KK Lalpuria, Executive Director & CEO at Indo Count Industries Limited in an interaction with Industry Outlook, shares his insights on present state and future opportunities for the Indian textile industry. During the conversation he also discusses the issues pertaining to sustainability, lead time, automation and more.
The domestic textile industry in India contributes 5% to the country’s GDP, 7% of industry output in value terms, and 12% of the country’s export earnings. How is the textile industry of India developing?
Textile has been a core industry of India, with the market expected to be worth more than US$ 209 billion by 2029. Looking at the global scenario, there are five countries — Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Vietnam, that dominate the global textile market. However, with Bangladesh and Vietnam lacking the domestic production of raw material and the global companies looking forward to instituting the China plus one strategy. The overall scenario holds great potential for the Indian textile industry to evolve as a global leader.
Moreover, along with the established spinning and weaving base, India has now remarkably expanded the domestic production of raw materials, such as cotton. Furthermore, the huge domestic consumer base of India, has helped the industry to constantly evolve in terms of quality.
Today, the government is also bringing in multiple schemes that are expected to give the industry additional impetus. With all the factors working in tandem, the Indian textile industry will further its share in the global market.
Unlike in developed countries, textile factories in India are not fully automated and remain labour-intensive. How do you see the industry developing in terms of technology adoption?
The Indian textile industry is now massively investing in automation and digitization that it deems necessary to improve productivity and competitiveness. Hence, starting with spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing, we see advanced, state-of-the-art machinery already being deployed to increase operational efficiency. Today, machineries like laser-cutting machines, Eaton systems, automatic packaging and folding systems, conveyor belts, etc are increasingly deployed by the manufacturers.
That being said, the textile industry needs to harness the potential of the IT industry of India, and move towards data driven operations. Applications like ERP’s needs to be implemented at a larger form to optimise the operations and take faster decisions.
From the manufacturing perspective, the cotton sewing process has been a pain point with a dearth of automation. Hence, in order to improve the operational efficiency the industry needs to take first pace action and introduce novel technologies.
The average lead time in manufacturing and delivery sums to around 45 to 65 days from fabric buying to shipment of apparel. How can this be reduced?
There are different segments in the entire value chain of textile production. Starting with raw material sourcing to spinning, weaving, dyeing, finishing and sewing, a textile generally passes through different stages of production. That being said, in India, these operations are largely performed in a standalone form and there are a handful of players who have integrated their entire operations. This in turn largely increases the turnaround time, as goods take longer time to travel from one point to another.
Secondly, most of the Indian manufacturers operate in a B2B format, following the made-to-order production approach. This makes the manufacturers largely dependent on changing requirements, wherein they have to constantly check with multiple factors like, fabric type, dyeing process, design, sewing, export, etc. This further elongates the overall process of textile production.
To overcome this situation, Indian manufacturers are now slowly transcending towards having a more of a branded approach. With a move towards the B2C model, the producers are looking forward to consolidating the supply chain, ensuring quick turnaround time. Moreover, with increased adoption of technology and digitization, shorter lead time will be a much attainable game.
Environmental compliance often isn’t at the top of textile and garment importers’ concerns. How is the industry working to establish sustainable practices in the operation line?
Sustainability has now become the DNA of the textile industry as any changes over the present climatic condition will incur a direct effect on the supply chain of the raw materials. Hence, manufacturers are now playing an active role in ensuring that sustainability and green practices are instituted right from the raw materials manufacturing stage. They are constantly collaborating with the farmers to educate them on the use of fertilisers and pesticides and other farming related factors. We can also note the industry transcending towards utilisation of organic cotton.
On the operational side, new regulations like zero liquid discharge, and more, are brought by the government to ensure no damage is done to the soil and surrounding environment. Today, many players are integrating effluent treatment plants to control its effluent and reuse the water for other operations. The industry is also investing on green power sources like - solar energy.
At Indo Count, we are also actively working on the sustainability end, and have released our first ESG report. We are now participating and registering ourselves with UNGC, CDP, SBTI, who perform a transparent assessment of a company’s operation and come out with a report available in the public domain. We are further participating in the SDP set out by the UN to put the right step forwards towards a sustainable future.
How do you see the textile industry of India developing in the future?
With rising labour costs in China, the country is losing its competitiveness in the global market, creating new opportunities for the Indian industry in the global domain. On the other hand, India is also actively working to evolve as a global textile manufacturing leader. Starting from new technology adoption to digitization and automation the nation’s textile industry is doing it all to create a robust position for itself.
These efforts are already bringing massive results for the nation. For example — In sheet export, India now has 60% market share in the US, and the country’s textile industry is growing at a 9% CAGR. Furthermore, the Government is also playing a crucial role in the overall development of the nation's textile industry. New schemes like — ROSCTL, interest equalisation scheme, PLI, textile mitra park, are all focusing to develop textile trade in the global arena. Moreover, FTA with countries like – Australia, UAE, UK, EU, Canada, will bring more demand for Indian goods.
Today, we see every textile company progressing in an active form. For example— within 15 years of our operations, we have evolved as the largest manufacturer of bed linen in the world with showrooms in more than 54 countries in the world. All these factors show that as a company and a country we are equally geared up to attain the goal of 100 billion export.