Com­po­nent | Sang­havi

The Dom­i­nant Last­maker

Shoes & Accessories - - Contents -

With sev­eral ma­jor footwear brands al­ready man­u­fac­tur­ing in In­dia, how much has the de­mand for last gone up in the re­cent time?

We have been as­so­ci­ated with and nom­i­nated by var­i­ous top brands like Clarks, Hush Pup­pies, De­ich­mann, Pent­land for sev­eral years, and many of the top new brands en­ter­ing In­dia like Zara, H&M, Top­shop, Mango are work­ing with us as well. We are also work­ing ex­ten­sively with top do­mes­tic brands like Cat­walk, Metro and Ru­osh.

The ad­vent of fast fash­ion means that cus­tomers ex­pect new styles in the shop or on­line every time they visit. This, along with in­creased cost of shoe pro­duc­tion in China and the steady growth in ca­pac­i­ties in In­dian footwear in­dus­try, means that we have seen over 50% in­crease in pro­duc­tion in the past 5 years. We are an­tic­i­pat­ing an­other 20% in­crease in pro­duc­tion this cal­en­dar year due to in­creased ca­pac­ity in our Vel­lore unit.

How has Sang­havi man­aged to stay ahead in the com­pe­ti­tion? Kindly ex­plain.

Sang­havi has been able to main­tain its dom­i­nant po­si­tion in the In­dian mar­ket by be­ing able to pro­vide world class prod­ucts any­time and any­where. Sang­havi has, across all lo­ca­tions, CNC ma­chines made by Newlast, which is the man­u­fac­turer of choice for every top Euro­pean, Asian and Amer­i­can last maker. Our mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions, mar­ket lead­ing ca­pac­ity and de­liv­ery time mean we are the pre­ferred choice for top brands, sev­eral of which we have nom­i­na­tions for. The tech­ni­cal team at Sang­havi has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in the footwear and last mak­ing in­dus­try al­low­ing us to give ex­act shape to a cus­tomer’s vi­sion and also en­sure a per­fect fit for the user. Our stan­dards en­sure that there is no com­pro­mise on ei­ther looks or com­fort and aims to re­duce the large lead times nor­mally seen in last de­vel­op­ment. We use high qual­ity Ital­ian hinges and top-grade plas­tic to en­sure that the lasts re­tain their qual­ity and shape dur­ing the en­tire pro­duc­tion cy­cle and then some, as we recog­nise the tremen­dous cost a man­u­fac­turer has to face if there are de­fects in the last. Our an­nual col­lec­tions de­signed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with re­puted heel and sole mak­ers means all cus­tomers have af­ford­able and con­ve­nient ac­cess to lat­est styles. We un­der­stand that the last is the heart of the shoe, and take pride in our role in help­ing the de­signer re­alise his or her vi­sion.

How strong is the com­pe­ti­tion from ma­jor mar­kets like China?

Lasts are a very bulky, and hence costly prod­uct to move across large dis­tances. We ac­tively col­lab­o­rate with last mak­ers from Europe, China, Tai­wan, Viet­nam etc. us­ing data trans­fers cour­tesy of our shared Newlast tech­nol­ogy. As a re­sult, the cus­tomer can get the same last any­where in the world at the best price sans im­port du­ties. We are also de­vel­op­ing our ca­pa­bil­ity to make high tech lasts which are needed for robotic pro­duc­tion.

You have pro­duc­tion units in some re­gions. What’s your ag­gre­gate pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, and how much of it is for the In­dian mar­ket?

We have units in Agra, Vel­lore, Chen­nai and Kanpur along with a sales of­fice in Mum­bai. Our ag­gre­gate pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity right now is 3000 pairs a day with the bulk of that be­ing pro­duced in Vel­lore and Agra. Ma­jor­ity of this pro­duc­tion is for the In­dian mar­ket although we also cater to sev­eral cus­tomers in Africa, South Asia and Europe. With the in­creased de­mand from North In­dia, we are plan­ning to add ca­pac­ity in the Delhi NCR re­gion to bet­ter serve our cus­tomers there.

From which seg­ment of the footwear in­dus­try do you get higher de­mand? And who are the prom­i­nent clients?

Be­ing in last maker with a pan-in­dia pres­ence, we cater to sev­eral cus­tomers from every seg­ment from every re­gion. Cur­rently, the largest share of our or­ders comes from men’s fash­ion. Some of our prom­i­nent cus­tomers are Farida Group, KH Group, Tirubala, Tata In­ter­na­tional, Sara Group, Metro & Metro, Gupta Over­seas, Dawar Footwear, Roger In­dus­tries, Ram Fash­ions, Dr­ish Shoes, Su­per­house, Mo­hib Shoes & UNISCO.

The mar­ket has not been do­ing very well. How hope­ful are you about its re­cov­ery?

