Mr Lalbhai, it is a great pleasure to host one more talk with you. Recently, you’ve been elected to steering committee of GCCI. We extend our best wishes for your new role. Can you share some points from your wished agenda?
Thank you so much. Well, it’s pretty early to discuss anything about agenda for, as you too know, it’s only around two weeks that I have been entrusted responsibilities. And so, I am still in the process of understanding things better.
Sir, Arvind’s roots traces to 1930 – a 70 years of long tradition in textiles! How has Arvind re-engineered itself from a company during Swadeshi (Protectionism) era to today’s era of Globalization?
Major change came when we embarked on Denim fabrics. We were the first company to bring denim into this country. Before that we were womens-wear domestic player. We were the leading composite textile mills in India. Very successful! But, because the powerlooms had started creating very fierce competition, we worked on a new strategy, and worked out that we need to go for global kind of product category like Denim, to change our focus from domestic market to global market, and to bring about a different lifestyle into India. So that was the major change. Before Swadeshi movement, we were a domestic player; subsequent to that we have become a global player with product categories which are globally accepted.
In its earlier corporate years, we notice that Arvind had interest in diversified fields other than textiles. What made it choose textiles for continued focus over others? Was it success of Denim in late 80s?
Well, we have always been dominant in textiles. The other sectors were some experimenting kind of joint ventures that we tried our hands upon, and disinvested them gradually on evaluating their less profitability proportion. Still now, we have interest in diversification. As you know, recently, we have made strategic change and renamed our corporate title from Arvind Mills to Arvind Ltd; this was to denote our very major interest in diversified sectors viz brands and retail, real estate and engineering, and telecom. So, we are definitely a diversified company but still textile remains to be more than 60% of our business. However, in gradual period, we see our activities in it to be confined to 30%, and more in other businesses.
Moreover, as I told earlier too, we thought of switching over to international product category which was definitely- Denim!
Mr Lalbhai, you have also brought in for the first time in Indian textiles a renowned management consultant- Mckinsey. What has been your experience with it?
At that time, we were considering a dive into paper, cement, steel, refinery and telecom businesses. It was Mckinsey that suggested us to focus on Textiles and refrain from diversification. They suggested us to hold back those plans. It was of course a golden piece of advice, and good experience to work with.
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