Women’s day special, Manohar Filaments’ Digital Initiatives

Q&A Session with Mrs. Rashmi Sharma (Head IT) and Mrs. Rupali Jain (Head Creative & Development)

Q- Mrs. Rashmi, what is Manohar Filaments doing in terms of digitization and how does it help your end customer?

Rashmi- Well, Manohar filaments as a company is committed to pursuing digitization across the board, both in operations and our extended value chain. Internally we have been working on connecting our plants through a single IT application M plus, this was initiated way before the pandemic, it is a system which creates a uniform work-flow across manufacturing locations, thereby allowing for impeccable traceability and strong process orchestration. 

However, what we are really excited about is our newly developed ability to convert sample development process from a completely physical process to a fully digital one. We have developed a mechanism which allows us to create high quality 3-D models of products which would otherwise need to be physically sampled and this allows us to drastically reduce the product development cycle time and makes the approval process a lot easier for our customers.

Q- Mrs. Rupali, could elaborate a bit more on what you are doing to digitize the Trim sampling process and does this imply that physical samples will no longer be created/required?

Rupali- Physical samples are needed in a garment/apparel development process, but through digitization, the whole activity can be made more efficient, let me explain how. Initially what we recommend for any buyer testing the digitization waters, is to tread lightly and do a phased digital adoption.

The phases are quite simple, first we recommend that based on specs and art-files shared, we create samples and instead of us submitting the samples and then the samples making the journey across the world, we share 3-D models/renders of the actual product, which can be viewed and photographed/scanned in such a manner that the output is perfectly presented for speedy approval. In the second phase, we digitize the samples entirely, sharing high definition and fully digital models, with samples submitted to the brand only if required, else we can proceed with bulk based on approvals of 3-D models, finally in phase 3 we recommend complete digitization of the product development process, where sample files are shared and approved based on 3-D models created by our design teams and garment vendors then order trims needed based on the digital approvals received, in this stage, integration of the 3-D process and our bespoke order management system happens, where trims are updated from design to physical form, without any member of the value chain having to physically ship or handle samples, rather deal only with bulk production.

Q- Mrs. Rashmi, does this digitization have an impact cost aspect aside from making sampling efficient?

Rashmi- Yes, making any process more efficient does reflect that there would be a cost benefit, however, digitization of the sample process is a triple whammy, it reduces costs related to sampling drastically, reduced time needed for approvals immensely and finally it is an extremely sustainable way to operate.

Costs, typically a trim sample might cost anywhere between 50-100 USD to develop just in terms of material and machine time, then add to it packaging, shipping and subsequent shipping back after approvals, none of these costs are encountered when the process is digital and the cost of sample development reduces too if the only sample being reviewed and approved is a 3-D, digital render. Now imagine hundreds of samples being digitized the monetary savings thus incurred would be substantial, which can then be passed on to the ultimate customer.

Time, the whole sample development process takes at least 2 weeks to sometimes even 8-10 weeks depending on what kind of item is being developed and raw material availability. When the sample development process is digitized, all this time can be diverted to creation of bulk, which means a sample might be developed virtually, applied on a garment to see whether or not it works, changes made and final approvals given for bulk in less than 48 hours, this is major reduction in sample development cycle time, which would allow brands to become more resilient to demand pattern changes and become agile to make changes late in their own design process and still be able to meet their collection and retail deadlines.

Sustainable- When we reduce the amount of material consumed in sampling and re-sampling, in sending samples back and forth by air across the globe, it has a direct impact on the way in which we affect our environment. The less material used, the lower the need to send samples and waste precious fuel, the more sustainable the whole process becomes. We strongly recommend to all our partners to adopt in some way shape or form digitization as Rupali suggested, it is not necessary to move from a completely analogue process to a completely digital one, but it can be along a continuum and as results are improving, digitization may be expedited.

Q- Final question to Mrs. Rupali, do you think digital will fully replace actual samples and what is the future of digitization?

