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The Indian fashion industry saw a 2% decline in revenues in 2019–20, as earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization (Ebita) margins declined from 3.4% to 6.8%. As the pandemic continued to run its course, performance inequalities were more pronounced than ever.

More than two years hence, supply-chain disruptions have created massive opportunities for India, and the industry is now pivoting towards growth. But has India leveraged it? A significant risk is potential shortages of products and resources. It is due to congested supply chains and increased transportation costs.

The goal now for textile and apparel manufacturers is to rebuild operations—to be as predictive, proactive, and responsive as possible to create digital and analytics skills, strengthen the ecosystem, ensure business continuity, and minimize the outbreak’s downside.

The latest episode of Mint Zetwerk Smart Manufacturing dialogue, titled ‘Shifting Gears of the Textile Industry through Digital Transformation’, in partnership with Zetwerk delved into how digitalization is shaping the future of the textile and apparel supply chain. Shalil Gupta, business head of Mosaic Digital, an HT Media Group firm, moderated the session.

If India wants to become China plus One in the textile manufacturing space, the focus needs to move away from a price mindset. “Right now, we have a fixed mindset driven by the price. This is not going to help us scale. We are not serious about building a robust supply chain. Today, we are getting inquiries from foreign brands who want to start production units, but what is lacking is the right awareness," said Manish Daga, managing director of Cotton Guru.

“The natural question in our thought process and as part of our strategy is how do we encourage our vendors or the industry to produce in India. So, now, as a part of Tata group, we are focused on ensuring that production takes place here," said Raja Harbinder Singh, head of global sourcing, Westside, Trent Ltd.

But, for this to be successful, manufacturers will have to invest in digitization. There are five pillars of change—leadership, digital operations, pace of innovation, ecosystem, and platform. The first four pillars need reset to suit the Indian perspective, and relevance to the times isn’t a matter of choice anymore. It is a compulsion.

“Spykar has been serving only fashion for 30 years, without a year of having missed our objectives. And that wouldn’t happen if we don’t keep ourselves abreast with what is happening around us,," said Sanjay Vakharia, chief executive officer of Spykar.

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