In a recent interview with Industry Outlook, Amit walks us through a journey marked by innovation, transformative leadership, and a commitment to reshaping industries.
Amit Garg is esteemed in the home textiles sector and has dedicated 16+ years at Trident Group India, encompassing COO roles and spearheading divisions and heading Jawandsons Pvt Limited from the last 7 years.
What recent trends and innovations are shaping the home textiles sector?
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the home textiles sector has undergone a profound transformation. Consumers, now more than ever, are prioritizing health and comfort in their living spaces. This shift has given rise to a demand for innovative products that go beyond traditional offerings. Anti-allergic and anti-fungal textiles, fabrics with quick-drying properties, and those with an extra-soft feel, exemplified by the popularity of chunky-knit throws blankets, have become staples in this evolving landscape.
Furthermore, sustainability has emerged as a driving force in the industry. Manufacturers are no longer simply responding to market trends; they are proactively adopting sustainable practices to meet the growing expectations of the global retailers. The push for sustainability extends beyond product materials to the entire production process, with a focus on circularity and eco-friendly manufacturing.
How is the textile industry addressing concerns about its over-reliance on China in the supply chain?
In addressing concerns about over-reliance on China, the industry faces a complex challenge. Despite Governments many initiatives promoting self-sufficiency through Made in India campaign, changes in import duty structure, BIS certification necessity, the trade deficit with China still persists and gap is widening, and Indian manufacturers find themselves dependent on Chinese fabrics.
This reliance is fueled by the efficiency of timely deliveries and the cost-effectiveness by Chinese players. To reduce this dependence, India needs to strategically enhance its operational and overall supply chain efficiency. The key lies in investing in capacities, innovation, cost effectiveness through automation and efficiencies, and adopting practices that can make Indian textiles more competitive on the global stage. Additionally, China's stronghold in recycled polyester has tilted the global market dynamics. Though China+1 strategy by many NA & EU based retailers have helped in diverting some matrix from China to India. But to combat this, now lot of Chinese investments are coming in Vietnam and Indonesia.
Could you outline the impact of free trade agreements on the industry's global competitiveness?
Free trade agreements (FTAs) play a significant role in shaping the global competitiveness of the home textiles industry. The removal of duties and other hassles can make Indian products more competitive in landed costs comparisons for international markets. However, it's crucial to recognize that while FTAs provide a strategic advantage, they are not a comprehensive solution e.g India and Japan has a FTA in place from last 10 years plus, still India’s export could not grow at the pace it has grown with other Non FTA markets.
Beyond the benefits of FTAs, sustained growth necessitates a holistic approach. Factors such as product quality, innovation, agility and adaptability remain crucial in ensuring India's competitiveness. The industry must capitalize on the advantages offered by FTAs while simultaneously focusing on building a robust foundation that goes beyond trade agreements.
How has the industry responded to global economic slowdowns and identified new opportunities?
The home textiles industry, like many others, has been susceptible to the impacts of global economic slowdowns. The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, order cancellations, exponential rise in sea freight costs have forced the industry to pause for a while. One notable response has been the exploration of new opportunities through diversification.
Manufacturers have ventured into different markets and segments, with a particular emphasis on technical textiles. This diversification strategy aims to mitigate risks associated with dependence on a specific market or product category. However, the industry continues to grapple with ongoing economic uncertainties, requiring adaptability and innovation to navigate these uncharted waters.
What top strategic priorities do you foresee for the industry shortly, and how can stakeholders contribute to these objectives?
Looking into the near future, several strategic priorities emerge for the home textiles industry. Government initiatives, such as anti-dumping duties and performance-linked incentives, are geared towards providing essential support. However, the onus is not solely on governmental measures. Stakeholders, including manufacturers and policymakers, must collaborate to drive change. Automation becomes a crucial strategic priority, offering efficiency gains and reducing product cost. Sustainability takes center stage, with stakeholders urged to adopt environmentally friendly manufacturing practices. This includes reducing water usage, responsible effluent management, renewable energy, circularity of material, shifting from fossil fuel-based materials to sustainable cellulosic and bast fibers and overall adherence to eco-friendly manufacturing practices. The evolving landscape of the home textiles industry demands a comprehensive approach. The industry is not only responding to consumer trends but is also proactively reshaping its future.