BKS Textile Company, a leading manufacturer and exporter of made-ups and cotton fabrics, was incorporated on February 12, 2004 with an authorised capital of Rs. 99.80 lakh. Located at Palladam in Tamil Nadu, the BKS company is a pioneer in home textiles and technical textiles.

BKS Textile Company, which is family-run, was started by Senthil Kumar, a well-known name in the textile industry in South India. Dr Sudha Anand, his daughter is the Managing Director.  Dr. Sudha Anand, Medical Doctor by education realised being an entrepreneur is more interesting than a medical professional joined her family business in 2005. She virtually learnt a lot of things about textiles from her father and was technically trained by him. Senthil Kumar originally started BKS Textile Company in 1985 in Tirupur near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu which today has emerged as a vertically integrated manufacturer and exporters of home textiles, mainly bed linen employing over 1000 employees.

The Chairman and Managing Director Senthil Kumar’s another daughter, Sangita Velkrishnan is also involved in the working of the company and Senthil Kumar who is  involved in strategy decisions, was formerly Chairman of South India Mill Association (SIMA) and also he actively participated in textile organisations like TEXPROCIL, and many more.

Dr Sudha Anand replies to some vital questions about the company. Excerpts below:

Journey till now …

I started international marketing for the company, with nearly 95%of our business in exports, we have a lot of international and long-standing customers. The UK is a major market for us and I continued my career in marketing and branding. We developed a domestic brand called SVAS in 2012 for the Indian market for home decor and lifestyle products.

I did some courses in management area and I am still learning because learning can never stop. The journey is quite interesting and our business growth is quite stable and gradual because we believe in sustained growth. We are looking forward to a great future.

Marketing Management Techniques

We have unique selling points like how we are different from our competitors. BKS textiles is sustainability-oriented company. We have acquired a lot of company certificates like ISO 9000, ISO 14000 and SA 8000 for social accountability. We are a member of the BCI cotton and many more.  We have built the trust among the customers, who always look for reliability and trustworthiness of suppliers.

All our manufacturing practices are very responsible and we give more importance to manufacturing practices. For instance, our dyeing unit follows zero liquid discharge (ZLD) principle and we have also installed wind power generating technology. Besides, we also worked with non-profit organisation for plantation and are increasing green cover in the city in our drive towards sustainable manufacturing.

Communication and interaction are very important. We stay in touch with industry peers and keep physical interaction with other industry. Moreover, we attend textile forums and meetings so it will be much helpful for getting ideas about current issue or trend.

I totally believe in empowering people who take their decision independently, and depending on their hierarchy, they should be given right skills and training to handle their job effectively. Also, I believe in encouraging and energising people with the best possible ways in this time.

Confidentiality is a big challenge when you want to differentiate yourself from the competitors. So, we have non-disclosure agreement from our employees who are involved in product development, marketing and sales. We have a strict NDA policy.

We choose people based on attitude not only the skills. I believe people with the right attitude always respect confidentiality in the effort that is gone beyond or behind innovating some products or something companies specialising in.

We have some controls in our software wherein only particular people get rights and access about certain information. For example, marketing team can access only customers related information, production team accesses only production related information so they won’t have any other information access.

Technology helps to maintain Confidentiality in the organisation like give right information to right people.

Covid times and BKS approach

During the 1st wave of COVID-19 no one had any clue about what is going on. Even we don’t have any idea about how to run a manufacturing business in this difficult time and Covid badly affected our company’s reputation and mainly finance was very much hit.

We decided to increase our inhouse employees strength to about 70℅ against 30% for outside employees.

After the lockdown we were not allowed to bring in people from outside. After learning a lesson from the 1st wave, we quickly adopted and increased our recruitment of in-house employees. Now we have 95℅ in-house employees and we have proper control over there. All facilities are now available like vaccination for getting proper protection.

This major move helped us in the 2nd wave. When there was a severe lockdown, not only did our work kept going, but we were ready to face every challenge. We were in contact with our customers catering to their needs from time to time.

