Ludhiana – the largest city of Punjab was ranked as one of the Indian cities with the best business environment by the World Bank in 2009 and 2013. The city is home to numerous small-scale industries that manufacture industrial goods, machine parts, auto parts, household appliances, hosiery, apparel, and garments. 60 per cent of India’s tractor parts and a large portion of auto and two-wheeler components are manufactured in Ludhiana.
Ludhiana is one of the largest manufacturers of domestic sewing machines, hand tools, and industrial equipment. Not just that, auto components used in German cars such as Mercedes and BMW are exclusively manufactured in Ludhiana to meet the global requirement.
The apparel industry of Ludhiana, well known as the Ludhiana hosiery industry manufactures India’s largest share of winter clothing and offers employment opportunities to millions of people. Ludhiana is noted for its woollen sweaters and cotton T-shirts, with a majority of India’s woollen clothing brands located in the city.
Other than these, Ludhiana is also popular for its industry of shawls and stoles, which meets the demand of some of the major domestic and international brands. Owing to its dominance in the textile industry Ludhiana is often called the Manchester of India. The IT sector in the city is anticipated to grow significantly with multiple software services and product companies having their development centres in the city.
SMEs in Ludhiana facing a plethora of challenges
Most of the vertical and renowned giants such as Vardhaman, Nahar, Trident, top domestic brands that include Monte Carlo, Madame and illustrious companies that cater to both export and domestic markets such as Kudu Knit Process, Bhandari Hosiery Exports Limited, and hundreds of growing domestic brands and thousands of unorganized players, nearly all segments of the textile industry in Ludhiana, are moving ahead with full enthusiasm.
With an overall annual business turnover of more than Rs 50000 crore, SMEs face a plethora of challenges. However, coping with these obstacles, the industry is marching ahead, specifically, Small and Medium Enterprises, which not only have limited resources but are also affected by other difficulties as well.
Team ‘Apparel Resources’ discussed the numerous issues the industry is facing right from industry’s growth, Government support, and policy execution on the ground level, to the direction of Ludhiana’s apparel trades as well as individual development of companies.
“SMEs are in a very difficult stage even if they have good orders. This segment is not growing at the desired pace. One of the main reasons for the same is that entrepreneurs are forced to indulge in unproductive things (useless formalities and paperwork regarding various Government departments). They can’t afford highly paid professionals to tackle these tasks,” says Ajit Lakra, MD, Superfine Knitters.