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Indian home textile company Welspun readies plans for future

Image Courtesy: welspunindia.com

The impact of policy changes in the last one year are being felt by every segment of the industry and even a market leader in Home Textiles like Welspun has shown a decline in its earnings in the third-quarter of FY 2017-18. The (-) 7.6% decline in total income at Welspun India Ltd. (WIL), part of the US $ 2.3 billion Welspun Group, has been attributed to a volume decline in business due to customer destocking coupled with GST impact on duty drawback. Yet, the company is very optimistic of business in 2018. “We have been taking steps to be prepared for the future – in terms of our brands, channels, innovations, traceability solutions, sustainability initiatives and so many other areas. We believe we have built a solid foundation and are ready to enter the next trajectory,” says B.K. Goenka, Chairman, Welspun Group.

Welspun India is one of the world’s leading home textile manufacturers and one among the largest home textiles exporters to the US. The global footprint covers markets in the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Japan. To better service its clients, the company has a distribution network in more than 50 countries and supplies to 17 of the Top 30 global retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond, Costco, Kohl’s, Walmart and Macy’s, to name a few. “We are the suppliers of choice for top retail stores across the world, which reflects our determination to deliver quality at our best. We continuously undertake product improvement projects for enhancing overall customer engagement experience and ensuring consistency between all service interfaces,” says Dipali Goenka, CEO and Joint Managing Director, Welspun India Ltd.

The company proudly proclaims to be a customer-centric organisation that aims to consistently deliver on the promise of excellence. In this endeavour, WIL has made many interesting investments that will add value to the business this year which includes a new state-of-the art warehousing facility in the US East Coast for future-ready supply chain.

Building in Traceability…

The most important of such investments is the launch of a patented, end-to-end traceability process – Wel-Trak™. This revolutionary and industry-defining process ensures that customers and consumers can trace the provenance of the cotton raw materials throughout the supply chain from farm to the retail shelf. “All our customers across the globe are very excited about Wel-Trak™, as it is a unique concept for the textile industry. Having a mechanism in place that will enable them to track the source of the final product right back to the specific farm it comes from, definitely adds value and transparency to the whole process,” avers Dipali.

Taking the traceability commitment to an even higher level, Welspun has also entered into a tie-up with Oritain Global Ltd., a world leader in the use of scientific traceability to determine provenance of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and now extended to cotton fibre. This partnership provides independent validation of Welspun’s supply chain by using a method of chemical fingerprinting to identify the origin of the cotton fibre used for its home textile products. Oritain has created a database of unique ‘chemical fingerprints’ for special cotton growing areas such as Egyptian, US Supima and Australian cotton. This will be extended to include Organic and American Upland cottons. This database enables Oritain to verify a sample against its stated origin. Using this method, Welspun can conduct tests at various stages of its manufacturing process and verify the origin of cotton at each stage to ensure the authenticity of its final products.

Adding capacity, the way forward…

The company currently has two topof- the-line manufacturing facilities in Vapi and Anjar (Gujarat). These are Asia’s largest, completely vertically integrated lines in farmto- finish production across diverse products. “Our manufacturing facilities score very high on the environment index as these are zerodischarge facilities with high water and energy efficiency,” says Dipali. Welspun is very positive of future growth both in the international and domestic market and has recently made investments in Telangana for a Rs. 1,261-crore technical textile project of Welspun Flooring, for manufacturing floor covering carpets and luxury vinyl tiles. Meraj Hasan who has worked as a strategic planner in agencies like Lowe, Y&R, Saatchi & Saatchi and was also involved with Reliance in Jio’s launch, has been roped in to lead the marketing efforts for Welspun Group’s new flooring solutions. The portfolio consists of innovative product lines like luxury carpet tiles, broadloom carpets and artificial grass with design at the forefront. “We will be manufacturing everything in India at our plant with a strong focus on CSR and sustainability,” shares Hasan.

Focus on CSR…

In fact, CSR and sustainability are at the core of most initiatives undertaken by the company. The Welspun group has undertaken several initiatives for integrated rural development. The women upcycle waste fabric from the company’s Anjar manufacturing unit is used to create products including handcrafted one-of-a-kind quilts, decorative pillows, and other bedding accessories under the brand SPUN and can be found on the shelves of top retailers across the globe. Creating over 2,00,000 products annually, SPUN provides financial stability for 600 odd women and their families involved with the initiative. The initiative has helped not only the women of Gujarat but also the environment, by ensuring minimal waste, and recycling.

The company has also partnered with Walmart’s Swasti Foundation for Women Empowerment and Training. So far, it has successfully trained 2,335 women in foundation level courses and over 500 in advanced level courses. No wonder the company is the only Indian company ranked among Top-3 in product-wise sustainability scores by Walmart. Further, in order to reduce was people’s dependency on the Narmada river and make more water available to local communities, the group has set up a 30-mid waste water treatment facility at Anjar. The company has installed communitybased RO plants across eight villages in Anjar and three villages in Vapi, providing pure drinking water to over 10,000 villagers.

Future commitments…

Welspun India strongly believes in its requisite of conducting business operations sustainably, and now with Welspun 2.0 on the roll, maximum emphasis on sustainable business practice and inclusive growth has been laid. WIL is collaborating and exchanging ideas across the value chain to create sustainable solutions that will have a positive long-term impact. “Our vision and mission is to leverage our scale to create better products, strengthen communities and protect the environment. We believe our determination and focus will create shared value for all. We are fiercely committed to working in-line with India’s initiatives also, incorporating principles treasured in the Business Responsibility Framework,” concludes Dipali.