Transparency and Traceability in the Textile Industry: An Interview with Daivik Charles

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Transparency and Traceability in the Textile Industry: An Interview with Daivik Charles

Transparency and Traceability are the main attraction in the supply chain this year and the trend will only pick up in the 20's. In any industry, transparency is becoming the highlight in many different senses, whether it is the stories behind the product, to where in the world it came from and is going. Today, we put a special focus on the textile industry with insights from a textile industry leader.

Today, we at Supertrace are excited to be interviewing Daivik Charles, the Managing Partner at JVS Export, specializing in supply chain transparency in the home textile industry, based in India. Daivik is the fifth-generation of the family in joining the business and managing the UK operations. JVS Export is a leading manufacturer and exporter of home textiles. The company has a strong presence in the US and the UK markets with big retailers and has plans to expand its presence in the Schengen area.

1. Supply chain transparency is gaining importance and more attention from both businesses and consumers in many industries. Are you happy about the trend? What are you most excited about when it comes to supply chain transparency?

Supply chain transparency is indeed gaining momentum in the current business environment!

Development in supply chain transparency has enabled the stakeholders in our company to gain a greater understanding of the way we do business. This helps us showcase our business practices particularly on our sustainable and ethical supply chain processes. This in turn contributes to helping us enhance our brand and gain customer loyalty. 

Another huge benefit to us is the real-time availability of information focusing specifically on back-end supply-chains and the production system in place. With new technology providing us live data, we are able to operate more efficiently; therefore, we rely less on updates from subordinates and avoid the risk of data-mismatches as well; this allows us to spend more time and resources towards other value-added tasks. 

2. What should we be expecting in 2020s regarding the new regulations across the globe?  Maybe a universal transparency standard?  Or will regions keep introducing local solutions?

Pertaining to Textile and Clothing (T&C), as of now there appear to be no indications of any significant changes in regulations domestically or on the global front as well. We will however continue to monitor the environment around us in this regard.

With more technology increasing in the supply chain, we may see more regulations being built around data security and handling – right from raw material sources, Tier 1 supplier factories and all the way through to customer information and preferences.

3. What are some new technologies emerging in the cross-border goods movement in the textile industry (import/export)?  Any advancements you are mostly looking forward to?

In recent times we have seen rapid growth in the technology used for supply chain transparency. Timely shipments play a vital role in the success of our business. Ports are still the primary choice for international shipments. There are efforts towards enhancing the operational efficiency at Indian ports through digitization that fosters automation in the customs handling process that should significantly reduce our current turnaround time at the port. This fall in turnaround time could compensate with longer lead times for manufacturers and/or shall laurel the exporters with early shipments. 

As an exporter, I very much look forward to digitizing the retrieval of the Original Bill of Lading document that generally takes between 5-6 days to obtain in the physical format. 

4. Do you believe the textile industry will be targeted by government regulations in transparency in the 20’s?  Will textile businesses be required to adopt the new standards?

Yes, I believe that the T&C industry is prone to causing high pollution if left unsupervised and believe the government will need to review regulations towards this.  For instance, we have certain restrictions on the usage of fuel and water levels that are predetermined and assigned based on the nature of operations.  Therefore, as a controlling measure, all manufacturers are obligated to be transparent with their carbon emission rates which are compared against the government's restriction limits.

With government set regulations in this industry, manufacturers are held accountable to the stakeholders, primarily the government and the end consumers, for every material consumed proportionally to prove their product material composition's authenticity. Transparency about material usage in the industry is imperative on a global scale.

transparency textile industry

At JVS export, sustainable and ethical production and distribution of our products is an integral part of our organisation’s mission. As a company we ensure that government regulations are followed and are eager to see regulations that will assist us maintain integrity and fairness in the industry.

5. Now let’s talk about end consumers. Do you think consumers are more familiar with the transparency systems & are aware of their benefits? Do consumers expect to be able to trace the provenance of the product?

Absolutely! And we’re counting on it! As I mentioned earlier with the rise of technology, information is more readily available to customers at the click of a button on their smartphones. Whether this is influenced by traditional media outlets or through more common platforms such as social media; customers are eager to know more about the journey of the products that they are going to buy (with an increasing focus on ethical production and sustainability).

Consumers are now more aware of the transparency systems that provide additional information apart from the conventional country of origin and raw material specification that determines the product’s reliability.  Particularly when it comes to the T&C industry, customers usually do not get to experience the product in-hand especially if they are using online purchase platforms which is a real challenge for brands and retailers. So, to be able to trace the products’ journey from the origin into their basket would be a big win for both manufacturers as well the end consumers.

Consumers tracing the product's provenance is still at its infancy stage in the T&C industry, however we expect to see this fully implemented on both online and offline store formats in the years to come.

6. Does the transparent supply chain contribute to the increase of consumer trust?  In what regions specifically?

Global customer awareness and knowledge about the development process, mainly cover: health & safety, labour, ethical business working, and environmental sustainability.

A transparent supply chain will increase consumer trust globally and particularly regions with rising access to the internet and technological devices.  Technological development with transparency benefits the customers by tracking the products' entire supply chain and getting a detailed view of these aspects. For instance, if a factory that supplies products manufactured from recycled materials does not hold the appropriate certifications to deal with that kind of product - the customer may doubt the authenticity of the material used.

In our current business environment, where ‘hygiene’, ‘contactless’ and various other expectations are raised from the customer’s end during these trying times, supply chain transparency gives us the opportunity to increase the customer’s trust in our products by being able to verify, trace and share this information to our audience (as a company that understands the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and has taken the required precautions within the supply chain). 

7. What are the other ways companies can gain a competitive edge in terms of investing in supply chain transparency?

Supply chain transparency benefits business operations by analysing both upstream and the downstream supply chains by accommodating every trading partner on the same page. 

This minimizes the risk in product supply in the market with contingency planning against production delay and quality control issues to ensure timely delivery of sales orders.

This plays an important role in allowing for constructive decision making based on real facts and not mere assumptions, which leads to an overall successful business running. Therefore, a company can attain better results with their KPIs - such as output, cost, and quality, that help maintain or improve competency against other market players. 

8. And finally, we’d love to hear your thoughts on how transparent supply chains affect workers and smaller businesses. Do you think such requirements are good or bad for local low-tech manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors?

Employees are the greatest assets of a company. Having a transparent supply chain will have a worm-eyed view that does not fail to reward performing employees and recognise them for their input to the organisation.

This also ensures that the workers are safe, have access to worker benefits/rights and are treated well within the organisation – following the demand for ethically sourced goods; transparency in the system can ensure this is being verified at regular intervals.

On the other hand, this ensures that even small businesses will be monitored and held accountable for all processes within the supply chain – which will prevent them from resolving to mal-practise or to compromise on the quality of their products.

Unlike large corporations, the initial set-up for supply chain transparency solutions may be a challenge to small businesses, however I feel that personally this would be an investment of great value! With the affordability of technology increasing and the help of leaders in this field like Supertrace, I believe that supply chain transparency can be achieved for small- and large-scale businesses at affordable costs.

Supertrace gives a big thank you to Daivik Charles today at JVS Export for taking the time to interview with us.  We appreciate your insights into the upcoming transparency trends and sharing your knowledge regarding the T&C industry!