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Interview with Neha Jhunjhunwala

Neha Jhunjhunwala
Neha Jhunjhunwala
Director-Marketing & Sales
Sarla Performance Fibers Limited
Sarla Performance Fibers Limited

Clients look to Sarla as trusted advisors and partners
Sarla Performance Fibers Limited stands as a cornerstone in the textile industry, specialising in the manufacturing and export of value-added nylon and polyester filament yarns and threads. 
From textured and twisted yarns to dyed threads and high tenacity varieties, Sarla’s extensive product range encompasses the very essence of quality and innovation.
In our daily lives, Sarla’s yarns and threads serve as silent companions, woven seamlessly into the fabric of our existence. Whether adorning the knee-length socks of football players, gracing the dress socks of a teenage fashionista, or contributing to the fine hand-sewing of leather shoes worn by entrepreneurs, Sarla’s products are omnipresent, yet often unnoticed, manifestations of superior craftsmanship and reliability.
At the heart of Sarla’s operations lies a steadfast commitment to quality, encapsulated in its comprehensive quality policy with its clearcut mission: to manufacture and deliver nylon and polyester yarns and threads that not only meet but exceed customer expectations in terms of product performance, consistency, delivery, and service. This commitment is underpinned by Sarla Performance Fibers Limited’s dedication to innovation, employee development, and continual improvement across all facets of the business.
Central to Sarla’s success is its state-of-the-art facilities, equipped with cutting-edge technology and an upgraded dye house. 
With a colour bank boasting over 5,000 shades and the capability to dye batches ranging from 1 kilogram to 5,400 kilogram, Sarla Performance Fibers Limited ensures exceptional colour consistency and quality in every product that it delivers.
Sarla Performance Fibers Limited’s product range encompasses over 250 different varieties of nylon and polyester yarns, each meticulously crafted to suit a diverse array of end applications. From apparel to technical textiles, Sarla’s offerings cater to the unique needs of customers, empowering them to innovate and excel in their respective fields.
Sarla Performance Fibers has also emerged as the preferred partner to niche sectors within the global apparel and textile industry. Through its unwavering dedication to developing specialised products, capabilities, and services, it has cemented its position as a trusted ally to businesses operating in the specialised markets.
In a recent interaction with Neha Jhunjhunwala, Director-Marketing & Sales at Sarla Performance Fibers Limited, Fibre2Fashion delved deeper into the essence of Sarla, its rage of offerings, and Neha’s views on the industry landscape and her vision to drive Sarla’s future growth. 
Here are the insights gleaned from this candid discussion:

Can you walk us through the path that led to your current role at Sarla Performance Fibers?

To be honest, it all happened by chance. While I was doing my Masters in the United Kingdom in 2009, I needed a thesis topic and ended up choosing our family business, Sarla. 
I spent two months shadowing and observing my father’s endeavours, immersing myself in the intricacies of the company. Witnessing firsthand my father’s journey of laying the foundation stone by stone, machine by machine, product by product, and customer by customer left an indelible impression. I was struck by the sheer determination and resilience he exhibited in building Sarla Performance Fibers Limited from scratch.
This profound experience ignited a realisation within me that this is my calling, and over the span of more than a decade since, my passion for Sarla has only flourished. It has become more than just a workplace; it is where I find purpose and fulfilment. 
Sarla provides me with the platform to contribute meaningfully and effect positive change. 
Each day presents an opportunity to add value and make a difference in the industry we operate in.
Thus, what initially began as happenstance has evolved into a deeply rooted commitment and affection for Sarla Performance Fibers and today it has become a place where I not only thrive professionally but also find personal fulfilment in contributing to its growth and success.

How does Sarla Performance Fibers distinguish itself from other players in the market?

At Sarla Performance Fibers, we transcend the conventional role of mere ‘yarn suppliers’. Our clients look to us as trusted advisors and partners, attributing to our commitment to their growth. 
Our primary objective at Sarla is to foster the expansion of our clients’ businesses. This ethos is exemplified through our diligent efforts to comprehend and fulfil their distinct requirements promptly and precisely.
Our approach extends far beyond the provision of yarns and threads; we offer comprehensive end-to-end solutions to our clients. From conceptualising product designs to managing production and logistics, we accompany our clients throughout their journey. 
By integrating seamlessly into their operations, we facilitate a streamlined process that maximises efficiency and enhances outcomes.
Our focus on delivering holistic solutions underscores our dedication to serving as more than just suppliers. We aim to be valued partners who contribute proactively to our clients’ success. 
Through our collaborative approach and commitment to meeting their needs, we solidify our position as trusted allies. 
Secondly, many companies in the textile industry in India have taken on bank loans to operate, however at Sarla, all our textile assets are debt free. We work and grow solely on our own feet—this is an important but often unnoticed and underrated factor. It allows for a sustainable business model and a secure future to offer all our stakeholders including our customers.

What are some advancements that have been made in the development of sustainable performance fibres lately which you would like to talk about and how do they compare to the traditional synthetic fibres in terms of performance and environmental impact?