Rupali- Well, as I stated earlier, actual physical samples of trims are essential and they might never be fully replaced by their digital counterparts. What can certainly happen and should is that trims which are either generic in nature or do not involve extremely high level of workmanship, complexity or detail can be digitized right of the bat and unless their designs or specifications are changed they may be kept digital. For other more complicated trims, I recommend development and then digitization, which would still reduce cycle time and costs, time is saved as transit is eliminated and costs associated with the same too reduced.

Each and every company which develops and retails apparels is unique and has a unique market position, thereby their strategies and stages of digitization differ from one another, for example a premium brand which sells extremely intricate high fashion merchandise while wanting to fully digitize might still keep some aspects of sample development process old-school, whereas a fast fashion low value and high volume retailer might digitize the trim sample development completely. What is important to understand here, is the fact that Manohar Filaments is ready to collaborate with all brands and buyers on their digitization journey and can offer tailor made and customized solution which fit their needs best.

The future however is digital and we will definitely see a major shift in the way trims are developed and supplied by end 2021 and early 2022, with more and more brands going digital. Finally, we wish all Women leaders in the industry a very Happy Women’s Day and wish to see more women leaders in the world as is the case in our company! Cheers!

In conversation with the CEO of Manohar Filaments, Mr. Amit Jain, on all things sustainable in the Apparel, Textile and Label Industry

Question- Mr. Amit, how do you think the Apparel industry has changed from the time your company began in 1986 to the current Pandemic affected global scenario?

Mr. Amit Jain- Well, that’s a great question, when we started our company, Manohar Filaments, the apparel industry especially exports were booming, the domestic market on the contrary was very small with limited ready-made garment brands, at the time, the main focus of Indian garment manufacturers was to meet the expectations of buyers and brands abroad, more so from a quality and lead time perspective, labels were often not the priority and sourced from smaller vendors without focusing on aspects like compliance and sustainability. However, this have changed dramatically, over the years, apparel manufacturing has become more scientific, large scale production of cost-effective garments and economies of scale came into the foray during nineties and the transformation then moved towards more organized value chains, focus shifted towards ensuring compliance and worker safety regulations and minimum wages started getting more protected. Cut to the present day, apparel sourcing has become heavily focused on creating more and more sustainable products, 3-D designing is reducing the time to market, cost and environmental impact of garment sourcing, plus there is a keen focus on trims and accessories becoming more sustainable, we as the leading manufacturer of trims in India, welcome these changes, we are fully dedicated to creating a more sustainable operation and supply products which exceed the expectations of our customers in terms of sustainability and their environmental impact. The pandemic, in particular has only expedited the inevitable I believe, it has accelerated digitization of value chains, increased focus on topics like environmental impact and helped supply chains become more resilient, now, I do not condone the negative impact it has had on the global economy, trust me we are one of the victims, but I also believe there are lessons to be learnt and opportunities to be had in the wake of this pandemic, we as a company have increased our efforts to digitise our front end and operations, diversified our manufacturing to increase production of Personal Protective Equipment Products and implemented and put into action a plan to make our traditional trim/packaging product offerings fully sustainable and yet cost effective in the next 3-5 years. 

Question- Mr. Amit, you mention sustainability a lot, as an expert in fabrics and labels, what do you think is the impact of sustainability and what are you doing as a company particularly in fabrics and labels, from a sustainable product perspective? 

Mr. Amit Jain- For me particularly, sustainability should be a part of the strategic focus of each and every company, I strongly believe that we need to leave a better world for the future generations and do all that we can to ensure our impact on the environment is more positive than negative and that we approach being more sustainable along a proper roadmap and with a firm belief that the goals we set as a company and as an industry will lead us to a better more circular economy. As far as textile products go, we as a company have done absolutely everything to ensure we are capable of and committed to manufacture and supply the best most sustainable products there are. We have ensured we as a company are affiliated to and certified by the leading sustainable accreditations and certifications, like OEKOTEX, GRS, GOTS and BCI, all ensuring the products we supply are not just sustainable and sourced through the right channels, but are meeting globally acceptable paradigm of sustainability and quality. To answer your question, over the past 30 years, the impact of sustainability has never been greater and we are quite proud to be able to participate and proliferate the sustainability goals of our partners through actions we take in making our raw material and finished product certifiably sustainable. We have developed a mechanism, where each and every development we do for a trim is looked at from an engineering and sustainability perspective, we are able to offer our partners options for their fabric tapes, patches, badges, woven and printed labels, at cost parity, in partially or fully sustainable options, without ever compromising on aesthetics, this is possible only because we have added the development and supply of more sustainable products as a key focus in our strategy as a group, the certifications I mentioned earlier, help us do so with clear and complete traceability.

