In your view what should be the area of focus: Exports or Imports?
International marketing essential - yes please, but not at the cost of domestic consumption. The Gulf states import about US $ 10 Billion worth of apparel and clothing annually, registering a healthy year on year growth. Yet there is no sight of a single successful textile manufacturing facility, despite the ready availability of raw material. The reasons are not far to seek and this is not the ideal platform to get into the nitty gritty - except to emphasize ‘Never neglect your home markets’ Success abroad is dependent on success at home - a basic fact, I have learnt the hard way. Look at ’Raymonds’ and you will realize what I mean.
So, how about the current economic down turn?
My recipe - Do not cut machinery utilization - the moment you reduce production, you get into financial trouble automatically. Improve efficiency in managing cash flows. Keep your staff & workforce motivated. Exodus can be disastrous. Focus on ‘Cash Cows’ in your product portfolio. Flog the markets. I have always believed a problem of receivables is better than a stock pile.
Tell us something about the Omani work force.
The Omanis are clever, committed and unquestionable integrity. My Quality Officer is an Omani woman. My progress chaser is an Omani - probably the best shop floor Supervisor I have. Having said this, let me add, we aren't doing enough in terms of training and development, exploiting local talent, potential, rewards, career progression, so on so forth. My observation, the moment any Business Head reaches the level of Omanisation stipulated by the Government, we get out and import. There are always enough people available across functions, across levels, across countries, across industries to fill in the gaps. We must avoid such soft options.
Any one significant achievement at Rusayl - top of the mind recall ?
Yes please - getting our products certified from SGS Leicester the premiere global Quality Lab , with the existing men & existing machines and equipment - is tough and a significant profitable step forward - something to write home about - not every one's cup of tea. This will add value to our product mix , help us move up the value chain & enhance the equity of our brand .
The Sultanate's only vertically integrated textile manufacturing facility 'Oman Textile Mills' is on the road to recovery. Let us conclude talk with some key learning points from you to the audience.
=> optimum utilization of resources – men & machines
=> faster turnaround of capital - money is expensive these days
=> lean inventories – just in time manufacturing
=> global sourcing of raw material & inputs
=> wide distribution and cost effective multiple channel structures
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.