Quality Management in the Indian Textile Industry


A conversation with Ajay Pandey, Technical Supervisor at Pro QC

India's textiles industry is not only one of world's largest, spanning a diverse range of raw materials and textiles manufacturing outputs, but it is also, fascinatingly, one of the nation's oldest continuous industries, going back centuries. Today, India is a technologically advanced textile manufacturing hub, and Pro QC is doing some great work in the textile industry there.

We spoke with Ajay Pandey, Technical Supervisor, who has over 20 years' experience managing quality control for textiles in India with Pro QC. We discussed how he began his career, why the Indian textiles industry is so unique, and what buyers need to know about managing quality and conducting textile inspections there.

How did you begin your career - and then how did you come to join Pro QC as an engineer? 

I completed my undergraduate degree in Electronics Engineering, and then went on to do a Masters degree in Electronics and Communication. This led me to do some interesting work in the manufacturing field, doing things like setting up production lines as an assembly and test engineer. My experience led me into quality assurance, and I joined Pro QC as an engineer in 2001. 

My first role at Pro QC was an audit assignment. I remember meeting with the client team when they came to India. They decided to use Pro QC's services for three of their suppliers based in India. I worked with them on conducting audits and quality inspections. 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Quality assurance offers a lot of exposure to different industries, which makes my job interesting. There is a lot of opportunity to learn about all the different manufacturing processes, and stay current with new manufacturing technologies.

What makes the Indian textile industry in particular so unique?

India has been a producer of different types of fabric for many centuries - often handloom or handcrafted textiles have been manufactured by several generations within the same family. Certain Indian regions are known for producing specialty fabrics - for example, some of the best quality silk comes from South India, and certain embroidered techniques come from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, in the North of India. The size and scope of India's cottage industry and tradition when it comes to producing specialized fabrics, from cotton to silk, is truly incredible.

But it is also great to see technological innovation at the same time. So, while there is a lot of specialized cottage industry textile manufacturing ongoing, there are also large factory manufacturing processes, so fabrics can be produced in large quantities very quickly.

Why is quality control so important for the textile industry?

As fashion trends change rapidly, so do customer requirements. Customers need to be careful about their brand image in such a competitive market, so we must ensure that nothing goes wrong. This means it is important for product specifications to be understood and managed carefully so quality is upheld. This is especially important within the textiles industry as mistakes and waste can become expensive. Pro QC manages the product specification reviews and inspection criteria so the buyers do not need to worry about the end-product reaching them as per their requirements without additional costs.

What does Pro QC do to ensure high quality textiles are produced in India?

The process starts with the buyer, who we work with on creating detailed design specifications and creating a standard operating procedure for the manufacturer to begin production. We make sure stringent quality control standards are upheld right from the fabric purchase to the packing of the finished products.

There are several elements that we inspect during the quality control process. These include making sure the fabric quality is to the buyer's specifications, and that the workmanship is standardized according to the needs of the final product. The look and feel, measurements, and branding and packaging (which is important for not only presentation quality but also to ensure that the goods will be shipped safely), are also major aspects of the quality assurance process that we follow in order to ensure high quality textile production in India.

Are there any challenges within the textile industry?

One of the challenges is managing quality and making sure there are no quality defects in the products. However, another major challenge is awareness and remaining sensitive toward both social and environmental issues within the industry. It is important to make sure there is no child or slave labour, and that workers are properly paid. The environmental side is also important as we need to make sure the production process is not damaging to surrounding areas as

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