Director Softech Controls Private Limited
Developing technology in-house could be game-changer for India
Softech Controls Private Limited (SCPL) is a part of the Cotmac Group, an Indian professional engineering firm. Softech has carved a niche in the textiles industry as a total automation solution provider with offices in Asia, Middle East and North America. Vikas Banduke, Director of SCPL, explains why upgrading technology is necessary to stay competitive for the Indian textile industry.
What is the size of the global market for textile machinery? At what rate is it growing?
For our products and services, there is a huge market globally. People nowadays prefer upgrading old machinery with the latest technology than purchasing new machinery.
Which major sectors/areas in the Indian textile industry need immediate government intervention?
Spinning and cotton price fluctuations in the country are a big problem for yarn manufacturers. Also, the government should focus on technology upgradation in all textile fields from fibre to fabric which will help Indian manufacturers compete on a global level. Technology upgradation will lead to increased productivity and quality at low costs.
As a private enterprise, what kind of governmental help will help growth in your field?
A simple tax structure and helping textile manufacturers with technology upgradation can boost this industry.
Which three factors will have a major impact on the industry's performance in the years to come?
Cotton prices and production, government policies on import as well as export of finished goods and raw material, and the global market will impact the performance of the Indian textiles industry.
How do you see the Indian textiles industry evolve in terms of technology by 2020?
Once we were the biggest textile exporters, but textile technology is being imported by us today. If the government and manufacturers take initiatives in developing technology in-house, the whole scenario will change.
India missed out on a golden opportunity after the phasing out of quotas in early 2000. Once again some more doorways have opened for India what with rising cost of labour in China specifically and other issues elsewhere. What are the top 3-5 points that India and the industry collectively need to take so that we don't miss out on the opportunity again?
Increasing labour costs in China will not last long. Africa is coming up in a big way as a hub, where the labour costs are less than ours. Also, automation techniques (which China and other countries are already focusing on) will reduce labour costs and it will not be advantageous to India any more. We should rather focus on increasing productivity by adopting new techniques, improving the quality of products, marketing, and presentation of our products and provide more value to customers at lower costs. Adopting new and innovative techniques and moving towards automisation than being labour-intensive will fetch good results.
What is the rate at which your company is growing? What is the target set for the next two?
We are growing at 20 per cent per annum. We expect the same rate in the coming years.
What is the focus on R&D in your company? What percentage of profit is allocated towards it?
We are a small company, yet we give importance to R&D. We will come up with 2-3 innovative products in the coming year.
Which are the major markets for your products? Where do you see the prospects growing?
We are expanding more in Southeast Asia where we are focusing on synthetic industry automation upgrades.
What are the challenges hampering growth in this niche?
Lack of good manpower maintenance, funds for R&D, and marketing abilities to reach customers are the three main challenges we face.
What kind of technologies and testing solutions you plan to introduce in the near future? Do you plan to widen your operations?
Yes, we do plan to set up an office and offer services in Southeast Asia.
Published on: 04/10/2017
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