Rajendra Agarwal, MD, Donear Industries has been a pioneer in the textile industry for over 3 decades now. He is a firm believer of challenging the convention and daring to dream things that are otherwise seen as impossible. He has been the driving force of innovative concepts like gift box which has a pre-matched shirt length and trouser length and is used for festive gifting and installation of a state of the art liquid ammonia treatment plant to make wrinkle free cotton in India.In an exclusive chat with Textile Value Chain, he explains the current trends in the textile business and his organization plans. Edited excerpts.

In an interview, you had mentioned convenience and fashion influences the customers buying decision. Does it limits only with the young urban crowd or across everywhere? What are the materials you are currently manufacturing and are you planning to get into any new segments?

Yes, it definitely does. Basically, thanks to the Internet and movies, anyone who doesn’t have a challenge for livelihood, leans towards fashion. Nowadays, most of them are fashion conscious. Anyone with a decent pay package is fashion oriented and aware of newer and nicer styles. We are a developing country; such phenomena is a sign of a healthy and improving economy.

How is the acceptance of Indian garments outside India? Explain the adoption trends of Indian materials outside?
Today, India is very famous for casuals, specially for their creativity factor. The export rate of women tops is also quite high. In terms of mass production, we have potential to increase our efficiency levels to reach other countries’ production levels. While we are great at multi-functional utility or services, it is essential for enhancing skills, in a singular direction.

As a manufacturer what are the factors you keep in mind while selecting machine for your units?
While selecting a machine, we need to be very particular in terms of which product we are going to manufacture. As competition increases, one’s machine selection has to be skewed because it isn’t possible to think of getting a machine that manufactures everything.
In terms of reconditioning these machines, repairs and maintenance systems are very good in India. Obsolete technology is also handled well in India, as we have a strong technical infrastructure. The option of opening reconditioning centres is good. If the payback is below 5 years for any machine, it is always better.

What percentage of machinery you have are Indian made and how much you import? What difference you find products from India and imported ones?

80% of the machinery is imported. In India, the machinery consumption is low. The textile machine manufacturers are not able to match their overheads; there are very less textile engineering companies here as well. Spinning factories are not yet able to compete with retail but we have do have good manufacturing sites for them. We have processing sites partially, while weaving and knitting ones aren’t there. Machine consumption is less, which is probably the main reason behind the high import rate.

As a textile manufacturer, what are the key expectations you have from the government in terms of encouraging manufacturers?
India is an enterprising country. Certain government subsidies may cause unfair competition. We should help in creating infrastructures, industrial centres, workers’ training and skilling centers, reconditioning centers – those would be more beneficial. As I mentioned earlier, enhanced efficiency will surely improve India’s textile quality.

How you see the purchase pattern of the millennial? Beyond
They are more brand conscious and are inspired to try new things – they’re experimental in nature. It’s a good sign for apparels and fabrics because whenever consumption per capita is low, it is an indicator of good scope and growth in India. Here, ‘Textiles and Apparels’ is one of the easiest business. If small entrepreneurs grow, it will help the economy. Although it’ll be more competition for me, it’ll help the economy, which is of higher priority. This would just push me to be more innovative with out products, which is always a good thing.

Explain in detail, your expansion plans?
On a capital expenditure front, we are not going to venture into any major investments and on the marketing side, we definitely will. We may have a dedicated outsource supply chain with quality control and software of our own, which can also help small enterprises as well, creating more employment opportunities too.