When Manav Gupta joined textiles firm RMP Fab Sourcing in 2012, the business was in a very different stage of growth.“I was very blessed that I had a solid base provided by my grandfather to start with,” says Manav, who is Director of the company.
“We were dependent on a small set of customers for most of our business; 80–90 per cent of our business was based out of five per cent of our customers. Moving forward I saw a huge opportunity for us to really grow this business and become one of the leading fabric manufacturers for global apparel.”
By creating a special facility for new business development, Manav not only expanded the customer base but also oversaw RMP create a division that manufactures apparel. “This has been a dream for us for so long, and we’ve finally managed to establish a team and start this process,” he says.
With two manufacturing locations in the Faridabad area and another in Panipat, as well as having offices across all major textile cities in India, RMP is well-placed to build on its success.
It is currently catering to all the major apparel brands across Europe and the US, including Gap, Old Navy, H&M, Esprit, M&S, AEO, Ann Taylor and Next, among others. A benefit of having this network across the country is that it allows RMP to merge together specialties from different locations and offer innovations to its customers.
Now that RMP is ready to build up the capacity to expand, Manav is preparing to continue his three-year plan to increase the apparel business. “We’ve started with one unit but my focus is to grow this many times over in the coming years,” he shares.
Growth is the way forward. You need to keep evolving and you need to keep creating.
Dealing with both the short-term and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is a major challenge for Manav and his colleagues at RMP. “The biggest challenge in front of us now is COVID. It’s ongoing,” he says.
“Planning has been tough. We’ve had to reassess our strategy every two to three months right now due to the ever-changing situation.” Customer behaviour has also changed significantly since the emergence of COVID. Before the pandemic, RMP was able to predict customer needs and demands well but now it’s much more difficult to forecast customer growth.
“There’s quite a bit of uncertainty around the apparel market globally, which is one of the challenges we are feeling right now, but hopefully if the COVID situation improves in six months, then we could be back on track very quickly,” Manav says.
At a time of continuing supply chain disruptions, strong partnerships with key suppliers can make a real difference to enterprises. For Manav, suppliers are seen as vital business partners because of the longstanding connections they have with RMP.
“That’s our philosophy. We’re in direct contact with them, which gives them insight into what we are actually looking for this season or for the year ahead,” he says. “They really appreciate that because it helps them plan their capacities very effectively.”
Thanks to this high level of transparency, suppliers are aware of exactly what RMP needs and what is expected rom the relationship. The close working relationship with partners allows the firm to get the best prices for products and achieve timely delivery without having to follow up at the last minute to get supplies.
There’s no question that staying competitive requires firms to continually keep innovating, according to Manav. “The number one focus for all my employees has always been to keep going, keep evolving and keep creating,” he says. “Innovation is the key business message I always give to anyone who asks me, because I think that’s the main ambition for all businesses.”
Perhaps the most vital benefit from these relationships is getting access to the newest innovations and products on offer. As a priority customer, RMP can view any new developments or new key sampling from suppliers and choose what works best for them. “This really helps us serve our customers consistently better,” Manav says.
“Our suppliers have come through for us always.” For Manav, innovation is vital for all companies, no matter the industry they operate within. Without a focus on innovation, growth is hard to achieve.
“Growth is the way forward,” he says. “You need to keep evolving and you need to keep creating – you cannot stop in textiles. You need to always move forward, because if you standstill, you will be out of the business very soon.”
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