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Knitwear sector needs to shift from commodity-based manufacturing to value addition
Incorporated in 1999, Purani Textiless Private Limited is one of the leading spinning mills of southern India. The Coimbatore-headquartered company is into manufacturing knitted yarns like viscose filament yarn, spun and blended yarns. The company has an installed capacity of 6,000 spindles with the latest in machinery. CEO N Nithyanandan stresses the need for research and innovation in the Indian knitting sector and discusses the pain points hindering growth.
What is the market size for knitted yarns in India? How big is the industry?
The size of the Indian knitted yarn market is huge, but the yarn usage in this sector is diverse, spread geographically across India. The Tiruppur belt is predominantly cotton-based for innerwear, outerwear, and polo shirts whereas the Ludhiana belt is more on dyed and grey yarns and wool, acrylic and its blends for knitting sweaters. The yarn needs per day in the Tiruppur zone are 1,500-1,750 metres, out of which 80 per cent is cotton-based yarn whereas the demand per day in Ludhiana is 1,000 metres. Compared to wovens, the size of the knitted sector is still small due to the long historical existence of weaving in India.
What is the global market size for this niche? What are its newest applications?
The global market size will be huge since these products can be used for all clothing segments like shirting, suiting, dress materials, kidswear, womenswear and bras. Awareness about preferred aesthetics is necessary. It is vital to know what, when and why to use and to understand clothing needs of the end consumers. At present this is very poor among knitted yarn users.
To which markets do you supply your yarn?
We supply to all markets in India. Since our capacity is limited we focus on the basis of best optimisation of operating margins and accordingly decide the supply for domestic and export markets. The supply of yarns is regular in the domestic market because of our existing customers.
What are the latest innovations taking place in this industry?
The latest innovations in this sector are automation of textile processes from the start till packing of yarns, saving energy through solar power and efficient machinery line and fully biodegradable and environment-friendly processes, raw materials and finished goods.
What are the challenges facing the knitted yarn industry, especially in the Tiruppur and Coimbatore regions? How can the government help?
Lack of proper infrastructure on wet processing and effluent discharge facilities, lack of in-house integrated production facilities (for highly decentralised knitting operations) and zero existence of high-end value added garment manufacturing mindset are some challenges. The government should look into the issues of this industry and consider various steps and policies for the transformation of this sector to global levels.
Indian yarn industry falls behind when it comes to research and innovation. What is your take on this?
It is completely true. Lack of research and innovation has been the main reason for the problems currently being faced by the industry. The players are contented with commodity-based production policy and the business is fully driven by price. After sensing this, we shifted our focus to value-driven specialty manufacturing.
What are the challenges that this niche faces on the global front?
There needs to be a level playing field. The Indian players are unable to compete with their overseas counterparts in the global market due to the existing tax structure. Disparity in the goods and services tax (GST) rates between cotton and synthetics pose a big challenge. Indian fibre consumption pattern is 59 per cent natural fibres and 41 per cent manmade as opposed to 60 per cent manmade and 40 per cent natural fibres internationally.
What is your take on the USChina trade war? How will it impact the Indian textiles sector?
This will be good for India in the days to come. It will definitely depend on how the government policy framework aids in grabbing this opportunity to our advantage. A lot of level-playing field in tax slabs, and value-added product production needs to be pursued and put to practice in a swift manner.
What kind of innovations in machinery yarn makers like you look for?
We look forward to innovations in online monitoring of yarn quality in manufacturing at all stages of processing against the set limits of yarn quality.
What is your USP in comparison to the other big players?
We do not believe in USP. We focus fully on unique value propositions (UVP) like wear, comfort, durability, attributes on hygiene in and out. We imbibe these UVPs in our products.
What factors are responsible for the company's performance in the last two years?
Confusions and disparity of GST slabs, demonetisation, frequent interruptions in power supply and market fluctuations affected the company's performance.
What are your future plans?
We are closely watching the market and taking measured steps in evolving our plans for the future. You are aware that this industry is highly capital intensive and any plan to consider and pursue will be result oriented. (HO)
Published on: 08/01/2019
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