Study identifies critical gaps in Tirupur knitwear cluster

Entrepreneurs by and large lack the vigour to ‘generate’ a demand for their products, inadequate awareness on various available credit linkage facilities and non-optimal utilisation of production capabilities, among a few other issues, are holding back the growth of Tirupur knitwear cluster.

These were the critical gaps identified by the Apex Cluster Development Services (ACDS) in the recent ‘diagnostic study’ which the agency conducted for Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).

Enhance skills

Thomas James, research analyst of ACDS, while explaining the findings to The Hindu , said that the time had come for the cluster to concentrate on enhancing skills of the locally available manpower and utilise their services in apparel production.

“Migrant workforce, which is predominant now, is not a solution in the long run as house rentals and cost of living are shooting up every day,” he added.

Deficiencies in skill based knowledge among workers due to absence of requisite training had a prominent mention in the study. “Its cause is primarily attributed to the fear among a section of entrepreneurs that the workers might migrate to other units once they were given advance training,” Mr. James said.

On credit linkages, the report pointed out that there was a lack of adequate awareness on various schemes available for micro, small and medium enterprises such as the collateral free credit facilities to micro and small enterprises, among others, and how to use it. The ACDS has suggested the need for capacity building among the entrepreneurs to create a demand for their products rather than dependent on the flow of orders from buyers.

“Due to lack of demand creation, most of the machinery bought by business houses at high costs are not utilised at the optimal levels,” Mr. James pointed out.

Another important suggestion evolved out of the study was the need to popularise the consortium approach and common branding in the cluster.

“Firm to firm competition is mainly prevalent in the cluster, Instead, a group of units should come together for raw material sourcing and for marketing products under common brand,” Mr. James said.