The 8th International Conference on Apparel & Home Textiles was held on 21st and 22nd September at the India Habitat Centre, Delhi. The theme of the conference was “The New Excellence”.
The conference was a good amalgam of workshops and presentations, drawing about 450 delegates from different parts of the country. The event was attended by industrialists, manufacturers, research institutes etc. During the event, the speakers and delegates shared their views about the current status of apparel sector in India and discussed how the anticipated growth can be achieved. Steps to address various challenges that industry faces today were discussed at length, out of which substantial suggestions and solutions emerged as inputs for framing the growth policy.
India ranks as the world’s fifth largest exporters of apparel contributing 4% in total world’s apparel exports. The industry is extensive and wide ranging, and has contributed enormously to the country’s economic development. It fulfills a vital role as an employer and a generator of foreign earnings. Despite being one of the major contributors to Indian exports and having almost every required advantage, Indian apparel industry has not grown as it could have been. Indian apparel exports were valued at US$ 14 bn in 2011 which has grown at a CAGR of 2% only in last five years which his very less when compared to its competitors. With a vision to provide a common platform to the industry experts for tackling the issues which have hindered the growth of apparel industries and find out the possible solutions, the conference stood up well with the theme.
The first day was allocated for three sessions comprising three presentations in each session. The first session was chaired by Mr. Amarjit Singh, MD, Indigo Apparels which included the presentation of Mr. Vijay Mathur, Secretary General, AEPC titled “Social Compliance as the New Face of Competitiveness in Apparel Exports”. While addressing the conference, he shed light on the importance of social compliance among major buyers and how it can influence their preferences in choosing the suppliers. He mentioned that Indian apparel exporters are unable to understand the buyer’s requirement despite buyer driven nature of this industry. He shared the inferences of the study conducted by the AEPC and suggested the required interventions.
Mr. Devangshu Dutta, CEO, Third Eyesight presented his views on “Strategic Overview of the Global Garment Industry: Implications for Delhi NCR”. In his presentation, he said that global apparel is not just about low cost; there is a need for “Creative Destruction” and shift in business approach. He recommended:
•Make it easy for buyers to do business and difficult to shift to new supply bases.
•Regain trust of buyers: “Under promise, Over deliver”
•Build on strengths of flexibility and value addition
•Redefine value addition, be valuable. Be a brand
•Come together as an industry and build hard infrastructure, soft infrastructure like linkages, predictability and research & development.
•Make your business a desirable business for the best people to join.
AIn the third presentation of the first session, Mr. Bruce Berton, CEO, B&B International gave his expert views on “Enhancing Quality Focus, Customer Orientation and Customer Services”. He mentioned the keys to successful management are “Facts, Plans, Execution and Supervision”. He advised the industrialists
•Keep up with what is your buyer’s requirement like quality, price, delivery, compliance.
• Let your buyer know what services you are going to give them.
•Set up your branch offices in the buyer’s country to facilitate them.
The second session was presided by Mr. H.K.L. Magu, MD, Jyoti Apparels which comprised of the presentation by Mr. Charles Dagher, CEO, Dagher Consulting Group Pvt. Ltd. who gave his insights on “Shaping KPIs to Short and Long Term Profit Goals”. He suggested that KPIs are the quantifiable measurements to achieve your vision and direct you to formulate the strategy you need to take. Managing and analyzing KPIs take time & energy, so it is necessary that appropriate ones are chosen to address the specific needs and objectives of the company. He opined if someone wants to grow, start thinking about your business.
The second presentation was by Mr. Lal Sudhakaran, VP-Manufacturing, Madura Clothing on “Operational Excellence - A Manufacturing Perspective”. His presentation highlighted the steps Madura clothing has taken to build their operations and bring excellence. He stated that summation of four measurement systems i.e. KPIs, customer satisfaction, people satisfaction and societal satisfaction decides the business result. He shared the experiences of Madura clothing that how they have achieved operational excellence with their radar methodology of assessment and review system.
Mr. Anand Rao, CEO, Infinite Possibilities gave his insights on “Managing Uncertainty- HR Perspective”. He emphasized on the need to invest in the employees at the time of uncertainty. He told that uncertainty about business environment has increased again and those operating in more uncertain environments report even higher levels of stress, absence and workforce. He discussed the impact on HR due to business challenges due to uncertainty and challenges faced by them. He also recommended that being proactive and planning ahead will help in reducing the impact of damage and stress. Moreover, it will also help in reducing the impact when the market opens.
The last session of the day was chaired by Mr. Praveen Nayyar, MD Dimple Creations. In this session, the first presentation was given by Mr. Sagi Shani, Optitex Ltd. (Israel) on “Operational Excellence through Technology”. He explained there is a need to collaborate together with the dependence on both buyers and manufacturers required easy to use and quick to implement solution. CAD/CAM solutions are a substantial step in increasing production flow, alleviating productivity and deadline bottlenecks. He described:
•How to effectively communicate designs through all your business channels and substantially reduce sampling iterations.
• How to reduce sampling time and increases time-to-market while eliminating excessive material and capital waste incurred by repetitive sampling.
