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Sav­ing cost is one of the big­gest agen­das for ev­ery gar­ment ex­porter today… Ev­ery com­pany is look­ing at how to re­duce its run­ning cost and save enough so that the bot­tom line is health­ier.

While some com­pa­nies are work­ing within the fac­tory to squeeze out an ex­tra penny, oth­ers are ex­plor­ing new des­ti­na­tions that are cost-ef­fec­tive. All said and done…, a so­lu­tion has to be found!

When the ‘cost’ bug hit the industry many years ago, we saw fac­to­ries be­ing shifted from es­tab­lished hubs to in­te­ri­ors out­side the city lim­its. While many Delhi based com­pa­nies opened fac­to­ries in Mane­sar, the fate of most of them is a sad story today…, only a few found suc­cess like Sarita Handa; oth­ers have ei­ther rented out the premises or are op­er­at­ing at be­low op­ti­mal lev­els.

The big­gest rea­sons that ex­porters quote when ques­tioned about the fail­ure, is dif­fi­culty in get­ting trained man­power and the trav­el­ling woes of the mid­dle man­age­ment lead­ing to fast turn­arounds.

Sim­i­larly, other hubs too saw move­ment to the in­te­ri­ors… La­guna went to Kanaka­pura on the out­skirts of Ban­ga­lore, while GO GO In­ter­na­tional trav­elled to Hole­nar­sipur, Has­san, again on the out­skirts. How fruit­ful these moves have been, is de­bat­able and open to in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

Armed with past ex­pe­ri­ences, com­pa­nies are now there­fore more keen to travel to Tier-2 cities, be­ing backed by State Government sup­port. Here, be­sides the ini­tia­tives be­ing of­fered, which are quite at­trac­tive, there are fa­cil­i­ties like air­ports, schools, hos­pi­tals, etc, which a com­pany needs to set up a peo­ple-ori­ented industry like gar­ments.

I have been say­ing for long that mov­ing to out­skirts is not a very vi­able op­tion be­cause the ecosys­tem for con­ducive busi­ness is not avail­able. Rather the smaller cities like Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Gand­hi­na­gar are much bet­ter op­tions.

The num­ber of in­vest­ments that we are see­ing in these cities from com­pa­nies like Shahi, Ma­trix, Pearl, Ori­ent Craft, Tex­port, Arvind, Madura Gar­ments, Page Ap­parel, Kishore Ex­ports, Shakti Wear, Meenakshi Ltd., JP Sports Ap­parel to name a few, is im­pres­sive. I am sure once these fac­to­ries set the trend and prove suc­cess­ful, many more in­vest­ments can be ex­pected.

While in In­dia, we are still strug­gling to save cost mostly from work­ers’ wages, the West is look­ing at high tech­nol­ogy to get man­u­fac­tur­ing back without the pres­sure of wages!

Ex­hibitors at Tex­pro­cess Amer­i­cas this year echoed the fu­ture of ap­parel industry with the theme ‘Dig­i­tal Ap­parel Microfactory’: A man­u­fac­tur­ing set-up where var­i­ous dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies are com­bined to­gether to fill cus­tomers’ or­ders in quan­ti­ties as low as one. It can be started in even a small room and has be­come the strength for man­u­fac­tur­ers based in USA. This is­sue of StitchWorld high­lights this trend­set­ting con­cept and how the com­pa­nies are em­brac­ing it.

Ex­plor­ing new prod­uct cat­e­gories apart from ap­parel has al­ways been StitchWorld’s in­ter­est. This time, our team vis­ited HH In­te­rior’s fac­tory and ex­plored the qual­ity and man­u­fac­tur­ing as­pects of car seat cov­ers. A must read…

Con­tin­u­ing with our Poll sec­tion, read in­ter­est­ing views from industry ex­perts on the topic ‘ Will mass man­u­fac­tur­ing re­turn to the USA?’

Deepak Mo­hin­dra Edi­tor-in-Chief Read and com­ment on my blog at http://stitch­world­magazine.blogspot.com

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