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Set of Machines for specific products

Earlier machine suppliers were selling generic machines and garment manufacturers had to pick and choose right combinations from multiple brands necessary for a particular product line. Now leading brands are selling complete set of machines specific to a product, like Vibemac for casual trouser or jeans, CF Italia for lingerie, Duerkopp for suits, etc. Do you find the new approach better or do the garment manufacturers run a risk of putting all the eggs in one basket?

The global garment manufacturing scene has gone from developing to the developed phase in the past decades, and the shift is still in process in some regions. Apparel manufacturers who were once striving for a firm stand in the global apparel manufacturing scene by making numerous variety of garments have now achieved the same and gone ahead and mastered their niche from the ever-expanding product basket. Complementing the same trend, machine manufacturers and suppliers who once categorised their products in narrow categories of lockstitch, chainstitch, overlock and so on, have started providing a set of machines and technologies for manufacturing a specific product line. However, the shift has been accompanied with its set of complexities which poses some risks for a garment manufacturer, as when a company buys a set of machines from a common manufacturer there is high dependency on a single brand or dealer from the spare parts to the training to the after-sales-services. This development has made the industry to rethink about its approach and tread carefully. StitchWorld for this segment of TechBytes probes the same.

The trend or approach to specialize and cater to a specific product line is not completely new and has been there in existence with all the big brands and machine manufacturers for over 20 years. It is only now that smaller companies/machine manufacturers are regrouping to give complete solutions. The ideology and logic behind this trend has been the limited specialization of technology manufacturers and providers, as a single brand does not manufacture everything which is apt for an apparel manufacturer and as such manufacturers need to recognize the brands specific to every machine and product category. Realizing this, every top apparel manufacturer has developed complex matrices for judging and evaluating the right machine manufacturer which would suit their needs.

However, when we look at the other side of the story even if an apparel manufacturer buys a complete package from any machine brand, the cost of ownership increases substantially and there exists high risk as they are totally relying on a single brand for a set of high-end expensive machines. The machine, quite advanced in nature needs to be supported by a strong after-sales-service system, and in its absence people are bound to register adverse losses due to regular breakdowns and absence of skill within the company for handling these issues. Secondly with 50 machines of a single brand, the probability of getting a defective one is very high.

Vice President, Silver Spark Apparel Limited (Raymond Group Company), Bangalore

The two approaches mentioned, the earlier one being manufacturing of machines under a very specific category like lockstitch, chainstitch, etc. and the latest one being the segmentation of all the machines under a particular category for manufacturing a specific sewn product, according to me both the approaches are and were right according to the time period they were in. What the apparel industry needs to understand and observe is the shift which has occurred in the past years, which has matured in the garment manufacturing scenario around the world.

Talking about the time 20 years back, the garment industry was just opening up to the professionalism and lot of first generation enterprises were being setup. Then the garment manufactures were aiming to setup flexible units capable of handling multiple products in accordance with the market requirements; therefore they were relying on machines which would support them in achieving that flexibility by possessing the ability to do multiple operations for a varied product category.

In today’s time the same exporter who was following the above mentioned trend has now mastered a niche from this vast product basket and wants to make specialized product only. Therefore, complementing the same, the machine manufacturers are now selling a complete set of machines specific for a sewn product. Hence for an apparel manufacturer following the same trend, it would be better to have a complete set of specialized machines from one brand but coupled with various aspects of spares availability on short notice, after-sales-service, inventory of special parts and of greater importance is the training given to the in-house mechanics for understanding the new technology.

CEO, Alok Industries Limited (Apparel Division), Mumbai

In my opinion the new approach is better and much more professional in nature. With the garment manufacturers slowly moving towards manufacturing a specialized product category, this approach would support this transition which is also I would say the need of the hour. In fact this is the way forward for the Indian apparel manufacturing sector as in the rest of the world product stabilization has come with unexpected gains. The brands by providing machines for manufacturing a specific product further helps us in striving for quality products, as the machines have been manufactured by a single brand no variation exists in term of their parameters and quality.

However the trend discussed here is still being followed by the garment manufacturers in the Delhi/NCR region, according to me they should seriously think about going for specialized machinery for manufacturing a niche product.

Managing Director, Neetee Clothing, Gurgaon

The trend that we are witnessing and is being followed by the technology and machine manufacturers for the apparel industry is quite subjective in nature with regard to the garment manufacturers of today’s times. As the brands are offering not just high-end machines, but rather systems and overall solutions for a specific product category, however if we take a look at the apparel manufacturing scene in India, the northern region is all about high-fashion garments and the south being more product-specific with a niche category. Therefore, in the northern region people would still go for individual machines due to the nature of manufacturing, i.e. alternating products and does not require full-fledged systems, however it would be the the other way round in the southern manufacturing region in India. Therefore one cannot say that the previous trend has been ruled out by the newer one, however both co-exist together and the deciding factor being the products manufactured by the organization.

Managing Director, Scorpios Apparels, New Delhi

The trends and the shift that has been mentioned is quite irrelevant with respect to the knitwear manufacturing sector in Tirupur as no machine supplier or manufacturer is talking about a complete package yet. So as of now this question is not an issue. But if this happens, then we definitely have a problem when the buyer insists on buying a particular brand of machine as this could go against us on the negotiation, hence increase the capital investment in the machines. With everyone offering a package, the flexibility to buy individual high-tech machine is diminished as a whole set wouldn’t be required by all but a single high-tech machine would be.

Managing Director, Cotton Blossom (India) Pvt. Ltd., Tirupur





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