Mafatlal: Defining new boundaries with uniform business

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M B Raghunath, President – Sales and Marketing, Mafatlal Industries Limited shares the perspective of the company’s growing significance in the uniform business in an exclusive interview.
Mafatlal is the undisputed leader in corporate and school uniform fabrics in India. It manufactures the entire range of fabric for workwear, including factory wear, construction wear and all shop floor uniforms. The company boasts of a business worth Rs. 400 crore per annum only in these categories, which contributes to around 35 percent of the company. As, the corporate sector is paying increasingly a lot of attention to the way their employees are attired, especially in the manufacturing sectors like engineering, chemical, refining, mining, power, steel, etc. Mafatlal has introduced a wide range of fabrics in cotton, polyester cotton, denims and polyester viscose for this segment.
Mafatlal collection of uniform categories
The company has an extensive collection, which runs to over 4,000 designs and combinations in school and corporate uniforms.
School uniforms: Mafatlal scores high in the schoolwear division. It has unique computer software for designing and colour-matching uniforms for the convenience of school authorities or parent teacher association. The company provides a range of polyester-cotton, polyester-viscose blend and polyester-wool blend fabrics in more than 3,000 designs in shirtings and more than 100 shades in suitings. The company has also developed a 600 colour combo co-ordinated booklet for shirt, trouser and skirt combination for retailers, school uniform makers or converters, which gives them a wide range of designs from choose from.
Mafatlal is one of the first companies to introduce eco-friendly fibre-dyed suiting in school uniform range. These have an advantage of higher colour depth and retention. The fibre-dyed suiting range consists of 60 shades. The company has also introduced a complete range of fine polyester cotton-blended shirtings in various stripes and checks.
Uniform for defence and armed forces: Uniforms instill a sense of pride in individuals wearing them for their respective organisations. Mafatlal rightly endeavours that this sense of pride is reinstated by supplying quality fabrics and readymade uniforms for various organisations including defence establishments, armed forces, police departments and Central as well as State government organisations. The company has a customer base of 1,000 reputed organisations.
Uniform for corporate and retail: Nowadays, the corporate sector is paying a lot of attention to the way their employees are dressed, especially in service sectors like airlines, retail, hospitality, hospitalwear, etc. Here designs play a crucial role, and Mafatlal’s in-house team of designers offer their assistance in design selection. They also undertake orders for readymade uniforms.
Gifting for corporates: Mafatlal’s corporate gifting collection includes suit lengths, safari suits, formal shirts, ties, cuff-links, ready-to-stitch packs and saris.
Expansion plans into other categories
The company plans to expand in readymade schoolwear, workwear and corporate uniform in a big way.

R&D and product development

Mafatlal is always striving to make newer innovations. Product development is an ongoing process to develop new products as per market demands.
Buyer’s outlook & popular fabrics
The buyers look forward to durability, good feel and finish, and innovative designs. The most popular constructions or blends and counts in uniform fabrics: 2/30s, 2/40s, 2/80s, 40s, 45s PV and PC blends. People prefer more of 2 ply-yarn fabrics as compared to single ply earlier.

Most popular colours & designs

Blues, white, black, and greys are some of the popular shades.
Competitive edge
Mafatlal believes in advance planning, keeping ready stocks, and developing new qualities and designs.
Mafatlal market share
The company is a leader in uniform fabric and has more than 60 percent market share in the branded segment (i.e. the organised players).
Central and State government bodies, public limited and private companies, and schools across the country.
Uniform fabric buying process
Most commonly a retail outlet or garment shop approaches the schools and passes on their requirements to a wholesaler. A wholesaler in turn places the order with the mills for fabric supply.

Uniform’s business across north, south, east and west

Volumes are as per the demographics of a state. Northern India is a fast emerging market for uniforms.
Manufacturing capabilities
Mafatlal has invested Rs. 100 crore in the last financial year for modernisation.
Turnover and growth percentage
The company expects to touch around Rs. 1,000 crore.

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