Interview with Mr. KK Agarwal

Face2Face
Mr. KK Agarwal
Mr. KK Agarwal
Chairman
Alps Industries Limited
Alps Industries Limited

In manufacturing the goods, we need to have cradle to grave approach..

Established in the year 1962 as Alps Textiles (P) Ltd- the company saw a complete transformation within a decade and came to be known as Alps Industries Limited in 1972, and subsequently was converted into a public limited firm in 1994. Today, the company is one of the first vertically integrated mills set up in India. Alps Industries positioned itself internationally for products range in natural dyes, organic cotton, home furnishing & automobile fabrics, and ready-mades. Alps is a certified GOTS and FAIR TRADE organization, grown into a Rs. 800 Crore company catering to both, international and domestic markets with its popular brands such as "VISTA" window coverings, awnings, wooden floorings & "Le-Pashmina" for Shawls, Stoles, Scarves, Mufflers etc. Being driven by Sergey Brin's inspiring tenet: "Obviously everyone wants to be successful, but I want to be looked back on as being very innovative, very trusted and ethical and ultimately making a big difference in the world," Mr. KK Agarwal- the founder Chairman, is the man behind the team at Alps Industries. He is a qualified Textile Technologist from Government Central Textile Institute, Kanpur (UP), having more than 49 years experience in Textile Industry. He has been instrumental in introducing the new product range with his innovative ideas. He has been deeply involved in extensive Research & Development with Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi to produce Eco-friendly products for Home-furnishing market. He has held various positions in many organizations like Chairman-North Zone AIMO, Executive Member of FICCI, FIEO, CII & HEPC. He has been recently nominated Vice-President-NITMA, an Executive Member of CITI and is also a nominated member of Textile Committee. Besides, Mr. Agarwal has also received many accolades from Central Govt., State Govt. & Export Promotion Councils. Mr. KK Agarwal appearing in Face2Face, in a talk with Ms. Madhu Soni- Sr. Editor & Correspondent, delves out deal of information on performance of textile market world over.

Mr. Agrawal, pleasure to see you in Face2Face. Please let us know your remarks on global textile industry's rendition, today.

Today, textile industry is in great turmoil and passing through a very uncertain period. About a year back, in October 2010, prices of cotton as well as yarn started rising. In India and internationally, cotton prices went up by 200%. In turn, yarn prices also went up. This process got reversed in the month of May’ 11, and by August prices of cotton & yarn furthered down by more than 50%. The indications were - prices will further go down, but in September partly due to damage of cotton crop in USA, Pakistan and India, prices have again started rising and today prices are up by more than 30% from the lowest level. So it’s a complete upheaval scenario. In fact, today we are facing a very critical phase, and nobody really knows how markets are going to behave. Spinning industry is still bleeding due to inadequate conversion charges. Further, whole textile chain is reeling under shortage of working capital with very high interest rates.

So, on that point, we would like to request you to enumerate the consequences of current raw material price issues. What tool has your group devised to fight out such impacts? Will the situation worsen?

In present times, the whole textile chain from Fiber to Fashion is passing through a very crucial situation and the whole industry, specifically spinning sector, is passing through a crucial period. At Alps, we have diversified 40% of our production to synthetic fibers and running only at 60% capacity. In our opinion, the situation will go from bad to worse.

Your group's forte - Home-textiles have gradually manifested from basic necessity to lifestyle statement. What are the current trends among consumers?

Home textiles demand is definitely increasing at a much greater pace than any other sector of textiles. Nowadays, it is being aptly called 'Home Fashion’. Future of this sector is absolutely much better than any other sector in textiles. Consumers are certainly asking for newer products in every season. Our Home furnishing division is running at full capacity catering these demands. Actually, alike to garmenting, today customer is looking for designing as well as styling in Home Fashion products too.

Alps Industries has given a strong brand 'Vista’ in the select arena. What core competencies constitute to the success of a brand in this industry?

Vista brand is definitely a great success story such that many people know the company by name of Vista than Alps Industries. Innovation is the key. The pillar of success is -adding new quality product range, designs, sizes, colors, etc in every season. Of course, backed by advertising as well as good after sale services!

According to recent survey, automobiles sector has ranked among highest grown economy drivers to the country. What are your readings for Indian automotive textile market?

Well, automotive sector ranks amongst the highest growing economy not only in this country but all over the world. In fact, in USA the growth of automotive sector along with housing industry is the indication of the growth of whole economy. Demand of textiles is definitely increasing in automotive industry. I foresee a great future for OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) as well as replacement industry.

How is your Natural Dye business faring? What is its future in India?

So far we did very well in products in Natural Dyes but since last 1 or 2 years we are shortening our interest in this business because of uncertain demand in the sector. India definitely has a great future as raw material for Natural Dye is abundantly available.

Recently, considering Tirupur’s case, it is apparent that policy makers are now keen on 'going green’ as the need of hour. Shouldering the league, Fibre2fashion has also launched the campaign on Sustainability. As a industry player, what is your reading about scope of Sustainable production in Indian textile scenario?

Awareness about pollution and sustainability is increasing. People suffering due to pollution are raising their voices. Also, judiciary, being proactive in this matter, is resulting in closure of dyeing units in Tirupur. In fact, there are many pockets in the country having similar problems and the time is not far when they may face a similar fate. Roots of non compliance at manufacturers level is the initial high investment and operation cost that deters most of the units from putting Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP). Even if they put it, they do not operate it. To avoid this, Government should think of putting a centralized ETP in the industrial areas. Also, further R&D is required in this sector for reducing cost. Sustainability is a very vast subject covering use of minimum resources like power, water etc. In manufacturing the goods we need to have cradle to grave approach along with the reuse of waste material and recycling discarded yarn, fabric, etc. Further, we require giving appropriate finishes to the fabrics resulting in minimal use of water & detergents in its life cycle. Today, the use of Nanotechnology can revolutionize the character of the fabric resulting in increase of comfort level, increase in life, and in case of window covering reduction in air conditioning cost substantially. In India, today, we are very innovative in collecting as well as using waste material and recycling discarded yarns, fabrics, etc. but we need to do a lot in respect to consumption of water, power, etc. in manufacturing which is very high compared to other countries.

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Published on: 24/10/2011

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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