Geographical Reorientation, Responsible Consumption, Digitization, Upskilling Are Emerging Trends

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Textile Excellence and PwC India, in the last month, had conducted a series of webinars on the theme – Reenergising The Textile & Apparel Industry. At the inaugural session of vTexShow, Arindam Saha, Associate Partner, PwC India, summarised the findings of the four important e-discussions with the high-profile panelists. He also listed out emerging global trends that the industry will need to consider to strategise and move ahead.

The first in the series of e-discussions was on the topic `Reorientation of global textile and apparel supply chains’. There is a clear reorientation of global supply chains today. According to Arindam Saha, “Global brands are looking at hedging their geographical risks. They are not sure what will be the demand now. So near shoring and reshoring are a clear trend. It is heartening to know that industry stalwarts are confident that business houses of South Asia will be able to increase their global market share.”

The second in the series of Textile Excellence-PwC India e-meetings was `Building Business Sustainably and Profitably’. “So we were trying to touch upon the main question here – if you are sustainable then you are not profitable. Plummy Fashions of Bangladesh proved that is not the case,” said Saha.  Plummy Fashions proved that the investment needed to make your business sustainable is not very high, and the efforts do pay off. Most of the times it is about innovation, about new ideas.

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“Third, technology will play a very important role to improve profitability. The industry will increasingly use digital technologies to improve manufacturing processes. While the current situation may not warrant an immediate investment in new technologies, the industry will be looking to machinery manufacturers and suppliers to get tools for automating existing machines,” believes Saha.

“Fourth, finances, and preserving cash is very important today, but at the same time the industry will look at how to infuse more equity, maybe through joint ventures, and also will experiment with new financial tools that are available today,” he summarised of the fourth episode of the Textile Excellence-PwC India e-discussion on Financing The Repair, Revival And Growth Of The Textile Industry.

Emerging global trends
In a matter of months, global trade winds have shifted. The industry will do well to study the major trends that are emerging, and strategise, to emerge a winner.

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According to Saha, “On the demand side, responsible consumption is here to stay, consumers will want sustainable, traceable products. The future of fast fashion is bleak. This must drive manufacturers to adopt sustainable manufacturing, use of cleaner chemicals, less water, less energy, and thus lower production costs too.”

He further stated that there will be some bankrupticies, consolidations as small and medium enterprises struggle to survive. “Some capacities may shift to other geographies. For instance, in Bangladesh, one RMG manufacturer, when he understood that he will not be able to use the full capacity in the coming times, shifted a part of the capacity to eastern Africa, and he also took the Bangladeshi workers there. Will this trend catch on, quite possibly,” said Arindam.

Technology adoption will gain momentum. “Manufacturers will want to make more informed, calculated decisions about demand, inventories, etc. So digital tools will be needed. Such tools and technologies will also be effectively used for other functions such as human resource management. We could also witness non-core activities, such as finance, HR, getting outsourced.”

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“There is an urgent need to upskill workers. Many people have lost their jobs during the pandemic. And unless and until we upskill them, they might find it difficult to get back to their original work. I see there is a tendency now to depend less on humans and semi-automate or automate processes, so that factories can continue production even in unforeseen circumstances.”

So, the major trends in the new normal are consolidation, geographical reorientation, responsible consumption, sustainability, digital technology, automation and up skilling.

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