Supply chain management has become a buzzword in recent years. Though much has been said about an efficient supply chain, small and medium-scale units, with particular reference to the apparel sector, fail to give adequate thrust to this link in the chain.
The resultant outcome has now become obvious. Many of the garment manufacturing units, as industry insiders put it, “are in dire straits.” “Inefficiency in supply chain can be a killer. The industry will need to look at this more seriously,” said Susindaran, Chief Executive Officer of Kay Ventures.
Urging apparel manufacturers to look inward to wipe out inefficiencies in the system, he said “while FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) and other government-to-government negotiations are beyond the control of the industry, the sector should look at processes that are within its control and plug leakages.”
During a panel discussion on the Indian textile industry’s competitiveness, he said “wages are going up and we cannot ask the government to reduce wages. Our business model should, therefore, be drawn in such a way that we can accommodate a reasonable level of inflation, for, at the end of the day, the bottom of the pyramid should survive.”
“But in costing (of a product), there is some percentage of wastage, which will have to be plugged, and an international standard and benchmark set, to remain globally competitive. This would eventually help improve the bottom line by 4-5 per cent.”
“Look inward, wipe out inefficiencies and ensure that you emerge a flawless executor. Step up your process, collaborate with your customer, become a partner and grow together,” Susindaran told the audience, sharing his experience, growth story.
Technology and best business practice can help. Disruptive ideas will emerge, he said, citing Uber and Ola, and the way they have disrupted the transportation model, aggregated capacities. “Likewise, in the garmenting and weaving sector, capacities exist but are not utilised fully. Use technology to optimise the capacity across the supply chain. Link the supply chain in such a way that if there is a lacuna in the production line, there can be an instant alert and the issue addressed immediately,” he said.
Asked if the linkage would be possible considering that the sector is highly fragmented and technology investments unaffordable for small and tiny garmenting units, he said “the units should get connected to Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and all production lines – connected to Internet of Things.”
He urged industry stakeholders to “revolutionise and drive out inefficiencies in the system. Use best practices, top it with technology, collaborate and emerge.”