Interview with Shivang N Desai & Saija Bhatt Thakker
Shivang N Desai & Saija Bhatt Thakker
CDO & CEO respectively NS International
Have you designed a template for each vertical?
SND: We are involved in helping exporters of food, textile, chemicals and for some product categories we act as merchant traders, i.e. we get the products manufactured and sell them to end-users abroad and act as contract manufacturers. We are not into manufacturing but we do have ties with manufacturers. Based on the market and product research that we do, we give them a strict idea of the quality and quantity that needs to be maintained, the packaging, and delivery, and we also get the products made and export them. We have been in this business for the last eight years.
What kind of inquiries have you received in terms of textiles for eximmart ?
SBT: We are trying to shortlist products for textiles, and put together samples or brochures of these products. It is a part of the service package that we provide. Exporters abroad want to sell niche products in the Indian market. For example, baby products, mother-care products, baby diapers, fabrics, yarns; it all depends on the requirement, and there is no specific list.
Which categories are the most in demand?
SND: There is a high demand for textile machineries-both used and new-from European countries and China. The ratio of new and used is 70:30. In Surat, there are traders who have tie-ups with Chinese manufacturers who market through trade fairs and help you import machines and provide after-sale services.
What is the flow chart like?
SBT: Once the client is on board, we give them a chart of development and service delivery; after which we conduct product and market research. Then, we see the capacity of the manufacturer to deliver the products. Thereafter, we identify a strategy-do you want to sell in a place where there are Indian manufacturers selling, or in a completely new domain or market. We operate on the BOT format- build, operate and transform. We build their business from scratch, run complete business operations on their behalf and transfer the skills and knowledge for running a successful global business operation.
How much time does it take for a manufacturer to start receiving returns?
SBT: Initial five months we spend in sampling and setting up base. But it takes at least a year to start getting returns. We involve manufacturers/ exporters to learn the process only after a period of time; we do not want them to be completely dependent on us.
Where do you see the new business heading to?
SBT: We are looking at quality rather than serving quantity. We are looking at working with genuine clients. We are being extremely selective. We want to put together a team that serves and looks after the global requirement. We are doing end branding and sourcing. We want to create more exporters and exports. We understand markets.
There are so many markets that remain unexplored. For example, the Dominican Republic has an FTA with the US. So, a company in India can open a unit there and export to other countries.
A lot of people are worried about language, bank formalities, shipping formalities, their shipments returning, their money getting stuck, and this is where we step in.
What are the main problems that need to be ironed out to ease doing business?
SBT: We have done a lot of digitalisation, but we haven't digitalised the public. You need a digital signature to get an Import Export Code (IEC) which is a license to export or import. But manufacturers are unaware and easy access to such information needs to be provided. Logistics must be made easier-the number of forms and documentation complicates the process. We need single form formats. An exporter needs to educate himself or needs to take help of custom house agents (CHAs), who deal with all the paper work concerned with logistics. The procedure for a letter of credit (LoC) is also very tedious.
The government is putting in a lot of effort; there will be a lot of new things coming up in the next five years like inland waterway transports. So, we are at a very nascent stage where exports need to be developed. But slowly, things are happening; the government is getting into simplifying trade rather than creating barriers. We connect the whole value chain. Most manufacturers are traders, they sell to merchant exporters, and hence manufacturers do not get any benefit and actual returns. After three years, we would want exporters to come up with new products and build them. We have 7-8 clients and 17-18 prospective clients. We work with a lot of certification agencies and collaborations with different CHAs.
The main idea is to create critical components of an export house and export cycle that is product development, market development, research, financial knowhow, creating an identity and hand-holding the client, which is a big aspect for successful export and get recurring orders. We have 10 people in India and few of them in the US.
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