Textile sector needs good leaders – Mr Lalbhai, Arvind Ltd
Mr Sanjay Lalbhai
The keynote address at the first ever International Conference on “Steering Mature Business: A Leadership Challenge to Textile Industry”, which began today was delivered by Mr Sanjay Lalbhai, CMD of Arvind Ltd. Under his dynamic leadership Arvind has moved forward from being a producer of traditional textiles to being one of the biggest denim fabric manufacturers on the globe along with its successful foray in to apparel brand retailing.
Mr Lalbhai began his address, by speaking about leadership, the theme of the conference. He quoted the great French leader Napoleon Bonaparte who had said, 'A leader is the one who dares to dream'. Mr Lalbhai in defining the term leadership said, “A leader is a person who can articulate and define strategy in the textile industry”.
He gave the example of the employees of Infosys which is the number one information technology company in India and is also a globally recognised enterprise. He said the employees of Infosys are proud to be working for the company and know that they are making a difference to the company as well as to the nation and if what Infosys has done for the IT sector, why cannot a company from the textile sector, emulate the same.
He lamented the fact that there is not a single billon dollar textile company in India, despite the fact that the sector is in existence in India since a long time. Quoting from statistics, he said, exports from the sector from China grew from US $100 billion in the year 2000 to $200 billion last year. It holds a global market share of 40 percent, while that of India is only 3 percent, which is very marginal in comparison.
He expressed grief over the fact that inspite of India being the second largest producer of cotton and a textile lineage going over more than a hundred years, along having a large, talented and brilliant pool of employees in the textile sector, yet, what was missing were the leadership skills.
He said growth in the textile sector in India was restricted to the cotton sub-sector alone, whereas in the case of China it had made rapid strides in technical textiles, MMF textiles, etc. He also added by saying that the other thing missing was focus and that the sector needs to leverage its strengths and compete with European manufacturers in high end textiles rather than with China, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
“If Europe with its high cost can have a global market share of 29 percent in exports from the sector, India with its low cost structure should be able to make a difference and give the European manufacturers a run for their money and try to take away their market share”, he thundered.
The other lacunae's affecting the sector according to Mr Lalbhai were lack of innovation, no new product development activities, no new development for better production processes etc. Ironically, he said that the ERP system in India was used for accounting purposes rather than for production planning.
He said, it was futile to globalize without having proper systems and processes in place. He suggested that the industry should cooperate, rather than compete with each other and also that exporters should explore new overseas markets like Japan, Latin American Countries and the African continent.