Interview with Shekhar Agarwal

Shekhar Agarwal
Shekhar Agarwal
Group Vice Chairman
LNJ Bhilwara Group
LNJ Bhilwara Group

Customer demand is changing regularly with more stringent quality norms.
With Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Cindrella Thawani, Shekhar Agarwal shares his views on government policies, new technologies as well as about product development in the textile sphere. Synopsis: Shekhar Agarwal is the Group Vice Chairman of LNJ Bhilwara Group. It is a USD 450 million industrial conglomerate and 70 percent is concentrated on textile wing. Its textiles operations are diversified within spinning, weaving, knitting, processing and garments manufacturing in different fabrics. More than 50 percent of the manufactured goods are exported to more than 40 countries. Export led Maral Overseas Ltd and BMD Pvt Ltd companies are the part of LNJ Bhilwara Group. Presently, he is member of the National Committee on Textiles of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Formerly, he was President of Northern India Textile Mills Association as well as Chairman of Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (formerly ICMF). Excerpts:

In Maral overseas, you manufacture various categories of garments. According to you, where does the market fare for it?

As a manufacturer in knitted garments, we focus more on the ladies embellished products (nearly 75 percent of our product mix) for discerning customers in Europe. Our focus will continue to be on women’s’ garments and will continue to grow the kids wear business at the same time. Menswear is a low margin business and be a small part of our product profile.

Quality has been well-nurtured in Maral overseas whether it is yarn or in to fabric section. How far it is important to prioritize it, eventually further as well?

Quality has to be hallmark for any manufacturing unit, no matter what the product. Customer demand is changing regularly with more stringent quality norms. Besides this, competition in the market has become intense, and the best value for money, for the customer, is consistent quality and service. Therefore, in Maral, we have always strived to produce the best possible quality, in line with market demand, and give good service to the customer. It has the greatest importance for us, even in times to come.

Speaking about BMD, how do you see, which latest technologies are swaying in to its territory? Moreover, what challenges do you envision?

New technologies will be driven by customer demand, according to the product they want. We have kept pace with that at BMD, and hence our market leadership. Printing of fabrics would be an area to invest in, over the next few years to give a more sophisticated product and also reduce cost. Customer demand on price reduction is perpetual; along with quick response on product development. This is the greatest challenge. Further, there is more competition setting in with newer players entering the market, which is limited in volumes and hence customer service and reliability will be important.

How far you are following the steps of Eco-foot-print quality towards your companies?

Energy conservation is of paramount important not only from a cost reduction point of view, but also in terms of eco friendliness. Moreover, great emphasis on treatment of effluents to prevent discharge of toxic effluents in the environment is an important exercise that the companies have undertaken, apart from recycling water. This has given positive results. Besides, in all our plants, we have planted more than 10,000 trees/plants to create a green culture and keep the environment pure. On the product end, we have been using more and more organic cotton (more than 25 percent of our yarn production) for production of fabrics and garments for our international customers.
Published on: 27/06/2012

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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