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LRT: The undisputed leader in ring travellers: JM Balaji

Dec 01, 2020
LRT: The undisputed leader in ring travellers: JM Balaji

Lakshmi Ring Travellers, Coimbatore (LRT) was incorporated in 1974. LRT's operation has been organised into independent business specific clusters. Each of these business unit has its own facilities for market coverage and service to customers. Today LRT is a market leader globally in ring travellers and catering to the requirements of over 4,500 spinning mills in over 40 countries. Over 40 million spindles are working with LRT.

JM Balaji, Head - Marketing, LRT, speaks on the companies are focusing on digitalisation and Industry 4.0 technologies.

Excerpts from the video interview…

Being a leader in ring travellers, what do you bring to the table for your customers?
We can say that we are very unique in this segment. We maintain a market share of almost 73.5 per cent in the domestic market. Globally, we export to over 40 countries and are market leaders in most markets. In terms of volumes produced we are three times bigger than our nearest competitor. We should be doing something different from others, to achieve this.

Everything depends on three main points: firstly it is about the performance, as we have a product range which provides performance which is second to none. Secondly, it is about customer service and after sales support which we offer. We have a dedicated team of engineers for problem solving, increasing productivity and helping the customers for all their needs – be it proper Traveller selection, improving yarn quality and so on. Thirdly, our reach in the global market is best amongst our competition. We have agents globally with stock points in most of the locations. Delivery of Travellers is our strong point. We can supply travellers within 48 hours to any part of the world through our agents network.. In China alone, we have around 10 agents. So, everybody can reach our customers very fast, and that is what is helping us maintain and grow our market share.

Our technical service team not only focuses on problem solving for the customer but also helps improve productivity. People value us because we are a solution provider rather than just suppliers.

Performance-wise, how was the year so far for LRT?
Apart from April, when the whole country was under lockdown, we have had a very good order book, thereafter. In the export markets, in the second quarter, we have done exceedingly well.

During the lockdown, there was a slight shortfall in the domestic market, but our exports market compensated for it. If you see, in the third quarter, we have come back to around 95 per cent sales as far as the domestic market is concerned. Overall, it has been extremely good. Better than what we had predicted in April.

Our main export markets are the traditional textile spinning markets like China, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam. We have a tremendous growth in Bangladesh and China. These two countries really helped us with good sales as we had increased our market share . In Indonesia, we have increased our sales substantially compared to our previous year. It has been a good quarter for us, and we hope that things will only get better going forward.

Due to Covid, in places like South America, we find that smaller mills have still not restarted, and some of them will soon go out of business. That’s a very big advantage for countries like India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other Asian countries, to supply more yarn to these markets.

What makes your product unique from those of the competitors?
A lot of modernisation is happening in textile spinning industry. People today expect a long life of ring travelers with consistent performance over its life time.. We have a clear edge with our new products like Express Plus, which has a really good performance when compared to the available products in the market to achieve this.

Another important point is consistency of Ring Trasvellers within a batch and in between batches. Customers expect product consistency . This is where we clearly score over our competitors.

Most of the companies are focusing on digitalisation and Industry 4.0 technologies. How do you see the future of this in Asia, and particularly in India?
Modernisation, directly or indirectly, leads to increase in production. There is a huge scope in India for modernisation because most of the machines in spinning mills are more than 15 years old. We have approximately around 47 million spindles installed in India, out of which you can say that around 20 million spindles are over 15 years. So, there is a scope for modernization as far as India is concerned. All the machinery manufacturers have started to get a good amount of orders. The average age of machinery is slightly higher in India when compared to other countries like Turkey, Indonesia. Unless they modernise , they cannot survive in the future. Power costs, labour costs is going up; with old and outdated machinery, you just cannot survive in the market.

I foresee a lot of investment to happen due to modernisation. Not only modernisation, people are going for additional machines too so that they can cater to the market demands faster and increasing their product range.

What are the current trends in ring travellers market?
Compact installations are increasing, and value added yarn production is increasing in a big way. You need to have a range of products to compete in the market. Going forward, the percentage of cotton spinning is going to slowly come down, and synthetic is also going to increase. This is a clear trend that is happening in the Indian market.

I don't see the market size to increase for ring travellers. But, we will require new travelers for high speed machines.

In Express Plus, which we launched last year, we have a tremendous growth month on month We feel, the demand for this product will go up significantly higher because of modernisation, and more high speed machines coming in.

We are witnessing more demand from markets like Vietnam, Bangladesh, and other Asian countries for Express plus finish. People want a product which has maximum life. We are exporting Express Plus to all the countries, and one of the reasons for increasing our market share is because of this

Does your company have any future plans to expand or diversify into other related products? Give some details, if so.
We have application tools in our product range. Soon, we plan to launch new products in this segment - both mechanical and battery operated cleaning tools.

We are continuously upgrading our process facilities, and go in for new plant and machinery wherever required .

We can further ramp up the capacity by 20 per cent in our Coimbatore plant , which was started a few years back.

In some of the export markets, we still feel that there is a good potential. Presently, 60 per cent of our sales in terms of value comes from exports.

Watch full interview with JM Balaji: www.IndianTextileJournal.com

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