Bhiwandi is a powerloom cluster that uses low level technologies. How and why did you opt for state-of-the-art weaving and processing facility in this cluster? How have you benefitted from these latest technologies
First would like to address the misconception -, Bhiwandi is no longer just a powerloom cluster but has modernised significantlhy, with latest rapier and airjet weaving installations coming up in big numbers.
Having been in Bhiwandi since the last five decades, we always were a little surprised that even though it is one of the largest weaving clusters, there was no really good process facility for the buyers who demanded high quality at reasonable prices. They had to go all the way to Ahmedabad or other places for the same. Then bring back their fabrics for sale in Mumbai. So there was an existing geo located gap for a modern process house in Bhiwandi.
We as a business house were expecting that if we give state-of-the-art processing near the buyers, there will be a good demand for our products. The same has been validated by the overflowing order books. We are sure it is the choice of modern high capacity machinery that has made us the process house of choice within Mumbai region.
How did putting up state-of-the-art help us? It has allowed and given us the niche of being recognised and certified by major fibre players, like Liva, Lenzing for TENCEL and ECO VERA. The same would not have been possible without technologically advanced industry set-up.
Again being in Bhiwandi, there are certain notions attached to an operating firm – low quality, absence of professionalism, financial, social and environmental sustainable practices are in short supply – would you say this is generally true?
As perceptions go, yes that would be true to an extent. However reality is changing rapidly with many state-of-the-art units, particularly in weaving having been installed in the near past. Following this there is an improvement in the professionalism to some extent. As far as we are concerned, we have a fully professionalised set-up, with high level of domain experts associated in areas of manufacturing, finance, sales and environment.
Particularly in the area of environment, we are located in MIDC where our treatment levels are strictly monitored and tested to rigorous parameters. We are proud to say we have never faced any complaint on this issue. Beyond just complying, we have taken a proactive approach and are certified for Okeo-tex, BCI, ECO VERA, etc sustainability certifications.
How did you manage to stand apart? What kind of strategies and actions did you have to take to achieve a different stature? Tell us about the important principles that Chur Textiles has been built on and thrives on?
For us, the family name of over five decades is important above all. Integrity and fairness are the core of all our business dealings and remains the founding principal. We have further embraced the concept of no compromise in quality and service. Testimony is that our products especially the stretch / spandex ones are considered to be among the top three in India today in terms of quality.
Our three principles – Trust, quality and consistency.Standing up and rising above the Bhiwandi culture was a challenge personally and as an industry, but we are proud to say we have successfully navigated ourselves to be recognised as a unit with high level of work culture.
What will drive environmental sustainability in textile processing? What benefits have you derived from being environmentally sustainable? And any drawbacks of being environmentally sustainable?
As we see it, the drive towards environmental sustainability is being driven by a couple of factors, namely:
- Personal awareness of creating a better world for our children;
- Demand from the consuming world, specially the export market;
- Faster and wider availability of technological know-how to bring cost of sustainability to commercial levels;
- Of course, regulations and laws that get stricter everyday;
- Awareness and highlighted issues of environment on the social media.
Business wise, we are placed at a higher level than the other normal processing units surrounding us, thus enabling longer term relationships with high quality buyers who want no compromise fabrics with best finishes at affordable prices, yet are certified for sustainability.
At a personal level, there is great satisfaction for us that we are taking steps to leave a better planet for the coming generations to inherit.
Tell us about some unique business, HR and production practices that you follow.
While we are a modern, big capacity manufacturing company having more than 750 employees, we remain connected to all our people. The family directors handle in a hands-on manner three important functions of production, sales and finance. In production we have ensured fast turnaround times with stringent quality controls during the manufacturing process and before despatch. The human touch finds its place in our sales efforts also, with personal interaction and relationships developed with our agents and customers.
What’s new at Chur Textiles – in terms of products, services, capacity expansions?
We are one of the largest producers of demanding fabrics like shirting piece dyed with stretch. Among this we are considered to be leaders in Poly Spandex with our capacities booked for over three times in this particular sort.
The same applies to cotton stretch fabrics as we have the capacity to deliver batches of upto 50,000 meters in single shade with stretch properties. A capability that is rare to find outside branded organised mills. Barring events like the current pandemic we hope to double capacity within the next three years. We currently have a capacity to process and deliver finished fabrics of over 42,00,000 metres per month.
You have invested in R&D… tell us about some innovative products that you have introduced.
Yes, we have state-of-the-art laboratory and R&D centre with all latest testing and sampling equipment. This enables us to provide in-house testing facilities for all major export buyers and high end branded garment manufacturers.
Using this facility, manned by a high level fully dedicated team, we have been able to introduce and enhance products like anti-viral, anti-microbial, stain-resistant, fragrance and other finishes. In addition, we have finetuned processing of sustainable fibres like hemp, bamboo etc.
How did the lockdowns impact your business? What has been Chur’s strategy for survival and growth since 2020, given the pandemic, the lockdowns, the uncertainty?
Like others, the first lockdown hit us without warning. For a company that employs 750 plus persons, it was a major challenge, which we managed with empathy. In business, it has had an impact on working capital and fund flow. Fortunately being well regarded for our product and quality, we were able to recover faster and were back to almost normal operations after the first wave, but the second wave has again impacted the business.
As a strategy, we have opted to forge deeper ties and cooperate with our buyers and suppliers to make sure we are poised and equipped to come back to optimum utilisation in the shortest possible period of time once things come back to normal.
Two important business goals for you in 2021?
We plan to develop the export markets aggressively, making it a major portion of our sales. We plan to reach maximum customers in the domestic markets. Both segmentwise and geographically.
Weaving and processing are the weak links in the textile industry. We have been hearing this for almost two decades now. Your take on this.
Yes, agree that processing still needs to work on skill levels of its workforce. Another area is lack of knowledge to tackle effluent and other environmental issues. That leads to a mental block in entrepreneurs investing in new processing industry and resulting in lack of modernisation.
Also processing is a capital intensive project, and unlike weaving you cannot phase it out. Reluctance of formal finance sector to fund textile projects is another major hurdle. So to that extent, while some improvement has been there, they still do remain the weaker links.
Anything else you would like to share with the readers.
I would like to exhort the readers to clear many myths and misconceptions about the Indian textile industry in general and MSME in particular. We are a young dynamic bunch and see a huge potential ahead, both for personal growth and the country via creating maximum employment. The sky is the limit if we just raise our vision and performance.