Interview with Dr M P Agarwal

Face2Face
Dr M P Agarwal
Dr M P Agarwal
Chairman & MD
Shri Lakshmi Cotsyn Limited
Shri Lakshmi Cotsyn Limited

Shri Lakshmi Cotsyn Limited (SLCL) was established in August, 1998, as Galaxy Indo-Fab Limited. The company began processing 100 percent cotton and blended fabrics with capacity of 60 lakhs meters per annum, and just in a decade, the capacity rose to a figure of 180 lakhs meters per annum. The company also deals in diversified fields like embroidery, quilting, fusible interlining, and specialty products like camouflage fabric uniforms, bulletproof jackets that are used by Defence sectors viz Army. Aged about 55 years, Dr M P Agarwal is the Chairman and MD of SLCL. He is a hardcore professional turned to a successful entrepreneur. Qualified Cost Accountant (FICWA) and Ph.D in Textile Costing, Dr Agarwal has more than 30 years of experience in Textile Industry. He has also duly represented the company in important trade organizations /bodies of India like FICCI, PHD Chamber Of Commerce, Textile Export Promotion Council, Mumbai Merchants Chamber of UP, Apparel Export Promotional Council and Indian Industries Association. In his talk with Face2Face team, Dr Agarwal points out the prospects of Denim market in India and worldwide. He also comments on nascent market of specialty products in Defense sectors.

What are the prospects for Indian Denim Industry and in particular, for your company, as well?

"DOMESTIC MARKET OF DENIM: In India, the Denim Fabrics are used mostly in metros by the youths of age group 18 to 25 and ""B"" class cities. However, there is a phenomenal scope for consumption by tapping rural areas which is already begun and is growing significantly. This trend will continue further and essentially it has increased the domestic demand to a great extent. Apart from the youth, Denim fabrics are used in children wear also. The raggedness of Denim fabrics has already appealed the local ready-made garment manufacturers to use Denim fabrics for children wear. Further scope of increased usage of Denim in children garments is also anticipated. Denim jeans was earlier limited to only ladies belonging to upper strata in metros, but nowadays, this sector is growing rapidly, even in towns also. Therefore, ladies garment sector is the upcoming target among Indian Denim manufacturers. For SLCL, manufacturing of Denim with the world renowned technology from USA was a vision, which the company has achieved. Because of integrated in-house facilities and various other advantages contributing to low cost of production, the company is placed in a better position. EXPORT MARKET OF DENIM: USA is and will continue to be the biggest consumer of Denim for many years to come. USA is the most important buyer of Denim for India. With the phase out of quota restraints under GATT, exports of Indian Denim will enjoy a major boost and is likely to witness increase by five fold. In fact, all the new entrants in the field are eyeing on the expanding export market. Apart from the major manufacturers viz Arvind, KG Denim, Modern, and Ashima, a number of other Denim manufacturers have also come on the scene with varying capacities in India. However, with a large export market potential and rising domestic consumption of Denim, the future of Denim manufacturing units with latest sophisticated machinery capable to produce high quality Denim seems to be bright. SLCL’s STRATEGY: For sale of Denim, the SLCL had tied up a knot with 'Global Textile’, a UAE based company, by signing an MOU for 50% of its total production.However, the Company, with a view not to depend on one buyer only, has made the strategy to market at least 25%, 35% and 50% of the total production in local market as well as other international market in 1st year, 2nd year and 3rd year respectively. This will ensure the complete utilization of the manufacturing capacity. A President supported by a full-fledged marketing team looks after the marketing of Denim, and will be responsible for its marketing.Moreover, the company is going for forward integration for manufacturing of Denim jeans at Roorkee, Uttaranchal. This will not only provide better marketing strength, but also higher profitability to the Company."

Terry Towels market is booming world wide according to market sources. How does SLCL encash this boom?

"Market for Terry Towel has been growing rapidly and the Company is anticipating tremendous scope for Terry Towels. It is made up of 100 percent combed/carded cotton, and is long lasting and luxurious. Due to closure of manufacturing units worldwide, the demand has gone up tremendously. The removal of quota system has added fuel to the fire.SLCL shall be exporting directly to the international buying houses / retailers. The company is gearing up with a strong marketing team, which functions under the overall supervision of the Directors and is headed by an Assistant Vice President to look after sale of fabric in the domestic market.The Company has also opened its marketing office at USA under the leadership of a very senior person having 30 years of experience in marketing of Home-Textiles. The Company has also participated in the world's largest international fair i.e. Hemtextile, Frankfurt in January 2007 for development of international market."

Why are woven furnishing fabrics in demand? What infrastructure SLCL owes for exclusive products in this category?