Question- Mr. Amit, understood that sustainability is a priority for Manohar Filaments, but how exactly does a certification like GRS or GOTS or BCI help a buyer or retailer?

Mr. Amit Jain-  Certifications of any kind, act as a testimony to compliance of set standards pertaining to performance and procedures, but I believe they are also indicative of the ability and commitment a supplier has to meet the requirements of their partner and customers. We have acquired global certifications precisely with this intent, to reassure our customers and partners on our commitment towards creating a more sustainable, affordable and high quality product offering, which is compliant with their requirements. If we look at the certification we have and understand them briefly, it would help you and our readers understand what I am talking about, GRS certification to start with, allows for brands/buyers and retailers to ensure that the textile products and labels being manufactured for their brands have the exact content of recycled raw materials as specified by them, it not only tracks the chain of custody and material movement in the supply chain, audits ensure compliance is not just documentary but at the grass root level, we are proud to have GRS certification and offer all types of recycled content products with full traceability to our customers. Other certifications like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) deals with supply and creation of fabric and fabric products using organic material, our certification allows us to develop trims and labels which have fully organic content and the certification allows us to provide full compliance both towards supply chain requirements and social requirements needed to hold this prestigious certification. Similarly our affiliation with BCI ensures we source our cotton in the most ethical manner, ensuring farmers who toil to produce the cotton we use for manufacturing our products are fully protected and justly compensated for their efforts. We are one of the few suppliers in the label and trim industry to have the trifecta of textile related certifications, GRS, GOTS and BCI, the reason is not just business driven, rather driven by the fact that we are dedicated to a better world, and believe that we are changing it, one label at a time.

Question- Thanks for the explanation and explaining the relevance of textile related certifications, one final question, Mr. Amit, what is the message you would like to share from a sustainability perspective specific to Textile products? Mr. Amit Jain- Well, thanks for the question, and it has been an absolute pleasure answering questions pertaining to textile and sustainability, two of my favourite topics, I am glad if I have been able to educate and add value for our reader through the few thoughts that I have been able to share. For my parting thoughts, I would like to address and debunk the myth that sustainable and recycled products are more costly than products made from virgin product and they lack the aesthetics which can be achieved using virgin or non-eco-friendly products. Our team at Manohar Filaments has been able to assist a myriad of brands and buyers fight this myth, by developing textile products either made from recycled polyester or from organic cotton and other sustainable textiles and provide both cost parity and desired aesthetic for the overall brand message. I want to personally assure brands, buyers and retailers around the world that sustainability does not mean spending more and looking worse, it can in fact mean spending less and looking better, it is extremely important however, to involve experts like Manohar Filaments while developing these trim options, our creative and business teams can add tremendous value when it comes to designing accessories and trims which are fully or partially sustainable, cost effective and yet aesthetically at par or better than the initial concept, it is all about using the right product engineering, design and raw material options, please do not dismiss sustainable products on account of expense or aesthetics, talk to us and let us show you the way. Thanks!

Q&A Session with Manish Jain, Business Head, Paper Products & Packaging, Manohar Filaments

Mr. Manish, good to have you answer few of our questions on sustainability and roles certifications play in creating a better value chain for retailers and brands around the world, to begin with, we would like to have your views on how perception and demand for sustainable products has changed over the years?

