Chennai-based Magnum Clothing has well survived in this unprecedented phase of COVID-19 due to investment in the latest technology and pro-active collaboration with supply chain partners including technology providers, IT partners and raw material suppliers.
This is aside from the expected 30 per cent de-growth in the current fiscal due to situation the company had no control over. “This is an overall industry reality, but as a company we have done better than many,” says Ravi Singhee, Director of the company.
The 52-year-old apparel export house, which has the capacity of more than 3,00,000 pieces per month, had last year invested in latest technologies like 3D Optitex sampling, digital colour approval system, Internet of Things (IOT) from Brother, besides entering into a very detailed partnership with Coats Digital for thread solutions and during lockdown it created a strong bonding with its various suppliers from mills to accessory providers that have proved helpful in riding over the pandemic slowdown on many fronts.
Talking to Apparel Resources, Ravi shared, “While people are now talking about the needs of the new normal, including contactless operations, we have already invested around Rs. 1.5 crore in the latest technology just before the pandemic and it has proved an important support in the last 8 months of Covid phase.” He adds that the digitisation of the sampling and fitting process has proved very effective, as some customers are now approving samples only on 3D platforms.
The customised digital platform that was created to streamline operations made the transition from the physical world to the virtual world, so much easier. “Work from home was easy for our team as all the information were on a single platform. All in all, we were able to work smoothly, quickly and save a lot on the cost front. Whatever we invested in 2019 has borne fruit during Covid time,” he admits candidly.
The focus of the company is very clear, and China, Bangladesh and Cambodia are not its competitors. Instead the company is concentrating on competing with countries like Turkey which are giving value in product, not through value additions but innovative fabrics, better fits and trend based high-end designs.
With an office in London, technology has played an important role in better coordination between the head office in Chennai and its UK-based associate office and their designers. Ravi has high praise for his ERP solution provider STAGE ERP that very pro-actively supported the seamless operations during the lockdown, even when staff strength was depleted. Both companies have been associated for almost 21 years. “During this difficult time, we got the benefit of ROR – return on relation,” he says with pride.
Apart from the use of the effective technology, Ravi also managed well its relationship with raw material suppliers, forging partnerships that proved fundamental support for the company. Right from managing requirements in thread to interlining and elastic, to innovations in yarn and fabric, the company has coordinated and collaborated with leaders in all segments.
Appreciated the role of its supply chain partners Ravi shares, “Few of our suppliers (which are not even nominated by our buyer) directly coordinate with our buyer and made entire process easy and quick. Similarly, one of the leading fabric suppliers has given us the knowledge and skill advantage of its trained team which enhanced the skills of my team, while for similar skills, other export houses are paying high salary to their professionals. With strategic collaborations all suppliers offered us competitive price, quick deliveries and better than best service.”
In the process of collaboration, the company has consolidated its supplier-base and is now working with top and reliable suppliers only. I must appreciate two companies VSM Weaves and Lucky Spinners (Moti) which supported in terms of holding yarn and fabric during recent difficult months, making it easy for me in time of financial crunch when buyers were cancelling orders,” acknowledged Ravi.
He also acknowledged the role of associations like Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF) and the Apparel Handloom Exporters Association (AHEA) which created a very strong platform for idea-sharing, advance knowledge on yarn and fibre prices and moral support which also helped the company in planning better.