Newer, more dynamic business models to emerge after crisis
Started in 2001,
$75-million company Sara Suole Pvt Ltd manufactures built-up sole, shoes and
leather. Part of the Dhanani Group of Industries, the Bengaluru-based company imports
raw leather strictly from tanneries in the United States, the Amazon Basin and
Europe that adhere to standards of UK-based auditing non-profit Leather Working
Group (LWG). Besides its own premium calf, kip and cow leather, the company also
imports premium finished leather from Italy and Argentina. Its current
manufacturing capacity is over 18,000 pairs of soles and 10,500 pairs of shoes
a day. Its partner show brands include Clark’s, Bugatti Shoes, Nordstrom, Florsheim,
Aldo, Gabor, Dine, Lucky and Next. Vice president Vinesh Singh speaks to
Fibre2Fashion on the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.
In which specific areas are you facing major issues?
We operate retail stores, owned by us and others and also sell online. Since March 23, there has been nil sales. Supplies are affected too but we have sufficient stock to ride the disruption as we manufacture ourselves.
What steps are you taking or have taken to face the challenges like order cancellations?
While employee safety is foremost, we have chalked out a robust plan that would enhance operational excellence when we reopen. The plan on reopening largely refers to a focused approach on targeting core and essential activities, essentially ensuring we most effectively use our resources.
How critical would be the anticipated loss or reduction of trained manpower on fronts like manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain etc. for your business?
On reopening, availability of key staff across functions will be definitely an issue that we anticipate would be mitigated in seven to ten days, and that would largely be a function of the level of comfort employees experience on reopening.
Have you quantified your projected losses, the basic anticipated work loss etc?
We have not yet, as until very recently we did not even know when we will return to work.
Are there any thoughts within individual members, trade associations to come together and work cohesively so that losses can be minimised?
Joint representation to ministries, associations and local authorities to mitigate both financial and non-financial challenges would go a long way in ensuring a smooth reopening.
By when are you expecting the revival process to commence?
We anticipate the retail business to return to some degree of normalcy around November 20, i.e., Diwali.
Is your business entity expecting any specific measure from the government or its nodal departments?
Specific waivers in filing dates for income tax, goods and services tax and employees provident fund contribution without interest or penalties and other non-statutory relief measures like rent and employee salary or welfare are expected.
There is a lot of talk about rewiring businesses to arrive at the new normal. Is there any thought process towards this at your company level or collectively as an industry?
Every crisis brings opportunities as well. Newer and more dynamic business models across industries will definitely emerge after the crisis.
Published on: 05/05/2020
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.
Fibre2Fashion has a diverse global readership, and delivers unique, authoritative and relevant content. Drawing on the expertise and credibility that we have built over the years and contextualising them with our in-depth research studies, we produce authentic news, articles, reports, interviews and interactive explainers through the F2F Magazine and compendiums, among others, which help readers stay abreast with the industry trends.