ED ITO R IAL

Stitch World - - NEWS - Deepak Mo­hin­dra Editor-in-Chief

China leads the way to ‘in­tel­li­gent fac­to­ries’

If In­dia is think­ing to ‘catch up’ with China in the near or dis­tant fu­ture as a man­u­fac­tur­ing des­ti­na­tion… I very much doubt if that is pos­si­ble!

While we are still caught up in gen­er­at­ing em­ploy­ment at the grass-roots, Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers, with the pro-ac­tive sup­port of the Gov­ern­ment, are fo­cus­ing on ‘in­tel­li­gent sewing’ and ‘smart man­u­fac­tur­ing’ con­cepts that are way beyond what In­di­ans are look­ing at.

We all know that the most ad­vanced ma­chines and equip­ment from prac­ti­cally any in­dus­try are al­ready be­ing made in China and more in­ter­est­ingly, even in those jobs that re­quire ‘hands’, China is think­ing far ahead of other coun­tries…

I can speak from my ex­pe­ri­ence in the ap­parel in­dus­try… to­day not just the gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers but also the sewing ma­chine man­u­fac­tur­ers too are opt­ing for au­to­mated man­u­fac­tur­ing con­cepts and even ro­botic sys­tems.

Though there are 800 sewing ma­chine fac­to­ries (it was around 2300, 10 years back) in China to­day, the move­ment is to­wards con­sol­i­da­tion to bring the num­bers lower but with bet­ter tech­nol­ogy and higher pre­ci­sion, so as to con­trol the en­tire world’s sewing needs.

The process has al­ready started with iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and sup­port to two ma­jor com­pa­nies from China, cap­tur­ing the best and most es­tab­lished Euro­pean sewing ma­chine man­u­fac­tur­ers… bringing them into their fold. I am al­most sure that in the next five years, the Ja­panese will also sell out to the en­ter­pris­ing Chi­nese com­pa­nies and leave the gar­ment ma­chine man­u­fac­tur­ing space, en­tirely to China.

The next phase of elim­i­nat­ing ‘hands’ has also be­gun, ma­jorly to ad­dress the in­crease in wages that im­pacts com­pet­i­tive­ness, by fund­ing the ‘smart’ move­ment in earnest. The move­ment is not just about digi­tis­ing the in­dus­try, but also about cut­ting the un­nec­es­sary cost and cre­at­ing sys­tem­atic changes… in other words, build­ing ‘in­tel­li­gent fac­to­ries’ of the fu­ture.

The same was ev­i­dent dur­ing my team’s visit to the lead­ing Chi­nese sewing tech­nol­ogy provider Jack which had a num­ber of in­no­va­tions to show to its vis­i­tors in­side its ‘first in­tel­li­gent fac­tory’ of China. The com­pany is a trail­blazer in sewing ma­chine man­u­fac­tur­ing and vis­it­ing the fac­tory was an eye­opener.

Since 2016, Jack has been or­gan­is­ing An­nual Over­seas Dis­trib­u­tors’ Meet and StitchWorld has had the priv­i­lege to be a part in all the edi­tions. The way Jack hosts its hun­dreds of guests who come from all across the world is re­ally com­mend­able and ap­pre­cia­ble. It only goes on to re­flect the thought process of the com­pany, which is well sorted and sys­tem­atic!

Though in­dus­tries such as au­to­mo­bile and IT have al­ready started build­ing smart fac­to­ries in or­der to dig­i­talise their pro­cesses and to keep a watch on ev­ery in­ci­dent in real time, it is only now that the ap­parel in­dus­try is sens­ing the need for such fac­to­ries to com­bat the ris­ing cost chal­lenges and avoid miscellany of in­for­ma­tion which they face due to the tra­di­tional ap­proach. In this is­sue, we have cov­ered an ar­ti­cle based on ex­pert opin­ion from gar­ment and steel in­dus­tries to know the prac­ti­cal­ity of smart fac­tory con­cept in the ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor.

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