The er­ratic weather pat­tern in key ex­port zones ac­com­pa­nied by the af­ter ef­fects of the re­ces­sion has led to muted growth in the in­dus­try for the past few years. How­ever, we are op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of the in­dus­try with the en­try and rapid rise of fast fash­ion. The In­dian footwear ecosys­tem is uniquely suited to ful­fill this de­mand with its agile na­ture and abil­ity to economise pro­duc­tion of the small lots typ­i­cally re­quired by these new brands. The labour-in­ten­sive na­ture of the in­dus­try also means it will be the ben­e­fi­ciary of tar­geted gov­ern­ment schemes which will al­low man­u­fac­tur­ers to in­vest cost ef­fec­tively in new ef­fi­cient and green tech­nol­ogy. The re­turn­ing em­pha­sis on footwear as a fash­ion item as seen by the rise in the sneaker cul­ture cou­pled with in­creased pur­chas­ing power of the In­dian mil­len­ni­als means there are sev­eral av­enues not yet fully ex­plored by the man­u­fac­tur­ers. We are al­ready ex­pe­ri­enc­ing strong growth this year and our op­ti­mistic that the over­all tra­jec­tory of the in­dus­try will move up­wards.

Many in the in­dus­try were left dis­ap­pointed and now are more or less con­fused with GST. What’s your take on it?

A ma­jor­ity of our cus­tomers are large ex­porters and do­mes­tic play­ers who made the switch to GST fairly eas­ily along with us. We be­lieve a ma­jor­ity of the pain and dis­ap­point­ment in the sec­tor, as with all in­dus­tries in the coun­try, was with the un­or­gan­ised sec­tor - one that we don’t have any no­table ex­po­sure to. One is­sue we have seen in the tran­si­tion to GST has been the prob­lem of re­funds to ex­porters not be­ing cred­ited in time - how­ever we are con­fi­dent these are just teething trou­bles. On the other hand, we have not yet seen any ma­jor ben­e­fits yet of mov­ing to this new regime but re­main op­ti­mistic that the over­all struc­tural re­forms in the econ­omy will make it eas­ier to do busi­ness in the fu­ture.

How much growth are you ex­pect­ing in the seg­ment in In­dia? In this land­scape where do you see Sang­havi?

Sang­havi is very op­ti­mistic about mul­ti­ple sec­tors in the footwear in­dus­try. The Amer­i­can mar­ket has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years. We lost a lot of busi­ness from Europe due to the in­creased com­pet­i­tive­ness of lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers but we are see­ing steady if un­spec­tac­u­lar growth there re­cently. One sec­tor we have not ex­plored fully but are ex­cited about is the higher end do­mes­tic mar­ket. Our mar­ket re­search has shown that In­dian mil­len­ni­als are more aware of footwear fash­ion than ever be­fore and have the means and the will to make sig­nif­i­cant pur­chases with a spend ri­valling that of an OECD con­sumer. This also means that they are not averse to com­par­ing do­mes­tic shoes to their im­ported coun­ter­parts in terms of style and fit. In this mar­ket, Sang­havi sees it­self as work­ing with man­u­fac­tur­ers of all mar­kets and sizes to stan­dard­ise their fit­ting thus en­sur­ing bet­ter cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion and re­duc­tion in costly re­turns. We al­ready have stan­dard­ised fit­tings for sev­eral lead­ing brands and are com­ing up with our own stan­dards suited to the In­dian con­sumer.

What new mar­kets are go­ing to tar­get? In In­dia, how much of the mar­ket share is yours?

We are cur­rently fo­cused on cater­ing to our ex­ist­ing cus­tomers, sev­eral of whom have in­creased their ca­pac­ity in re­cent times. We also have in­tro­duced ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity in our Vel­lore unit, in­creas­ing our pro­duc­tion by an­other 500 pairs a day. In the mean­time, we are de­vel­op­ing ca­pa­bil­ity to make grip­per plate lasts to cater to spe­cific cus­tomer needs. An­tic­i­pat­ing growth from on­line stores, we are de­vel­op­ing ready styles and stan­dards to en­sure faster turn­around. Thanks to the ef­forts of the hard work­ing folk of Team Sang­havi, we have con­tin­u­ously re­tained over 60% mar­ket share over the past sev­eral years and this has gone even fur­ther up in the past year with sev­eral new brands choos­ing to ex­clu­sively work with us.

The largest share of our or­ders comes from men’s fash­ion. Some of our prom­i­nent cus­tomers are Farida Group, KH Group, Tirubala, Tata In­ter­na­tional, Sara Group, Metro & Metro, Gupta Over­seas, Dawar Footwear, Roger In­dus­tries, Ram Fash­ions, Dr­ish Shoes, Su­per­house, Mo­hib Shoes & UNISCO.

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