Industry 4.0 Jul2019

Adopting Industry 4.0 will be the key to achieving manufacturing and supply chain excellence

The industry is going through a paradigm shift in technology, popularly referred to as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” or “Industry 4.0”. It is a transformation that makes it possible to gather and analyze data across machines; enabling faster, more flexible and more efficient processes to produce quality goods at reduced costs. The textile and garment manufacturing industry is also expected to be impacted by industry 4.0 and companies will have to adapt to this to survive and grow in the future.

Factors driving the rise of Industry 4.0

Industrial revolution commences with the introduction of disruptive technology. There are numerous factors that contribute to the birth of these innovations and technologies within the manufacturing industry. Some of the forces that are acting to bring about the Industry 4.0 paradigm are:

Demand and Supply Changing Demand & Supply Dynamics
The fashion industry is moving towards shorter product cycles and faster launches. Also, there is a shift from high volume, low mix to low volume, high mix in terms of the product basket that brands have to offer.
Production Rising Limitations in Factors of Production
Scarcity of skilled labour and rising wage costs have been the two key inhibitors in terms of production costs that most of the organizations are facing.
Technology Ever-Evolving Technology
Technology has been the major driver of any industrial revolution. The new trends are inclined towards automation and efficiency in production as well as gaining scale in advanced material, robotics, nanotechnology, AI and IoT.
Sustainability Strong Emphasis on Sustainability
Growing population and changes in lifestyle require development of new technologies that will be able to reduce the resources used (water, material, energy, etc.).

Key levers that will reshape the textile and garment industry
The concept of Industry 4.0 envelops many technologies. These building blocks have the ability to open up a wide range of possibilities in redefining the textile and garment industry.

Big Data Big Data Analytics
This refers to the collection and analysis of large sets of data. Big data poses varied applications such as discovery and analysis trends, interaction among various entities, supply chain management, market segmentation, trade surveillance, real-time decision making, predictive analytics, and price optimization.
Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI involves the recognition of patterns and machine learning by analyzing large chunks of data. Applications of AI range from video games to intelligent robots, which can detect physical data from the real world. AI is increasingly becoming a tool for enhancement of product quality, increase productivity and reduce costs in the textile
Robotics Advanced Robotics
Advanced robotics can aid in automation with concepts wherein robots handle the entire production system including material handling in the cut and sew industry. Application of robotic automation provides many benefits such as labour savings, reduced lead times, improved quality and safety, increased productivity and efficiency.
3D Printing 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing
3D printed garments are made by building up successive layers of the material using CAD software. The software is capable of producing complex designs and easily incorporating variations, bringing about flexibility in manufacturing. Other benefits include a less raw material requirement, less wastage, creation of identical complex objects repeatedly, reduction in lead times and costs.
IoT Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT allows machine to machine interaction and exchanges of data through the internet. This helps in making decentralized decisions, which are faster and more efficient. IoT finds application in e-textiles, automated monitoring, predictive maintenance, increasing efficiency, product development, virtual reality - garment fit, etc.

How Industry 4.0 will benefit the textile and garment industry
Industry 4.0 can positively impact the textile industry across the value chain in the following ways:

Manufacturers

Increased Productivity Higher level of automation reduces production time, enables better sewing machine utilization and inventory management. This also contributes to manufacturing flexibility which allows manufacturers to cater to a large number of products.
Increased Quality Sensors and actuators on the shop floor monitor the production in real time and immediately intervene in case of errors.
Effective Planning Real-time information and predictive analytics will help in more efficient planning and forecast upcoming bottlenecks.
Reduced Costs Fewer quality problems will lead to less material wastage and hence, lower personnel and operating cost. Moreover, predictive maintenance will prevent costly repairs and unplanned downtime.

Brands

Sampling & Technical Inputs Technologies like 3D printing achieve faster prototyping, reducing the accelerating time to market.
Quality With the help of technology, production cycles can be made more transparent, which will provide brands with verified information about the material, process, and people behind the product.
Right Costs Analysis of consumer buying patterns can be carried out for real-time pricing of products. The smart system can decide what discount to offer on a specific product, comparing with the outside market situation.
Inventory Management Brands can utilize real-time analytics to predict buying behaviors of customers. By pairing the inventory management system with data analytics, brands can improve their demand forecasts. This will help in optimizing inventory levels and reducing the potential cost associated with it.
Timely Delivery Industry 4.0 enables information transparency across the supply chain which can help track the delivery of goods and avoid stock-outs or lose opportunities to sell to a consumer.

Customers

Customization Technologies like 3D printing and virtual reality have made it possible for products to be customized for an individual within a small time frame and at a reasonable cost.
Right Price Due to efficient manufacturing, brands are able to offer more reasonable prices for the product to the consumers.
Instant Delivery Delivery methods offer real-time product tracking and improved visibility in the delivery process.
Good after sales service With the help of technology, brands can keep a proactive approach in customer relationships and providing after-sales services. Brands can utilize data analytics to design customized experiences for customers such as notifications for offers, loyalty discounts, product suggestions based on buying behavior, recommendations for occasions, etc.
Timely Delivery Industry 4.0 enables information transparency across the supply chain which can help track the delivery of goods and avoid stock-outs or lose opportunities to sell to a consumer.

The introduction of new industry 4.0 in one’s own factory can be done with the help of garment industry consultants in order to ensure that they are at par with the best in the manufacturing world.

The article has been authored by B. Prakash, Associate Director, and Swati Jain, Associate Consultant.