GM - South Asia (Consumer Products) UL
Underwriters Laboratories trusts the 'hub and spoke model
The testing and inspection industry is poised to grow as it continues to receive immense support. Sarbajeet Mukherjee, GM - South Asia (Consumer Products), Underwriters Laboratories shares market specific insights on the testing and inspection industry with Fibre2Fashion.com
What is the size of the testing or inspection industry in South Asia?
Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) services are growing due to increasing awareness about the products and services in almost every sector. South Asian countries are attracting huge market opportunities for global TIC services owing to rapidly developing industries such as automotive, electronics, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, consumer technology and medical devices. With India's apparel market growing fast, the testing industry is growing just as fast. There is an increasing demand to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in the supply chain. In direct response to this, the textile companies are looking out for an efficient, cost-effective third party testing organisation that can help them to meet stringent international environmental standards and regulations.
Which tests are mandatory to get certification for organic textiles?
As per the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), tests like Azo, Pentachlorophenol (PCP), Chromium VI, Heavy Metal, etc are mandatory before organic textiles are certified.
What is the type of government support that this industry receives from the Indian government?
The Indian textile industry is one of the largest in the world with a massive raw material and manufacturing base that has captured a lot of attention lately due to the initiatives taken by the government. This includes setting up of integrated textile parks, one of the flagship schemes of the Ministry of Textiles. Other measures to boost exports include hike in duty free entitlement to garment exporters for import of trimmings, embellishments and other specified items. This has been increased from three per cent to five per cent. There is also a proposal to drop duty on branded items, providing relief to the entire value chain.
Which geographies give you the most business?
The Asian apparel industry produces apparel and garments for the rest of the world. The industry looks dynamic, and is witnessing a shift in buyers' preference from China to Bangladesh, India and Vietnam. UL believes in the 'hub and spoke model' for servicing the needs of the industry, and has major testing laboratories and inspection offices in all big manufacturing locations. UL also has smaller facilities in many other locations, which feed into the hubs. UL will continue to grow in terms of geographic reach as well as provide innovative service offerings for the apparel industry across Asian production locations.
What is the target set for the next two years - in terms of financials and growth?
Our primary focus will be driving UL's growth in India, building on the solid foundation and momentum achieved by the 'In India, For India' strategy. Three elements of this will include:
1. Continuously help our customers improve product quality and product acceptance in India and abroad, gain efficiency in time to market and reduce risk.
2. Engage with relevant stakeholders to establish quality and standards in India - to make India a safer place for consumers.
3. Continue to invest in our people and infrastructure to drive business.
What is the kind of R&D at UL to cater to their target industry?
With more than a century of technical expertise, our tools and testing processes continuously evolve to keep pace with fast-moving advancements in materials and innovation across categories such as electromagnetic compatibility, sensory experience, product performance and much more. We use highly sophisticated testing equipment with latest technology.
What percentage of your profit is allocated to R&D?
At UL, we are constantly evolving through R&D and testing efforts to meet ever growing consumer needs and are committed to working with all stakeholders in the textile and apparel industry. Over the years, UL has collaborated with various customers in the textile sector across India, and will continue to do so. Apart from the textile sector, UL is also developing active support for other industries like toys, fashion, jewellery and footwear.
Published on: 02/09/2015
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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