Manish Jain- Well, it’s nice to be able to talk about my experience managing the paper product business, hopefully our readers will gain some insight out of this, to answer your question, over the last decade, I have seen an exponential rise in awareness and demand for sustainable products, especially in paper based products, given that paper is a direct derivative of wood pulp and depletes forest reserves if not manufactured responsibly, the demand for sustainably sourced paper is justified. We as one of the premium suppliers in the Indian sub-continent for Brand management and identification, have grown from 20% to almost 65% recycled content in our manufactured products, with even the virgin material used in our supply sourced through sources which comply with industry standards set. Overall, we believe that in the next 5 years we will be supplying 100% recycled or fully sustainable virgin paper for our buyers and brands. In a large part this quantum leap towards being more and more sustainable can be credited to the conscious and well informed end-customer or consumer, who is inspiring and sort of pushing the whole retail value chain to be more sustainable, which I believe is the right course of action and we as a company endorse sustainability and efforts therein as a strategic and social priority.

What about certifications, do you think they have an impact on making suppliers chose their paper and raw materials more responsibly?

Manish Jain- In my view,  all certifications which exist to improve the quality of product or ensure social compliance or ascertain traceability of material being used in a given value chain, are extremely effective, I would go a step further and say perhaps absolutely essential to ensure that suppliers are acting ethically and in accordance with the standards set, these certifications and audits not only benefit the consumer or the brand, but most of all it benefits suppliers like us, helping us improve our operation and lets us uphold our commitment of quality and compliance for our global partners.  Certifications which deal with the chain of custody certifications like the FSC® paper (ask about our FSC® – certified products) & EUTR for paper and GRS for textile are extremely effective, from a buyer’s perspective having a supplier comply with and manufacture products which are certified with such bodies, means peace of mind, and assurance for their customers that their packaging or labels comply with their sustainability goals. For all suppliers who are willing to go that extra mile like us, having these certifications indicate our willingness to collaborate with global brands and retailers to ensure we have a better future and cleaner more sustainable environment globally. Using recycled and responsibly sourced material does not necessarily have a great cost impact and since it is obviously good for the environment, we at Manohar Filament not only comply with, rather we promote the use of material certified through FSC®, EUTR & GRS.

From a product perspective, do you see any changes in the way Brands around the world are using sustainable and paper based products?

Manish Jain- That’s a very good question, one that I am always excited to answer, so, we are seeing two emerging trends, which is what I find interesting and what is driving us to be more innovative in our product engineering. The first trend and the more obvious one is to source more sustainable products from a product content perspective, which basically implies using paper which is sustainably sourced and has a recycled component, this is for traditional products. However, a second more interesting trend which is emerging is an active pursuit by responsible brands and buyers across the world to replace products which were traditionally plastic based by papers, and over the last two years or so, we have designed and supplied a myriad of sustainable paper products which would otherwise have been plastics, these products range from hangers to carry bags and from boxes to retail shop displays and hooks, it’s amazing the possibilities which open in product design and engineering once the Global Brands stand up and take notice, they really have the power to change the world and we as suppliers are humbled to be playing a role in converting plastic based products to paper based ones.

What are the queries you come across when a buyer or customer demands sustainable paper based products?

Manish Jain- For anyone not dealing in paper and paper based products, the switch from regular or non-certified paper to a certified and responsibly sourced paper is a challenging one.  To add to the complexity, understanding various types of certifications and paper types offered under these certifications and their cost impact can be quite challenging for anyone. More often than not, we get two or three common concerns, one being what sort of paper is ideal to replace current paper from an aesthetic and cost perspective, whether or not recycled paper from indigenous mills can be trusted on recycled content if not certified and what combinations of paper are to be used for complex and functional products without increasing the overall cost and manufacturing complexity. Manohar Filaments as a company prides itself of delivering a comprehensive sustainability program for its buyers and customers, we perform a full tutorial for our partners explaining them what entails having an FSC® or EUTR certification for paper and how chain of custody is vital in ensuring paper is responsibly manufactured and flows through their value chain, what are the different claims of FSC® paper, meaning how is FSC® 100% claim different than say an FSC® recycled or FSC® Mix claim, what are the cost implications of replacing current paper type by sustainable paper, how to ensure recycled content is accurate and which mills are better suited as a source for non-certified recycled paper. What I have explained briefly is just the tip of the iceberg, a sustainable project takes a lot of work, from all functions of our operation, however, our goal is to always deliver the best possible option at the least possible cost and environmental impact.