Motivation goes a long way. I always believe in small appreciations. Any bigger or smaller task, there will be small appreciation from the company or from the management. We totally believe in challenging targets, but achievable targets to our employees. It is a very positive way to motivate people or employees and it’s really helpful.

Steps for success

Increasing efficiency and productivity of the company mean cost must go down. In order to improve the productivity, we have micro skill training to our employees, like sewing is a micro skill so techniques under that and how to place. After Micro skilling productivity totally went up and cost came down and also, we encourage production incentives and give prizes which help to motivate people to achieve more productivity. Once productivity is increased then revenue also goes up.

Other strategy is we always take a call on a particular process — ‘we make or we buy’, whichever is cheaper we go with it so cost always matters. This choice helps in cost cutting and increasing productivity.

Success means to me is to build sustainable and profitable enterprise, which is growing continually.

I believe strong branding is required for company’s sustainability and so the intention behind to starting our own brand for Indian market. There is a lot of B2B business brands to be seen as a business competitors. We focus more on branding and also continuous growth.  If profitability is not there and stagnancy in growth which hit our business means failure to me

Being a director of this company gives me lot of opportunity to meet people and know things in the international arena.

It is very challenging and makes interesting also. I am on this position of being one of the directors of the company to impact on many people lives in a positive way. My every decision impact everyone so that’s what I like as being a director.

The most important strategy

Developing brands is the most important strategy. We are focusing on developing domestic brand which helps to see differently in customers view and also, we are present on the strong, new E platforms and we plan to diversify into neighbouring countries with our brands and so branding and digital presence and e commerce selling platforms are very important in these times.

We have a work management system implemented in our team and we have action plan once a project is decided so there is a macro planning as well as micro planning format.

Planning is important because it is 70℅ of a project and once planning is done, execution has to be monitored meticulously with regular reviews. So planning and regular reviews are very important.

Research & Development

We would like to go with sustainable products so that all our product development and research efforts will go into that area.

We want to bring in more sustainable products under our umbrella. We are in the process of building the right technical team so that soon we will be able to reach our goal.

Pandemic badly affected our business. So, we are focusing on reduce inventory and cost cutting and we kept in touch with our customers on regular basis.

We were not able to meet our customers physically and so we were having regular video conference and meetings with our customers to know what is the situation in their country, in their company, or in their State. We also explained our situation to the customers so that constant communication between us is really helpful to keeping the relationship maintained during the pandemic time.

Once we know what’s happening in the customers side then we will be prepared in our side also. For e.g., (If the customer says his sales have slowed then we delay the deliveries and once the customer says his sales have picked up, we will ramp up the sales and improve the delivery dates)

The future growth measures

We want to increase our in-house manufacturing capacity to keep control on quality and the cost and we tie up with the more retail chains and we like to develop our domestic brand SVAS in the Indian market and presence in digital platforms. This is now top priority for us.

We want to diversify into wider with processing which is underway and we will be bringing the union corporation by mid of 2022 and we want to increase our in-house sewing capacity. Due to these steps, we will be increasing marketing footprint in many countries.

Today, the young generation thinks and feels that textile is a very old fashion industry.

When I meet a person who is confused about choosing between textile and any other field, I will boldly say that demand for the textile will never go away as it is a product that’s required by everyone in the world throughout the year. Besides through the textile, we give employment to many people in India because textile is the second most employment generation field next to agriculture. This will give a positive impact on their lives.

 Today, there are many branches in the textile field, including research and development and innovation so research and development going on big way for e.g., a lot of new products are coming up like carbon fibre, banana fibre, hemp, organic cotton and so there is plenty of opportunity in textile field.  And technical textile is very ancient in India so that young generation can focus more on technical textiles because opportunity is unlimited. Besides consumers prefer less to buy from China so that India stays as the second largest manufacturer and exporter in textile. India has very good future in textile.