Interview With Mr. Siddharth Kusumgar (Managing Director) and Dr. M K Talukdar (Consultant)
Kusumgar Corporates is presently recognised as a market leader in the highly specialised Technical and Specialized Textiles sector. Mr. Yogesh Kusumgar recognised the enormous potential of a business that was still in its infancy in 1970. He founded a company to suit the complex needs of an ever-changing textile industry, starting small but thinking big. The company’s agility in offering bespoke solutions, together with world-class quality and incredibly competitive rates, drove it to a leadership position in a short period of time.
Kusumgar Corporates has a solid track record in the field of specialist textiles, offering a wide range of textiles for a wide range of applications. Cordura fabrics, custom fabrics, geo-synthetics, recreational fabrics, parachute fabrics, protective fabrics, ballistic fabrics, filter fabrics, parasail fabrics, impression fabrics, and medical textile fabrics have all thrilled clients throughout the years.
The company’s phenomenal performance in the early years allowed it to further solidify its market position. Manufacturing capacity was continually increased by utilising the most advanced technology and equipment. The corporation also moved forward to allow for greater value addition to its product line while maintaining complete control over quality standards and delivery timelines.
The move from weaver to coater of specialist fabrics provided the company with the confidence to advance to the next level. Today, Kusumgar is a skilled maker of specialty textiles as well as a well-known knowledge supplier and whole solutions consultant in India’s difficult technical textiles business.

How would you describe your company in a few sentences? Could you please provide us information about the products in your portfolio?

In 1970, Mr. Yogesh Kusumgar, Chairman of Kusumgar Corporates Pvt. Ltd (KCPL), realized the need for textiles for non-apparel application, that is presently known as technical textiles, and started a business to meet the ever-growing needs of a burgeoning industry. Today, Kusumgar has completed 50 years and is regarded as a pioneer in the industry, synonymous with the development, production, and supply of technical textiles.

KCPL has been recognized for its many awards including the National Award for indigenization conferred by the Ministry of Defence. The other honours that the company has received over the years are the Gold Vendor Award by Garware Bestretch, Supplier Excellence Award by Parker Hannifin, and Quality Promise to Zero Defect Award by Johnson and Johnson.

Despite the huge potential in the market, technical textiles are growing at a slower pace? Why?

The global demand for technical textiles is estimated at $180 bn and growing at a CAGR of 4%. The Asia Pacific is leading with 40% share, while North America and West Europe stand at 25% and 22% respectively. On the other hand, the demand for technical textiles in India is meager $20 bln. The main reasons for low growth are:

i) Consumer awareness has not been created and the market is not growing for technical textiles.

ii) Textile Industry is fragmented and low scale; the majority of the manufacturing units do not have proper infrastructure and quality consciousness to meet the stringent requirement of technical textiles.

iii) There is a lack of R&D culture.

iv) Mandate of compulsory use for protection, environment, road safety, etc.

v) Non-availability of specialty fibres and yarns.

To overcome the drawbacks, recently the Ministry of Textiles has set up the National Technical Textiles Mission that aims at an average growth rate of 15-20% to increase the domestic market size of technical textiles $40-50 bln by the year 2024 through market development, market research, market promotion, international technical collaboration, new investments and make in India initiative. However, we have to wait till 20024 to see the success of the mission.

Within the technical textiles what are the major segments do you cater and which is the fastest-growing segment as per you?

Ans. KCPL manufactures almost the whole gamut of technical textiles. We have experience in manufacturing more than 500 types of woven technical textiles using a wide variety of materials including specialty yarns of rayon, polyester, and polyamide to p-aramid yarns. The linear density of fabrics ranges from 20 gsm to 1000 gsm and can supply fabric roll length up to 2000 m. We have integrated manufacturing facilities from weaving to processing to coating/ laminating to provide a complete solution.

Our custom-made fabrics meet the stringent requirement of certain industries including aerospace, medical and industrial. We also make fabrics for the rubber industry, outdoor, luggage, military material like parachute fabrics, personnel equipment, ballistic fabrics, protective clothing and uniform, adventure sports, and inflatables.

At the moment due to the onset of Covid 19 and the need for other medical applications, medical textile is the fastest growing technical textiles at the rate of 15%.

How was 2020 for your company? How was your company’s reaction to Pandemic? What was the impact of Pandemic in terms of sales, staff cut down, etc?

The world faced an unprecedented crisis and challenge with the outbreak of the Corona Virus towards the end of November 2019, named Covid 19. Like many other companies, our consumer products e.g., outdoor, luggage and automobiles are severely affected, and sales of these products are substantially reduced.

On the flip side, there has been a huge demand for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for providing high-level protection to the health professionals dealing with Covid 19 patients. Within a few weeks, we developed the product and tested to meet the stringent technical requirements as prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Family welfare; KCPL has become a potential supplier of PPE kits and face mask.

There was no reduction in the salaries of our staff nor retrenched the workforce. This was possible by controlling the working capital, reducing inventories, and drastically slashing the fixed costs.

Your company’s share in the Indian Market and Globally.

 The market share of technical textiles of KCPL in our country is about 15 %; nevertheless, for certain segments like parachutes, ballistic fabric, our market share is almost 100%. Although our export is increasing every year, our presence in the global context is insignificant.

Tell us about your clients in India and which are the major markets do you cover across globally.

The clienteles of KCPL are widespread and include:

  1. Ordinance Parachute Factory (OPF), Kanpur.
  2. Ordinance Equipment factory (OF), Kanpur.
  3. Arial Delivery Res. & Dev. Estt. (ADRDE), Agra Cantt.
  4. Defence Materials @ Stores Res. & Devp. Estt. (DMSRDE), Kanpur.
  5. Tata Advance.
  6. Johnson & Johnson Limited, Mumbai.
  7. Zodiac Aerospace Ltd.
  8. PISA, South Africa
  9. Uretek Inc.
  10. Trelleborg Coated Systems US Inc.
  11. Decathlon.
  12. Coroplast, Germany
  13. Cetroplast, Germany
  14. Parker Hannifin
  15. Garware Bestretch

Any expansion plans in the next 5 years in terms of capacity, markets, and product development

In the global competition of today’s world, KCPL restructures itself to become a fast-changing high valued adding creator of a niche market. To achieve this, KCPL’s joint ventures such as Saati Kusumgar (P) Ltd. and Toray Kusumgar Advance Textiles with leading companies across the globe have added capabilities to its portfolio and significantly increased the quality of services. In 2019, the company, which used to supply only aeronautical fabrics, was offered a transfer of technology (TOT) by the Ministry of Defence of the Government of India for manufacturing parachutes for the Indian Army and thus forwarding integrating the company. These parachutes are made under the guidance of the Gaganyaan Human Space Programme, which is all set to be launched in the year 2022.

The company has persistently worked towards expanding its applications and trying out new ventures. All these developments will lead to KCPL’s ambition to achieve a turnover of $5 bln (Rs 500cr) in the next couple of years.