27 Apr 2020, 16:31 — 4 min read
Ludhiana is one of the biggest hubs, for spinning, knitting and woollen garments in India. Presently the city caters to 65% of the total hosiery requirement in the country and accounts for 95% of India woollen knitwear production.
Our garment industry is currently going through its worst ever crisis—the current lockdown of the country is a death blow to these smaller units. The revival for the apparel industry is estimated to be between 9-12 months and to survive this industry expects the government to help for 2-3 months. If immediate stimulation is not devised, then many small and medium players in the apparel industry could face a permanent lockdown.
Since 80 to 85% of the garment industry falls under the MSME category, many small units that are already facing the cash crunch will be impacted much harder. The revenues of nearly all apparel manufacturers has come to a total halt (zero revenue) for the last 30 days and is likely to remain so in the coming 90 to 120 days. Therefore, the garment industry will witness a very tough time, that may take six months to one year to return to normalcy.
We have been talking to our customers and all stakeholders. We are talking about cost cutting, efficiency improvement, effective sourcing, wastage avoidance and to work on realistic targets with reference to sales, shipment, production and collection. It is better to let the year be spent on improving our operational efficiency and not by getting into any kind of a race. Following measures appear as immediate solutions.
Everyone in the industry has to face loss; this loss can be one or other kind, but assessment of loss is a must. Until and unless we are able to assess the type of loss, we will be unable to make strategies to avoid these losses. So in my view, loss / risk assessment is the first step. Further strategies can be made in consultation with core team members to minimise the risk.
Lockdown has taught us how to live with the bare minimum resources, so every factory should try to avoid unnecessary expenses like fancy offices, expensive furniture and fixtures, unrequired staff, electricity bills, unnecessary meetings that can be done via Skype and video calls, touring and travel.
It is the duty of entrepreneurs to utilise the available resources in optimal ways and promote a culture of retaining people that have multi-tasking skills.
Entrepreneurs should have direct communication with all the stakeholders. Lockdown is the best time when we can really share our thoughts; take feedback; talk to customers to get some innovative ideas that can be implemented post lockdown. You can also sit with core team members (maintain social distance) to share and exchange ideas.
I have personally seen many entrepreneurs enrolled in different online programmes to enhance their skills and knowledge, which can be really helpful post lockdown.
Crisis creates new opportunities and also helps people and systems reassess their operations. Present break allows us to throw spotlight on the gaps and cracks in our business model, and motivates us to differentiate between vitals, necessities and luxuries. For example, if someone in the past was not working on ecommerce s/he can evaluate the situation and can make ecommerce as an additional source of business.
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By Sanjay Mehta