Educationist / Academician | Industry View | Interviews

Hands-on training and interactive sessions make industry ready graduates

Published: November 25, 2022

            Dr.Ramesh Babu V


Dr V. Ramesh Babu is the Head of Department and Associate Professor in the Dept of Textile Technology, Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore, India. He has 10 years of Industrial Experience in the Garment sector, in various domains such as Industrial Engineering, Merchandising, Apparel Production, Quality Control etc. He has 17 years of experience in engineering education, specializing in Textile and Apparel. He has published more than 47 research papers in WoS/Scopus journals and conferences. Moreover,  he fetched a grant of around 39 lakhs and has published 3 patents so far. He has also authored 6 books covering topics like  Industrial Engineering in Apparel Production, Home Furnishing and Fashion Marketing Management and Apparel Quality Management in Woodhead publishing and SMART Sewing Techniques and Garment Engineering in Notion Press.

Tell us about your educational qualifications. What motivated you to complete your studies till master’s degree? And why did you choose this stream?

I am Head and Associate Professor in Department of Textile Technology, Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore, India. I did my Diploma in Man Made Fibre Technology at Thiyagarajar Polytechnic, Salem then completed by B.Tech Textile technology in PSG College of Technology. After graduation, I worked in the Industry for 10 years in the Garment Field in various sectors such as Industrial Engineer, Merchandising, Apparel Production, Quality Control etc. Educational Highlights: Trained by KSA Technopak, USA, in Reengineering concepts. Industrial Engineering and Operator Training, etc. 

Later, I thought of shifting my career to teaching which was my passion, wherein after joining the teaching profession I completed my PG and Doctorate at Anna University. The learning process drives me for continuous learning and my family business is related to textiles, so obviously I was motivated to study Textiles. Now it has been more than 18 years of teaching experience for me and it  gives satisfaction to me in bringing out Industry Ready graduates for our Textile Industry.

As a part of being an academician, research is an integral part. How do you develop a research temperament or what motivates you to carry out research in your labs?

Nowadays teaching and research goes hand in hand; without research a teacher can’t bring innovation in teaching. Research makes a teacher more knowledgeable and which in turn helps in developing relevant curriculum and syllabus as per industry needs. The research increases our visibility to the textile community, which leads to generate lots of funding opportunities and consultancy works. Subsequently the research makes a faculty to learn new things and disseminate same to students, researchers and industry, which results in quality publications/Patents and commercialization of new products. Because of all the above credits, research becomes a teacher’s passion.

Would you like to share some interesting incidents/ instances that happened with you while working as a consultant to different industries or while teaching a batch of students…

My way of teaching includes an interactive learning experience where there are lots of opportunities for students to float their thoughts in the classroom, where my industrial experiences help me to take the classes with live practical examples which makes students learning an enjoyable one. Junior students will get feedback from senior students about the faculty and based on that they choose the subjects. In my case, feedback was given by seniors to juniors was that there is no need for preparing at the time of exams, once students completely pay attention in my class and that itself enough for writing the exams and for scoring good marks. My teaching includes  collaborative learning, Problem based learning, flipped classroom, activity based learning etc. based on the topics.

What are the major differences in the industries earlier and now? Tell us about the work ethics as well apart from the technological advancements.

The textile and garment industries earlier were working in conventional ways without any long-term visions and strategies. Earlier industries were not focused on quality and systems. Now the textile and apparel industries focus on reengineering their process to achieve maximum productivity and quality. Implementation of TQM,5S, KAIZEN, Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing systems etc to utilize resources effectively and focus on waste reductions and cost cutting are the key factors nowadays for industry survival and sustainability.

Nowadays Industry 4.0 innovations and technological advancements has no doubt in improving productivity but at the same time the following work ethics may be overlooked due to technological advancements:

  • Abuse of Personal Information.
  • Deception and Deep Fakes. 
  • Autonomous Technology. 
  • Respect for Employees and Customers. 
  • Ethical Use of Data and Resources. 
  • Reliable Implementation of Disruptive Tech.

How do you teach/ inform your students about the latest developments in the industry and make them ready for working in the industry?

Outcome based education is our focus and imparting knowledge, skills and attitude through innovative teaching and learning is the way to engage the students in an effective manner. Fundamental knowledge taught in regular classroom learning and the latest developments in the industry and making industry ready graduate’s through Industry based one credit courses, Value added courses offered by industry, Collaborative learnings while doing internships, projects, joint research and in plant trainings etc. Field study, assignments, Industrial guest lectures, seminars, workshops, and conference throw light on recent advancements in textile and clothing field.

How do you think the pandemic has affected the education system? Tell us both the pros and cons.

