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Nitin Kapoor, Co-Founder & CEO, IBA Crafts

Nitin Kapoor is the CEO and co-founder of IBA Crafts Private Limited located in Noida since 2009. He has earned his MBA in marketing and accounting from Amity University and has previously worked for over five years with leading MNCs like Kotak Wealth and Standard Chartered in HNI Wealth Advisory. He founded IBA to bridge the gap of global trade in the Indian industry for e-commerce platforms. In an interaction with Mayur Sharma, he shared how his start-up is working at the forefront of wastage recovery in the textile industry.

Q. Give us a brief about your company. When was it founded? What inspired you to start it?
Nitin: IBA was found to bridge the gap of global trade in the Indian industry for e-commerce platforms and incepted in 2009 with a concept of e-commerce exports of Indian products internationally. We started selling of embellishments of garments like trims and appliqués which ultimately led to selling fully-readymade garments in ten more international markets today from India. IBA has shipped over 1 million products to over 136 countries, crossing the revenues of USD 5 million. The company proudly boasts a steady base of 5,00,000 customers around the world. The business is always built around solutions, and that’s what inspired us to start a business in 2009. When we began, the start-up was not a buzzword at all, and leaving an MNC job at that time was still a taboo as compared to today’s time wherein people and parents are more educated. Further, the challenge was in the market that the vendors, compliance, government policies did not understand e-commerce as a business, so we had to face a lot of problems to complete our transactions as per the law.

Q. How is your brand recovering from textile industry waste? Also, share your opinion on the water pollution made by textile treatment and dyeing?
Nitin: Technology has not only improved the way we complete our tasks, communicate, and travel but has also changed several industrial processes. It has helped in eliminating wastage to a great extent. There are multiple aspects of it instead of only focussing on enhancing the quality of life.

Today, technology can resolve many problems and can give a healthy life, better health, education, etc. If the advancements are implemented and used correctly, it can solve one of the worst problems of “mass production” which is amongst the seven wastes. It is considered worst because of its uncertainty among all other issues within the processes.

As per the United Nations, the body warned several nations that about half of the world’s population will be dealing with water shortages in the next decade, i.e. 2020-30. UN has also mentioned that dramatic attempts need to be made to conserve the resources. According to a hypothesis, the consumer is not willing to sacrifice personal utility for broader social gains. However, using environment-friendly products can push the suppliers to use cleaner technologies to make products that can be graded as eco-labels.

Be it burning of fossil fuels for energy production, degradation of agriculture, deforestation, mining, manufacturing, construction, each industry has a significant stock in spoiling the environment and contributes a large chunk in pollution. One such sector is the textile industry which is counted amongst the second most polluted. It has reached an inflection point today with competitive and environmental pressures demanding a new approach to manufacturing. It is now the need of the hour that the textile industry must lead the way with more advanced, modern, and innovative technology for cleaner processes that save energy and water.

One such aspect of marketing is demand-oriented production or DDM (Demand-Driven Manufacturing). It is a process where product manufacturing/ production is based on real orders rather than just making a speculation of demand in the market. This process is also known as lean manufacturing or JIT (Just In Time) manufacturing.

Q. Tell us about the Just In Time (JIT) technology that you developed to reduce environmental pollution. What kind of measures did you take through this, and tell us about the success rate you achieved by implementing them.
Nitin: Just In Time or the Garment in a Jiffy as it may be called has its benefits: both for the consumer as well as the business owners as the case may be. It cuts down cost on warehousing and inventory management and keeps the stock alive, live and kicking – always trendy, sturdy, rocking and knocking: not the shelves, as in JIT there are no shelves, but also keeping the customers’ heart kicking for the new fashion bug that will ultimately bite him in JIT. The initial challenges we have faced is that we were not able to create the high-demand garment again soon – due to certain prints or fabrics being out of stock and that resulted in the piling of unsold inventory and outdated designs. Another challenge we faced was holding the inventory, i.e., safekeeping and diluting it at throwaway prices.

