Challenges notwithstanding, few companies are growing well! However, what’s interesting is that they are not only expanding in their existing product base, but also diversifying within the apparel industry.
Quality Knit Wears, Madurai is one such firm that is having 1,200 stitching machines and is currently doing a business of Rs. 80 crore. And that’s not all! The company is witnessing 10 to 15 per cent growth every year and is expected to enter the Rs. 100 crore club in next 2 years.
The immediate target, however, is to become a Public Ltd. company. With its second generation of business comfortably carrying forward the legacy, the target seems quite possible. Team Apparel Resources had an interesting discussion on company’s steady developments with Amrutesh K. Jaghuva, ED of the company and explored interesting aspects about company’s working.
“My father, who initiated this organisation in 1992, has the ultimate goal to make it a public limited company, so we have been giving our best to expand as much as possible. Now, at this stage, to grow better, we have also introduced some more products in our entire range; shirts is definitely one of these that we are focusing upon,” says Amrutesh. The planning as of now is in the initial stage but the company is geared up to make it happen.
Besides, with an investment of around Rs. 2.5 crore, the company has recently installed digital printer and also started a small unit only for bibs manufacturing. Even 8.5 acres of land for the new factory have already been purchased. The going is great so far!
With a strong product base in undergarments and kidswear, the company also produces men’s pajamas. Now shirts, one of the most complicated products, which was earlier not the strength of the company, has been added. As Amrutesh explains, “Me and my father are very much into pattern making and ready to overcome challenges. Secondly, we see good demand for shirts in overseas as well as domestic market. Therefore, we are in the process to add shirts to our product basket.”
The company is aggressively developing its market so that the increased capacity can be utilised. So far working with Europe only, the company is now entering the US market. Amrutesh and his team are always on their toes to fit in costing given by the buyers. He asserts “This is the best way to work, at least this suits us. We have a strong separate planning team that has better coordination with everyone. Thanks to the mutual trust and our organisational transparency, there is not even a single buyer with whom we have stopped working and all of them are still happily working with us.”
Quality Knit Wears has also attained most of the major compliance certifications, and is into organic garments apart from focusing on sustainable, CSR initiatives. Right from having fabrics on-time, the team ensures to have things and systems in place. Continuous involvement of top-level management is also a reason that keeps pushing the entire team.
Having a unit of knitted fabric in Tirupur and its major operations in Madurai, the new unit will also be in Madurai as it is the home town of Amrutesh. As per him, looking at the ground realities, the overall cost is almost equal in Madurai as in any other nearby hub. Lack of skilled labour and absence of well-trained, mid-level professionals is an issue in Madurai because of which Quality Knit Wears had once shifted its garment unit to Tirupur, but had to return back to Madurai after few years as they prefer to work in their home town.
By having own training staff, it tries to overcome most of the challenges.“Working culture is not as good in Madurai as we see in Tirupur as workers don’t prefer to work after their office hours. Absenteeism is around 20 per cent, so we have to counsel the workers regularly, invite motivational speakers and all these efforts are paying as earlier absenteeism was very high.”
With regard to city’s dependency on Tirupur and other hubs for raw materials and other stuff, Amrutesh says, “We believe that with strong efforts, everything is possible everywhere and we did the same in Madurai. The company doesn’t take the service of worker contractors and all workers are permanent with the company. This has a positive impact on quality and also makes us more transparent to others. Madurai Integrated Textile Park Limited is also there which has good infrastructure but the overall land price is not a game changer in Madurai.”
Next-generation is not much willing to join their family business of apparel manufacturing and even those who have joined, are not enjoying this trade, but Amrutesh has a different experience. “When I joined the business, my father gave me a set-up of 100 machines, so I learned everything from scratch. I managed to hire all workers and technical staff, sourcing raw materials and other allied things; all this had a very positive impact on me and I learned to manage even big infrastructure. So, I always enjoyed all segments of this business, be it on shopfloor or buyer meeting,” he concluded on a positive note.
“From day one, we are following a principle of immediately paying our suppliers. Whenever we get the bill, we pay instantly. This has benefited us a lot as every supplier prefers to work with us and has developed a strong relationship with us,” Amrutesh K. Jaghuva, ED, Quality Knit Wears