SEMA: A PLATFORM FOR COLLECTIVE GROWTH OF SCHIFFLI MANUFACTURERS
Indian textile industry has very recently discovered the power of collaborative business. After the very successful business WhatsApp group – ITF (Indian Texpreneurs Federation), that has been a great source of collaborative bargaining and business enhancement for textile companies in Tamil Nadu, now schiffli manufacturers of DelhiNCR have grouped together under the aegis of SEMA – (Schiffli Embroidery Manufacturers Association) with a similar agenda. The success that the collective voice of the members of SEMA has been able to achieve in a short span of time is noteworthy. Sanjay Bansal, Director, Shiv Shakti Embroideries and President of the Association is very upbeat of the prospects and hints at taking the concept to other embroidery hubs too.
The association – SEMA may be relatively new, but the group has been working informally for its members for over 5 years. Initially, it was conceived as a friends’ group to sit together on a regular basis and discuss the industry and its issues, but the group generated so much interest and discussion that today it is a strong body, representing schiffli units that are operating in the Delhi-NCR region. “After the first few meetings, we realised that everyone had so much to say, and there was no platform where issues affecting a group of people running a similar business, could be shared. The enthusiasm of the group pushed us to create an association which is formed to facilitate a common goal of providing international quality products/services preferred by worldwide customers at competitive price,” shared Bansal. Among the first issues tackled by the group was the 13% VAT that was being charged on fabric sales in Haryana, prior to the implementation of GST. “There was no clarity on the act and the industry in Gurgaon and Faridabad was suffering. We collectively went to the concerned Government officials/Minister and it was decided that whatever was received in the VAT chain only needed to be paid, which was a great relief to the industry,” added Bansal. Tasting the first success only meant that the faith in collective bargaining became stronger.
Today, SEMA is an informationsharing platform, where members are openly discussing relevant topics, like how to create designs; how to challenge Chinese imports; new requirements of industry; latest technologies and now they have even
started sharing costing details which is creating healthy competition among the players. “It is well understood that working together is the only solution to grow and undercutting for business cannot help. The transparency that has come in is very good for the industry as now the energy is being used for positive things and not just to find ways to grab business,” averred Bansal. A customer grievance cell has been created to handle complaints from customers and vice a versa.
The positivity of a common platform, was reflected at the recently concluded F&A show in Delhi where 8 members of the association participated as members with individual booths. All participants were happy as they got a good response at the fair. “There is no fear of seeing other schiffli manufacturers displaying their capabilities as we are not really competitors because all of us have our own specialisation and strengths which is growing both in the international and domestic market,” Bansal informed.
Moving forward, similar participation at international events is also on the cards. He further reasoned, “If we commit a certain number of booth bookings, the organisers give us very good rates. This way it is a win-win situation for both the exhibitors and the organisers.” By attending international events, the association hopes to get exposure on global trends in schiffli and compete headon with players in China. Though, Bansal quickly adds that now there is very little in schiffli which can only be sourced from China, as many of the Indian companies have invested in upgrading both machines and techniques for wider range of products.
Also, one of the main agendas of SEMA is formulating a strategy to approach the Government for benefits that other textile industry segments are getting, but schiffli manufacturers are not being considered for the same. The association claims that schiffli producers are playing a big role in contributing to the exports in the fashion segment for which Delhi-NCR is known for, but their products are not counted even as deemed exports. “Since schiffli is a high capitalintensive industry, support is required to grow the industry. Unfortunately, we are not recognised as an industry and no benefit is accrued to us, like customs duty benefits or the gains under the TUF scheme for buying machinery etc. We are determined to change this, and through collective approach, we will meet the Ministry and put our point forward. These issues cannot be tackled as individuals,” argued Bansal.
In fact, the Embroidery Training Centre opened at Manesar in partnership with Saurer (Switzerland), is also an initiative of the group to build technical skills in embroidery. SEMA also formulates the most-effective strategies in order for firms to cope up and meet the everchanging and fast-paced trends and demands of the business environment. It conducts research, creates short-, mid- and long-term plans and develops feasibility studies to ascertain whether a particular venture would become a click in the market or not,” averred Bansal. Next in line is a series of seminars and workshops to upgrade the schiffli industry.
The success that the association has seen has resulted in schiffli manufacturers from other cities/states also seeking membership to enjoy the collective benefits. “We have received many enquiries as to the possibility of having regional chapters of the association so that schiffli players pan-India can be benefited and we are in process to work out a modality of how this can be workable,” informed Bansal. The markets currently being considered are Mumbai, Surat and Amritsar, where the schiffli industry is quite strong.
“SEMA aims to be recognised as the national voice for Schiffli Embroidery in India and to nurture enjoyment of embroidery. It also enables everyone to participate at any level in order to preserve traditional techniques and promote new challenges in the art of embroidery through education and networking.” – Sanjay Bansal, Director, Shiv Shakti Embroideries and President of the Association
SEMA members with Capt. Abhimanyu – the Finance, Revenue, Excise & Taxation, Planning, Consolidation, Rehabilitation, Law & Legislative Minister, Govt. of Haryana
Team Shiv Shakti Embroideries enjoyed the experience of participating at F&A as SEMA members
Ashok Jain, Managing Director of P.C.J.S Group
Harsh Hari Modi of Modi Schiffli Embroidery Mills