Interview with Sumit Mall

Face2Face
Sumit Mall
Sumit Mall
Director
Times Fiberfill
Times Fiberfill

How eco-sustainable are your manufacturing units and product line?

We are a GOTS- and Fairtrade-certified company with more than 75 per cent female employees. In our home textiles division, we manufacture home textiles and garments only from certified, organic raw materials, and also ensure that processing and fabrication is at our GOTS- and Fairtrade- certified units. We are one of the few exporters in India manufacturing organic cotton-quilted products with certified organic cotton fabric and certified organic cotton wadding, which is made in-house. Additionally, all our printing units have ETPs installed for cleaning up waste water from the plant. Our technical textiles division uses recycled polyester staple fibre in more than 75 per cent of our products. Additionally, we have shifted all our chemical-based processes to thermal bonding which consumes no chemicals. As a company, our focus is to develop sustainable solutions which provide better performance to our customers.

What has been your growth story over the last three years? What is the target set for the next two?

Since 2011, we have been steadily growing at 30 per cent per year. Our target is to increase this growth rate to 50 per cent, and to increase horizontal integration of our facilities. We have recently added a facility for needle-punching of natural fibres, and another dedicated facility for exporting organic baby products. We have plans to add capacity for geo-textiles and also diversify into recycled natural fibre products by mid-2016. We are also installing an automated flatbed screen printing facility in Kolkata which would be functional by November 2015.

What percentage of your profit is allocated towards R&D?

Typically, we are investing 10 per cent of our profits in R&D. Our aim is to provide high-quality fire retardant solutions for safety wear, automotive, home furnishing and insulation. This has helped us over the years to invest in high-quality raw materials, and establish relationships with innovative companies across the globe. Today, we have a complete array of fire retardant solutions for the safetywear and insulation segments.

Has branding come into play yet in technical textiles? For instance, home furnishing like Bombay Dyeing, etc have become household names. How important will branding eventually be in terms of technical textiles?

Branding is already playing a role in technical textiles. Most of the well-known Indian brands in technical textiles like SRF, Supreme Nonwovens, etc are known in the market for their quality products. In the non-consumer segments, good quality manufacturers have been able to create brand-loyalty among their customers through consistent supply. However in many cases, these manufacturers have been unable to replicate the same on a pan-India basis. In such sectors, company brands have become a signature of quality and consistency, which the end-user would pay a premium for. Companies which don't adhere to this philosophy would ultimately run out of customers. We, as a company, have adhered to this philosophy, and are beginning to reap dividends from such long-term thinking. In the hygiene sector, several manufacturers and converters will have to step up efforts in order to match the multinational companies already having a foothold in this segment. This sector is going to be the one which would see the maximum amount of branding exercises in the coming years, as it has over the past several years.
Published on: 27/06/2015

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.

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