A ‘total solution provider’ to the Indian apparel industry, Mehala is amongst the largest suppliers of industrial sewing machines in India, with its products range covering almost every aspect of garment production from CAD/CAM systems, cutting machines, sewing machines, unit production systems, embroidery machines, complete range of finishing equipment, packing machines, material handling systems, factory ventilation/cooling system and so on… Not just believing in selling products, but also building long-term relationships by ensuring complete customer satisfaction, Mehala abides by its reputation in the market of being one of the oldest and the strongest technology providing companies catering to the garment industry. Speaking exclusively to Apparel Online, R Selvan, Executive Director, Mehala shares the company’s focus in the year 2016.
Even after a slow start to the year, the company is positive of its growth prospects by strategizing operations and focusing on strong product offerings. “Months of April, May for us were slow. We have stocks worth more than Rs. 18 crore (US $ 2.77 million),” informs Selvan. Despite various policies introduced by the Modi Government still there are not many new players coming into the market due to lack of exposure to the industry and this is perhaps one of the reason that the industry has never really got its due. “Everyone talks of ‘Make in India’, but no one knows what benefits they are going to get. It has to be taken to the people; you need to highlight the benefits,” adds Selvan. Currently the company’s, and in fact the industry’s, investment is more steered towards upgradation of machines rather than buying new technology, as the big players continuously keep on upgrading their machines while the older ones are sold off to the smaller players, resulting in upgradation at both ends.
Being responsive to customers’ demands, is the primary factor for Mehala’s success and now the company is putting renewed focus on stock sales which has always been amongst the strongholds for the company. “We cannot service customers immediately if we don’t have stocks. With our huge ready inventory we can deliver 200-300 machines immediately. We are importing advanced technology machines without having order sheets, so that our customers do not have to wait for 2-3 months for the machines to be delivered when they decide to buy,” informs Selvan. Such is the case that the company has more than 10,000 sewing machines in stock at its various branches of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Tirupur, etc.
Through vertical integration and by technical specialization in its core products, the company is not just importing machines, but also producing some of them. The company’s own brand Orbito is targeting at the domestic market and currently the company sells around 15,000 machines every year due to the growing domestic demand. Apart from this, the company has a separate cutting division headed by S Bharath, an IT Engineer with Bullmer (Germany) as the core brand. The division sold 10 cutters last year, and considering the increased interest, the target is to sell at least 20 cutters and 40 spreaders this year. “For sewing machines we have Duerkopp Adler (Germany), PFAFF (Germany) and SIRUBA (Taiwan) and for those customers who cannot afford these high-end brands, we offer Orbito,” maintains Selvan.
Having a technically equipped and well trained team is also one of the reasons behind Mehala’s success, as it enables them to offer a complete solution of services to its customer. “We are equipped to handle technical queries and guide our customers through the selection process. We provide responsive after-sales support, so that even after our customers have bought the machines they don’t face any problem. Our sales & technical personnel are periodically trained at the manufacturer’s location, to make sure that the company and our customers get the optimal benefit from the machines we sell,” adds Selvan. The company also provides various technical trainings, supports and equips many ITIs, and is in the process of having its own technical institute soon.
Through its experience of working with the best in the industry such as Eastman Exports, Shahi, etc., Mehala feels that there is still a long way ahead for the Indian industry to be fully automated. “There are only two segments wherein people currently opt for completely automatic machines – suits and jeans, while for suits all customers opt for automation, in jeans, though it’s a very big market but only 10 per cent people invest in automatic machines. Because of this huge need gap, India is the biggest market for auto machines in jeans,” reveals Selvan. Apart from this, there are opportunities and areas of growth for the industry as well-established hubs such as Tirupur, Ludhiana, Delhi, etc. are giving way to remote areas of north-east, outskirts of Bangalore and even Gujarat, where many new factories are being set up.
With its primary vision, focusing on customers and their needs, and keeping abreast with new developments in technology, Mehala Machines is concentrating on upgradation and strengthening its current internal systems to be more proactive. As there is still a huge scope for expansion in the market, Mehala is hopeful of filling a part of this gap. “There is still a technology gap to fill, and with the Government coming forward with schemes to encourage expansion and upgradation, it will become easier to expand our business, too,” concludes Selvan.