To convert these problems into opportunities, our management launched the Just In Time (JIT) system for garment manufacturing. After a lot of changes and improvisations on the technology and manufacturing front, the company has to call it Textech – Textile Technology. The objective is only to produce what is demanded by the market and control utilization of natural resources along with no dumping of waste fabric or garment.

The problem is being solved in two parts now. Instead of getting prints of the photoshoot, images on the clothes are tested using technology. This effectively cuts the cost of photoshoot production and creates a single prototype for various patterns of the same garment. The colors and designs are changed directly, saving time, resources, and labor. Second, the garment is only manufactured once the customer has placed their order. Right from printing to dispatching the product, the order is managed just within 48 hours. With the JIT in place, we can leverage on the garments by keeping them in-stock always and create new designs daily where we do not have to stock the inventory. This has helped us in our business capital not being blocked in unsold inventory.

As per the introduction of Just in Time (JIT) technology by IBA Crafts, the Just in Time technology promises to revolutionize the garment industry. This disruptive technology is the first of its kind in the world, the use of which dramatically reduces overhead costs and garments can be made within 48 hours catering to the need, requirement, and measures as per customers’ needs. With the introduction and inclusion of a disruptive technology, i.e., JITGM (Just In Time Garments Manufacturing), which is also a copyright process with the Government of India, it is expected that this new technology will reduce the waste of resources especially water. Here, the customer will place the order via AR (Augmented Reality) images which will offer customers multiple ranges of fabrics/ colors/ prints/ embroideries, and then garment would be produced within 48 hours after a customer places the order.

“We would change the way the world shops for garments.” This is the tagline we keep repeating today as we have achieved a new technology in TexTech (Textile Technology).

JITGM (Just in Time Garments Manufacturing) is something that has helped us to eliminate the inventory-menace and over-production. With the help of this technology, we would be able to create a garment after we have received the order which would save an ample amount of resources like water and electricity. It is a fact that textile today is the second most polluter in the world after oil.

Q. Ahead of the G7 meeting in France, 32 major global fashion and textile companies, including H&M, Burberry, Gap, and Chanel, signed a pact, promising to lower the industry’s negative impact on the environment. Do you think something like this should be undertaken by big Indian polluting fashion companies as well?
Nitin: The technology today can solve many problems and can create a healthy living, better health, education, etc. If implemented and used correctly, it can solve one of the worst problems, i.e., mass production, which is one of the seven wastes as it is uncertain of all other issues within the processes.

Demand-oriented production or we call it DDM (Demand-Driven Manufacturing) is a process where the productions are based on real orders than speculation of demand in the market. This process is also called lean manufacturing or JIT (Just In Time) manufacturing.

Besides this, other technologies in this sector include 3D printing, NFC (Near Field Communication) Interactive Clothing, VR Models, Non-Toxic FR Alternative To PVC, Ceramic Non-Woven, Automotive Composites, Color Changing Fabrics, Self-Healing Fabrics which are some of the disruptive technologies revolutionizing the process of manufacturing and the way we dress.

Such technology infusion can help in minimizing the wastage, lead to the required production, and eliminates the over-production.

Q. How is your start-up working to save resources?
Nitin: Textile Industry today is the second most polluted in the world and has reached an inflection point with competitive and environmental pressures demanding a new approach to manufacturing. It has become necessary that the textile industry must lead the way with more modern technology and innovation for cleaner processes that save energy and water. With the introduction and inclusion of disruptive technology, i.e., JITGM (Just In Time Garments Manufacturing) which is also a copyright process with the Government of India, it is expected that this new technology will reduce the waste of resources especially water. Here, the customer will place the order via AR (Augmented Reality) Images, which will offer customers multiple ranges of fabrics/ colors/ prints/ embroideries, and then the garment would be produced within 48 hours after a customer placed the order. The benefits of lean manufacturing or Just In Time Manufacturing would be that it will remove over/ mass production of any product which is created before it is demanded by the customer. Further, it eliminates all kind of wastes which are:

  • The waste of inventory, all of the raw materials, Work In Progress (WIP), and inventory held in the company.
  • The waste of transportation, transportation from one place to another.
  • The waste of over-processing, doing more than the customer has demanded.
  • The waste of defects, parts, or services that do not meet customer requirements.
  • The waste of resources wasting electricity, gas, water, and any other resources.