Final question, as a supplier of paper products, do you think brands and buyers will reduce the use of paper from their products and supply chains, especially when it comes to Branding?

Manish Jain- Excellent question, reducing paper itself is a sustainability goal, I couldn’t agree more, we as a manufacturer of paper based products our self, target reduction of paper use in our operation, but that’s for our internal use, the regular printing paper which we used to carelessly print for reading and then dispose, creating unnecessary waste, internally our goal is to reduce paper consumption by 50% by next year or so, reduction of paper consumption unless it solves a functional problem or its use is reducing negative environmental impact, should absolutely be prioritized. Moving   on to the next and important phase of my answer, Brands and Retailers, I believe will increase paper based products in their shops and for the packaging of their products, all the products we manufacture, be it Hang Tags, Price Tags, Stickers, Boxes and Packaging, have an aesthetic and functional purpose, which if replaced would affect both brand identity and compliance, thereby their use is justified, also, if these products can be made re-usable and can effectively replace plastic based products, it gives all the more incentive to use paper. I see an increase in use of paper based products and predict that paper in retail and fashion value chains will continue to replace plastic based products, finally, I urge partners and readers to push for more sustainable initiatives and demand suppliers to meet and exceed sustainability requirements for a better world, we all contribute to construct.

Excerpts from a recent Interview of our Head of Sales Mr. Ashish Jain

Interviewer- What do you think sets Manohar Filaments Apart from other suppliers in the Market?

Mr. Ashish Jain- Well, that’s quite simple, Manohar Filaments, from its inception 35 plus years ago, has pursued excellence in quality and diversity in product offering. We pride ourselves in being a manufacturer of all possible trims except metallic and leather items, we produce Woven & Printed Labels, Hang Tags & Packaging, Heat Seal & Heat Transfers, Narrow Fabric Tapes, Draw Chords & Elastics, Silicon & Embroidery Patches, and have recently added RFID service bureau amongst other products. What sets us apart from the rest is that rather than considering a type of product our core competence, we have transformed our capability to develop and perfect production of diverse products as our core competence, this in our industry is a maverick approach, where most players stick to a handful of products, whereas Manohar Filaments dares to go where others wont and bring new products to market, allowing for brands and buyers to have options beyond Chinese manufacturers for their complicated and complex trim requirement.   

Interviewer- What have been the adverse effects of the Pandemic and how has Manohar Filaments dealt with it?

Mr. Ashish Jain- The pandemic has been a major challenge for the global apparel retail and fashion industry, its impact will last for years, that said, we remain optimistic and take the pandemic as a bringer of much needed change in our operational structure and strategy. The pandemic as it started to worsen, made us realise the importance of maintaining seamless customer service and the value of having an efficient well equipped tea, which can serve the needs of our partners virtually and in real time without any disruptions. We were also forced by the pandemic to expedite digitization of our customer experience and our IT team came up with an amazing extension of our M-Digital platform, which basically automates the sample submission and approval process and reduces the TAT for the same by two thirds and cost of the whole activity by 60% at least, which in turn has a positive impact on the environment, with less waste in sample creation and less fuel consumed in multiple iterations of submissions and approvals. Our business due to the amazing efforts of our teams in India and across the world, is getting back to 2019 levels and we hope to end the financial year at a better position than in 2019, which is one thing not many players in the market can boast of. So, as far as adverse effects go, I see none, except for the human cost the world had to suffer, for us, the pandemic has been a major push to become more efficient, more resilient and more digital.

Interviewer- What are your views on sustainability and how important do you think having sustainable product offerings is?

Mr. Ashish Jain- See, I don’t view sustainability or being more sustainable as an imposition, rather, I view this as a natural and organic extension of business practices. We owe it to our planet to become more sustainable, so that our environment and resources remain viable for future generations. At Manohar Filaments, sustainability is a part of how we think and create products, we have our own fully sustainable product range, by the name of Ecolutionary, which is focused offering products made either from fully recycled raw materials or from 100% natural and sustainable materials, our R&D team is dedicated to create sustainable products and that too at cost parity with existing non-sustainable products and  at no compromise with aesthetics which the product must convey.

