With the opening of a textile testing laboratory in Gurugram, India, the testing service provider and research partner, Hohenstein, has again raised the bar for the textile industry. Just recently, in July 2018, the company opened a textile testing laboratory with a comprehensive service portfolio in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Now, Hohenstein India is also able to offer its tailor-made services in one of the world’s textile hotspots in India.

The laboratory was opened in Udyog Vihar, Gurugram on 8th Dec 2018 with the Ribbon cutting ceremony by Prof Dr. Stefan Mecheels and his wife, Patrizia Mecheels, Dr. Stefan Droste, Armin Keicher, Martin Cieslik, Kamruzzaman, Dr. Christopher Au, Elana Taylor, Johny Y Kanta who were invited as the overseas dignitaries from the Hohenstein family along with the India staff. Amrut Desai, Managing Director & Country Manager, Hohenstein India Laboratories, performed the traditional lamp lighting ceremony.

To know about Hohenstein’s further plans and its journey in India we spoke to Dr. Stefan Droste. Here are some excerpts from the discussion….

The new lab: The new lab is based on our principles of high quality and competitive prices. We have built this state-of-the-art lab with new instrumentation which is comparable to a forensic lab. With the help of our local team, and we are for 12 years already in India. So, it is another part of piece this lab has added to our service portfolio. We are happy to help our team which will fix to our culture in Hohenstein i.e. family and competence. The new lab’s premise is pretty spacious and a good addition to our inspection and service business established in India. It is focusing on textiles and apparels i.e. our core competence where we are in business since 1946. But in addition to that its environmental sampling like ZDHC sustainability efforts, we also need to measure environmental samples. There were certain quality levels, which we have not seen so far in the country. So, we thought that we need to add that to our portfolio.

This is our only lab where it is possible for our customers from all over India to have samples collected hassle free because we have offices invarious parts of the country. We are spread out pan India with our network but physical presence is here only. At present, we have labs in Germany, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and now in India.

Comparison to newly opened Bangladesh lab: India is a bigger country but is also diversified in different industries; Bangladesh is so focused on the textile industry. The lab there was opened few months back. In comparison to that the Indian lab is little bit more focused on abilities for the US market. But in relation to the instrumentation and abilities of the lab they are more or less all the same. So, its free flow of knowledge between different labs. For us it’s an organisation of enrichment of knowledge.

Edge over other testing service providers: India is a mature market, and testing has to be comparable for brands a lot of tests are standardised that we got are different. We think we are reliable as we put a lot of efforts in comparison to other labs. We do a lot of quality measurement, so invest a lot in quality. But real difference with Hohenstein is sole focus on apparel and textile industry. As we are a testing lab focused on it so we can support textile lab from A to Z. We can have certification and inspection business and can send our textile experienced people from Germany to train people here. We can help in labelling, marketing and other aspects also. We share personal contacts, are family business and no matter if you area manufacturer from China, Bangladesh or India it is important that you have a partner who understands your problem. We are very customer focused and have strong research department in the textiles world. Our focus is on customers who want to do better themselves not who just need a pass. Hence we are really looking for somebody who understands the root cause of problems and we can help him in every aspect.

Journey in India: In the last 12 years, we see steady growth here and it is an extremely important market from production point of view because we have an establishment in the US so we are also split between US and Europe which are very important textile sector. We have very positive continuous development so we are very happy. One of the reasons behind new lab is what we see is just the economic power upward mobile middle class. So, there is an increase from local to local production. Indian consumers are smart and you can’t just sell them a lookalike, which is cheap and want to have good stuff. So, we think in future we not only understand India as suppliers market but also as final destination of goods. We are convinced that our certification and lab testing services will have brands to establish that.

Top five markets: The textile world is just very complex and connected. India, Bangladesh, China, Germany and Turkey are our major markets.

Soft lines business: If I may include environmental samples then its 100 per cent of our business. We only do soft lines. We do some research and do medical textiles also. At the end of the day, its textiles and apparels in all the forms. Anything you could think is related to textiles, we are there to help.

Future of garment industry in India: If I look at forecasts in numbers it grows steadily. I see around 200 bn by 2021, and double by 2025. Apparel exports from India went down for few months in current financial year but after that improved. We see global growth in this market in future especially if you see the strong growth it is witnessing. We are very positive about the future here.

Message to customers: Services have to be experienced, once experienced you will get back to us. We will have high customer retention. The future, I see this lab booming with business and we doing good work and helping our customers. That is what we try to achieve, and other than that I think we are well-positioned in the market to deliver the services that are needed, and will always to be ensuring regarding latest technologies in future. So, wherever the market develops, we will develop. It’s a people business and its important who we are and how we perfect service for the person whom I am talking to. For us it is always important to understand the problems systematically. To educate to help the people here to solve the problem.

(By Swati Sharma, Assistant Editor, Apparel Views)