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Textile Industry in India in 2012

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Indian Textile Industry Needs an IT Boost

BANGALORE, INDIA: Progressive measures are critical for the survival of textile industry in the modern era. Automation can help and so the stakeholders in textile industry should welcome it with open arms

Indian textile industry has seen both ups and downs. There were days when Indian cotton was in great demand in London and the British government had to pass acts to save Manchester cotton from competition with Indian cotton. It was felt that British intervention, both in England and India, was responsible for the collapse of Indian textile industry in the early 20th century.

But, this was largely because of the cost-reducing technological innovations in English textile mills, which badly affected Indian textile weavers. After years of observations and sailing through tough waters, stakeholders in Indian textile industry have realised that for the industry to grow, technological advancements are required.

Today, textile industry is one of the healthiest segments in the Indian economy and contributes to the tune of 4% to our GDP. At present, the weaving sector has about 19 lakh shuttle looms across India. The number of shuttle-less looms is about 50,000; most of them have been set up through incentives provided under the TUF scheme, offered by the Ministry of Textiles.

As mentioned earlier, international competition makes it necessary for the textile industry to adopt technology to survive. Today's weaver needs to ensure that he is able to manufacture and supply the finest quality of fabric, at the lowest cost, within a shorter time period. Automation is the only way to achieve this objective.

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Challenges Faced by the Textile Industry

Some of the major challenges that our textile industry faces today include organizational flaws in weaving and processing, a fragmented and scientifically backward textile processing sector, and infrastructural logjams in terms of power, road transport etc. After identifying the key issues troubling the industry, efforts were made to do away with them. The government came out with a number of schemes to upgrade textile production.

Modern equipment is essential for higher productivity from weaving machines and for minimising fabric defects due to yarn breakage or machine malfunctioning. Monitoring software can also help better data collection as well as inventory management functions.

The nature of the weaving industry is changing. From composite to decentralised units, they have gradually adopted a mill-like approach to their business, as global textile companies focus primarily on higher machine speeds.

The best machines offer weft insertion rates of upto 2,500 metres per minute and widths of up to 3.8 metres, whereas, machines used by Indian textiles offer weft insertion rates of around 350 to 650 metres per minute and widths up to 2.3 metres. This is a glaring challenge and makes it necessary for our textile leaders to move for better infrastructure and equipment that can give higher speeds and wider widths.

Further, we need better quality yarn. This problem is largely settled, as our spinning industry is churning high quality yarn, though at higher costs, but higher nonetheless, a major portion of which is being exported to other countries. The recent ban on cotton exports by the government of India is a major step in this direction and will ensure a regular supply of yarn for our mills. Our textile industry leaders have to learn the benefits of investment in modernisation and how it can cut down the cost of production, reduce fabric deficiencies and help them compete with low-cost, weaving machines of the west.


{#PageBreak#}Expectations from IT

Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) provides support for modernization of textiles industry in the form of interest reimbursement and capital subsidy. The sectors benefitting by TUFS are Spinning, Weaving, Processing, Garments, Cotton Ginning, Silk & Power Looms.

Technology Mission on Cotton aims at improving production, productivity and quality of cotton. The Mission comprises of four mini missions, which are jointly being implemented by the Ministries of Agriculture and Textiles. Ministry of Agriculture is nodal for the implementation of Mini Mission I and II responsible for Research and Development on cotton and dissemination of technology to farmers respectively. Whereas the Ministry of Textiles is the nodal agency for Mini Missions III & IV responsible for improvement in marketing infrastructure including improvement of the existing market yards and modernization of Ginning & Pressing factories respectively.

Other schemes by the government include Scheme for Integrated Textile Park (SITP), reduction in customs duty on import of state-of-the-art machinery, Debt Restructuring Scheme, setting up of Apparel Training and Design Centres (ATDCs), 100% Foreign Direct Investment in the textile sector under automatic route, setting up of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), etc for upgrading and strengthening the textile sector in India.

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How a textile company is benefiting through IT

A textile company RSWM has mills across 7 locations in Rajasthan. Textile manufacturing is a worker-centric industry and involves regular monitoring of worker activities. This was done manually and supervisors were appointed to guide workers, but manual supervision is a time taking and slow process. So, RSWM implemented an IP Surveillance system over the manufacturing unit. RSWM has registered monetary benefits to the tune of Rs 2,834 per month due to increased efficiency and quicker supervision, after IT adoption.

Under this project, a wireless Internet camera was set-up at the mills and an IP camera was put on RSWM's public server. An IP control room was set up within the IT department and a high-end server with an external hard drive was installed to maintain a database of the footage, which is eventually stored in specific sections date-wise. One person from the IT department was assigned to handle it. The workplace under surveillance can now be monitored from any PC from anywhere in the world, provided the user has access to the public server of the company.

"Textile is more complex in operation, so to connect every machine for getting the real data without any manual intervention is a big challenge."


{#PageBreak#}What are the challenges when it comes to IT adoption?

The biggest challenge for IT adoption in textile industry, or for that matter, in any Industry is User acceptance. Success of any IT system largely depends on that. I would like to explain it with our story. To convert manual working in to computerization for weaving division was the first task in this direction.

This was a big challenge for me as I had just started my career and was therefore very new in such type of environment. Our internal users were scared of the implementation of the new system as it was computerized and had a notion attached with it of reduction of number of jobs. I used logic and convinced people for the new technology and successfully delivered by developing the software in SYBASE.

The other challenges are calculating the Return on Investment and worflow automation in the textile machinery. Textile is more complex in operation, so to connect every machine for getting the real data without any manual intervention is a big challenge. Low level of awareness about IT systems amongst users is another challenge. In the textile industry, every one wants to focus on production, efficiency, etc. To train such users is a big challenge.

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What are your future expectations from IT?

As an enterprise we have always been extremely keen to use IT if it is meant for increasing operational or business efficiency. In fact we are one of the leading adopters of IT within our sector i.e Textiles in many ways, whether it was automation of our data or machinery. Some deployments we've done are ERP across all the locations of RSWM, Bar Code in Shipping and Invoicing, Intranet, MPLS VPN, Video conference, IP CCTV Surveillance, and Bio metrics Attendance Recording System

In fact we have never hesitated to bring in technology when required. Our top management is always keen to adopt new technology and moving forward, the management expects the following from IT:

Active Directory: To enable centralised administration of all PCs, have better PC Security and data protection, group policies and permissions, centralized data backup, and roaming profiles.

Process Automation: Presently, users are feeding manually into the ERP system by taking data from the production machines. This is a time consuming job and the accuracy of data is also sometimes questionable. We are in process of implementing the technology/software where data can be taken directly from the production in to ERP. This will not only save time but also ensure accuracy.

Business Intelligence: For making the ERP system more effective, we are in the process of evaluating a BI tool so that information related to production, efficiency, debtors/creditors, management, outstanding, order position etc. can be taken with a single click. COGNOS, Jaspersoft BI, Elegant BI, My Report, Ingress are some of the BI tools which are under our scanner.

Source: www.pcquest.ciol.com

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