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‘To regain existing business everybody has to work as fast as possible’

Raj Kumar Jain, MD, Bonjour-Zonac Knitting Machines
Raj Jain MD Bonjour Zonac Knitting Machines“Everybody has realized this is the time to think out of the box so that the when it opens they will be ready with what they want to do, like aligning people, volume of production needed to be done, how many showrooms to open, what volume of orders to be taken up because export orders have been cancelled, most large format business have cancelled their orders with vendors. Hence, from day one factories will have nothing to do. As for brands, when they open they have already sustained with their fixed expenses and have no money and will not be able to ask their customers for money. In fact, we will have to assure them we are with them and ask them to start business with full confidence. The main worry is financial support. Low margin business or those subsisting hand to mouth will face extra difficulties. This will simultaneously open new opportunities. It will be a new life after opening. To regain existing business everybody has to work as fast as possible.”

How is the garment industry in India placed today?

This situation is unplanned not only for India but across the world. The industry and people are worried about their well-being, food and safety nobody is bothered about anything else. Ours is a labour intensive industry and there are a lot of families attached to every factory of concern, so the major concern is how to meet people’s expectations; how to pay salaries and maintain fixed expenses during the lockdown. The textile industry has been passing through turmoil for many years. The challenge is people do not have enough money to sustain. A month is okay but further delay means there will be no money to sustain and no relief package has come from the government.

However, everybody has realized this is the time to think out of the box so that the when it opens they will be ready with what they want to do, like aligning people, volume of production needed to be done, how many showrooms to open, what volume of orders to be taken up because export orders have been cancelled, most large format business have cancelled their orders with vendors. Hence, from day one factories will have nothing to do. As for brands, when they open they have already sustained with their fixed expenses and have no money and will not be able to ask their customers for money. In fact, we will have to assure them we are with them and ask them to start business with full confidence. The main worry is financial support. Low margin business or those subsisting hand to mouth will face extra difficulties. This will simultaneously open new opportunities. It will be a new life after opening. To regain existing business everybody has to work as fast as possible.

This is the time to prepare by adding more vendors, adopting cost cutting methods, looking at efficiency, training offline etc, so that when we open we are fully ready.

Sourcing largely from China has shown its downside to the world; do you think India can now emerge strongly as a sourcing hub?

I feel China has done a great job over the last two to three decades and become the largest source for anybody in the world. They are the reason for a lot of countries getting out of job. With this turmoil, every country has realized they are depended too much on China and are now looking at alternatives. India as a strong sourcing hub is yet to be seen, because Chinese government, their environment, laws are very different from India. The way we have been working and the way the Chinese have evolved is completely different. Unless there is a thought among us that we have to do it, till then, business might go elsewhere because most bigger countries are looking for alternative sourcing but are asking for the same prices and quality. Countries like Ethiopia, Vietnam, Indonesia are working fast and taking up the job. There is a possibility that most of the business might go there if India really does not gear up. However, some amount of business will definitely comes to India weather it emerges as a major sourcing hub is yet to be seen.

The government has given some incentives/support through GST and EMI. Is it enough? Is the government really putting in efforts to help the textile industry?

The government is in a fix. I wouldn’t say they have not been able to announce much for the business community as there are many other priorities. Their priority is to save lives and running of life and safety measures. They might be coming up with a package for textile industry after April 15.

What steps have Zonac taken to overcome been these challenges?

We have been talking to our people and customers, imparting training and have kept them on work schedules, inter departmentally we are talking about cost cutting and to do lists and the challenges each department is facing so that when the time comes we can work it out efficiently.

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