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Industry Update

When in the business of apparel

exports, manufacturers and exporters
cannot ignore the nitty-gritty of supply
chain. As they are important links
in the chain, it is pertinent for them
to know and understand the entire
apparel supply chain process.

Ludhiana Vasant R Kothari and
Nithya Venkataaraman








Let us look at some of the the spinning centres clustered in this
key sourcing areas in the Indian area – be it for denim or for synthetic
supply base: fabrics. Surat has further specialised
in polyester fabrics with prints – the
“The best supply chains aren’t Delhi and NCR – Mélange of advantage being its proximity to
just fast and cost-effective. fashion polyester yarn suppliers.
They are also agile and The NCR has been valued for its
adaptable, and they ensure strength in value addition and Salem-Erode-Karur –
that all their companies’ embellishments. This is evident with Handloom dens
interests stay aligned.” - Hau the number of small- and large-scale We have often come across cotton
L. Lee, US Professor of Operations, units that specialise in product ranges blankets and bed linen woven in
Information and Technology in Harvard
Business Review, Oct. 2004 (1) of varied quantities. This automatically multihued checks. These are products
becomes a choice area for high end from the south with distinctive touches
of handloom. Salem, Erode and Karur
hold a number of small- and medium-
scale units specialising in fabrics that
serve the demands for home linen in
the export market.
The distinctive features of handloom
make this product line a viable selling
point across the U.S. and European
retailers, and its growing demand has
facilitated the growth of infrastructure
to increase production.

fashion garments – specifically for the Bengaluru – The retail hub
anagement of the apparel
export segment. The IT capital of India has emerged
supply chain process today
The NCR also boasts of a as the preferred retail destination
has moved beyond just
balanced product-offering in knits for fashion-forward consumers. The
outsourcing of products
and weaves. The product range, backup of IT and integration facilities
and processes. It has evolved to be
thus, offered through this cluster, is has helped evolve this city into a
a network of stakeholders who align
diverse with a mélange of fabric bases manufacturing hub with strong techno-
themselves with a common interest. In
with embellishments in the form of savvy infrastructure; and likewise skilled
this scenario, where does India stand
embroideries (hand and machine), manpower to work with the same.
today as a diverse nation with its up-
prints, construction and detailing on Most factories in Bengaluru, thus, are
scaled manufacturing capabilities?
garments. However, it is still not rare state-of-the-art units, dealing with large
We have seen that the Indian supply
to find companies dealing with basic volumes, but for basic garments like
base can capitalise on its product
garments and investing in technology shirts and trousers. The concentration
strengths, value addition mechanisms,
driven units to produce value for of such units by companies having
a strong textile base and the availability
money garments. a pan-Indian presence, shows the
of manpower. Additionally, it holds a
popularity of Bengaluru as a strong
multitude of self sustaining clusters
Gujarat and Maharashtra – base for technology and productivity.
which help in adding to its strength as a
viable sourcing base for apparel. These Spin and win
The western region of the country Chennai – Manufacturing
sourcing clusters are well recognised
hosts a number of spinning units with panache
with each of them having specific
and composite mills. Major players As the manufacturing den of the Indian
capabilities, technical know how and
in the fabric market benefit out of textile industry, Chennai capitalises on
infrastructural requirements.

its committed workforce and excellent From the human Ludhiana – Flat knit hit
infrastructural facilities. Large volume resource perspective, Think sweaters, think Ludhiana. A
orders with basic styling are still the it may also be strong industrial town in a state
forte of this area – predominantly conducive for endowed with natural resource,
for men’s shirts. Units with advanced manufacturers to Ludhiana has made a mark over the
machinery, excellent operational address labour issues decades as a preferred destination
efficiency and above average in a cluster scenario. for flat knits – woollen and blends.
productivity – backed by predominantly Finally, the easier The city specialises in basic as well
women operators are a common inter-dependence as value-added flat knit products;
sight. This area serves both the export and proximity of and has been the home for major
and retail market – with some major resources within domestic players like Monte Carlo
domestic players producing structured a cluster can aid and Pringle knitwear.
garments in quick responses
and lingerie. to outsourcing Jaipur – Tradition for
challenges for the business
Tirupur – The knitwear city supplier. The Pink City moved beyond its
Low-cost production was the key area image of bandhni and tie-dye to be a
which enabled this small town in the
south of India to set its base as the
specialist in fine knits. However, with
the fast growing market and with the
help of infrastructural support, Tirupur
has risen to be the unquestionable

choice for circular knits today. The

phenomenal growth can also be
accounted to the fact that the city is
a one-stop shop for fine knits – from
yarn to value-added products like
printed T-shirts. The units in Tirupur
go through a constant upgradation
and it is common to see most of
them following compliance norms for
environmental and social issues.

fashion centre for producing mid-range
and high-end apparel. Regular clients
with year on year orders for traditional
prints, hand embroidery and tie-dye
variations have produced a mélange
of apparel. It has proven itself to be
a business centre for fashion apparel,
footwear and accessories, and services
a large number of retailers with its
unique product line.

Why clusters?
Sourcing of apparel (or raw material)
from clusters such as the above
provides multiple advantages to a
retailer. For one, the concentration
of units in the same area helps them
share physical infrastructure such as
power, roads, water, etc., thereby Disadvantages of clusters sourcing clusters in India still are a
reducing costs of production. It also With obvious advantages as above, strong establishment of business and
reduces transaction costs due to sourcing clusters can provide employment generation. It remains to be
common and trusted economic agents some challenges as well. Product seen if the emergence of a competitive
in the area. From the human resource differentiation and development can era and with sustained government
perspective, it may also be conducive get minimised due to over reliance on support, growth of these clusters and
for manufacturers to address labour the same sources. Potentially creative emergence of newer centres can add to
issues in a cluster scenario. Finally, the innovations are likely to be sidelined. the Indian sourcing capital. n
easier inter-dependence and proximity Moving to alternate suppliers gets (
of resources within a cluster can aid logistically difficult in case of a Roy Satyaki- Institute for Studies in Industrial
in quick responses to outsourcing delivery issue. Development Garments industry in India-
All these factors withstanding, Lessons from Two Clusters)
challenges for the supplier.