In a tête-à-tête with Anil Buchasia, Director Marketing & Sales, Team PS found out why India still not holds a strong position in trousers exports report vis a vis other countries and what latest innovations Amrit exports is working on.
Amrit Exports Pvt. Ltd. specialises in the manufacture and export of all kinds of workwear including safetywear & casualwear and a major portion of trousers. The ISO 9001:2008 certification by DNV Netherlands, company deals exclusively in exports. Amrit has recently been awarded the third best exporters award by Dun & Bradstreet and ECGC (Nodal agency of Government of India for Export Credit guarantee) and also acknowledgement from the Apparel Export Promotion Council, Kolkata for rendering valuable services to garment trade in Eastern India.
Anil Buchasia stated, “We are supplying garments for workers when they are at work so all our garments have some sort of functional and technical properties. Also use some technical textiles for apparels. Basically we are doing most of the business in Europe. ”
PS: How closely are you associated with “Trousers”?
Anil: We are strongly associated with the trousers, because trousers are one of the very basic articles to have while at work and they need a lot of functional properties within the trousers such as big pockets and other different kind of properties. So we are very conscious about the different requirements according to different activities. Like a painter would be requiring a different kind of a trousers like white trousers with different set of pockets, whereas a worker at construction site would need high rigidity garment. There are a lot of functional elements as per the norms in Europe for people according to their place and nature of work. Trousers consist of a big amount of our portfolio since 1998.
PS: How is the market demand of trousers?
Anil: The demand is always there. We sell two trousers per jacket. Trousers are something that we wear through all seasons and cannot be replaced with any other article. So the market and demand is stable.
PS: How much growth you see in the segment ?
Anil: The overall growth in trousers exports from India, I must say it is very company specific. India is known to be a cotton based export economy and that is the basic component of trousers. But I would say the market is constant. There has not been any growth as such. We as a company are definitely seeing some certain growth but overall exports from India is mainly for t-shirts, tops, dresses and other segments as compared to trousers.
PS: Why is India not seeing any growth in this segment according to you?
Anil: Talking about particularly my company, we are more a consumer-specific company. We do t-shirts, jackets, polo-shirts everything along with the trousers as any workers need everything. The buyers want a whole collection of uniforms from a single company and would not be comfortable sourcing trousers from one and the other articles from others. Our flexibility is appreciated and we need a lot of customers worldwide and I think they are the target customers of India. But if you go to someone who needs volume and cost effectiveness then they will opt for the other competitive countries. So we have to position ourselves according to the market. The profile of consumers is different.
PS: Does India have an edge in this segment over other countries?
Anil: The other competitive countries are very cost effective. India has an edge in services. India offers all solutions under one roof. We don’t aim for quantities. We focus on quality and service. We are flexible in doing smaller quantities as well according to the need. But when you go to China and Bangladesh, may be they are able to cater cost effectiveness and talk money but it all comes down to volume production. There if a company is doing trousers then they don’t produce anything else.
PS: Which are the latest innovations in the segment?
Anil: Now there is a lot of questioning about sustainability. The main innovations coming are to create products in a sustainable way. Moreover what is going to happen is the concept of ‘Smart Trousers’. Some embedded chips in the trousers that can track your activity like a smart watch. Smart textiles are going to hit the market soon as I see in the international market so far.
PS: What new Innovations are you working on under your company?
Anil: We are using Tencel instead of cotton for sustainable purposes. Cotton takes up more water while production but Tencel is a kind of viscose that solves the issue. Going forward I think more technical and smart textiles are going to come. The research is going on. We as a company thrive for innovation and are one of the pioneer companies working on smart textiles. I am doing a project with Pepsi now where we are making yarn from bottles. So the used bottles from Pepsi, instead of going for waste will be utilised to make garments. It is a huge project and so many new concepts are coming on like this.
PS: How the market has changed in last five years?
Anil: In past five years the main change I see is there are a lot of design variations desired by the customers. Earlier there used to be only royal blue trousers mostly but now there are different colours and shades, different cuts and pocket positioning etc. People are more conscious about what they wear and trends, especially in European market. They want to look good and smart in their workwear that they have to put on every day. The aesthetic is becoming important.
Another thing is that now the consumers are more conscious about where is the garment produced and who are making them. So there is the green label, you scan and you can look at the entire value chain with full details. Everybody is talking about recycling the garment. Here I see a lot of big retailers who are encouraging the consumers to bring back the old garments and take new ones, where they recycle the garments for reuse and resale. That concept is also gaining popularity.
PS: How can India boost up the export business of trousers?
Anil: We have to consider the difference of India with the competitors like China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh etc. India is not a prisoner of volume and quantity. We offer much flexibility to the customers and we can do special fabrics and design requests. The economical scale in important. Nobody is coming to India for a million trousers because it is all about machines and efficiency. For that they go to China and Bangladesh. We are an intelligent thinking society and to produce in large quantity one doesn’t need intelligence. You only need machines, a system and workers who are following the system mindlessly again and again. Possibly if someone comes with an order of such lump sum amount with no intelligence needed in it, I myself would reject it. It is our DNA and we cannot change the ecosystem all together. Unless we set an entirely separated workplace from the domestic area and set a new mindset, there will be no such growth in data as you see from China and Bangladesh or etc.