Mr. Philip Chamberlain, Head of Sustainable Business Development, C&A presented on “ Buyer’s Perspective for Future Sourcing considering the Sustainable Business Development”. He gave his insights on what are the opportunities and implications of sustainability for textile & garment manufacturers and recommended key focus areas for corporate responsibility; product, environment and people. He mentioned that the leader is someone who can access, analyse and strategically use information.
The last presentation of the day was on “Business Remodeling-To run a progressive Garment Manufacturing Business” by Mr. Virender Goyal, MD, EPIC Designers Ltd. In his presentation, he said that there is a need of paradigm shift in the way of doing business. He told India is running behind its competitors and the requirements of doing business are also changing. He highlighted:
•India apparel industry has a hope of coming into the picture of preferred sourcing destination due to the changing scenario in China, Europe, US and Bangladesh.
•Manufacturers have to remodel their businesses according to the buyer’s perspective and focus more on their products and operations they follow.
At the end of the day, inaugural session and fashion show by Lady Irwin College and The Technological Institute of Textiles & Sciences was held. Mr. A. Sakhtivel, Chairman, AEPC was the Chief Guest of the inaugural session. In the inaugural session Mr. R.C. Kesar, Director General, OGTC gave the welcome address following the presidential address by Mr. PMS Uppal, President, OGTC. Mr. Charles Dagher was awarded “OGTC Path Breaker Award 2012”. Dr. A. Sakhtivel opines that diversification of product and market is most important for India. He mentioned compliance and skill development are the need of the hour for apparel industry.
The next day of the conference was started with two presentations on “Risk Management in Apparel Industry” by Mr. Gunish Jain, MD, Royal Datamatics and “People First - Investing in Human Resources” by Mr. Rajesh Bheda, CEO, Rajesh Bheda Consulting Pvt. Ltd. This session was chaired by Mr. Lal Sudhakaran. Mr. Gunish Jain, in his presentation on risk management gave a few commandments and recommended that the fundamental duty of every business should be to reduce risk to others; not to reduce risk of ourselves and to create certainty for people you work with. Mr. Rajesh Bheda advised the industrialist to focus more on their employees as they are core to output of the industry. He suggested that investing in training, focusing on the team, managing HR department and connecting them with other department will help the industry to reach their objective.
Eight workshops followed the morning presentations. Four workshop sessions were conducted parallel at one time. Two workshops on “Addressing Customer Complaints” by Ms. Pooja Makhija, Consultant, Fashion Futures and “Understanding and analyzing test reports” by Dr. M. S. Parmar, Deputy Director & Head-R&D(P) & CQE, NITRA was presided by Mr. Rajesh Bheda, CEO, Rajesh Bheda Consulting Pvt. Ltd. Another workshop session was chaired by Mr. Vinod Kapur, MD, Radnik Exports which included workshops on “The Pursuit of Lean Effectiveness (A Unified System of Business Management in Lean Organization)” by Mr. Charles Dagher, Consultant Dagher Consulting Group Pvt. Ltd. Third workshop was pertaining to “Carbon Footprint Project at OGTC” by Mr. Vishal Mehta & Mr. Pranam Reddy, Cool Earth, Sustainability Services Pvt. Ltd., “Carbon Disclosure Project” by Mr. Damandeep Singh, Senior Advisor – CDP India and “Sustainable Practices within the Textile and Apparel Industry” by Mr. Pawan Mehra, MD, cKinetics. The fourth session comprised of workshops on “Managing, Finance & Costs” by Mr. Praveen Nayyar, MD, Dimple Creations and “Foreign Exchange Management” by Mr. Kamal Sidhu, MD, Neetee Clothing.
The fifth workshop session was headed by Mr. Anant Sadana, CEO, Apparel United which included workshops on “Merchandising Critical Path Management”, “Customer Service Orientation”, “Work Smart vs Work Hard” by Ms. Anjuli Gopalakrishna, Consultant and “Merchandisers -The Face of the Company” by Ms. Sharmila Katre, Head of the Business & Technology Department PAF. Another parallel session included workshop by Mr. Som Shekhar, Principal Consultant, Wazir Advisors Pvt. Ltd. and Mr. Ram K Navratna on “Motivation as a Productivity Enhancement Tool & Using Productivity Tools effectively” which was presided by Mr. Lalit Gulati, MD, Modelama Exports Ltd. seventh session included workshop on “HR Management”, “Employee Induction System” and “Incentive Systems Performance Appraisals” by Mr. Anand Rao. The last workshop session accommodated two workshops on “Marketing Strategies for Growth” by Mr. Bruce Berton, B&B International and “Buyer Centric- Garment Business Orientation” by Mr. Prashant Agarwal, Jt. Managing Director, Wazir Advisors Pvt. Ltd.
In the end, wrap up session was held with the hope of implementation of the suggested interventions will be done. Mr. M.K. Mehra announced that the next conference of OGTC will be organized on 20th and 21st September 2013.
The theme of the 9th International conference on Apparel & Home Textiles will be CREATIVE THINKING. Mr. Mehra extended invitation to all guests & delegates for 9th ICAHT.