The nature of Indian apparel and fashion has changed in many ways. Gone are the days when families would go to their local tailor weeks or months in advance to have special clothing made for festivals such as Diwali. Today, they simply wait for an online sale and order it with the option of express delivery. Digital trends such as social media promotions and mobile banking have become as common as local marketplaces. This has led to unprecedented discounts, reduced prices, greater access to a wider range of choices, and more customer satisfaction. All of this is the collective impact digital technologies have had on producers and consumers alike, across the globe. However, closer home, this form of digitisation is only skin deep as businesses—big and small—are yet to fully embrace digital transformation. Read on as we discuss how manufacturers, retailers, and the Government can leverage the growing potential of digitisation in order truly enhance its apparel trading potential.
APPAREL AND INDUSTRY 4.0
From the growing of cotton in fields and inventory stocking to factory processes and now, even e-commerce sales, apparel production is fraught with complexity. The simple concept of selling clothing and garments involves long and complicated interactions between stakeholders and circumstances. These complexities are made all the more difficult when we consider the endconsumer, who is prone to trends and fads, and demands instant gratification. As a result, most major apparel producers are now engaged in fast fashion, churning out multiple cycles of collections every year, while previously they were involved in only about two to three cycles. This has led to immense industry wastage, worker exploitation, and the overall inefficiency of materials that is plaguing the world in numerous ways.
Given all these challenges, many global businesses have embraced digital transformation in order to enhance their operations. The core goal of digitally transformed apparel production lies in its manufacturing processes. This is where Industry 4.0 has quickly become the norm. For the uninitiated, Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution that has evolved from the earliest industrial processes, starting with the first generation of steam-powered industry to electricification to the emergence of machines, and finally, digital technologies. Industry 4.0 takes this to the next level by factoring in new innovations such as mobile networking, smart sensors, location services, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, data analytics, cloud computing, robotics, cyber-physical systems, and the ‘Internet of Things’.
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