i-SMART by NIFT won H&M Innovation award (STITCH for RMG: Global Innovation Challenge)

It is said that the maximum value is added to the garment by the sewing operators in any apparel manufacturing set up and sewing workers constitute approximately 85% of the total workforce in the apparel industry. The sewing machine workers worldwide face gender discrimination, biased appraisal, wage inequality, work insecurity, and limited portability. 

Prabir Jana and Deepak Panghal

The current skill evaluation system is subjective in nature and does not consider the important sewing parameters like average speed, sewing bursts, handling time, needle running time, etc. 

The i-SMART system was developed by Dr. Deepak Panghal and Dr. Prabir Jana, faculty members from the Department of Fashion Technology, NIFT, New Delhi. i-SMART was globally launched by NIFT on 4th Oct 2021 in the presence of Secretary, MoT; DG, NIFT, Director, Delhi and Dean (A). 

The fully computerised system objectively evaluates and calculates the numerical rating score of each operator with zero human interference. The i-SMART skill matrix is operation neutral, easy to develop and maintain, MTM based-thus worldwide recognition, utilising operator’s inherent strength-thus higher productivity and better quality, and digitalised skill matrix and SaaS based deployment will be a step towards Industry 4.0 

On 07 February 2022 i-SMART has put NIFT into the Start-up Ecosystem and also made India proud by winning the prestigious H&M Innovation award. iSMART was selected as one of the top six winners of the STITCH for RMG Innovation Challenge organised by BRAC with H&M Foundation and The Asia Foundation. 

i-SMART will receive $30,000 as an incubation grant from H&M Foundation for piloting in Bangladesh and scaling up for the global industry. Out of 200+ innovators across the world participated in the innovation challenge, the i-SMART team comprised of Dr. Deepak Panghal and Dr. Prabir Jana has gone through the gruelling proposal round, pitch deck round, and the marketplace round in the last two and half months to become one among the six innovators, is quite an achievement. 

“While the i-SMART is currently used by three manufacturers in India, this pilot implementation in Bangladesh, world’s second largest exporter of apparel will help us understand the industry requirements better and further strengthen the i-SMART platform”. – The team commented. 

Team i-SMART (From left Dr. Prabir Jana & Dr. Deepak Panghal) 

What Industry says Ravi Singhee, Director, Magnum Clothing – “One of the biggest challenges that the industry faces today is that operator’s assessment is done by a person who can push them or entice them for favours. i-SMART will take way that human element from the assessment to bring objectivity and transparency. i-SMART will bring unparalleled flexibility to sewing operator’s skill assessment, quantifying and qualifying skill, test anytime anywhere”. 

Kaushl Narayan, Director, Silver Spark – “Silver Spark of Raymonds is the 4th largest suits manufacturer in the world. Silver Spark has embarked on a journey of Industry 4.0 and is using i-SMART for operation evaluation during training, and upgradation and appraisal. It will not only match the skill competency with the skill requirement, it will also remove bias from operator evaluation”.

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