Apparel and Textile industry in Pakistan has in recent years made
Aged 51 years, Mr. Anis Maskatiya is the CEO of Grace Apparels a part of the Grace Group of Companie
Could you take us down the memory lane and tell us about your company history?
"Grace Apparel (Pvt.) Ltd. was established in 1984 as woven factory with 50 machines exporting to the U.S. In 1991 it established Grace Knitwear (Pvt.) Ltd. It initially specialized in making garments dyed bottoms, rompers and blouses for the U.S and then same to Europe and Japan. With change in trends it moved to washed twill including pigment garment dyeing, and everything to denims where we are making fashion items in different washes and embellishments. In the meantime we started TM Textile for fabric manufacturing and exports. In 1989, Grace Knitwear (Pvt.) Ltd. for knitwear both washed and unwashed and apparel arts for woven and home textiles (bed sheets). The growth over the years has been steady, but not exponential. We are considered a medium sized company, financially stable with regular clientele. "
Would you please share your views on the state of apparel and textile industry of Pakistan?
"Apparel and Textile industry in Pakistan has in recent years made significant investments in machinery and infrastructure, mostly in following areas. 1. Spinning 2. Weaving 3. Knitwear processing 4. Denims 5. Home Textiles The areas where required investment not made are: 1. Woven Fabric processing 2. Washing 3. Garments machinery 4. Staff and worker training 5. Marketing and product development Further working capital investments are low due to previous high gearing ratios and reduced profitability in recent years. With removal of quotas, as far as apparel industry is concerned, it is finding it difficult to compete with China, India and Bangladesh because of lower productivity, higher cost and constraints in the range of products. Our spinning and weaving mills are based more on exports if coarser yarn and fabric in greige from and not geared or motivated to produce fine and wider qualities to cater to customer demand. This narrow base coupled with untrained labor and absence of real marketing infrastructure is inhibiting exports of apparels. This situation is further exasperated by the security perception especially in Karachi which keeps the buyer away. So overall, the spinning and weaving sector is coping with products they make for exports, the home textiles is competing with shorter lead time and quality they make based on production mainly by composite units of large textile mills. The European market is difficult because of anti dumping duties in woven, because of availability of fabric with coarser yarn, the bottoms business especially in twill and denim is doing reasonably well, although price competition is getting tougher. Ladies and men’s shirts and other item in woven are not significant in exports; knitwear industry is really suffering because of low price and in the absence of niche item from Pakistan. "
How do you complete the branding experience of your big ticket clients?
Our big ticket clients have basically identified the products they wish to buy from us, and it is our endeavor to consistently supply them on time and the quality required. Using their nominated suppliers, efficient handling and effective communication with experience we have learnt to service them. Further, we are flexible on minimum quantities, deliveries and prices. We also fully participate in their promotional program.
Wrangler, Tommy Hilfiger, Just My Size, Bobbi Brooks, Wal-Mart, Karstadt and the list goes on…They are all your clients and it must be a matter of pride to your esteemed organization. What made these big names source their apparel requirements from you?
"Our Company has been working for the past 20 years in a professional and ethical manner. We have updated our machinery and infrastructure over the years. We have a good and dependable relationship with buying agents, and as such have the market goodwill in we have made efforts to fulfill the compliance requirements of individual customers. Consequently our buyers have always placed faith in us. Besides within bottoms we have nice products and wide collection which always attract our buyers. "
What innovative technology do you plan to adopt or have adopted in recent times in order to deliver the best to your reputed clients?
In term of innovative technology, we are in the process of importing state of art Italian machine for washing, further our emphasis is on staff training and balanced infrastructure to cater to our capacities.
What major geographical markets do you cater to today, and may serve in the near future?
Our major geographical markets are U.S.A and Europe. These have been our major markets since inception and we are well conversant with these. Our plans are to increase business direct to retailers for better lead times and prices. For this we have established a marketing department and our people have started to travel to solicit orders and develop our collection.
Any core area your company plans expansion, in the next couple of years?
Pakistan’s Home Textile exports are increasing rapidly, with rapid development of products. We are currently exporting bed sheets + comforter to branded and non branded customers, and are experiencing major increase in sales. Our plans are to expand the business and make investment in machinery, infrastructure and working capital. We foresee that during next few years our bed sheet business will be larger than our apparel business. The market infrastructure for availability of yarn, fabric and processing in expanding rapidly and manufacturer are well place to cater to customer demands.
While selling as a brand in the international market, how do you sell in your home (Pakistan) market?
We do not sell in the local market as it works differently to the export market. There is no wholesale market for branded items, as the wholesalers generally sell fake contraband goods. So the way to market is to have your own retails outlets selling your brands this involves high investment but sales are low as the buying power is limited for branded items due to price, therefore the returns are not commensurate to investment, leaving us better off just by exporting.
Do you expect more Government involvement in the success of the textiles and apparel sector and to what extent?
"Government involvement generally does not lead to success, because if beaurocratic involvements, red tape late implementations and string attached. What I would expect the government to do is as follows. 1: Subsidies exporters in the import of management and trainers from abroad to help our productivity and to change mindset and skill of our management and workers to compete with and understand the working ethics and methods of our competitors make changes in. 2: Make changes in our labor laws to remove impediments in way of growth, to be able to make it easier to discipline workers or to remove them. Similarity we pay high amounts as contribution towards workers social security and old age, these should be subsidized by the Government to make us more competitive and discourage exporters form underpaying. 3: Our exporters generally are production oriented and not marketing oriented. Our prices currently are so low and experience in marketing so little that most companies are not successful in selling on their own. The government should assist in terms of support experts, and subsidize in travel cost etc. "
As a responsible corporate citizen, how does your company conduct business?
We have always run our companies in an ethical and compassionate manner, where it relates to our customers, workers, suppliers on the people if our area. We aim to comply with local laws, protect the interest of our customers in terms of protecting their copyrights etc, and pay our suppliers on time, compassionate dispute resolution and strong program for local population in health, education, widow, pensions and children welfare.