Interview with Mr. H. S. Bhaskar

Mr. H. S. Bhaskar
Mr. H. S. Bhaskar
Gokak Mills (Forbes Gokak Ltd.)
Gokak Mills (Forbes Gokak Ltd.)

H. S. Bhaskar is presently heading the Textile Division of Forbes Gokak Ltd., as the Director (Textiles) Forbes Gokak Ltd. is a pioneer in the field of textiles and has a very long history as the professionally managed Textile Company in India and is also a major exporter of textile products like Cotton yarn, Blended Yarn, Industrial Fabrics, Terry Towels and Garments. Forbes is a company started in the year 1767, and next to East India Company, they are the first Indian public limited company to register and 8th oldest surviving company in the World. Gokak mills, which belongs to Textile division of the Company has the reputation of starting the first Indian Hydro Power Station in the country and ran the mills with mechanical power till 1920. Mr. Bhaskar has over 30 years of experience in running textile mills in India and abroad. He started his career in Gokak mills as a trainee in the year 1976 and left the services of the company in 1981. He joined back the Company in 1996 as General manager (Technical) and rose to the position as Director (Textiles) based at Mumbai. Between 1981 and 1996 he has served as Technical head in various groups like Birlas, Mohatas, Rajgadias etc. He has widely traveled across the world and has commissioned many new spinning and composite mills across the country. During his long career he has produced various innovative products and commercialized the same and actively involved in various trade organizations. He has submitted various technical papers in different forum in India and abroad. It is a pleasure to welcome Mr. Bhaskar in our Face2Face section where in he comments on issues related to Yarns, Fabrics and Garments.

How does a-1887 born textile mill find itself today in the globally competitive markets?

"Even though the mill is completing 120 years of operation on October 5, 2006, it has undergone 8 modernization cycles, so far. Every year, we are introducing new technology and acquiring new capabilities to meet the changing needs in this competitive global environment. We have always been a leader in export markets and still continue our tradition of exporting more than 40 percent of our production. It may please be noted that Forbes Gokak Ltd. was founded in 1767, and it is India’s first public limited company and the eighth oldest surviving companies in the world. Management has always strived to keep up with the pace of change in all aspects of organizational excellence. Our Workmen Training and Workmen MIS systems are the ones which keep us ahead of our competition. Yes, being such an old mill, we still have high costs, which we are tackling without loosing human face. This is being done with the help of technology and continuous training. Innovative HR practices are adopted in various areas of operation."

Being a yarn spinner, which all sectors has your Mill entered in the textile field?

"We have over 295 products in our product range. In yarns, we produce materials for use in Hosiery, Weaving, Braiding, Tufting applications for various end uses other than usual hosiery and woven apparel fabric. To name a few products; industrial yarns, sewing threads, threads for wound management products, tyre cords, fishing nets, bath mats and bath room accessories, core spun yarns for stretchable products and high tech military application products, yarns for surgical end uses, ropes, fire retardant products for automobile, military and specialty work wear uniforms etc comprise the inexhaustible list. Each day, our in house research team works for bringing new products that have special and niche applications. In weaving, we are in the field of industrial fabrics. We have state-of-the- art air jet ‘Dornier’ looms, Sulzer rapier looms and Np looms. Our 90 percent of the fabric production is exported to Europe, America and Australia. Our fabrics are mainly used in Military, Automotive and other high tech applications. Our products till recent times enjoyed special duty structure in UK. We are also in the field of knitted garments and have a state-of-the-art fully integrated garment factory at Belgaum, Karnataka. We supply garments to most of the major brands in India and abroad."

Post textile quotas and during the ongoing Doha Trade Round of the WTO, has been a period of uncertainty. What is your reading of this scenario?

We, at Forbes, being an export oriented Company always believed in global competition and hence, were never complacent about the leadership we enjoyed in protectionist era. We firmly believe that Indian Quality is second to none in several textile product categories and hence, need not worry about Post Quota era. Removal of the textile quota system has and will bring in opportunities to Indian textiles and garment players who can maintain Quality, Price and Delivery. We do not foresee any major concern affecting the industry, at large.

What progress or evolution do you anticipate for the Indian textile industry?

"Indian textile industry which is fragmented today, with so many players, will consolidate its position and will undergo radical changes in capacity. Major players will expand and will acquire economies of scale to become highly cost competitive. Over next few years, Indian textile industry will grow exponentially. Cotton yield will improve in days to come and may double up in next six to eight years. This, coupled with improved quality, will ensure consistent supplies to Mills giving an advantage to Indian spinners. Other than cotton, Indian synthetic fiber industry will also lend a helping hand to the industry providing low cost fibers with improved functionality. Major machinery manufacturers will also open their shop in India and hi-tech technology will be available in India within the sector, at reasonably low prices."

Can you highlight some of the key figures in your recent company quarterly results?

I can only say that we are doing better. As limited review auditing is in progress, we cannot disclose the same.

What steps has your company taken to conserve environment?

We have planted 1.3 million trees on the rocky terrain at Gokak Falls. We are proud to say that in Earth Summit at Rio, our efforts were appreciated. Due to this effort, overall weather condition in the surrounding areas has changed and peak temperatures during summers, has dropped by at least 2 degree celsius. We are planning to install another 4.5 MW hydro power station at Gokak, which will ensure that our use of oil based generation will come down reducing emission of hot fluorine gases. Further, we are planning to cultivate Jetropa to produce bio fuel. Apart from this effort, we have installed most modern reverse osmosis plant to treat our effluents.

Companies have gone in for branding in a big way. What is your opinion on this and what are your plans for this?

"In next few years, it is believed that more than 60 percent of the clothing requirement will be met with Readymade Garment manufacturers (RMGs) and this alone will give rise to plenty of opportunity for Brands to prosper. Under Indian conditions, both International and Indian brands will do well. This is a segment to be watched for very speedy growth. We have already introduced major international brands like DAKS, Savilrow, and Tussardi in Indian markets. We have also started test marketing of our own Forbes Cambell brand in eastern India. We are registering Forbes Cambell brand name in US and Canada, shortly. Our own 100 percent subsidiary Eureka Forbes has excellent experience in building brand and this will come in handy for textiles in general, and garments, in particular."

What kind of technology has your company adopted to manufacture quality products?

We have imported technology from most of the reputed European and Japanese companies. Our compact yarn technology is from Reiter, which is one among the best in the world. Our weaving technology is from Dornier ( air jet) and Sulzer (rapier). Knitting is from Mayor and Cie. Our sewing capacity is from Zuki and Pegasus matched with Eton technology. We work closely with machinery manufacturers to develop special equipments for our proprietary use. Innovative and automated process controls are introduced to minimize human intervention.

What kind of markets do you envision for madeups and canvas, both, nationally and internationally?

Made ups, I presume are canvas/ industrial fabric made ups. India will emerge as a leader in innovative technical textile products to meet the global quality and performance requirement. Most of the textile products will move towards function based. India in near future, will leverage its knowledge of information technology into textiles in manufacturing electronic embedded functional textile products, which is going to be a huge market. India produces highest number of engineers and other technical personnel, which will give an opportunity for the Indian textile mills to research on new polymers, which is another key ingredient to produce functional textiles. Overall, Indian textile industry will see the growth, which China has been experiencing for the past 20 years. But pace of growth will be higher than that of China, in days to come.
Published on: 09/10/2006

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

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