With more than five decades of presence, Vardhman Group is today among the leading textile conglomerates in the country. Started in 1965, it has evolved over the years into a modern-day textile major under the dynamic leadership of Chairman S.P. Oswal. Vardhman Textiles Ltd., a part of the Vardhman Group, today stands as an epitome of perpetual business growth and rich industry experience. The Textile Magazine visits the plant and speaks to the senior management to know more about the company’s core philosophies, strategies, products and expansion plans
Engaged in the business of manufacturing yarn, fabric, acrylic fibre, garments, sewing threads and alloy steel, the Vardhman Group has over the years developed as a business conglomerate with a strong presence in India and across 75 countries worldwide. Vardhman Textiles Ltd. (VTL) is the flagship company of the Vardhman Group. The company’s humble beginning dates back to 1965 when it started its first manufacturing unit at Ludhiana in the State of Punjab with 6,000 spindles. Today it is one of the largest textile companies of India, manufacturing cotton yarns and fabrics with a capacity of over 1.1 million spindles, constituting about 2% of the country’s yarn production; 1,482 looms for weaving of fabrics; and 146 lakh metres per month of fabric processing capacity.
VTL has in place a strong, capable and experienced management team delivering results that drive the company ahead. The company’s targeted and focused diversification over the years has helped build on its core skills and create a pervasive presence across the value chain. VTL has also collaborated with some of the best technology players in the world and developed a strong in-house technical team that plays an instrumental role in helping the company emerge as a ‘technology forward’ entity. VTL is currently implementing a capex of Rs. 2,000 crores with a target of completing it by 2020. This capex involves, on the yarn front, setting up of about 100,000 spindles and on the fabric side, setting up of its third processing line at Budhni and 275+ looms.
The company has also been investing in fabric printing capacity to provide a one-stop solution for its customers. So what makes Vardhman Textiles the most trusted and respected name in the Indian textile industry? To know about the company and to experience it first-hand, we met the senior management team of the company, namely, S.P. Oswal, Chairman and Managing Director; Suchita Jain, Vice Chairman and Joint Managing Director; Neeraj Jain, Joint Managing Director; and D.L. Sharma, Managing Director of Vardhman Threads. S.P. Oswal, aged 77 years, holds a Masters in Commerce degree from Panjab University, Chandigarh. He has experience of more than 52 years in the textiles industry. Under his leadership Vardhman Group has achieved manifold growth in its textile business.
In view of his contribution to trade and industry, he has been conferred with the Padma Bhushan Award by the Government of India. Says Oswal about his experience in the textile sector: “Being engaged in this competitive textile business for over five decades now, one thing I have learned is that manufacturing at competitive cost is the key to survival. The competence to manufacture at competitive cost is not as facile as it appears. At Vardhman Group, this has been made possible by our 25 state-of-the-art facilities located in different states of India. These facilities help us to be cost-effective, enjoy economies of scale, achieve effective yet maximum capacity utilisation and enable quick product switch and consistent product quality.”
VTL has emerged as a leading producer of premium quality yarns, offering a broad range of specialised greige and dyed yarns in cotton, polyester, acrylic and a variety of blends. The company’s state-of-the-art plants are equipped with modern technology, customer-driven innovation models and relentless focus on excellence. All such factors have made it one of the largest exporters of cotton yarn to some of the growing markets of the European Union, USA and the Far East.
The company is currently undertaking expansion of its yarn manufacturing capacity by putting up three units in Madhya Pradesh. In 2018-19, VTL set up one unit comprising 100,000 spindles using world-class technology. This will increase its yarn manufacturing capacity by approximately 70 TPD. VTL has also modernised approximately 75,000 spindles with the latest ring frame technology. “All our cotton lines are now fully contamination-controlled as we have installed best-in-segment imported contamination removal equipment. Now, all our yarn is 100% Uster® Q-3 processed. We were in the process of upgrading the old technology over the last 4-5 years and this has finally been achieved,” says Neeraj Jain, Joint Managing Director, Vardhman Textiles Ltd.
