Metic­u­lously cho­sen sup­pli­ers

Shoes & Accessories - - Brand Speaks -

Ex­pand­ing Foothold

Over­com­ing this ini­tial lack of brand recog­ni­tion, San Frissco con­sis­tently kept ex­pand­ing, es­tab­lish­ing a new man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Agra. It soon be­came a ma­jor player in the seg­ment by im­pro­vis­ing designs and launch­ing fash­ion footwear. This was fol­lowed by work­ing closely with a strong dis­tri­bu­tion net­work to re­fine the designs. Kuldeep be­lieves the Naren­dra Modi-led gov­ern­ment’s ‘Make in In­dia’ pol­icy in a way has played cru­cial role. “I think the chal­lenges in op­er­a­tions are be­com­ing less and less,” he says. “When San Frissco had its first plant ap­proved, man­u­fac­tur­ing was not easy at all. You had to have 100’s of ap­provals. You could not come on your own. But now you can do 100% for­eign di­rect investment.” Kuldeep also points to EPIP’S and spe­cial eco­nomic zones (SEZS) as a cor­ner­stone of the coun­try’s new busi­ness-friendly ap­proach.

San Frissco has es­tab­lished its man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties in­side EPIPS. “The ease of do­ing busi­ness has dra­mat­i­cally changed,” Kuldeep says. “Putting up a plant has be­come very easy. Find­ing suit­able land is al­ways a chal­lenge in In­dia, but the new laws and the new ease of ex­e­cu­tion that comes with them are help­ing us at ev­ery step.”

Be­yond Com­fort

San Frissco also broad­ened its prod­uct range be­yond com­fort by in­clud­ing fash­ion and trendy prod­ucts. It has been pro­duc­ing fash­ion­ably com­fort range for the past many years. In man­u­fac­tur­ing, which nor­mally takes sig­nif­i­cant spe­cial­ized ex­per­tise, San Frissco has ac­quired a deep knowl­edge of the field since its in­cep­tion. This be­ing clubbed with de­sign in­no­va­tion and ex­pan­sion in re­tail net­work­ing was able to de­liver the recog­ni­tion and thus turned it to a re­puit ndus­try leader. “That’s a ma­jor change that has hap­pened in the past two decades,” Kuldeep says.

Apart from the brand recog­ni­tion achieved through con­sis­tent strat­egy, San Friss­cow­ill con­tinue to ride on the back of ex­ports which has been wit­ness­ing a robust growth in the seg­ment. In 2016, a quar­ter of its rev­enue came from ex­ports. This grew to 35% by 2017 and is ex­pected to climb fur­ther. “San Frissco has started to cater to not only the grow­ing needs of the do­mes­tic mar­ket, but to mak­ing a lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing des­ti­na­tion for ex­port prod­ucts,” Kuldeep ac­knowl­edges. As the com­pany has grown, San Frissco has struck a bal­ance be­tween con­sol­i­dat­ing its core com­pe­tency and find­ing new av­enues to ex­pand its foot­print. “San Frissco is ba­si­cally a man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany,” Kuldeep says. “We’re al­ways con­cerned with how to pro­mote man­u­fac­tur­ing, and we’re work­ing with dif­fer­ent state bod­ies and cham­bers of com­merce about man­u­fac­tur­ing and how to push la­bor re­forms for it. On the other hand, a lot of new things are hap­pen­ing, and we al­ways re­main on top of such things to make sure that we don’t miss out on be­ing com­pet­i­tive in the global mar­ket. We have never been in­ter­ested in sim­ply sell­ing com­modi­ties or prod­ucts. For 20 years, we’ve be­lieved in value; cre­at­ing value, not just sell­ing it. We want the end user to say, ‘It has to be San Frissco and there’s value in that.’ That is spe­cial, and in sim­ple terms, that is what sets us apart.”

