skill workforce.

Q.: Based on consumer preferences, how are businesses going to get altered? What role will technology have in it?
Ans: As mentioned above preference will be given to only virus protective garments on online sale. Buying cloth & stitching garment may be only for occasions. The personal safety will be more preferred than durability of garments. The return policy by many online sellers has given booster to business & hence online selling will be major change.

The fashions will be changed according to living guidelines set due to pandemic & life styles at all levels of costumers.

The role of technology will have to create innovative products at regular interval with better features & lower cost. Take example of mobile phone companies who are changing product features with new concepts & innovations.

Q.: Are there any positive outcomes of the current crisis if at all for the textile industry?
Ans: As long as human being wearing garments the industry will not die but may get some set back if not change as per time. According to me Indian Textile Industry have great future ahead provided we tap new markets & products such as Technical Textiles requirement? We need to enter into product which we are importing till date.

As infrastructure such as roads & dams are in pipelines, we must produce Geo Textiles which we are importing.

Medical textile is also immediate Global need & we already devolved skills to make as per international standards. In short we need to come out of our old culture & change according to market requirements timely.

Q.: There is a lot of talk about rewiring businesses to arrive at the new normal. Is there any thought process towards this at the company level or collectively as an industry?
Ans: There are many webinars or seminars but what is percentage that it is implemented. There are many consultants or advisors who are making excellent presentations & resorts at very high cost. But very few are assisting implementation on shopfloor.

I have offered my services online with just Rs.11,000/- per month & 10% of savings due to our advice or customize reporting systems which we create.
You may contact us on [email protected]

Q.: Which countries have fared well in offering stimulus to the textile industry? Where is India lacking?
Ans: No comments on other counties but we Indians are capable of resolving all issues for better business provided -We stop bureaucratic working & adopt flat managements with proactive approach. We only depend on Govt. concessions or Policies. Let us face challenges & resolve through our expertise instead of blaming Govt. Policies. We should represent our cases to Govt. but should not dis continue our efforts.

Q.: By when are you expecting the revival process to commence and what is your recovery model?
Ans: No comments but only recovery model is adopt changes for self-survival by keeping your mind open & positive.

Q.; What is the road ahead for the textile & apparel industry in India?
Ans: Be positive & accept all changes for your survival. It is difficult to predict but keep your mind open to face all changes, Indian industry have better days ahead.

Q.: What is your opinion on how the organizations react on this pandemic, when entire manufacturing activity is showed down?
Ans: According to me very few reacted positively & wisely.

Q.; What should be the priorities in the New Year 2021?
Ans: You need to change according to time & retain skill workforce to face all challenges ahead. Change management working style to adopt changes timely.