Despite being full of negative experiences, for Indian apparel manufacturers, 2020 had few positive aspects also and that too in various directions – be it large scale manufacturing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs); thrust on medical textiles; adoption of quick as well as short-term but effective strategies; investment in innovative technologies; focusing more on efficiency to mention a few. On a positive note, it will not be wrong to say that 2021 should be a good year for Indian apparel manufacturers.

As far as production of PPEs is concerned, around 1,000 factories added PPEs as a new product category into their product basket. The speed and scale was a perfect example of collective efforts of Indian Government and apparel manufacturers. Though as usual on the export front, there were a lot of policy issues which could be resolved with more prompt planning. Whatever, the good thing is that for some of the companies, body coverall is a regular product category while few are doing well in health segment. India has become the world’s second medical textile exporter. On the other hand, it was good to see that some of the exporters invested in 3D technology which ensures their smooth coordination regarding sampling and approval during the difficult time of lockdown. Digital measuring tape, monitoring app, auto cutters were also the focus of garment manufacturers.

Though the majority of garment manufacturers followed the ‘wait and- watch’ strategy, interestingly some of the exporters not only adopted different strategies but also executed them impressively. Some such examples are adding new product categories (apart from PPE), coordinating very well with the vendors and utilising their strengths, focusing more on product development.

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