Covid Tore-Up Textile Industry

Covid Tore-Up Textile Industry

Sandeep Raut, COO, Laguna Clothing LLP, 0

Textiles and clothing is one of the basic necessities of the human being and hence, this industry has always evolved and persevered through difficult times. Creativity, adjusting to the changing scenario and navigating forward are the three main pillars that propel this sector forward since ancient times. While many worries about the industry's future have been raised, it is the participants' inner strength that is molding the market for a brighter future always.

Textile industry has had a devastating and crippling blow with the onset of Covid-19 pandemic which started in 2019 but took the shape of pandemic in the beginning of the year 2020. Entire industry came to a standstill during the lockdown with huge financial losses leading to job losses.

Manufacturers with strong fundamentals, with financial base and sustainable practices bounced back strongly when the recovery from Covid started. The companies which could not recover had to shut down. The net effect has cut away unhealthy competition around the globe. The apparel industry has seen largest number of job loss compared to other industries during the pandemic.

While the world is now accepting the new normal and garment production globally is coming back on track, the ban of Xin Xiang cotton production has led to significant shift of orders from China. India is emerging as one of the preferred destinations for International garment companies to shift their base from China as India is the only alternative hub for Cotton production with vertical supply chain from fiber to finished garments along with abundant availability of workforce required. Apart from the workforce, India also offers educated staff availability and political stability.

As the industry is regaining momentum from the COVID effect, the employment opportunities are created and staff as well as workers are back to their jobs.

Emotional wellbeing has become the forefront of the human capital strategy moving beyond benefits to career progression, culture, leaders and manager competence. Workplace safety will remain at the top of checklist for manufacturers as it has now taken on a new meaning since pandemic.

Organizations need to completely re-evaluate their associations and abilities to not only deliver temporary monetary improvement, yet in addition longer-term esteem creation through productivity, deftness, and digitization.

COVID has provided the opportunity to transform factories and supply chains, and businesses are optimistic about becoming technologically smart this time. They have begun to recognize the critical importance of manufacturing operations and are creating new and exciting visions for the future. As a
result, many manufacturers are looking to smart manufacturing to transform their business models and build value chains.

Businesses have had to adapt rapidly to the challenges of COVID-19 to protect their employees, deepen their relationships with vendors and customers, and redefine what success looks like for them

Also with that online style shopping has become silver lining to the current global scenario. ‘Going digital’ appeared to be a safe and comfortable option, resulting in a gradual shift of this segment of customers from offline to online. During the lockdown, e-shopping saw a boom like never before, shoppers are content with online shopping as purchase, trials and returns were now made easy and quick with various technologies and 3D design solutions.

Businesses that recognized this at the right time and invested time, energy benefitted largely. Simultaneously, brands or businesses that did not have an online presence but worked to develop and grow also saw upward shift. The e-commerce sectors found new unicorns in India and across the globe. On the other hand, D2C is now quite a recent approach wherein brands deal with the customers directly, eliminating the intermediaries. While many new brands are adopting this strategy, some established brands are switching from traditional business models to D2C models.

To increase visibility and accountability in the supply chain, manufacturers are now using advanced technologies such as block chain and data analytics. Through cloud-based communication systems, digitization has changed the sustainability and resource efficiency in production to such an extent that supply chains and production processes have become more transparent and thus more sustainable.
It is now possible to trace the origin, ingredients, and production routes of a product in a transparent manner, i.e. the entire journey of a product. And as a result, the perception and processes of the entire industry is now changing.

Technology and digitization has taken away all the attention, the insignificant rise of raw material and logistics prices has impacted desperate manufacturers with premium cost. Manufacturers thus need to recoup their costs. In some industries, companies can pass on cost increases to their customers. However, in many cases, manufacturers' profit margins are being squeezed. Garment manufacturers are hit hard with such unprecedented situation.

Businesses have had to adapt rapidly to the challenges of COVID-19 to protect their employees, deepen their relationships with vendors and customers, and redefine what success looks like for them.

In Summary, COVID has brought three major transformative challenges for manufacturers: improving the workplace and employee experience, strengthening operational and supply-chain resilience through digitalization, and creating agile and adaptable businesses keeping sustainability as centre focus.