Interviewer- How does Manohar Filaments go forward from a business perspective?

Mr. Ashish Jain-  We go from strength to strength, we have always been regarded as the biggest manufacturer of Trim and Packaging products in India, serving hundreds of global and domestic brands, meeting and often exceeding their expectations from all aspects, be it price, quality or service. In future, we plan to build upon the base our leaders have set and promote our services to usher in the Industry 4.0 level transformations in our industry segment, making services more digital, faster to access, cheaper to avail and more sustainable. We aim to lead the market in offering state-of-the-art customized digital solutions to our brands and partners, with keen focus on sustainability of our supply and overall circularity of their value chains.

Digitization Of Sample Approval Through M-Digital – Sumeet Wishard – VP Overseas And Marketing

The global Pandemic has fuelled the need for digitization, probably expediting the inevitable, most companies are now on a virtual race track, all gunning for the same goal, increased digitization of their value chain. The apparel and fashion industries are no different, as they are probably the worst hit by the pandemic after travel and tourism, but digitization can’t just be achieved with a single central organization making the effort, supply chain partners and their effort to simultaneously digitize their services are absolutely critical and can help pave the way for value chain wide digitization.

Manohar Filaments, as a trims and packaging manufacturer, is a secondary level supplier in the Apparel, Fashion and Retail value chains, but we have made it our mission to pursue large scale and high speed digitization of our services in order to augment and support the efforts being made by our partners all around the world. As a company Manohar Filaments has always lead the way in automation and digitization of processes and services, we had layout automation for care labels, Price Tickets and Stickers rolled out in the year 2010, which allowed for automated creation and approval of said products. Our M-Digital system automated Care & Content label layouts and allowed brand owners to view and approve layouts without waiting for manual creation and submission of the same. This had two fold benefits for the global brands and their primary suppliers the garment manufacturing plants, once the master templates were approved, the brand had no need to review any format unless any legal, organizational or statutory change was required, for the garment manufacturer, it allowed merchandisers to go about their job of placing an order, reviewing the artwork and approving the same in a drastically reduced amount of time, an activity which took days, M-Digital converted to few minutes.

M-Digital, as an application has evolved since then to create a state-of-the-art CRM platform, which allows our partners to review each and every project they develop and design with us, digitally, with entire chronological history of the development and can even track its status, right from the time a query is raised, each and every process step and its final shipment for approval or comments. But beyond product lifecycle management, M-Digital is one of the best applications around, as it provides peace of mind being error free and ease of use as the UX is crafted carefully based on user inputs from our partners all over the world.

During the initial stages of the still ongoing Pandemic we realised that the way our business was conducted will change forever, reduction of cycles time, carbon footprint and cost would become the major drivers, and so, we took a strategic initiative to ensure we are at par or ahead in comparison with other global leaders in the trims and packaging industry. Our pursuit of Digitization allowed us to look at the entire process from the time a Trim is designed to the time it is actually produced and shipped to the garment manufacturer, we then went back to the drawing board and mapped the whole process looking for areas where M-Digital can help our partners, where we saw immediate gains could be made through digitization was the sampling process.

We realized that from the time a designer creates a trim concept, to the time the files are shared with a supplier like Manohar Filaments, then subsequent sampling, then submission and finally approval, improvement or re-sampling, requires a great deal of time and effort, average cycle time for the whole activity ranges between 15 days to 2 months depending on the complexity of the item being designed and approved, samples then travel back and forth across the world, which is not only a cost but also creates a carbon footprint.  

Seeing that there are gains to be made in all aspects, we focused on harnessing the capabilities of our M-Digital application & advanced Designer Skills, to provide a platform which would allow our partners to review and approve trims without ever having to hold them in their hands, unless they want to. Our new Sample development and approval process is a lot less costly and time consuming and has a far reduced carbon footprint than the traditional process.