Oh, this segment is rapidly picking up! The whole textile industry is doing all it can to be as environmentally conscious as possible. 
One big development is the use of recycled materials. For example, yarns made from recycled nylon, polyester and plastics are now quite common. They perform just as well as traditional synthetic fibres but have a much lower environmental impact since they help reduce waste. 
Another advancement is the creation of bio-engineered fibres. In this, synthetic materials are mixed with plant-based or renewable materials extracted from grass, corn, sugarcane or even bacteria. These fibres offer excellent performance while being more eco-friendly because they are biodegradable and have a smaller carbon footprint. They are basically a link between nature and technology. 
Then there is vegan leather – made from fruit waste, pineapple leaves, cactus, mushrooms. They look and feel exactly like leather, minus the huge environmental impact. 
We are also seeing innovations in how materials are produced, with manufacturers using more energy-efficient processes and less water and chemicals. 
At Sarla, we have added eco-friendly dope dyed nylon yarns, which save up to 80 per cent energy, reduce carbon emissions, cut chemical use, and save water. We have also long obtained recycled nylon and polyester from mindful manufacturers, while also recycling our own waste and transferring them within our own plants at Dadra, Vapi and Silvassa. 
Lastly, approximately 40 per cent of Sarla’s total energy consumption comes from the solar panels and wind turbines installed.

How do you foresee the global market for performance yarns shaping up going forward?

The performance yarn market is primed for ongoing expansion, buoyed by diverse factors. From the rising demand for lightweight materials to applications spanning sports gear and aerospace, several drivers contribute to this growth trajectory.
Safety gear and medical textiles play significant roles in the market, contributing substantially to its dynamics and growth. However, sustainability is required, not just in terms of products, but having a sustainable business model is getting more attention. 
So, we can expect new tech to keep pushing the boundaries and with growing economies and consumer demand, it is a market with serious momentum.

What are the current challenges and limitations in the production and adoption of performance yarn as you see them?

Firstly, the rising costs pose a significant challenge, particularly with the production of value-added niche products, impacting affordability for consumers. 
Additionally, sustainability remains a hurdle despite companies’ efforts to address it. The primary challenge lies in sourcing materials and adopting methods that meet both the environmental sustainability standards and ensure optimal product performance. 
This necessitates innovative approaches to strike a delicate balance between environmental responsibility and meeting consumer demand for high-quality products. While progress is being made, finding sustainable solutions that align with performance requirements continues to be a key focus area for the industry players.
Speaking of quality, consistency is the key! We have got to make sure that every batch meets the mark. This is paramount for us at Sarla. Finally, awareness; the challenge of educating people about why performance yarns are worth the investment. 
It is not just about looking good – these yarns can really up your game in terms of comfort, durability, you name it. 
So yes, these are the challenges that need to be tackled head-on.

Which industries or applications does Sarla Performance Fibers primarily targets, and how are your products tailored to meet their specific requirements?

We specialise in providing high-quality value-added nylon and polyester filament yarns and threads, tailored to meet the specific needs of various industries and applications. 
Our focus is primarily on several key markets, encompassing hosiery, specific home textile applications, narrow fabrics, and medical uses. Additionally, we extend our offerings to various industrial sectors, such as industrial ropes, fishing nets, cords, and automotive upholstery. 
This diversified approach allows us to cater to a wide range of industries and applications, ensuring that our products meet the diverse and unique needs of our clients across different sectors. Whether it is providing materials for everyday clothing items or supplying durable components for industrial and automotive purposes, we strive to deliver high-quality performance yarns and threads that excel in their respective applications, contributing to the success and efficiency of our customers’ operations.
Our products are also utilised in athleisure, sportswear, innerwear, knitted items and also dye houses. 
In each of these industries and applications, our offerings are carefully crafted to meet the specific performance, durability, comfort, and sustainability needs of our customers, ensuring superior end products that excel in their respective markets.

What are some of the markets and segments that you feel hold lots of promise and growth potential?

The Indian textile sector is a key contributor to the country’s economy, accounting for 2.3 per cent of GDP and employing around 35 million people. India plays a vital role in the global yarn market, with the second-largest spinning capacity. 
With government support and strategic investments, India aims to lead the international yarn market. 
In the global manmade fibre (MMF) sector, valued at $63.93 billion in 2022, India’s industry is experiencing rapid growth, driven by increasing demand and technological advancements, with projections indicating potential growth to around $93.03 billion by 2030. 
Apart from this, segments like novel textiles, bio-engineered materials, and functional apparel are trending as well and offer massive growth opportunities.

Any new product/innovation in the pipeline that you would like to talk about?

At Sarla Performance Fibers, innovation is at the core of our operations, driving us to constantly evolve and meet the diverse needs of various industries. We are excited to share some of our latest innovations that are currently in the pipeline.
Our cutting-edge nylon yarn for circular knitting is one of our standout offerings, designed to deliver superior performance and versatility in textile applications. Additionally, we have developed super soft polyester and polyamide stretch yarns, catering to the growing demand for comfort and flexibility in modern textiles.
Another noteworthy innovation is our range of bonded threads, widely utilised across multiple industries for their strength, durability, and reliability. 
Furthermore, our soft top covered yarn represents a seamless blend of performance and style, offering a unique combination of functionality and aesthetics.
At Sarla Performance Fibers, innovation is not just a buzzword; it is ingrained in our culture. As one of the most integrated yarn companies globally, we are committed to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the industry. 
With Sarla, you are not just receiving products; you are investing in innovation, reliability, and excellence—all bundled into one comprehensive package. 
Stay tuned as we continue to unveil more groundbreaking products and solutions to meet the evolving needs of our customers and partners.
Interviewer: Deepankar Shyam
Published on: 04/06/2024

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.