Once we have done this, we can use the ideas of just in time technology to enable the production of the product only when it is ordered, using techniques such as Kanban which identify potential bottlenecks in your process and fix them so work can flow through it cost-effectively at optimal speed or throughput.

In doing this, we not only eliminate the over-production in our processes, but we begin to remove and highlight the causes of many other problems within our operations.

Q. What are your expansion plans?
Nitin: We plan to start O2O (Online to Offline) model in garments where the customer would be able to check the physical sample of the product on the physical store and then buy the color or print by looking at the model image. By this, there is a great sense of satisfaction for material and size as this has already been tried by the customer and with our vast catalog of colors and prints on the model wearing the same dress would attract more and repeat customers for new designs which we would be able to create.

Our business model is giving a lot of options to the customer when purchasing the product on the frontend and backend, we create the product within 48 hours once the order is received. This way it is a win-win situation for the customer and for us as a manufacturer who keeps waste to a minimum and brand value intact as there is no pressure for old stock to be liquidated at throwaway prices. Today as a Fashion Tech Firm Indian Beautiful Art has developed a Just In Time Garments Manufacturing (JITGM) process which helps to eliminate the need for warehousing as apparel and garments can be manufactured from scratch within 48 hours of receiving the order which the customer can place via real-life AR images. We would change the way people shop for garments in the coming future and would like to be the next company to be in unicorn status.

Q. How is the business creating impact in the society and the environment?
Nitin: With the introduction and inclusion of disruptive technology, i.e., JITGM (Just In Time Garments Manufacturing), which is also a copyright process with the Government of India, it is expected, this new technology will reduce the waste of resources especially water. Here, the customer will place the order via AR (Augmented Reality) Images, which will offer customers multiple ranges of fabrics/ colors/ prints/ embroideries, and then garment would be produced within 48 hours after a customer placed the order.

Besides, other technologies in this sector include 3D printing, NFC (Near Field Communication) Interactive Clothing, VR Models, Non-Toxic FR Alternative To PVC, Ceramic Nonwoven, Automotive Composites, Color changing fabrics, Self-Healing Fabrics are some of the disruptive technologies, revolutionizing the process of manufacturing and the way we dress.

There are multiple benefits of this technology that will remove over or mass production of any product before the order is placed by the customer. Besides, it eliminates all kind of wastes, which includes:

  • The waste of Inventory consists of all of the raw materials, work in progress (WIP), and inventory held in the company.
  • Transportation from one place to another.
  • Over-processing, which is doing more than the customer has demanded.
  • Defect in the production in the parts or services that do not meet customer requirements.
  • Resources wastage, i.e., electricity, gas, water, and any other resources.

Along with it, the utilization of other technologies will help identify the potential bottlenecks in the process and fix them so work can flow through it cost-effectively at optimal speed or throughout.

Such technology infusion can only help in minimizing the wastage and leads to the required production and eliminates the overproduction in our processes.

Q. What will be the future of the fashion industry in terms of environment sustainability?
Nitin: Water is one resource that is essential for garment manufacturing, as you cannot create clothing with recycled water, so it has to be freshwater. So, this is one resource that needs to be spent efficiently, and optimum utilization for the same needs to be implemented for which technical support is essential and a tactical shift in consumer mindset of buying a garment will be a reality via AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Below are a few of the innovations which will take over the fashion industry and for good.

  • The textile industry would experience a lot of use of unusual materials that have not been used as of today. Like sustainable polyester threads and a lot of organic and environment-friendly materials would be used to make the garments in fashion.
  • Wearable technology would be present via which you would be able to change the color/ print of the garment as per your requirement and mood of the day, in fact, the garment would change the color as per the weather outside or the environment which you are which is best suited for a selfie.
  • The future fashion would be more about the experience than the appearance. The way consumers experience the garments would be more critical for the brand owner as compared to the looks. Their main initiative would pamper the customer to provide fashion with lifestyle solutions.

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