New Head with new ideas to take charge of High­lead

In­dia may see new strat­egy for growth

Apparel Online - - Resource Centre -

Anew per­son tak­ing over the fore­most po­si­tion in a lead­ing busi­ness is al­ways looked at with great ex­pec­ta­tions for higher busi­ness growth, plethora of new strate­gies lead­ing to com­pe­ti­tion, and ma­jor de­ci­sion-mak­ing abil­i­ties to take the com­pany to a new level. While mak­ing crit­i­cal changes, the next gen­er­a­tion suc­ces­sors are also ex­pected to align with the vision and val­ues of the busi­ness and take for­ward the le­gacy of their pre­de­ces­sors. In­deed a daunt­ing task for many, but def­i­nitely not for those who are well pre­pared for the chal­lenges.

Em­pow­ered with char­ac­ter­is­tics such as dis­rup­tive think­ing, risk­tak­ing abil­i­ties and strong will to stand by path­break­ing de­ci­sions, David Xu, Vice Man­ager, For­eign Trade Depart­ment, High­lead is the con­fi­dent successor of High­lead, China. The man­age­ment is con­fi­dent that David’s suc­ces­sion to the cov­eted po­si­tion will be a game changer for the com­pany. David will suc­ceed the cur­rent Man­ager of For­eign Trade Depart­ment of High­lead, Xue­qin Xu in Jan­uary next year. His re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­clude su­per­vis­ing the over­seas mar­ket which are pri­mar­ily In­dia, South Africa, and the USA.

The strength of High­lead is in heavy duty and spe­cial ma­chines, the name be­ing syn­ony­mous with leather and car up­hol­stery in­dus­try. Though

China used to be the big­gest mar­ket for the com­pany, in re­cent times, the mo­men­tum has slowed down as the coun­try has be­come less com­pet­i­tive due to con­tin­u­ously ris­ing labour costs, af­fect­ing High­lead’s busi­ness. Now the com­pany is fo­cus­ing on other coun­tries where these in­dus­tries are grow­ing, In­dia be­ing one of them.

Yet, the sit­u­a­tion in In­dia has not been as pos­i­tive as ex­pected and hence High­lead is plan­ning var­i­ous op­tions to in­crease the pres­ence in the coun­try. “We plan to ex­pand the prod­uct range since heavy duty is not a very wide­spread mar­ket in In­dia, and se­condly be­cause the mar­ket here has very ver­sa­tile needs that we are not cur­rently ad­dress­ing,” said David thought­fully.

This is eas­ier said than done as gar­ment sewing ma­chines have not been the com­pany’s forte. With its man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties lo­cated in Shang­hai it­self, the com­pany ad­mits that ex­pen­sive labour is the sole rea­son for not man­u­fac­tur­ing ba­sic sin­gle nee­dle lock­stitch ma­chines, over­lock and in­ter­lock sewing ma­chines. “Our cost of mak­ing such ba­sic ma­chines is much higher than those of­fer­ing sim­i­lar ma­chines man­u­fac­tured in re­mote lo­ca­tions where labour is still rel­a­tively cheap,” reasoned David.

Yet, the strat­egy will have to change, as the com­pany rec­og­nizes that along with the ma­chine man­u­fac­tur­ers, the ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try has also faced the brunt of China’s in­creas­ing labour costs and has shifted its base to coun­tries like

In­dia, Bangladesh, Viet­nam and In­done­sia. As the next think tank of the com­pany, David knows clearly that to get a big­ger share in ex­ist­ing mar­kets, many bold de­ci­sions will have to be taken un­der his lead­er­ship. The com­pany’s next step would there­fore be to set up an of­fice in Bangladesh to get a bet­ter hold of the mar­ket and pro­vide good re­spon­sive af­ter­sales ser­vice to their cus­tomers. “It’s dif­fi­cult to find a good dealer in Bangladesh, but we are de­ter­mined to go ahead,” shares David.

In the wake of in­creas­ing labour cost at most man­u­fac­tur­ing des­ti­na­tions, au­to­ma­tion is the only so­lu­tion.

Do­ing man­ual op­er­a­tions re­quires high level of skill and con­sumes more time. Whereas, au­to­ma­tion not only con­sumes lesser time but en­hances qual­ity too. “Au­to­ma­tion has eased the work of oper­a­tors en­abling them to set pro­grams with one tap on the ma­chine. Smart heavy sewing is the fu­ture of tech­nol­ogy,” says Xue­qin with his years of ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing for the global mar­ket.

At the re­cently con­cluded CISMA, the com­pany dis­played its GC24698 ma­chines which are a series of long arm high post-bed ex­tra heavy duty, com­pound feed lock­stitch sewing ma­chines. The max­i­mum sewing speed of these ma­chines is 1600 RPM. This series is spe­cially designed for stitch­ing large and ex­tra heavy ar­ti­cles like boots, hand bags, hats, bags etc. The rel­e­vance of the ma­chine is height­ened by the fact that many gar­ment ex­porters in Asia are look­ing at new sewn prod­ucts to en­hance their growth op­por­tu­ni­ties.

David Xu (L), Vice Man­ager and Xue­qin Xu, Man­ager, For­eign Trade Depart­ment of High­lead

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