award for the
exports in 2016-17, yet again is
testimony to the fact that,
irrespective of prevailing
circumstances, the company is
committed to perform well not
only for itself but also for
families dependent on it. Armed
by a massive workforce, strong
infrastructure and newest
technology, Orient Craft Ltd.,
the Indian garments design
house, is winning laurels from
everyone and everywhere.
The company, which has retained its position as India ‘s leading garment export house, has a tangible presence in garment design, manufacturing, and exports. What started from humble beginnings in 1972 is today an INR2,000 crore enterprise that boasts of supplies to 40+ international global brands from 25 facilities spanning five states (Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, U.P and now Jharkhand), employing a 33,000+ strong workforce,producing 2 lakh garments daily and shipping across the globe.
“Entering into a free trade agreement in India will grow our apparel business 3-4 fold from the current level of USD 8 billion to anywhere between USD 24-30 billion. Every billion worth of garment increase will create 10 lakh new jobs. So clearly what we are gaining or losing through Foreign Trade Agreements fairly surpasses our expectations.”
The company attained a new benchmark last year when its first unit in Jharkhand started operations. It was indeed a big step towards creating employment in an area from where most of the labour force comes to work in garment factories. Currently, the unit in Jharkhand employs around 900 workers and is producing about 200,000 pieces per month. “Our target is to make this unit a source of employment for countless poor and underprivileged people,” averred Sudhir Dhingra, CMD, Orient Craft Ltd. He also shared that the unit in Jharkhand would be developed further for making basic garments in good volumes. “We would like to increase our market share in producing basic garments and compete in a segment where Bangladesh has taken up a lot of business,” pointed out Dhingra.
While talking about the recent award, he said, “It is always great to receive an award as this is recognition of what we, as a team, are doing and gives us the motivation to keep putting in that extra effort and hard work in whatever we do.” State-of-the-art technology, up-to-date infrastructure and innovative designs are the unique features of Orient Craft. Several programmes under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the welfare of underprivileged communities are also executed in a manner so as to give something back to society. A few areas where CSR is clearly evident are women empowerment, skill development, health and education as well as employees welfare. Talking about the current situation of the apparel industry, Dhingra said, “Things are not very good now as after the duty drawback rates and RoSL were revised, we are losing business every day. ” Dhingra clarified that buyers are not ready to increase price as they have many options to source from. The industry was trying to retain buyers by offering them price competitiveness through the subsidies mentioned. “The change in these rates is affecting the business and if existing rates are not retracted to previous rates, India will be in a very difficult situation and the growth planned by the government will become a pipe dream, “he explained.
Dhingra, who has always been at the forefront and involved in a discussions with the Government, feels that if the apparel export sector is supported from all ends, be it Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), duty drawback rates or any other, India can definitely move up and gain top position in garment exports. “India can grab a bigger chunk of the pie in apparel exports and boost employment manifold, but without Government support it is not feasible,” he added.
Dhingra also highlighted that FTAs with countries like the US and members of the EU can accelerate the growth of India‘s apparel sector manifold. Government is shy of giving some amount of leverage to automobile and wine makers of Europe and sees it as a threat to the Indian automobile and wine industry. “The fact is no European manufacturer has the ability to produce a car in 4-8,000 Euros which Maruti or many other Indian automobile manufacturers are very successfully doing. The same is true about Indian wine also as with our local alcohol companies a vast population consumes liquor that is under 2-4 $ at retail,” he stressed. He feels that in both sectors, European manufacturer can produce high end products, which have very limited potential in sales in India. “Entering into a free trade agreement in India will grow our apparel business 3-4 fold from the current level of USD 8 billion to anywhere between USD 24-30 billion. Every billion worth of garment increase will create 10 lakh new jobs. So clearly what we are gaining or losing through Foreign Trade agreement fairly surpasses our expectations, ” explained Dhingra.
The company‚s success mantra over the years has been improvement and innovation. Thus, constant efforts are made for its design engineers to stay in sync with the latest fashion trends across the world. Global designs, topped with high quality and a vast variety of textiles, have always been the keystones to remarkable accomplishments. Nearly a thousand experts are involved in design development at Orient Craft; in fact, the company produces hundreds of new samples every day. These are only a few reasons why Orient Craft commands US$ 8.5 per garment, whereas the industry average in India for an exported garment is below US$ 4.
To defy the tough times and be productive on all occasions, Orient Craft is focussing on cutting the cost of manufacturing by minimizing expenses and eliminating any unnecessary outgo. Lean manufacturing, cutting overheads and bringing in technology for product improvement are some of the areas of continuous focus. In actuality, the company works with a clear-cut goal of becoming one of the top five suppliers for any new buyer within a maximum of three years. If it does not happen, Dhingra explores the reasons and tries to fix them, and rarely has he failed in achieving this goal.
When asked what the top priorities for him in the 2018- 19 season will be, he said, “sharper sourcing; cost cutting and moving part of the production to low cost centres.” As far as technology is concerned, Dhingra feels that technology is already in place. What is really required is the utilisation of available resources in the best possible manner. To conclude, Dhingra shares that there is a lot of potential and opportunities for India’s apparel sector, and if there is good support from the Government, India will become the strongest global player.