Saurer, a smart solutions supplier to the spinning industry, has remarkably improved its footprint in the Indian market. In an exclusive interview with Textile Excellence, Vikas Sharan, Director – India Operations, Saurer Textile Solutions Pvt. Ltd. discusses the company’s strategy for this important market.
Saurer being among the leading global textile machinery and technology suppliers, how is it positioned in India?
Saurer today is uniquely positioned as a fully integrated spinning machinery supplier from bale to yarn. This has had a very positive impact on its dominant position as a global player. In India, Saurer was hitherto more known as a textile machinery supplier for winding and open end, but not anymore. With the addition of pre-spinning machinery to its product portfolio ably supported by the roving and ring frames, Saurer is now ready to match competition, end to end. We are now looking at serving the Indian textile industry for full projects as a smart solutions supplier. This has received much appreciation from the textile industry, which was looking for an alternate supplier, which they have found in us, offering excellent value proposition!
Recently, Saurer has made further investment in manufacturing facilities in India. How this is going to help the customers and the company itself?
Saurer has always believed in setting its base in the country that it proposes to work over long timelines like India, in order to build and supply its products and services locally as well as globally. It is with this philosophy that Saurer set up its manufacturing plant in Karjan, Vadodara, Gujarat, alongwith an R&D department. Currently, we manufacture roving frames, ring frames, spindles and drafting systems in this facility, with ambitious plans to add up further machinery like pre-spinning. Plans are afoot to set up a Technology Centre, which will have the entire product line in running condition. Customers can get their materials processed to check the quality of the derived product. Customer training programmes will be developed for training different levels of mill technicians. We are also setting up a parts warehouse, where all necessary spares will be stocked and sold locally in local currency. These facilities will strengthen the customers’ confidence in us, which is essential in our endeavour to become a dominant player in the Indian textile industry.
How competitive it is to make machines here in India vis-à-vis your other manufacturing locations?
India is a competitive location to produce machines in order to be able to sell it to the local market and beyond and we have the inherent expertise to do it.
With a good market in the backyard, it is only natural to tap the rich and qualitative domestic resources in order to make the machine prices more competitive. This is the only way to be able to deliver consistently in sustainable markets with better lead times. It also safeguards the customers from fluctuations in foreign exchange, as they can buy in local currency.
What is Saurer’s strategy in India for improving its market share in each of the product segments, reach to customers and servicing them?
We have already arrived as far as pre-spinning machinery is concerned. The initial reports from the trial installations are quite positive. So the only way to go is forward. With pre-spinning, Saurer can effectively deliver in ring up to winding, as well as in open end projects, making it the only one to do it over such a wide range. The roving machine models 5M (Manual) and 5A (Automatic) models are already standing on their own with an increasing market share. We were lagging in ring frame installations, but I am happy to say that is a thing of the past.
We significantly improved our installation base this year. Our winding machines are already doing great in this market since the last many decades and hence no introduction is needed for them. For Autocoro ACO9 fully automatic open end machines, we have 100% market share during 2018. In the semi-automatic open end machines namely BD7, we have an enviable market share of over 85%.
So, we have different strategies in place for each product in order to bring it to a respectable market share. As for ACO9 and BD7, it is that of retention by offering excellent after sales service and support. Our service team consisting of experts, technologists and R&D specialists are already geared up to address the market needs locally. This has full acknowledgement from the industry.
What are the deciding factors for an Indian textile entrepreneur while selecting a technology partner – brand image, cost, technology, after sales service, or something more?
An Indian entrepreneur today would definitely like to align with a technology provider who is innovative, listens intently to customer feedback and is capable of offering sustainable solutions with the latest technologies and where the cost of ownership for machines is the most competitive and not just the price of the same. An efficient after sales service is the need of the hour, and completes the package. The icing on the cake is and always will remain the sustainable relationship that the customer develops with the technology provider and vice versa. This intangible asset will ensure years of mutually rewarding and sustaining business relationship.
We understand that textile investments are a bit sluggish in the country, by when do you expect a change in the scenario?
There are a lot of reasons attributed to textile investments being sluggish, the biggest being the incomplete textile value chain in the country. The value addition in the final stage only partly takes place in India with a majority of yarn and also fabric being exported. The NPAs generated in the textile industry have disheartened the financial firms from disbursing loans especially to the spinning mills. While the central schemes like TUFS are mainly supporting non-spinning projects now, the state schemes have also shown tardiness in coming out with schemes and then not implementing them fully.
Some of them have really been good in their offerings with recurring benefits to the customers especially with respect to power, but are not seeing many takers due to lackluster implementation of the policy. Government policies must balance and support the various processes in the textile value chain.
Many a times the scenario in the textile market is auto corrected. However, there should be a good correlation between cotton and yarn pricing, which is again dependent on the fabric offtake, which is leveraged on garment demand, which in turn is gauged by the buying behaviour of the consumer at the end of the chain.
So, it is the buying behaviour of the Indian consumer, especially in the middle class segment that is the most important factor that can drive the whole demand chain in India. The market has never increased exponentially, but follows a somewhat linear pattern. So it will continue in a similar fashion with one year being bullish followed by the next year spent in consolidation.