Orig­i­nally started as a fam­ily busi­ness, San Frissco is de­ter­mined to re­tain the com­mu­nity at­mos­phere of a fam­ily con­cern, and this is de­spite its growth in terms of pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, prod­uct qual­ity and re­tail foot­print into new ter­ri­to­ries and hav­ing emerged as one of the ma­jor play­ers. “A lot of the staff meme­bers here have grown up with the com­pany. Work­ing with the same peo­ple, the same cus­tomers, we have made good friends. The jour­ney has be­come so in­volved that the com­pany has be­come a kind of ex­ten­sion of our fam­ily values. We’ve learned how to make shoes, how to do busi­ness. We’ve seen the ups and downs, and now we know shoe-mak­ing and sell­ing like the back of our hands.”

Un­like many ma­jor com­pa­nies, Kuldeep says, San Frissco doesn’t op­er­ate with a key sup­plier pol­icy. “We see ev­ery sup­plier as a key sup­plier. We want to keep that count low and make our sup­pli­ers grow. We’re not look­ing to grow our sup­plier base, un­less we need ca­pac­ity en­hance­ment.” He adds that San Frissco has the view that con­stantly pur­su­ing more sup­pli­ers may de­tract from the re­la­tion­ship build­ing that it values. “We choose our sup­pli­ers with great care, but once we have picked them we will hold their hand. We will help them not just fi­nan­cially or with the tech­ni­cal know-how but emo­tion­ally as well. The key to our suc­cess is that we care for our sup­pli­ers. If our sup­pli­ers don’t feel that they are part of San Frissco, they won’t achieve that same level of qual­ity. Sup­pli­ers too see a lot of values in be­ing strate­gic part­ners with us be­cause they can go to the next level tech­ni­cally.”

Ex­pan­sion op­por­tu­ni­ties

As a lead­ing fash­ion footwear man­u­fac­turer, the Agrabased brand has come up with a broad range of styles. Closed Shoes are an in­te­gral part of the com­pany. It’s a di­verse range of styling, which, San Frissco be­lieves, of­fers a num­ber of dif­fer­ent av­enues for growth. San Frissco has also tar­geted the san­dals and slip­pers mar­ket, an at­tempt that has broad­ened the range of lo­cally pro­duced prod­ucts it could of­fer and there­fore has helped ex­tend its cus­tomer base. Kuldeep says San Frissco is con­tin­u­ously look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand. It is cur­rently ex­plor­ing ways to in­crease its man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­ity.

Key growth ar­eas

He is cer­tain that the busi­ness will con­tinue to grow. “The big fo­cus is the brand. It’s a con­tin­u­ous bat­tle, and ev­ery day we want to in­crease our pen­e­tra­tion, which means grow­ing faster than the rate of mar­ket growth. If the mar­ket is grow­ing at 5%, we want to grow at 10%.” He ad­mits that the com­pany is tar­get­ing fur­ther con­sol­i­da­tion of man­u­fac­tur­ing foot­print in or­der to in­tro­duce new prod­uct lines and ser­vices. San Frissco’s abil­ity, he adds, to pro­vide com­plex designs and its ex­per­tise in clas­sic fash­ion line means it be­ing able to cre­ate op­por­tu­nity to work with the top re­tail­ers.

Core values

Among all the tech­ni­cal and me­chan­i­cal know-how that San Frissco has gath­ered, Kuldeep says, its hu­man re­sources re­main its most valu­able as­set. “We’re only as good as our peo­ple. We want a team that can take us into new ar­eas, en­able more pen­e­tra­tion. We want fewer ac­ci­dents, a safer en­vi­ron­ment, and more pro­duc­tiv­ity. We want to grow year on year. But all the math­e­mat­i­cal mod­els have to come out of the com­pany’s core values of qual­ity and team­work.” He is proud to ad­mit that San Frissco has re­cently been in­vited by the gov­ern­ments to de­liver a talk on do­ing busi­ness eth­i­cally. This may have been of the man­ner in which it has em­braced a range of Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity ini­tia­tives, which in­clude pro­grams to pro­vide bet­ter liveli­hood to dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple, and to en­cour­age en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity. Ev­ery year the com­pany re­cruits two phys­i­cally chal­lenged peo­ple. “San Frissco is a re­spon­si­ble com­pany. We re­ally work for the long haul, and fo­cus on adding value for the cus­tomer. We want to make it so the cus­tomer can for­get their trou­bles and just con­cen­trate on their work.”

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