PLATFORM TO SHOWCASE LATEST TECHNOLOGIES FOR A DEVELOPING MANUFACTURING BASE
In the last few years, Gujarat has increasingly drawn the attention of players in the textile chain, and while earlier, the emphasis was more on the spinning segment with number of investments being made by traditional and new companies in the segment, the focus now is shifting to garmenting. Acknowledging this shift, Ahmedabad was the new venue of the Garment Technology Expo (GTE) for the first time ever. The recently concluded event gave ample opportunities to local players to see latest technologies in stitching, jeans manufacturing, automation, value addition and other garment-related solutions, including accessories.
For many of the participants, Ahmedabad was a new market domain and the purpose of the visit was clearly to see what opportunities were available. “It is the first time we have exhibited in Ahmedabad and though we expected bigger footfall, we are hoping for some orders from the people who did visit the show,” said Victor
Xu, South Asia Sales Manager, SG Gemsy. Added Rajiv Sud, Sales Manager, Optitex, “We are trying to penetrate this market, which is not easy as the garment industry is very different in Ahmedabad. We hope to generate good leads from this fair.” The experience of showcasing in Ahmedabad was an eye-opener for many. “The industry here works in a very different way than most other garment manufacturing destinations and to get an entry point, the strategy has to be formulated as per the mindset and needs of the region,” reasoned Anil Anand, MD, HCA.
His thoughts echoed through the observation of most other technology providers and even accessory manufacturers. “It is fascinating to see how people work out the costing here; we can learn a lot,” marvelled Ankit Jain, Director of Delhi-based Neelam Threads. For those who have a presence in the region, the prospects of business have proved tremendous. “In the last 6 months, we have setup more testing labs than we did in the last 6 years,” shared Manjit Singh Saini, CEO & ED, Paramount, extremely enthusiastic about the pace at which the Ahmedabad market is developing. Whether a new entrant to the market or an already established player, all agree to the fact that Gujarat is not really new to garmenting, but the structure and market focus of the industry is very different from garment manufacturing hubs of Delhi-NCR, Bangalore, Tirupur and other similarly placed clusters. The industry is dotted with small units having 10-20 machines, manufacturing for domestic market. The companies that have more than 20 machines are small brand owners selling through distribution networks all over the country. Then there are integrated players like Arvind, Ashima, Nandan, Komal Texfab, to name a few who are already technology-savvy and looking for expansions. The two major products for which the city is known for are jeans and shirts, though womenswear is the new upcoming category with many local based designers concentrating on the same. The inspiration to work for the global market is by-and-large missing and these local manufacturers are happy working in the domestic market, where they are getting good value
for their products without worrying about buyer demands, beyond quality and price. “We have a small workshop in Ahmedabad making customized shirts, and shirts in small quantities selling in the name of ‘London Reves’ in stores around the country. Our shirts are of premium quality and we are even selling online, so why do we need to export,” questioned Vicky and Umang, Partners to Vegas Lifestyle, owners of the brand. But, they were very keen on the new technologies that they saw, as they wanted to upgrade their manufacturing set-up to get better results and stay competitive with their peers.
Every exhibitor shared that the visitors they met were very interested in the technologies/products on display and asked many questions regarding the same. Irrespective of how big or small the manufacturer was, the thirst for information was noteworthy. “Visitors showed great interest in our INA intelligent hanger system and we received plenty of good enquiries. This is a starting point and we hope to build on this,” said Manpreet Sigh Walia, Indian Representative of INL International Technology Pte Ltd. That an industry having small units should take interest in hanger systems, was a reflection on the willingness of players within Ahmedabad to upgrade and adapt to new ways of doing business. “Though the footfall was not huge, but the visitors who came were very meaningful,” added Deepak Chawla, MD, Xcel Stiro.
