Hong Kong-based garment manufacturing company, Epic Group is planning to enter India and set up its first manufacturing unit in Ranchi spread across the minimum built-up area of around 20,000 sq. mt. to start with. The manufacturing unit in Ranchi is equivalent to the smallest factory of the company in Bangladesh, the biggest manufacturing hub for the Epic Group.
“We will start with a target unit of about 4,000 people which is a gradual ramp-up to be achieved within the time frame of 24 months. Initially, we will start with an outlay of US$ 20 million in the form of capex,” says Ranjan Mahtani, Chairman and Owner, Epic Group.
The brand is planning to source 90 percent of its raw material from India, with Mahtani saying that they are already buying huge amounts of raw material from four – five different suppliers in India.
How India Has an Edge
The brand is confident about establishing its business in India as it believes the country has an edge over other nations.
“Compared to most of the countries we are in, India is more vertical as far as textiles are concerned, so that should add more speed into our business. We still need to decide on things like where fabric could be coming from – Ahmedabad or down South – and should we manufacture in India itself versus how it’s being done right now – transported to these foreign countries which are quiet far away,” says Mahtani.
Another reason, says Mahtani, that the company has decided to venture into India is the value addition the country has to offer first in terms of embellishment and embroidery abilities. “Aside from this, one very important reason for venturing into India is its booming economy, which has There is a lot of government support and a lot of maturity as far as financial institutions and services are concerned. This is the positive environment that we are looking forward to working in,” he adds.
Also, with the way trends are changing and fashion is evolving, the brand is looking forward to working with different skill-sets and believes that India will add to these skill-sets and create a more versatile supply chain model.
Epic Group believes that it is its moral and fundamental responsibility to provide workers, staff and associates with a safe working place irrespective of where they are.
Mahtani says, “We provide day-care and medical facilities and we do not think that we are doing anything extra for the employees. These are part and parcel of the facilities in any part of the world. The kind of lighting and chairs that we provide, safety facilities –electrical or within the building – we have brought in a certain standard of comfort for our employees and we will continue improving on this. Our first priority is to provide a safe place to our workers to work in.”
“Aside from this, the brand has a lot of incentive schemes where the worker is part of their profitability. As workers get more efficient and start learning how to work on the machines, they start getting more than their minimum cut and that is what has worked for the brand so far,” he explains.
The brand usually employees more women than men. Explaining the reason behind this, Mahtani says, “We do not recruit more women as a matter of choice. We do not distinguish between male and female workers, but we have found that in a large number of countries – for instance China, Vietnam, Bangladesh or Ethiopia – women are more talented as far as tailoring is concerned. We believe in hiring the right people to do the right job.”
Epic Group is also planning on changing the impression of high attrition rates in India.
“We will do what we have done in other countries. Some of our factories in Bangladesh the attrition rate is 1 percent whereas other factories have 5-6 percent. Our employees feel more secure, they feel that they are the part of the company, they know what the leadership is and what is their ultimate goal. There is nothing fancy about bringing attrition down, it is all about getting the basics right,” says Mahtani.
Innovation – The Key to Success
The manufacturing facilities of the brand are designed to combine traditional skills and modern technology to serve a new era and evolving consumers. The brand is planning to replicate the same here in India.
“We are going to put a lot of emphasis on innovation and automation into the factory. Over the years, we have learnt that everything is evolving. We are going to implement Japanese Lean Kaizen technology. Lean is a methodology that eliminates waste and boosts efficiency. Kaizen means continuous improvement. This course merges both philosophies. Lean Kaizen helps you get rid of waste and continuously implement best practices. Our aim is to keep up with evolving technology,” he states.