Modelama Exports, Gurgaon, is one of the well-known apparel export houses of India. The company, with a turnover of Rs. 500 crore, (Group turnover Rs. 1,000 crore) with six factories in Delhi-NCR and two in Indonesia, is working with around 20 prestigious brands across the globe. Under the leadership of Lalit Gulati, Chairman of the Group and a veteran of the industry, the company has grown well in the last 40 years and is even geared up to grow further.
In an interview with Apparel Resources, Lalit Gulati shares his views on the current scenario and discloses the company’s future strategies.
How do you see the overall business now as conditions are clear from the buyers’ side, and how has this affected the working environment?
Lalit: The overall conditions are not conducive to any industry to survive unless adequate safety precautions and expense management are well taken care of. Although COVID-19 has literally created an unprecedented vacuum, like Spanish flu a century back, it was otherwise imminent for the whole world to take rest to help mitigate global warming and sustain the energy imbalance of the earth. The pandemic also taught everybody – kids to adults – in all walks of life a new life experience which is a moral lesson for any such forthcoming challenges.
In our office and units, we have set social distancing; besides this, our offices and units are also fully disinfected and proper protocol is taken care of. Each and everything – whether a person or product, and from entry to exit – all are subject to proper sanitisation.
What is your strategy to overcome challenging conditions and to grow further in business?
Lalit: We strongly believe that it’s just an interval to come up with many innovations and we are fully geared to take on any challenge.
It is also a learning period as to how we can manage with minimum manpower for maximum output, and it has become a strategy now. All our employees have been made to understand the current situation and they have accepted this as a challenge to put in more outputs to make the company come back on track.
How has PPE manufacturing been fruitful to your business?
Lalit: We were fortunate to have some leftover garment orders during this intervening period and now we have entered into PPE range production, but it is too early to judge how this will prove to be beneficial.
How do you see finance direction in the current scenario?
Lalit: Since our Government is very keen to clear out the stalemate so as to energise the prevailing financial lethargy, and banks are also cooperative, we do not see any deterrence in the coming days. However, most of the apparel buyers are based in the US and many of them are not in a sound financial situation, exporters are not daring enough to accept and execute the orders. The Government needs to work out liberalised terms for ECGC and can very well support the exporters in such a situation. There are many exporters who have executed the orders and are awaiting payment realisation due to extended credit limits and some of them are beware of insolvency.
There is a labour shortage in Delhi-NCR which can grow further in future. How do you see this issue and what steps you are planning in this regard?
Lalit: With the quantum of business every exporter is having at present, there is no such shortage of workers that we have faced and we do not foresee this at all. Since we had the worst situation due to workers’ shortage, we have been running a training school which helps us to get raw workers and A-grade workers in 1-2 months.
Anything new you are planning in the near future?
Lalit: Humans can skip food, but not dress. With our 40-plus years of expertise in the apparel industry, we will stick to manufacturing of readymade garments. The change we envisage would be to have a complete range of RMG with value addition for men, women and kids. Our sister concern is already into domestic business which would be expanded through online and offline partnerships with branded anchor stores.