Advanced technology has always motivated entrepreneurs to expand, upgrade or even diversify within their parent business. Over the time, as the market becomes fiercely competitive, technology has also become a tool for survival. The recently concluded India ITME 2016 fair (the 10th India International Textile Machinery Exhibition) in Mumbai, organized by India ITME Society, is undoubtedly India’s biggest textile technology event that witnessed visitation from lakhs of industry-informed people from all corners of India, and despite mixed market sentiments and demonetization effects, most of the companies are eager to expand and invest in new technology. Apparel Online met many such companies and was impressed with the resilience of the players and their determination to grow.
Most of the companies, be it big or small, that are going in for expansions are confident that soon the market will pick up and demand will increase. Players from fabric hubs of Ahmedabad, Ichalkaranji, Surat and other North Indian hubs, were all positive, which augurs well for the industry. Even garment exporters looking for new technology were upbeat for 2017. Kumar Agarwal, young Director of Kumar Cotton Mills/Venus Denim, Ahmedabad (composite mills) is planning to foray into terry towel business, while also increasing the capacity of denim manufacturing. “Down the line, we are planning to invest Rs. 200 crore for expansion of our denim capacity which is currently 80,000 metres per day to almost double. As far as terry towel is concerned, it is at the planning stage and our plant may be of about 100 tonnes initially,” he says. Currently having capacity of processing 1.5 lakh metres of fabric per day, the company is supplying fabric majorly to the Indian domestic players with only few export-oriented units in its profile, about 10 per cent of the fabric is exported to Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Though many companies admitted that they are unsure of the market movement in the New Year and some of them have currently even cut down their production by 50 per cent, they still are looking for expansion opportunities, and the reason for the same is the positivity. “Even in this difficult scenario we have to expand to survive and grow. What we can try at our level is to minimize the risk,” says Shreshth Bajaj, Director – Weaving Division, Bajaj Processors, Ahmedabad, who is also proactive about expansion. Currently manufacturing 3 lakh metres of grey fabric, the company has in-house capacity to process 20 lakh metres of fabric per month. Expansion plan is for another 4 lakh metres of grey fabric. Currently some business operations (denim-related) of the company are outsourced. “We might put a unit of the same also but as already many people have entered into denim segment so outsourcing is an easy option,” says Shreshth.
“Currently we are outsourcing 20 lakh metres of grey fabric per month (nearly 40 per cent of our total need) from various hubs across India. Now we are further planning to increase outsourcing as well as in-house production.” – Bidyut Kumar Singha, DGM (outsourcing), Birla Century
Earlier there was an indication of a glut in spinning, but it is heartening to see that companies are now adding spindles. Arvind Cotsyn (India), Ichalkaranji is adding 20,000 spindles in next few months and after this expansion it will have total 60,000 spindles. Govinda Marda of the company says, “According to my estimation the recession of the last two years should have ended with the year (2016) though demonetization affected the industry again. But all this is not worrisome to us as we still have hope that very soon the market will pick up.” Rahul Bohara of Swadeshi, Ichalkaranji is also waiting for the market sentiments to pick up as he has a ready ‘shed’ 48 looms but production has not started. Rajkot-based Angan Textiles having 72 airjet looms is further adding 24 looms as informed by Mahesh Chothani, Director of the company who is making denim fabric and fabric of bed linen for Indian market.
There are some companies that are more active on market front rather than capacity enhancement. Ambrish Sarda Group, Ichalkaranji having a ‘wait and watch’ approach to the market, is not going in for expansion, but exploring new market opportunities. The company having major focus on domestic, is moving towards export of fabric. Bhagwati Cotton & Spinning Mills, Ludhiana, having 18,000 spindles and making 2/32 acrylic and single thirty mèlange yarns, was till last year totally into domestic market and from last one year they have started moving towards export. As of now 10 per cent of our total production is being exported to Saudi Arabia and Bangkok; the target is to increase it to 30 per cent. Prateek Verma, GM of the company and a technical expert informed, “Our main concern is to reduce power and labour cost and at the ITME we were impressed with the autoconer machine (in spinning process) by Savio from Italy, as it saves nearly 20 per cent power consumption.” LB Maurya, Director of Maurya Exports, Ludhiana making knitted fabric and variety of leggings (manufacturing 20,000 leggings per months) informed that he is looking forward to expanding and making its presence in the export market. About ITME he observed, “I liked the digital printing segment at the event, though it was disappointing that the sewing segment was missing.”
Some medium-level companies that are comparatively new in trade or working in limited capacities were also looking to grow by diversification or forward integration. Surat-based Milan Bagadiya, Owner of S R Health and Hygiene, is currently offering leggings (Sanado brand) and is coming up with a new plant of hygiene products like napkins and diapers. With a capacity of 60,000 leggings per month and exporting 30 per cent to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Bagadiya shared that they are very cost-effective as they use different kinds of fabrics which makes it possible to work with these two countries. “For our new plant, we have a tie-up with a technical institute for consultancy. With an investment of Rs. 2.5 crore it is expected to start in May 2017,” said Bagadiya. Currently manufacturing polyester fabric, Micro Synthetics, Surat is now planning to start viscose fabric and further add ladies’ garments. Sushil Kothari, Owner of the company firmly believes that 2017 is a crucial year and even the perfect time to enhance the business.
Atul P. Verma, Senior Manager – Dye House & HTC, Vardhman Spinning & General Mills was looking for an automated process for material handling during various processes of spinning, dyeing and finishing but was disappointed as he could not find anything in this regard. But he liked a circular knitting machine in which direct yarn is being manufactured by roving and simultaneously it was doing knitting too. Till now this process was common only in weaving.
Some companies are not expanding but upgrading themselves as they are concerned about productivity and cost-competitiveness. Having 200 powerlooms and 200 stitching machines for shirt manufacturing for organized retailers, Nilesh K. Shah, Director, KK Silk Mills is looking for upgradation in his weaving unit. “We are quite positive about our shirt business, as it will definitely grow in near future. Our priority is automation and that too within our budget,” said Shah, whose unit is in Valsad.
The bigger mills have focus to move forward with sustainable technologies. With processing capacity of 12 tonnes per day and 2 lakh pieces per month in garmenting (tees, undergarments, track suits), Supreme Tex Mart Ltd., Ludhiana recently added RO system in its ETP as it has recently added ultra-filter with an investment of Rs. 2 crore. The company is also making sweaters for prestigious brands like M&S. Subodh Sachan, GM (Processing) of the company was exploring mercerising and rotary printing machines at ITME. “There is little upgradation as far as processing segment is concerned, but I couldn’t find any major breakthrough or innovation,” he added.