SUDARSAN RAJAGOPALAN (B.TEXT ENG, MBA) – 9442614445
SPLENDOUR MEDICARE TECHNOLOGIES, COIMBATORE – 641028.
Company Brief, Product Manufacturing, location, USP
Splendour Medicare Technologies is a Technology & Engineering adopting solution provider in the domain of infection control. There are scopes to innovate and solve routine problems with Technical & Medical textiles for Environment, Health, and Hygiene.
We are manufacturing Surgical Drapes & Kits. We simultaneously develop the undefined & optimal process for this industry which will be helpful while making products of higher-order in this industry. We are ISO 13485 compliant and hopefully be a truly CE/ FDA Compliant organization with our own process/safety compliance with our known engineering acumen.
Our USP is thinking ahead for a product, process, safety, compliance for a sustainable model in Technical & Medical Textiles. The Strategic-System thinking, the experience of making numerous Management Models for product reach out, hands-on experience in promotion & commercialization of technology & engineering products, Design-Thinking with accrued Knowledge on newer researched materials, integrating capabilities are our strengths on which we will venture forward. We hope to try in building our Financial Acumen and network for sales since that will be the binding factor in the build of such magnum opus. We will hope to contribute to the 5 trillion economies targeted by the leadership.
Are you already in this product manufacturing or started after lockdown?
We have three-decade of tracking, working, and even failing in the promotion of technical textiles. We have promoted many MNCs products including likes of DuPont, W L Gore & Associates and also developed products with Anti-microbial, Viral & Fungal in Textiles or surfaces for infection control. We have also had experience in facilitating the first Waste to Energy project too where a polyester waste was turned into fuel (Syngas) and used as low BTU fuel to form steam that could recover water from phenolic effluent water. We had marketed and promoted many Textile implants, wound dressing, and a gamut of technical & Medical products. We proudly failed in many of the launches which seemed to be ahead of the market capitalization. We have grown in this over the last five years. These failures are our absolute foundation for the launches today with grit, confidence, and maybe de-cluttered thought in our attempt today. We are already home on that front.
The pandemic has exposed our lack of infrastructure to handle many of the crises. Post-lock-down we will build on the infrastructure, raise funds for such product developments. We intend to make a start-up company for the development of Advanced Textiles for Technical / Medical Textiles.
Our Strength stems from the work we have done over the one and half decades of experiments with this sector.
What is the inspiration for starting a new line in spite of lockdown?
Our thought was – If not for us, who else? We as Textile Engineers had to be the foot soldiers in this war against the pandemics.
We worked all day except where there were material shortages or stressed on post deliveries. We helped many manufacturing units to open up since we had the tag of a Medical textile manufacturing. We co-ordinated with DIC and other state & Central agencies; to contribute with our inputs, information, knowledge, and scope to tide the situation. We have quickly adapted to the changes. We moved out from making facemasks and coverall soon when we saw more people with better infrastructure jumped into the arena. We moved up the notch by becoming a supplier of PPE fabrics with advanced materials (Micro-pore) at economical pricing.
How you have managed operations, HR, marketing within a short period of time?
Our regular hospitals were ordering their requirements for the COVID19. Our unit stayed operational all though the lockdown period. We were a small team of operational workers. They already followed many of the isolation disciplines for Medical Textile manufacturing. Some of the added self-defined protocols of social distancing were enacted. Later the GOI had all of them published for all. We had informed the team that in the war against the pandemic; we can win only when we kill the enemy and not by getting killed.
We also brought tailors within a factory premise and quarantined them for work. We fed and secured them in many ways. DIC, MSME Chennai Office (In-charge for essential commodities), Textile Committee, Textile Commissioners office were all proactive in the support needed. Our own marketing network was active to supply the hospital-based supplies. We did not venture into the HLL contract since there were too many variations in the qualifications and we were without the financial capacity to manage those changes technically qualification were skewed to and it favored the larger industries to bid for the same.
Do you feel the same opportunity will be there after COVID 19 also? You will continue the operations and marketing of the same?
The scope post COVID19 has expanded. Life has changed and many more developments and new products will have to emerge under the challenge. Those ideas which were resisted earlier due to need-deficit or price and sometimes lethargy to get them implemented; will become mandated. Hence, there is too much to do for sure to be capitalized.
Getting organized in this chaos is a challenge. We are trying to raise our bar and see this as tremendous opportunities to do what we have either conceived or failed during the past.
We will continue our journey but we will definitely contemplate a start up which can produce those advanced materials which were contemplated as “Not in our Era” to be fast-forwarded to the near future.
How do you ensure to retain your customers after the lockdown?
We will continue our services. We have relationships that counted even before the COVID19. We are known to be technical and we will be further revered to serve them with newer and technologically advanced materials.
We may be challenged by the excessive supplies by many local supplies; we will ensure we give the best with our product with the technical acumen which we are sure will entice the customers to continue with us more so after the pandemic.
State about Vendors’ and buyer’s requirements for products. Any specific technical expertise requirement?
One realization is we need more infrastructure and eco-system. Money is the primary need which will go a long way in building the infrastructure needed within the organization. The hospitals, the government, banks, rolled goods manufacturers, machine manufacturers, and other accessories manufacturers or traders; all of them have to be pro-active if the advantage has to sustain within India.
