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Here’s how India’s biggest home furnishing exporter is transforming into a global institution

by Apparel Resources

11-September-2018  |  7 mins read

With the mission to transform into a renowned global institution, India’s largest exporter of home textile products, Welspun India Ltd. (WIL), proudly claims that it is well-on-track. Especially so, since the last fiscal year was full of action for the company. To mention a few, W2 unit (an all women unit) was commissioned, ground breaking ceremony of Welspun flooring took place at Telangana. Not just that, FIFA license for World Cup towels were handed over to Welspun, and Wel-Trak branded products reached customers’ shelves in last one year. Thought the company’s total income was 8.8 per cent lower in FY 2018, its net profit increased by 7.1 per cent.

Innovations, new markets, new channels, and new products are the main reasons for the company’s ‘Well-on-Track’ claim. With a distribution network in more than 50 countries, WIL supplies to 17 of the top 30 global retailers. Moreover, the company continues to strengthen its relationships with hospitality and healthcare segments. For that, it has tied up with leading hotel chains and wellness centres. Currently, about 95 per cent of WIL’s revenue is derived from exports. The US is the highest contributor in this, with 66 to 68 per cent share (every 5th towel and every 10th bedsheet sold in the US is manufactured by WIL) and Europe’s share is 17 to 18 per cent. Continuing with the same vigour, the company is exploring new markets to grow its business and diversify risks. These include markets such as Europe, Middle East, Australia, and Japan, apart from its most important growth market in India.

Similar is the company’s push for branded products, which is evident from WIL’s increase in the share of its branded products to 17 per cent of total sales from 16 per cent last year. It is further working on becoming the preferred sourcing partner for the private labels of e-commerce platforms, which will help it gain a stronger foothold in the e-commerce space. Currently, 5 per cent of the total sales is contributed by e-commerce. The company is collaborating with exclusive online D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) players in order to tap this growth opportunity. Besides, WIL is strengthening and expanding its share of the B2C business. It is foraying into flooring solutions with a planned investment of Rs. 11 billion. The newly-built facility will manufacture area rugs, carpet tiles, and other flooring solutions.

On the sustainability side, the company has removed its dependence on Narmada river for fresh water and has rather facilitated the locals to avail the river’s water to the fullest. All such efforts have contributed well for the company as it has evolved with 30 unique innovations. During 2017-18, 37 per cent of WIL’s sales alone were from its innovative products, developed and owned by the company.

The launch of Wel-Trak – industry defining traceability by WIL has been supported with scientific traceability through chemical fingerprinting from Oritain™ and this has now become the most comprehensive traceability solution in textiles, with its ability to track from the final product such details which even took place during the farm stage.

Keeping women empowerment at the core, the company this year started Welspun 2, the female only unit (Bed Sheets – Cut and Sew) at Anjar. As on 31st March 2018, there were 782 employees working in the unit with the female percentage standing at 22.7 per cent across all its locations. The next four years are also expected to remain more aggressive for the company as it has set ambitious targets to achieve US $ 2 billion revenue, 20 per cent share of domestic revenue and nil net debt.

Employee engagement and social welfare

WIL’s employee engagement initiatives are remarkable and include different types of training, motivation, rewards etc. The company trained a total of more than 10,000 youth in FY 2018 under the Welspun’s skill development programme. Its sustainability initiative ‘Quality Education Project’, covers 41 government-run schools in Anjar (Gujarat), reaching out to over 10,000 students. Welspun Foundation for Health & Knowledge (WFHK) has the vision to benefit over 20,000 women in the villages of Vapi and Anjar.

Balkrishan Goenka, Chairman, Welspun

“FY 2018 was a challenging yet satisfactory year. While we faced various challenges, including destocking by retailers, the transition to GST, currency appreciation, consumer preference for online channel etc., we were successful in converting these into opportunities. Your company maintained its leadership position and has made itself ready to move to the next trajectory. Our future growth and value creation will be driven by our differentiation strategy based on branding, innovation, sustainability, and our patented traceability solution, along with our focus on the domestic market,” Balkrishan Goenka, Chairman, Welspun

“We have laid the foundation for our next phase of growth, which will be driven by new product lines such as flooring solutions and new domestic markets,” Rajesh R. Mandawewala, MD, Welspun.

Dipali Goenka, CEO & Jt. MD, Welspun

“Our focussed efforts to increase the share of B2C business through our own brands, ingredient brands, and innovation have started yielding positive results. Wel-Trak, our patented traceability solution, is getting widespread acceptance by customers; Wel-Trak merchandise is already available on the shelves of multiple US retailers. With a growing consumer preference for online channels, we have strengthened our omni-channel capabilities to serve the customers more effectively,” Dipali Goenka, CEO & Jt. MD, Welspun