Trig­ger Ap­par­els is Pass­ing Through Trans­for­ma­tion to Be­come a Big­ger Player in Re­tail

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Keep­ing pace with the fast-mov­ing In­dian re­tail sce­nario, Coim­bat­ore-based Trig­ger Ap­par­els is mov­ing in mul­ti­ple di­rec­tions to grab a larger share in the lo­cal denim mar­ket. The brand is tar­get­ing busi­ness worth Rs. 300 crore (three times as com­pared to its cur­rent turnover) in next two years and has put strate­gies in place for the same. Pri­mar­ily known for its jeans, the brand is now turn­ing into a life­style brand and is adding new prod­uct cat­e­gories in its stores. There are plans to en­hance its reach into al­ready cov­ered as well as com­par­a­tively new mar­kets. Talk­ing to Ap­parel On­line, Sailen­dra Thu­lasid­ha­ran, Pres­i­dent of the com­pany, which has in-house strength from fab­ric to fin­ished gar­ments, shared the over­all growth strat­egy of the brand.

With an in­crease of 20 per cent in its gross turnover in 2016-17, the com­pany in­creased its busi­ness to Rs. 111.64 crore com­pared to Rs. 93.02 crore in 2015-16. How­ever, though the top-line in­creased, the bot­tom line was fur­ther eroded with the loss also in­creas­ing to Rs.1.43 crore against a loss of Rs. 69.65 lakh in the pre­vi­ous Fi­nan­cial Year. The first step taken to ar­rest this sit­u­a­tion and bring fresh lead­er­ship to the com­pany was to re­cruit Sailen­dra, who has deep roots in tex­tile busi­ness as he comes from a tex­tile busi­ness fam­ily and has pre­vi­ously worked with com­pa­nies like The Ra­jaratna Mills Ltd. and Sun­daram Clay­ton Ltd. Af­ter just 8 months at the helm, Sailen­dra is con­fi­dent that this year Trig­ger will achieve break-even point. “Our tar­get is not to just in­crease our turnover, we are fo­cus­ing more on prof­itabil­ity and for that var­i­ous steps are al­ready be­ing taken, and a few more are in the pipe­line,” he shared.

Among the var­i­ous steps put in place, one of the most im­por­tant ini­tia­tive is the trans­for­ma­tion of the brand, from a jeans brand to a life­style brand. Un­der this strat­egy, Trig­ger is now go­ing to add in­ner­wear, wom­enswear, kidswear and fash­ion ac­ces­sories at its stores. In this broad prod­uct bas­ket of the com­pany, there will be uni­sex kind of prod­ucts too. “We want that the en­tire fam­ily should come and shop from our store. They should get prod­ucts bet­ter than their ex­pec­ta­tion. Price as well as good de­sign and qual­ity of the prod­ucts, as also ser­vice at the store…, ev­ery­thing should im­press them,” he added. The com­pany has done many sur­veys in this re­gard and then de­cided to take this bold step.

With the broader prod­uct of­fer­ing, the com­pany is also con­sol­i­dat­ing its distri­bu­tion sys­tem and more thrust is now on EBO model. And the be­lief be­hind this move is the com­mit­ment to serve the cus­tomer bet­ter and give proper feel and com­fort­able shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence. The com­pany strongly feels that the EBO for­mat is still the best way to touch the con­sumer. Cur­rently, it has 100 EBOs across In­dia, mostly in the south­ern part of In­dia. Yet, Sailen­dra feels that there is still scope to ex­pand in states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Te­lan­gana. “We are quite hope­ful to get more growth in these states. Along with that, we will fo­cus on Ma­ha­rash­tra and north

In­dia also. For that, we are ex­plor­ing good part­ners/as­so­ci­ates. EBOs is our first pri­or­ity as there is am­ple op­por­tu­nity in this re­tail model but we will have our pres­ence in large store for­mats (LSF) too,” he added. This ex­pan­sion in stores will help the com­pany to achieve its growth and prof­itabil­ity tar­get.

The com­pany has im­proved a lot on prod­uct level with­out in­creas­ing the price, so now cus­tomers get world­class gar­ments at a fair rate. The prod­uct development team is ex­plor­ing new op­tions in knits and for that, some of the ven­dors in Viet­nam as well as in In­dia are in their touch, so in next few months there will be much more va­ri­ety in Trig­ger’s knit-based prod­ucts. Sim­i­larly, im­prove­ment is also hap­pen­ing in in­ven­tory man­age­ment and for this, fo­cus is to un­der­stand cus­tomer’s ever-chang­ing needs and be­hav­iour. To achieve this ob­ject, brand’s team has worked a lot on un­der­stand­ing con­sumer be­hav­iour and also buy­ing pat­terns.

Fur­ther­more, on­line which was so far a com­par­a­tively weak area for the brand is on the development track. The com­pany is in the process to take ser­vices of good soft­ware com­pa­nies like Mi­crosoft to strengthen its on­line pres­ence. The team, re­spon­si­ble for the same, is putting ex­tra ef­forts for quick data anal­y­sis of stores. “Over­all, we are cre­at­ing such a sys­tem which will com­pli­ment all our pro­cesses and re­tail model as well, and will in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and the ef­fi­ciency of the en­tire team. Some of our stores are

al­ready us­ing such sys­tems, and go­ing for­ward it will be our prime con­cern,” Sailen­dra ex­plained, and fur­ther added that with the help of all these ini­tia­tives in last few months, the com­pany has seen nearly 30 per cent in­crease in its rev­enue.

Im­prove­ments are not only hap­pen­ing in the re­tail and front-end of the busi­ness, but also at the shopfloor level where Trig­ger, with its state-of-theart man­u­fac­tur­ing unit of more than 300 stitch­ing ma­chines, has achieved pos­i­tive results. One of them is re­ally in­ter­est­ing. Re­cently, the HR team of the com­pany had many coun­selling ses­sions with its work­ers and the idea was to re­duce the ab­sen­teeism. These brain­storm­ing ses­sions, train­ing for su­per­vi­sors, shopfloor data anal­y­sis, and trou­bleshoot­ing ini­tia­tives to iden­tify rea­sons for ab­sen­teeism fi­nally helped it to in­crease the at­ten­dance rate by 10 per cent. Now the av­er­age at­ten­dance rate of the work­ers is nearly 93 per cent. With re­gard to ap­parel ex­port, the fo­cus is on qual­ity and on-time de­liv­ery so that it can have re­peat or­ders. The com­pany has suc­ceeded to add new mar­kets and more buy­ers with the help of these in-house ini­tia­tives and ag­gres­sive marketing.

Laun­dry forms an in­te­gral part of the denim pro­cess­ing. Equipped with laser/ozone fin­ish­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and with a han­dling ca­pac­ity of over 2,50,000 pieces per month in laun­dry, the com­pany of­fer wide range of washes in­clud­ing pig­ment, sul­phurs and re­ac­tive dye­ing. It gives ma­jor thrust to sus­tain­able wash­ings and looks at en­hanc­ing pro­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy on this front.

“Ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing and re­tail­ing is one of the most chal­leng­ing in­dus­tries, but we have the strength, right from the start­ing stage of the sup­ply chain, sup­ported by good team and strong prod­uct, so we are def­i­nitely go­ing to be suc­cess­ful,” con­cluded Sailen­dra con­fi­dently.

Sailen­dra Thu­lasid­ha­ran, Pres­i­dent, Trig­ger Ap­par­els

Dif­fer­ent washes is one of the strength of Trig­ger Ap­par­els

The com­pany uses ad­vanced ma­chines for value ad­di­tion in jeans

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