M-Digital allows for all design files to be uploaded and then our designers create 3-D rendering of the trim concept of 2-D designs, allowing our partners to review the product in all detail virtually, this is followed by the actual development at our part, after which the product is available for virtual review and approval, our design and IT team, ensures the trims can be reviewed from all aspects, which means we ensure the trim developed can be seen in 3-D form, under the correct light sources and can also view functionality videos and test reports, all on the platform. The automation and digitization of the sampling process in Trim industry is going to become the new normal, M-Digital is surely leading the way but world will follow suite we believe.

Through rapid digitization of the sampling process we believe there will be at least 50% reduction in current cycle time for development and approval of trims, and at least 30% reduction in cost incurred in the whole process, not to mention the reduced carbon footprint owing to the fact that actual samples don’t need to travel the world before they can be produced and shipped. This Pandemic demands resilience, agility and speed from top industry players, M-Digital and Manohar Filament’s virtual product development process, allows you to achieve exactly that. Please get in touch with our team to learn more on how you and your organization can benefit from Digitization of sample development process for trims and packaging through M-Digital.   

Resilience During the Pandemic and Digitization Potential Beyond, the IT perspective

The way forward in the words of our GM-IT Mrs. Rashmi Sharma. In this blog post Rashmi explains what happened from an IT perspective during the Pandemic and how its ongoing disruptions affect the future of our industry and practices.

The COVID-19 Pandemic hit the entire world without a warning and extremely troubled times followed, almost every aspect of ‘normal’ daily life and business were disrupted. In India and Bangladesh, where we have our own manufacturing units, lockdowns were imposed in March and April, with the intent of slowing down the spread of the virus. For us as a company, this meant continuing to serve our customers during lockdown, so that business interactions remain seamless. This is where the challenge also was, we were tasked with an organization wide secure migration of work-stations, across city and state boundaries, which was supposed to happen swiftly and securely, enabling our staff to work in an environment which restricted movement and yet deliver the world-class service that we are known for.

During pandemic times resilience, agility and to continue supply chain was the need, and we decided to pursue the challenges ahead with our full might, with the sole purpose of keeping our organization at optimum operability even during complete lockdown.

The entire organization and the board was looking at me & my team to deliver, and I was dealing with multiple aspects from an IT infrastructure perspective simultaneously, to enable remote working, disable cyber security threats, meet the exploding demand of internet bandwidth & server loads etc. Believe me I am not exaggerating when I say, we woke up every day with a new unforeseen challenge standing in front of us, this was the new normal for us and for a period of almost three to four months, with our marketing and operations teams working remotely even after formal lockdowns were lifted by the government.

Operational model across multiple dimensions to name a few, the process technology, IT governance, people management, service delivery, performance insight and data were needed to be set-up from scratch for this new way of working, where teams works closer, for longer hours, but entirely remotely. Luckily for us we were working on refining these model months before the Pandemic hit, to enable our global team to work with our manufacturing plants in India and Bangladesh, as we employ people around the world for business development and operations consulting, this readiness helped us scale faster and with positive intent, to enable remote working at scale, which we managed in flat two weeks’ time.

 Our activities during and post-lockdown even as the pandemic rages on, resulted in digital enablement plans and underwent solutions of digital transformation for organization which in terms resulted in breathing space during this time and created a future of further digitization, where I strongly believe the global Apparel industry is moving.

Our working model delivers and focuses on below point

Super charged customer experience

Streamlined workflow and operations

Faster time to market and

Accurate insight and foresight for better decisions

Customer behaviour too has shifted radically during the Pandemic towards adoption of digital channels, this is something I believe has been expedited by the Pandemic, buyers and brands around the world are looking to digitize their supply chain to unleash the much needed resilience and agility across their value chains.

Post pandemic era of business will undergo a large scale transition, which will affect all suppliers, primary, secondary and even tertiary level, our industry of apparel trims, labelling and packaging will need to keep up with these digitization requirements in order to survive. Manohar Filaments and I have vowed to push the envelope towards further digitization and investment in cutting edge IT infrastructure along with collaboration tools to support location independent, agile service delivery models and borderless workspace through embracing technology, automation, mobility trends with digital security, which will take us where we need to be to meet expectations placed upon us by our valued business partners thereby making compatible enough to face new normal & digitization will be our goal for the next couple of years.