We may curse China for many of its doings and pledge to stay away but we can be sure when the dust settles unless we make our effort; China can become potent again. It is in our exert that we will survive and dominate too; if odds are with us.
How many quality checks are done before these products are sent out to the market?
We have been an ISO13485, safety is essential for the product. Risks manifestation and tracking faulty issues to the source are inbuilt in our activities. However, we were challenged by other key issues of supplies, resources including the common testing facilities at SITRA.
Most references are compared to other perishable products like drugs and food. Medical Textiles are mostly synthetic and substrates are relatively inert; however to prevent any proliferating of the bio-loads we need to have a system that is validated for Medical Textiles. The prudent trans-implementation of the Pharmacopeia will have to find a re-engineered approach in India.
Personally when ETO/EO sterilization gas was not available during the lock-down period; we adopted our own method of hiring an Ozone gas generator to fill the kits before dispatch. That is the little we could do at that time.
How do you make sure to maximize the production of these essentials keeping in mind the quality is up to government standards? Did Government Support you in this new initiative?
The government put up standards for emergencies. The fraternity has churned up issues of the recommendations which have let to even cement bag laminated sheets fabrics getting approved for PPE applications. They may approve on one parameter but the other could make the issue critical.
We all know that none of the fabrics approved by the testing labs are fit for a viral barrier if that is the objective. In the absence of fabrics of that order, there was a need to define the modus operandi for better participation of the Textile Industries which got the much-needed opportunities. The media were all gaga over the money-making process intimidating many in the chaos. The logic was defied when the whole fabric was not an assurance of a viral barrier, but the tests were expected for Synthetic Blood Test penetration with a particular focus on seam-sealing. This was all done at the compromise of breathability. A Sweaty human inside is a bigger bomb with his flora-fauna abetting the colonization within and hence enhanced risks.
The prices of raw materials & testing charges could have been capped when the prices of the PPEs were capped. The Volunteers making PPEs could be encouraged. Affidavit mandating the test compliance and legal action against those could go null & void if many together to protest and make a PIL and asking for a retest of all PPEs approved for supplies to undergo a viral barrier test. Felt all though the intent was to ensure people were safe; however, it was inadequate is my personal opinion.
They could have classified the approval for non-critical, Critical, and highly critical. The lock-down PPEs were more for the non-critical areas like receiving the patients where medical-grade fabrics with high liquid (non-alcoholic) resistant could work with sufficient breathable factor. Anyway, critical usage was limited in the lock-down period and they could have recommended high grades of laminates to ensure the safety with comfort to wear. More so, the risks associated with enhanced colonization under sweat conditions could be avoided.
On the positive note, GOI has realized that to be there we have to build the infrastructure of Money, Machinery, and Men. We cannot expect the Government to do it for us all of it. Their provision thought SIDBI and other schemes are good but we have to ensure that it follows a compliance method easy for MSME. It is a journey of evolution and we have to have the patience for the change.
AS A CRITIC IT IS I CAN RISK LITTLE AND ENJOY THE POSITION OF CRITICISING THE ACTIVITY. NEGATIVE CRITICISM CAN WE FUN TO READ OR WRITE. A PERCEIVE JUNK CAN BE A MADE AS VALUABLE. TRUE CRITICISM WILL BE TO STAND FOR AND VETO for THE ARRIVAL OF THE NEW. WORLD IS UNKIND FOR THE NEW. WE WELCOME THE NEW ORDER AND HOPE TO SEE MORE REFORMS AND ENSURE ALL ARE SAFE INCLUDING THE HEALTH WORKERS AND THE INDUSTRY TOO.
Currently, what are your markets Domestic or Exports?
Domestic and very much local supplies. Exports have to ensure, we have the infrastructure match the compliance to the world standards. With a deficit of machinery for Medical Textiles for mechanization and for each of it it has to look for Chinese or West suppliers. One doesn’t exist to the payback and the other risks repayment beyond the normal payback by the cost.
Post COVID19; exports are definite opportunities but an MSME has to invest in Infrastructure before he ventures out there. The new scheme provided by SIDBI and much other COVID19 funding is for sure an attraction but I am afraid; we need to evaluate with prudence; should we invest only because we are getting a zero import duty or subsidy. Is it necessary for the process is the question?
For what we need is there an innovation fund? Yes, but it will be disbursed through the Academic or other agencies where the MSME is a constraint to do limited flexing on investing in sustainable models. MSMEs are trusted less but the priority is the academy. The day the mantel is held by the MSME in certain select project approvals over the other agencies, for innovation; we are poised for huge growth.
What steps have your company taken to make sure productivity is least impacted?
We have tried hoarding stocks from the available source. The come at higher rates with escalated costs but without the business is not assured. Hence, working capital is a challenge. We will plan to mechanize the process of manufacturing with machines which we want to make on our own since there is no specific machine available for the domain we service. Ensure we are continuously supplying the best quality standards to our customers.
As the factories might have the maximum manpower right now to meet the nationwide requirements of the textile products, what steps has your company taken to make sure your factory workers are safe from this pandemic?
As a natural protocol, on a routine, we have regular practices that are in line with the hygiene needs of Medical Textiles. However, we have adopted the COVID19 recommendations of social distancing, Hand sanitizing. We have ensured every act is sensitized and stay alive as much possible in the service of people with no or least risks. We attributed the various sources of inwards either by men or materials. Hygiene and Clean practices are already emphasized with additional instructions for COVID19.
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