Indeed, over the three days’ period, the visitation was average, but many of the exhibitors were happy to be participating as this was the first event of such a stature to be held in the city. “The event provides a good opportunity to introduce our new technology in Ahmedabad. Many of our important customers like Arvind
WHETHER A NEW ENTRANT TO THE MARKET OR AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED PLAYER, ALL AGREE TO THE FACT THAT GUJARAT IS NOT REALLY NEW TO GARMENTING; ONLY THE STRUCTURE IS DIFFERENT “There has been a mindset change in most manufacturers, as the search for automation is on and it is here that we can play a critical role.” “Branding is now very important. It is no longer just about what products you have, but also how the industry perceives you as a company.”
visited us and a number of others looking at automation were happy to find us here,” said Randeep Sahani, GM, Brother (Industrial Sewing Machine Division). His views were backed by Akshay Sharma, CEO, Magnum, the agents for Brother and many other high-end technologies. “This is the first show GTE has organized in this city and we are very happy with the footfall as we met many new customers, while giving our old customers an opportunity to see the complete range that Magnum can offer, some orders have also been placed.”
Visitors from Arvind were a major attraction for the exhibitors, more so as they were looking to invest in a new unit dedicated to protective wear. “We already have machines from Brother with digiflex technology and they are working wonderfully, so we are here looking for more such useful technologies,” said Amit Panghal, Chief Manager – Operations (Protective Wear), Arvind Limited. Similarly, the team from Mumbai-based Technocraft Industries were a great attraction as their Marketing Consultant Malay P. Shah was keen to meet the technology providers for a new factory coming up in Ahmedabad. “We are exploring the options available, since we want to invest in Gujarat. The event gives us an opportunity to meet all the leading technology providers under one roof and discuss the suitability of the technologies offered,” averred Shah. The importance of Ahmedabad as a growing garment hub with potential for new technologies is amplified by the fact that technology providers are now looking for local agents/ dealers to promote their technology. EH Turel has taken a step ahead by setting up a local office very recently to be nearer to the customers.
“We were servicing this region earlier also, but now we have seen a major thrust from the existing units to upgrade technologies. In addition, there are many new investments also in the pipeline, with companies from Mumbai exploring the feasibility of setting up units. This is the right time to be in Ahmedabad, so we opened our service centre here to enable our team to be responsive to the rising needs on fast-track,” reasoned Neville Turel, Sales & Marketing Head, Turel Group. Companies that already have presence in the city were very happy that the show was happening in Ahmedabad. “Response is good for us. Since we are local agents, we know a lot of people and are getting good enquiries,” shared
Vijay Shah, President, Stitchman, distributors for the hugely popular Jack sewing machines. Similar views were expressed by Umesh Gaur, President – Asia, Tukatech: “Some of our existing customers visited us and few new prospects are also coming, so overall the experience has been satisfying.” For Janos Horvath, VP, International Sales, Wilcom International, the event gave an opportunity to his Maharashtra and Gujarat team to work together with strategies for the future.
As a first event, the show proved that Ahmedabad is hungry for knowledge and new technology. Even the accessory players received many enquiries, though how many of them will materialize is anyone’s guess. “Changes are definitely happening and the manufacturers are understanding the need to be better equipped to handle the competition that is now emerging, even in the domestic market. For technology providers, a new market is being developed and we are all gearing up to service them,” concluded
“We were servicing this region earlier also, but now we have seen a major thrust from the existing units to upgrade technologies. In addition, there are many new investments also in the pipeline, with companies from Mumbai exploring the feasibility of setting up units. This is the right time to be in Ahmedabad, so we opened our service centre here to enable our team to be responsive to the rising needs on fast-track.”
Randeep Sahani (L), GM, Brother (Industrial Sewing Machine Division) with Amit Panghal (C), Chief Manager – Operations (Protective Wear), Arvind Limited. Also seen is Yasushi Tsusaka, Director, Brother (Industrial Sewing Machine Division)
Kalpesh and Chetan Khatari of Indramann Narrow Fab, Surat
Ankit Jain, Director of Delhi-based Neelam Threads
Manjit Singh Saini (C), CEO & Executive Director, Paramount with his team members
Akshay Sharma (L), CEO, Magnum with his team member
Khaja Nasiruddin, Country Manager, Hashima showcasing HP-450MS fusing machine
Syed Hafeez, Country Manager, Eastman CRA (Hong Kong)
Kartik Kapoor, Director, IIGM
Bhavya Anand, Business Developer, HCA
Janos Horvath (C), VP, International Sales, Wilcom International, shared that the event gave an opportunity to his Maharashtra and Gujarat team to work together and strategize for the future
Deepak Chawla, MD, Xcel Stiro was content to showcase a Made in India machine
Vijay Yadav, MD, Nilesh Impex
Neville Turel, Sales & Marketing Head, Turel Group