We are committed towards end to end applications, infra and scale digital services as part of the client digital transformation strategy with secure IT platform. Our goal is to partner with the top brands and buyers of the world to enable 3-D design and modelling technologies, revolutionizing the way our industry operates, eliminating the cost and time required to develop and physically approve samples and bulk for quality and functionality.

Our goal is to create an all pervasive digital infrastructure, which reduces our partners TTM and impact on the environment. And while I believe that the Pandemic has been a tragic and devastating incident, we as leaders, have the opportunity to leverage this into business improvements and create lasting business models, focused on digitization and Industry 4.0 best practices, thereby creating a more resilient value chain, which will remain unaffected in case such events ever occur in the future.

The lesson we have learnt during this Pandemic is that digitization is here to stay and that resilience and speed of action might just be the difference between winners and losers in the new Post-COVID era.

The Pursuit of Sustainable Packaging

Sustainability is much more than a Buzzword now

The need to be more eco-friendly and more sustainable is one of the biggest drivers for all modern brands, especially the ones catering to millennials who are extremely cautious about the affect their consumer habits have on the environment.

But, what does being sustainable mean? How do you pursue sustainability in packaging? Does being sustainable mean making drastic changes to current packaging strategy? What are the cost impacts of being sustainable?

First and foremost let’s understand one thing, to begin the journey towards sustainability in your packaging and branding, it is of utmost importance to understand the current status of your supply chain and materials being used in existing packaging and branding. It might surprise you to find out that certain areas of your brand endeavor might already be using recycled products or bio-degradable products, recycled Polyester or Kraft paper without printing.

It is only upon clearly understanding your status quo, that you can embark on the sustainability journey. Now, it is important to understand that not every recycled material may be sustainable, and not every sustainable material may be ethically created.


The journey towards sustainability begins with making a conscious choice of either adding more eco-friendly, bio-degradable and/or recycled material to your brand and packaging, or using less material in total than previously, or including circularity in material such that it can re-enter the supply chain post-use or a combination of all of the above.

In packaging pursuing sustainability would begin by examining current packaging, whether it has the optimal design, whether it uses the right materials and above all does it harm the environment i.e. whether or not it has any recycled content or is majorly composed of virgin material, the percentage of oil based plastic being used in it, all this will help determine the state of your current packaging, for making this determination our suggestion is to engage an expert, who can examine the design and material aspect of your packaging and recommend changes to first optimize the design of the packaging, so that you are using less material than before, so basically value engineer your product, second would be to recommend comparatively more sustainable material than before without compromising aesthetics and maintaining cost parity, third, provide a road-map to incrementally becoming more and more sustainable, rather than making a drastic step change. 


Which leads us to the point made about the need to make drastic changes in pursuing sustainable packaging, our suggestion is to approach it strategically, because being more sustainable goes beyond packaging alone and needs value chain wide effort, in order to use less & save more, in terms of energy, footprint and material. We suggest transforming packaging and other products sourced from not sustainable to fully sustainable in a gradual but committed manner, by making strategic changes to the brand, initially the focus must be to ensure brand design and consumer message moves towards sustainability and doing so by changing packaging would be the first logical step, you can move from a completely toxic, non-sustainable packaging to much higher sustainability packaging, just by changing paper used in packaging to sustainably sourced paper and by changing plastics used from virgin to recycled.


Experts in the field can help you become more sustainable and align the journey with your strategy. Yes, from a cost perspective, being 100% sustainable might be slightly more expensive, than your current packaging, but that’s a strategic decision to make, most brands who we have an experience with are well on their way to becoming more and more sustainable, but their approach is gradual and incremental, which we find the best and most cost effective approach. We strongly suggest incorporating more recycled and ethically sourced material as an initial step, reduce overall material used and finally move towards product which can either be re-used again and again and when disposed can either decompose or be recycled. The initial change needed is not at all expensive, in our multiple projects with leading brands, we find that the cost of trims and packaging for introducing partial sustainability in a product, is generally at par or lower than existing trims and packaging, lower price occurs in cases where we we redesign the product to make it not only more sustainable but use less material itself, without compromising the aesthetics or functionality.