Undoubtedly the pandemic affected the entire education eco system in terms of poor quality of education, lack of teaching and learning, biased assessment, and evaluation and almost no hands-on training in laboratory courses. On the other hand, this pandemic shown us how to use technology for online teaching and given a new way to engage the classes. 100 percent online education has its own drawback as mentioned above, at the same time proper off/on mix in the blended mode of learning both physical and as well as online will give best results in the future education eco system. Online education has its own advantages in flexibility in attending the classes, recorded videos to learn in student pace of learning, live interactions, instant feedbacks and if students have self-learning attitude this online system works well.

How are management studies important for Textile students? How does it help in increasing productivity?

Management studies focus on marketing, merchandising, finance, human relations etc which are needed skills for a textile student in creating and meeting the demands of customers. The studies impart knowledge on management skills to tackle the people, to improve the processes and implementation of industrial engineering concepts in textile and apparel industry undoubtedly increases the productivity. Effective utilization of resources, minimization of 7 types of wastages (TIMWOOD) are the key management skills to improve productivity and quality.

What are some measures that need to be taken as a part of the Quality Management in Apparel and Clothing?

Quality should not look into it…Quality should be made into it. This should be clearly understood from top management to workers, and they should be made responsible and committed for quality by educating them and making them quality conscious. Performing Quality drill, Quality Specification sheet for every operation and implementation of TQM,5S, KAIZEN, Six Sigma quality systems vigorously on the shop floor will tremendously improve the quality by ensuring quality in every process itself rather than controlling the quality.

What are the new advancements in the clothing sector that have been developed by RnD teams of different industries?

Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, Robotics in manufacturing, Data analytics, RFID tracking systems, Blockchain Technology, Tech Automated Design solutions by  Adobe, CLO, Amazon, Google, Stitch Fix, IBM, True FIT, VirtuSize, Tommy Hilfiger-IBM-FIT-“REIMAGINE RETAIL”, Project Muze, a machine learning-based Google’s Tensor Flow system-virtual fashion designer,  e-Fit simulator, Sewing Robot, Connected apparels, Embedded Clothing’s, App controlled heated parkas,  sports wears, yoga dresses  medical wears,3-D Printed jackets and Navigation assisted shoes etc are the recent R and D in clothing sector.

What would be your suggestions for start-ups in the textile manufacturing sector? How can these ventures grow, considering the immense competition that lies in this sector?

Research, Innovations, and creativity which leads to manufacture new products at minimum cost and possible to make a wide and mass reach to customers are called as start-ups. In Textile industry lots of start-up’s opportunity arises if one shift its conventional mindset and requires out of box thinking to identify start-ups opportunities from fibre to fashion to technical textiles. Continuous learning by seminars, fashion shows, magazines, journals etc leads to new innovations which help to develop new products and start-ups and that will overcome the competitions and allow us to grow monopoly in the market.

What are the different parameters that a textile technologist must consider before launching a product? How can he/she tap the market and cater to the different variety of customers?

New product launch has to be started with thorough market research to know the customer needs in terms of design, style, silhouette, colour, texture, trims, accessories, sizes, quantity, quality, price, and assortments etc. Product, Price, Promotion and Place are the four parameters of marketing mix which are the key parameters should be blended rightly based on fashion life cycle and launching of new product should be in the peak of existing product sales. Tapping and catering the wide variety of customers again a challenging task where marketer have to offer different product lines with wide depth and breadth to offer all the items in one roof in proper product mix to cater the needs of variety of customers.

What is included in the concept of sustainable textiles? What are some measures taken by leading brands towards sustainable textiles? 

Three R’s Reduce-Reuse-Recycle are the mantra for sustainable Textiles. The product, process, material, and economic aspects are the four pillars sustainability which should be taken care of, by leading brands towards achieving the sustainability goals. Reducing carbon footprint by green technologies, Reusing the old clothes by altering into new design and products and recycling the PET bottles into polyester filaments are the some of the ideas for brands to investigate it.

Would you like to add/ tell us something else apart from the questions asked above?

Human Relation practices – Following practices are effective while working professionally:

  • Friendly and Firm approach.
  • Freedom to work and make them as responsible.
  • Right job to Right Person.
  • Equal workload distribution.
  • Ten Fingers approach. 
  • Transparency in Appraisals, Discussions, Decision making, work allotment etc.,
  • Credentials to the doers and make them visible to the management.
  • Anonymous Faculty feedback box in the department to question the Head for improvements.
  • Guidance, Motivation, support, and encouragement to team members.
  • Being part of the teams by sharing a work among them in the team it’s not just allot and make them to do.
  • Clarity given in the targets such as what is expected, how to achieve (frame work), who are the team, when to meet the target and fixing the realistic targets based on the skill and expertise of the team.
  • Fearless working eco system in the department by treating everyone is the part of my team.

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