Premier, a well-established brand in the fine-linen category has earned its reputation for its quality over several decades. The Coimbatore based exporter focus on continual improvements in terms of quality keep studying and implementing evolving systems to cope up with the quality expectations form their customers. In an exclusive chat with Textile Value Chain, Kumaravel T, Vice President, Sales & Marketing of Premier Fine Linens, speaks on the export scenario, challenges that hinder the growth of the Indian export segments. Edited excerpts.
What are the key trends you notice in the fine linens in Iuk,ndia over the past 10 years?
In the past 10 years, we have been experiencing requirements moving towards functionalities, innovative fibers, special finishing, focusing more on sustainability and good trade practices in the industry. We see the trend changes within every 3 years almost, In US, predominantly the main focus was towards the thread counts, which is now slowly fading away with the influence of functionalities and innovations in the textiles. More focus is on organic and wellness. We also come up with the new product ranges coping to the market requirements and one such product which we launches recently was Sincerity bedding called “ Sine Cera” Please find here our new launch of product range called “Sine Cera” which is developed very consciously without use of any bleaching or dying and any harsh chemicals in the process. This unique process reduces water and electricity consumption during the process substantially. Even the product is well designed and optimally planned so that there is a high reduction of fabric wastages during the production. In Latin, ‘sine’ means ‘without’, ‘Cera’ means ‘wax’. The phrase ‘without wax’ is an English translation of sin Cera. When stone sculptors mess up, they would cover their mistake by filling it with stone powder mixed with wax. This is where the English word sincere came from. Sin “without” Cera “wax”. So to say without wax means sincerely or true or honesty Our sheeting range “Sine Cera” is made as per its original meaning without bleaching and dyeing and minimally processed.
What are the special efforts you make to ensure the quality of the products you export?
We believe that the quality comes from the needlepoint and not by the quality department. We put all our efforts to bring quality in the production rather than vigilant to find the mistakes. Stringent quality inspections standards at every stage of the process ensure, right quality, first time. Constant analysis of the quality reports from internal inspection and correlating with the external inspection agencies, gives us a fair idea to focus improvements on. This helps us to narrow down our focus of quality improvements. Machineries as well play important role in achieve the quality expectations, and we use the latest technologies from spinning till the stitching.
What are the key aspects you look while procuring a machine for your plants?
Automation is our key focus, and we are trying to automate as much as possible which brings in the productivity to a higher level and makes a set quality standards.
As a leading manufacturer of fine linens, what are the top three challenges you are facing in terms of manufacturing?
Obviously, the first one is the price. Competition from equivalent verticals and unorganized traders pose tough market conditions towards the pricing. Capacities of the verticals, had gone up exponentially in the last decade and with the urge to fill the capacity they compete with very low prices, which sets low prices standards across the product range. I would like to rank two attributes in second category, yarn price fluctuation, and currency fluctuation. Both really pose high challenge towards long terms programs. Third being the Government policies, where the change in the policies, definitely affects our margins, especially when working on very thin margins even sometimes giving away some government benefits.
What are the key focus countries and which industries are adopting your products frequently?
Middle East, Russian continents and Far East is our current focus geographical locations. We are already selling to almost 25 different countries across the globe. Our product range is very simple and more focused, i.e., Sheet sets and unfilled Top of the bed like Duvet covers and shams.
What are the countries you are finding competition in this market and what are the aspects Indian players lose our business to?
Pakistan having advantage of duty structure in Europe is the biggest competition for us in Schengen countries, especially in our product category ‘ Fine Bed Linens’. Now with the tariffs on China from US, even though some business is moving towards India, lot of business is sliding towards countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and more.
While the global bed and bath linen market is at a CAGR over 7%, what are the key suggestions you would like to provide your industry peers in India to advantage their sales?
With the current tariff situation in China, there will be a huge opportunity to try on Filled products and microfibers for India.
What are the top 3 expansion plans you have?
Couple of years ago, we had gone for an up-gradation and massive expansion in our dyeing plant. Our current focus expansions are towards increasing our weaving capacity and automation in terms of the stitching area.
BY – B Swaminathan
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