One of the few vertically integrated fabric suppliers in India, VTL is engaged in the production of fabrics for both tops and bottoms in the apparel segment, catering to large number of retailers across the US, Europe and Asia, amongst other regions. “Our dedicated product design and wide variety of in-house yarns helps us fulfill our customer expectations while also meeting the growing demand for quality fabrics across the globe,” says Suchita Jain. VTL has increased its weaving looms from 1,276 to 1,482. The company commissioned its third processing line at Vardhman Fabrics, Budhni, with additional capacity of 21 lakh metres per month, raising the overall process capacity up to 146 lakh metres per month.
Along with capacity addition, its product mix is being enriched by building capacity of higher share of stretch, value-added finish and value-added weave like Dobby and Jacquard, using special fibre. VTL has also been investing in fabric printing to cater to the increasing needs of customers. The company’s print capacity was increased to 16 lakh metres from 12 lakh metres per month, while establishing itself as a quality supplier. Modernisation is a continuous process with VTL. As, for instance, the modification of old technology of Auro Textiles, Baddi, for becoming energy-efficient and de-bottlenecking to increase capacity from 45 lakh metres to 54 lakh metres per month. At Vardhman Fabrics, Budhni the capacity of ETP, STP, RO and MEE has been increased to make it 100% ZLD. The company operates with a focus on sustainability to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals.
The fabric business is the brain child of Suchita Jain, Vice Chairman, Vardhman Group, who has been responsible for the business from the very beginning. Commenting on her journey with the group, she says: “With digitisation and globalisation happening at a rapid speed, the concept of borders, industries and companies have been changing. In the textile and apparel industry, traditional demarcation between apparel, retail and textile has been diminishing. As a result, at VTL we strive to ensure that we thrive in this era of rapid change through building on our strategies for a sustained future.”
Formulating strategic priorities
VTL has been formulating its strategic priorities in tune with global market trends and future requirements. As S.P. Oswal puts it: “Looking forward, especially keeping in view the current business environment, our focus will be on cost control, resource optimisation and our approach would be circumspective after having expanded our capacities both in yarn and fabric and to relook at our strategy to avail of the opportunities being opened up in the country with the government’s pledge to raise the country’s GDP to USD 5 trillion. Meanwhile, we constantly strive to improve operational efficiency, increase internal wellbeing and actively contribute to our community while reducing our environmental footprint to sustain our business for the long term.” “Our investments in research and development enable us to build a portfolio that takes into consideration the demand of the customers as well as cost advantage,” says Neeraj Jain.
“At VTL, our research and development units situated at all our manufacturing centres work towards development of new products along with improvement in the existing production process and quality of products. We have modernised old or obsolete research and development testing equipments with the latest ones. Major investments have been made for the upgradation of EYCs and contamination sorter to provide better contamination-controlled yarn to our customers,” he adds. VTL’s biggest strength is its strong brand equity. “We are amongst very few players in the industry to possess an experience of over five decades. Over the years, we have created strong relationships with our partners and suppliers by executing our business strategies that have transcended into sustainable growth. While doing so, we also focus on further enhancing the quality and performance of our products, thereby establishing a position of competitive advantage,” says Suchita Jain.
The architect of Vardhman Group’s success story
Vardhman Group today has the largest yarn manufacturing capacity in the country with over 1 million spindles. The group achieved a turnover of around USD 1 billion in the financial year 2018-19 and employs around 30,000 people at its various plants spread across five states in India. Vardhman Textiles Ltd., the flagship company of the group, is ranked amongst Fortune 500 companies. The company has grown under the stewardship of S.P. Oswal. However, success seems to sit lightly on his shoulders. For someone who has charted out such an extraordinary business story in one of the most competitive industries, he remains humble to the core.
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