Scenario Mapping for Indian Apparel Manufacturing Sector

Industry Brief

India is amongst the world’s largest producer of textiles and apparels. But due to this Covid-19 pandemic, the apparel market had got a bad hit and that’s the reason manufacturers are worrying about the next normal of the apparel market. According to CMAI, the apparel industry may take a year or year and a half to recover.

Whenever challenges come, opportunities also occurs & the brightest minds have the capacity to convert challenges into opportunity and those who can convert rules the market. So, in this case challenge has been there of Covid-19 pandemic and to defeat those challenge here are three Opportunities Company needs to put their focus on,

Focusing on these three areas can help company to sustain in the market and can continue its operations. In this type of situations companies need to adapt agile approach which means to adapt the changes happening in the market as fast as possible and now is the time textile companies needs to focus in these areas for their organization betterment.   

After this pandemic, people will put safety as their priority and that’s the reason medical textile market is increasing and many companies have started to widen their scope and had entered into these segment as this is going to be the new normal for a particular period of time. As government has made it mandate for the manufacturing companies and for the service companies to work with safety and use safety products. Safety products include Fashion masks, Hand gloves, Aprons, Gowns, PPE kits etc.

In addition, India is the second largest producer of PPE kit in the world. The markets of this product segment is increasing at a great pace and this is the high time for the textile manufacturing companies to get into this segment as many companies have already started manufacturing into this segment after taking government’s approval. Also there are multiple benefits to opt for this safety product market; economic crises wouldn’t be a problem for this industry as its operation won’t stop because this products comes under essential goods so production is not going to stop in the type of lockdown conditions. Another reason to opt for this segment is the customer behavior, customers are not going to buy the apparels as easy as they were buying before so there is an uncertainty, another thing is the stocks have been already piled up and remain unsold due to this pandemic so first to clear the stock will be the priority for the manufacturers. Now the question comes here is what machinery or technology is needed to produce medical segment product, so there are two options here one company can use the exiting machineries or technology for producing the safety products or they have to invest a certain amount of money in machineries.

Cost optimization

Cost optimization is the big concern now a day for the manufacturers because the sale count has drop down drastically and during lockdown it went to zero, with sale dropping drastically expenses are not decreasing they are remaining same like labor cost, company has to pay them none the less production is done or not and now as the government had shown green flag for production but companies are not able to work on their full capacity and are working at an average of 25% of the capacity. So manufacturers have to find ways to control the cost to stay in the market.

Focus on variable cost: At this stage variable cost should be made as minimal as possible, because if company is able to reduce the variable cost the chances are high that the cash outflow will decrease at the same time some fixed cost is also needed to convert in variable cost like company can encourage their workers to use their leave balances or will tell workers to go on holidays and company will pay a little amount to them so that company doesn’t go out of the business.

Second thing what companies can do is using the time available, in this pandemic the one thing which everybody has more and more is time so why not to utilize it in a better way so companies can use the excess time to enhance the skill of the workers which they wouldn’t be getting in regular busy days this will help both the parties, workers skill will be upgraded and ultimately it will help company by achieving more efficiency with low cost as this is a labor-intensive industry.

Sewing Robot Technology:  Sewbot is capable of making as many as 1,142 t-shirts with in just 8 hours; the rise of automated sewing has contributed to the textile industry’s growth.

Robots and automation: Automated digital manufacturing could also drive greater on-demand production which will lead towards customization and will decrease inventory risk. In contrast, automation will allow brand to do production based on the required and demand and will eliminate the insufficient waste out of it.

This will transform the apparel industry by addressing the challenges of high labor cost, meeting the demand of the market and accustomed to consider production timeline and instant delivery.

Data Analysis and AI Technology:It is important for a business to understand full process properly which will include from developing to waste management. The solution to deal with these entire problems is data analysis which will help organizations to correctly predict the demand based on the practical demand generation by analyzing human traffic on the website as well as in other mediums. Big Retailers are following make-what-you-see production and up-to-the minute distribution. As Organizations having physical stores as well as online presence also gets a large set of data that can be analyzed from it.

Block chain Technology: This technology is emerging and adapting by various countries and businesses block chain will bring transparency in supply chain as an example how much cost is incurred at each and every step can be seen by this.

This is the era of Industry 4.0 which is ongoing which will transfer the traditional manufacturing process in combination with technology. This includes machine to machine learning and internet of things (IOT). As textile industry can adopt some of the technologies which will make the company more efficient and at the same time dependency on the labors will also decrease.

Changing Market Trend:

With the changing in work pattern and emphasizing on work from home, the direct effect comes to the apparels market the trend is changing from formal and suits to home wear cloths like knitted polos or short sleeved t-shirts to pajamas, sweatpants and hoodies. So companies have to measure the buying pattern of the consumers and have to work accordingly. Athleisure will be the normal wear or new style after this pandemic. Only 22% of the apparel manufacturers have resumed the operations and in that also close to 40% factories which have stared the production are producing the essential products like mask and PPE kits. So the companies according to the trend have to start their production in the same line to stay in the market.


Saloni Surani, a Strategic Business Consultant who pursued her Masters in Management & has an eclectic experience in J.Hirani with various industries like Manufacturing, Real Estates, Hospitality, FinTech, etc. She is a keen observer who silently achieves her goals and happily surprises everyone with the results. Adapting & learning new things has been her forte, which helps her in getting new idea always, anyone who wants to refresh their values – just look at her.

Harsh Pavani, a PGDM graduate is associated with J.hirani as a Business Analyst, who is a great believer of ethics and likes to stay quiet and humble. He is always ready to learn something new and has worked closely in the industries of manufacturing and hospitality.

About J.hirani: J.hirani is a Strategic Transformation team which works as a growth partner for different organisations in various industries by providing services like Agile transformation, Scenario mapping, Strategic alignment, Balance scorecard, Digital transformation, Incubating new ventures, Operation excellence and Aligning human capital.

©J.hirani, Scenario Mapping of Indian Apparel Manufacturing Sector, September 2020. All rights reserved

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