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How a textile entrepreneur from Coimbatore thrived during and after Covid-19 Crisis: A tale of Resilience, Reliability and Stability

    by Team Sage Sustainability

    In Conversation with Sunil Jhunjhunwala, MD, Technosport, India (Member ITF)

    Mr Sunil Jhunjhunwala is an entrepreneur and founder-director @ Technosport, India and a member of the Indian Texpreneurs Federation(ITF). He shares his experience that can be inspiring for any entrepreneur to turn adversity into an opportunity.

    Watching the crisis Objectively: Pandemic became larger than life with the announcement of the lockdown, which was essential to cut the wave of spread, however, the impact of the pandemic that started with cancelled orders, stranded migrants on the highways was unnerving and demoralizing for most people.

    Early knowledge and appropriate action: Mr Sunil Jhunjhunwala was tuned into the reality of the Pandemic as it started unfolding in China. TAKING EARLY WARNING SIGNALS FROM HIS CONTACTS IN CHINA, SOP was put in place for a health emergency situation. Surgical masks were bought and employees were asked to wear.

    The company took steps for cooling-off time for any goods entering the premises. Awareness was created for every employee.

    Operating from Values

    For Sunil, it was not an option to shut the unit and ask the workers to leave. ‘I would urge you to step into their position and see, a lockdown begins, and we leave them high and dry, where will they go, they are young people, have come from far to find livelihoods (from Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar, Rajasthan & Orissa) and it doesn’t even help us if they leave’ so whatever the situation, we decided to take care of them and continue with whatever we can ’says Sunil, in a self-assured manner.It was also important to make sure that they get some source of entertainment to channelize their energies.

    Spotting Opportunity and Adaptability

    As the lockdown was announced, there was a shortage of masks across Coimbatore and there was an early request for production of masks, however with the lockdown the movement was restricted, and special permission had to be taken for continuing work that would support the national cause.

    Using available technology, the unit quickly moved to the production of PPE and by mid-April, mask production started, and the company manufactured around 2 million masks during this time. It is now doing only the last orders and has resumed its original product mix by the end of July, reaching 100% production capacity.

    As per Sunil “every day is an opportunity based on how you view it”.Sunil also observed the early impact on clothing for working people as the work conditions shifted, and most knowledge workers were working from home, personal requests were pouring in for bringing knitwear from the factory during the lock-down, so Sunil decided to focus on this segment.

    Mr Sunil Jhunjhunwala’s story is of staying alive to the situation, sensing opportunity during crisis, being resilient and dynamic, and showcasing reliability and stability not only for the customers it serves but it’s own workers and employees. Having retained 95% of employees, with 15-20% productivity increase, opportunity to serve nation and society by supplying masks and returning back to 100% productivity.

    What comes handy to him is his attitude of “looking at the glass as half-full’, his core values of building relationships, and also his hands’ on experience working in high performance filament yarns, dyes, processing, printing and garmenting including its performance evaluation and testing of activewear.

    Technosports India started as an enterprise in 2009, has a manufacturing unit spread over 1 lakh sq ft, specializes in manufacturing sportswear, activewear and sells products that are sold across retail stores in India. The garment cutting unit employs 250 employees and manufactures 1800 tonnes of technical sportswear and 6 million sportswear per annum.

    Interviewers: Dr. Shashi K. Abija N.