Based out of Tirupur in Tamil Nadu, SRI SPK INTERNATIONAL, a certified IGBC Platinum rated factory, stands out for adhering to the highest standards in Sustainability for social, environmental, and governance parameters.
The one lakh square foot building in a sprawling 5-acre campus just off the highway connecting Tirupur strikes one as a dream manufacturing facility that greets you with spaciousness, cleanliness, fresh air, and ample light. The IGBC Platinum-certified building underlines the commitment of the company towards reducing energy consumption and creating a facility where humans and nature thrive. The company has a state-of-the-art infrastructure that is fully integrated and has 600 ultra-modern machines. A clear strategy on being a fully export-oriented unit and focused on knitted cotton wear has helped secure supplies to the well-known brands across the globe. The company specializes in knitted cotton wear and modal mix.
The company is led by Mr Santhosh Kumar, who has international business experience and mentorship from his father Mr Udhayasankar, one of the visionary leaders bringing Sustainability to the textile sector for more than thirty-five years.
SRI SPK International – IGBC Platinum Rated facility – Tirupur
Pivoting around Sustainability and Productivity
The company’s three focus areas are planet-friendly and employee-friendly practices and raising the bar on productivity, so manufacturing price points with quality, happy customers, and employees become a part of the outcomes.
One of the finest examples of low carbon manufacturing is where technically superior and energy-efficient machines are utilized in a facility that uses the least energy and runs on renewable energy. The building follows an environmentally conscious design and manufacturing at every possible level and reduces manufacturing emissions through optimization and extensive use of wind energy for moving towards zero emissions. GOTS and OEKO TEX certifications are secured to ensure standards are always maintained and verified.
The company’s pride comes from having over 700 highly skilled workers working in what can be easily called one of the best production facilities in the country. SA 8000, and WRAP certifications help validate the good practices at the facility that take care of decent wages, work-life balance, working conditions and life-enhancing programs.
Women empowerment is one of the primary focus areas and according to promoters, it is best served by employing women. Having 95% women employees by design has helped in achieving that objective. Young mothers are offered a creche facility and nursing stations.
Through upskilling and multi-skilling, skill training is one of the company’s primary emphasis and fresh workers are offered training programs for twenty days free of cost. The training cover fabric, garments, style, and industry culture to develop the skills and knowledge of the trainees. Trainees are provided with the freedom to choose their workplace in this company or any other while they also get free food and accommodation during the training. According to promoters, the idea is to create a skilled workforce for the region.
Productivity (Quantity with exceptional Quality) – Making a Difference
The average production rate that the company has achieved is about 2000 products per hour and close to 16,000 products a day. However, “quality is not sacrificed for quantity,” Santhosh explains the process in detail about high standards of quality that leaves no room for error.
The production process at SPK starts from the 4-point fabric auditing, where each lot of fabric is tested for Swatch, Shrinkage, Fastness and GSM. It is then approved before bringing it into the racks with a pin-card system. Then, 3-auto spreaders and cutters, along with a skilled manual cutting process ensure quick and quality cutting. The cut pieces are then managed through a bar code system and segmented according to their size and requirements.
The production output is maintained with Kanban System, and each line is designed with a complete finishing layout. The process starts with pre-inspection, stitching, post-inspection, ironing, labelling, and poly packing. After poly packing, one more level of inspection takes place in a closed FSA cabin through metal detectors before being shipped. This ensures a 100% quality check.
Value-added products – “Mantra for Growth”
One of the exciting revelations while speaking to Santosh was the kind of quality garments or super specializations that the company works on from time to time. A specialized product called ‘macaroni weave’ woven on a 180-year-old Turkish machine is a delight to look at and wear. Another specialized product that is curated for some clients is 100% knitted cotton which is woven look alike and became immensely popular in Covid times to suit the work from home mode. Modal mix T-Shirts (Cotton +viscose +Tencel) is another example of a specialized product that the company undertakes for some clients.
The way ahead
The company has set an ambitious target for itself, raising the revenue base from 300 Crores to 500 Crores by 2025. With the commitment to nature and people as its underpinning, the productivity gains that help win customers, the long-term path for the company is pre-paved already.
Interviewed and written by: Dr Shashi K and Abija Nambiar, SAGE Sustainability