Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor, Texas Tech University, USA
Enhancing product basket, creating new applications and value-addition will prove beneficial for the global textiles sector. On 29th December, albeit 6.30AM U.S. CST for me, it was such a relish to join for a discussion on the status of the textiles industry hosted by Coimbatore-based Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF). As the cotton price is trending around US$1.10, obviously discussion centered around the price of raw materials. Having asked to talk about what is on the horizon for the sector, I placed my views on mid to long-term understanding of the textiles landscape.
In planning ahead for any sector, it is important to focus on “4S” which is the concept adopted by U.S. Department of Defense: 1) Sense; 2) Shape; 3) Shield and 4) Sustain (and Grow). This planning pyramid fits well for the textiles sector, as we plan on stocking raw materials and focus on growth.
Good planning on stocking raw materials is the key. Exploring different blend options will help with cost balancing as well as finding new applications. Indian textiles sector should look for product enhancement stated Mr. Dinakaran, noted textile industrialist and former Chairman of Coimbatore-based The Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA). He explained how China utilized new fibers such as Modal, etc., and offered new blends to the world market. While sustainability is keenly looked at by the world markets, incremental developments such as the use of recycled materials will be a step in the right direction.
Countries like India, which once used to enjoy labor cost advantages must go for lean manufacturing and value-addition as the competitive advantage is eroding. Although there is no crystal ball answer on what’s on the horizon, I feel, one should look at the sector as a four-legged table and all the four legs should be balanced to put the table to use. These are: 1) Technology; 2) Cost; 3) Marketing and 4) Messaging.
Looking at 50 or so industrial leaders who participated in the 2-hour discussion coordinated by ITF, it is pleasing to report enthusiasm is high to take the industry forward with innovation 360 degrees in 2022 and beyond.