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Focus on cost is important and profit margins in the industry are shrinking fast
Mercury Fabrics has been producing quality knit fabrics since 2003. In conversation with Fibre2Fashion.com, Pranav Sachdeva, director, Mercury Fabrics, talks about fabric blends trending in the export markets, latest innovations in this field, and the recent expansion into printing.
How do you see the Indian knitting industry faring in the next three to five years?
The Indian knitting industry, like the textile industry, is completely based on demand. Buyers look towards India for cost effective products and quality that can be easily manufactured, yet does not require a great deal of technical knowledge. This is primarily due to the stereotype that comes with the image of the country. Things are changing as India establishes an image of a technically sound country that can execute what other intellectual powers of the world may be able to. The perspective of buyers is also changing, making them more receptive to a slightly higher charge for innovations from this part of the world.
It is not that India does not have the capabilities of executing such quality but that this quality costs significantly more, which in turn disappoints buyers who expect only low cost products from India.
Focus on cost is important and profit margins in the industry are shrinking fast. Cost of production is increasing due to high inflation. According to guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board, a lot of industries including the dyeing industry will soon have to implement zero liquid discharge for which capital investment is so huge that it would cripple companies that do not displace so much weight in the market.
When it comes to unconventional qualities, the Indian textile industry and especially the knitting industry will be able to do more. But will buyers be willing to consider India for more atypical products at a premium? So it will be safe to conclude that the future will be a test of the survival of the fittest.
What is your annual export of knitted fabrics? Which regions do you export to?
We have very recently come up with an addition and added printing capabilities. This has helped us add value to our products. It is the perfect mix that garment manufacturers look for, which is a mill that can give them the fabric and also the print for which they usually have to go to another company. This includes spending a significant amount of time on logistical movement of goods and also increasing their risk in case of quality issues.
At Mercury, it becomes our responsibility to deliver goods with required parameters, making us totally accountable. Because of this, garment manufacturers can be sure that they can get back to us in case of any undesirable circumstances.
Due to this addition in our capability, we have been able to penetrate markets like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh providing them with a product from just one source. Earlier, they had to source from two or more different sources. It is completely in line with our strategic vision - a belief that the countries in the South Asian region will experience heightened regional cooperation and trade benefits in the near future. This would be a stepping stone, leaving a lasting imprint.
What prints and knitted fabric blends have high demand in the export markets?
Before we launched Mercury, there was a great deal of deliberation. It was my father's priority to gauge in which direction the wind was blowing, the potential of countries abroad, the basic needs of the industry and the potential of our own domestic market. Keeping this in mind, Mercury was established on the premise of superlative products at a competitive price, bringing together the best of technology from across the world coupled with economical Indian manufacturing.
Fortunately, we were right. With a mix of machines from various countries like Italy, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom we can cater to most demands of buyers abroad. They usually look for Lycra-based fabrics and reactive prints, which is our core strength. With the addition of our printing capabilities we now offer reactive prints unlike most printing plants that lack the right printing equipment. We have added a machine which is a pre-requisite for unparalleled reactive prints, which is also the first of its kind in India.
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