For years, industry bodies including export promotion councils (EPCs) have been announcing yearly awards for performances in various categories based solely on turnovers. The simple logic is that if the toplines are increasing, the company is doing well and should be recognised. Of course, turnovers are important and are one of the the first barometers to judge how well a company is doing, but is that all to rate and assess a company’s performance?
Also there seems to be no thought on what are the parameters and areas of improvement that will help the industry grow and flourish in the long run, and why these areas and the companies working in these areas are being overlooked when acknowledging performers for excellence.
The most important question to be dwelled upon is how important it is to measure performance on parameters like quality, efficiency, creativity, innovation, benchmark practices in manufacturing and people management, as also work done in areas of sustainability, CSR and buyer relations.
All these areas reflect the health of the industry, proactiveness of players and future readiness for evolving challenges. Industry watchers always worry that new and younger players are not attracted to the industry, and even organisations that monitor and support industries do not appreciate innovative efforts to upscale and upgrade the industry. There is an image crisis which can only be addressed when new names and young progressive entrepreneurs, who think out of the box are acknowledged and heard at important forums like award ceremonies.
In reality, so many younger and ‘not-so-big’ companies are doing wonderful work in various areas… how to encourage, acknowledge and reward such companies is a critical question as the industry takes on newer challenges and the definition of success changes. Without doubt, the process and criteria for awards given by EPCs, need to be reworked to recognise more and more companies doing outstanding work on various parameters.
The Indian textile industry has 11 Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) and few of them regularly organise export award functions every year for outstanding export performance. These awards motivate the award-winning companies to continuously perform better. But over the years, these awards have become monotonous, especially as time and again nearly the same companies are receiving these awards. The former Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani herself has urged the EPCs to add new categories in such awards. Following her words, EPCs did add few categories but there is still a lot more scope to add more categories.
A case in point is the recently held and virtually organised The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (TEXPROCIL) Export Awards for outstanding export performance in 2019 – 2020 which distributed 58 awards in 34 different categories. Out of the 44 companies receiving the awards, only 5 companies received these awards for the first time. The case is similar to the awards given by AEPC and other councils.
Major growth and performance indicators are being missed out. Though the majority of top and mid-size companies are following sustainability practices religiously, but TEXPROCIL doesn’t have an award to recognise the efforts and excellence in this area. Similarly, having a recognised quality certification is one of the criterion laid down for the purpose of selecting the winners for these awards but there is no specific award for highlighting quality aspects.
To understand why the same companies get awards every year, one has to see the criteria of awards. As far as TEXPROCIL is concerned, it gives maximum numbers of awards. It has 3 major categories based on export performance (based on turnover) including various product categories. In terms of turnover, there are mainly three categories: Rs. 5 crore-Rs. 75 crore; Rs. 75 crore-Rs. 250 crore; and above Rs. 250 crore. Apart from these, there are special achievement awards in yarns, fabrics, made-ups and highest employment generation in overall including women and MSMEs.
The criteria laid down for the purpose of selecting the winners for these awards include export performance for the year with weightage on percentage increase in total exports for the past two years, the breakthrough in new markets, product development, the substantial increase in export sales on a sustained basis, preferably in non-traditional markets, recovery of lost ground in export markets, recognised quality certification and any other significant contribution in the field of export performance or promotion.
Another important aspect is that there are companies getting the award for decades in their respective product categories. A reference point is Lahoti Overseas, which has been consistently winning awards for the past 15 years and Loyal Textile Mills Limited is the recipient of gold trophy in its designated category for the last 14 years in a row. There are even examples where a company won TEXPROCIL award on 38 occasions. Pee Vee Textiles Ltd. is also a company regularly receiving export awards from SRTEPC/TEXPROCIL. AEPC’s awards are also on similar tracks where selected companies get recognition over the years.
No doubt, being the leader in their respective product categories, such companies have first right on awards and there is no challenge to them at all in their segment, but to promote other players of the same particular product categories, there can be a mechanism to recognise them. Such change will be good rather than just giving the same award to the same companies for decades. Fresh faces and companies that are making serious attempt to be different need to be motivated and it is good for the industry.
Similarly, there are textile giants like RSWM Ltd., Vardhman Textile Ltd., that have got awards in all three categories. Will it not be motivational for others if a company gets a maximum of one award and the rest go to other strong players in similar categories? It will give exposure to many such companies that are not very behind in the race. There are other ways also to give awards to newer companies or companies which have not received any recognition but deserve to be applauded like ‘Highest global exports by new company/entrepreneur’.
Such recognition through awards is very important as exporters keenly compete with each other to bag these prestigious awards every year. These coveted awards have helped inculcate a spirit of healthy competition among exporters. It is worth mentioning here that adding new categories or any company getting awards for the first time has proven to be motivational. TEXPROCIL itself highlights that the Council’s decision three years ago of awarding companies for generating the highest employment in overall terms and by MSMEs and also for employing women, drew an enthusiastic response from its members.