"Woven furnishing fabrics are in demand because of their widespread application amongst different category of buyers with different type of weaving, printing and coating. It has large scale usages in fire retardants curtain cloths, upholstery fabric for automobiles, upholstery fabric for sofa set, heat resistant curtain cloth, etc.Furnishing Fabric Knitted is in great demand because of the better stretch and texture effects, and has widespread application as inner-lining in jackets and garments in domestic as well as international market.SLCL is equipped with latest state of the art looms from Italy for weaving of wider width fabric, and PLC controlled processing machines from Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. To provide an exclusive product to its customers, SLCL is equipped with sixteen color fully automatic rotary printing machine and computerized design and screening equipments."

Could you delve into the technology adopted at your several plants for manufacturing world class products?

"The technology involved for manufacturing world class products consist of two major segments that is 1) process of manufacture and 2) availability of world class manufacturing facilities.Almost in all the plants, we have PLC based computerized production machines. At every level, our effort is to use integrated production facilities. We have selected well qualified and experienced technicians to work on highly efficient and sensitive machines enabling manufacture world class products."

Do you foresee a major market for defence and army products like camouflage fabric uniforms, bulletproof jackets? What strategy has your company adopted to capture major share of this nascent Indian market?

"The Defence market is a very vast and cannot be surrounded by defined boundaries. SLCL is dealing with defence and army, not only for camouflage fabric uniform and bullet proof jackets, but also has technical textile products such as PU coated nylon fabrics, infra-red fabrics, nuclear bio-chemical fabrics, bullet-proof helmets, glacier tents and fabric meant for high altitude areas.As quoted above, the demand for above products is also very vast and SLCL is emerging as a big supplier for the defence and Army departments. In addition to this, it is also supplying to various State Government offices, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Para Military Forces.Due to in-house well equipped facilities for research & development and testing facilities, the company is not only on a path to capture major share in the nascent Indian market, but also have started to put its wings for international market. The company's strategy is to achieve its goal to strengthen its research and development facilities. For this purpose, SLCL has taken on its Board of Directors, Dr G N Mathur, ex-Director DMSRDE and Dr J V Rao, Director at Northern India Textile Research Association (NITRA), Ghaziabad. Dr G N Mathur has remained engaged with various projects of research & development in DMSRDE, a unit of DRDO, and had opportunity to work with Hon'ble President of India Dr Kalam, and Dr J V Rao has more than 30 years of experience in Textile Technology."

What QC measures does SLCL adopt to meet global competition?

"SLCL has adopted international standards of quality checks in order to remain a preferred supplier for the international buyers. There is full-fledged quality assurance and quality control team in place to ensure that the final product meets all parameters. Stipulated by the buyers, international test methods are adopted and all checks are done as per global standards.The quality assurance measures taken by the company includes:Full fledged testing laboratory equipped with the latest instruments for inspection of incoming raw materials Online process control activities Creation of database for future reference and analysis Statistical methods to identify and analyze areas of improvement thorough checking of finished goods to ensure quality The weaving division functions under the principles of the internationally acclaimed American 4 point system to reduce wastage and ensure quality. Under this system, fabric inspection and grading is carried out as per ASTM standard D5430-93 i.e. points grading system."

Can you explain more about your 100% shrink proof interlining product?

"The Interlining Fusing Fabrics is used in Garment Industries, Shoe Industries, and some times in home furnishing also. The product is being manufactured through latest state-of-the-art plant and machinery under the brand name ""STAR TRACK"". 100% shrink proof interlining products is coated fabric with LDPE / HDPE fine micro powder. Under IND/TC/2089(A) specification, the maximum shrinkage allowed is 1% and if fusible interlining fabric does not shrink more than this percentage, it is treated as standard product as per IS specifications. The achievement of 100% shrink proof quality of an interlining product is the result of processing of fabric that is to be used for making interlining. If the fabric is not processed properly and coating is done, it will shrink after washing and the garment will lose shape. At SLCL, we manufacture interlining products with maximum shrinkage norms of 0.5% to 0.6% as against maximum permissible limits of 1% under IS specifications."

Any comments on current Indian and global textiles markets?

Due to closure of big textile players like Pilowtex, Westpoint, Best Manufacturing Group, etc in USA and several units in European countries, the demand has ballooned, but at the same time, China has emerged as a powerful supplier creating tough competition. Therefore, the mechanism with high quality of products and competitive prices can only survive. The trend in Indian textile market is also undergoing sea changes and more opportunities are coming up in respect to readymade garments.

What innovative next, can the world expect from SLCL?

Backward integration by setting up a state-of-the-art Yarn manufacturing unit and forward integration by setting up a fully automated garment manufacturing unit, thus, becoming a full fledged textiles manufacturlng hub. Over and above, Shri Lakshmi Cotsyn Ltd is also focusing on the development of technologies for defence and allied sectors with a vision to serve the nation.
Published on: 19/03/2007

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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