SEMA: A PLAT­FORM FOR COL­LEC­TIVE GROWTH OF SCHIFFLI MAN­U­FAC­TUR­ERS

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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

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