United Apparel (Fiji) Limited has a proud history of growth and investment in Fiji since 1989.

The garment company based out of Nadawa, Nasinu, maintains one of Fiji’s largest modern manufacturing facilities.

With its quality products and contribution to the export sector, the company has entered this year’s 2014 Westpac Prime Minister’s Exporter of the Year Awards announced next Saturday at the Sofitel Resort & Spa on Denarau Island.

Its factory built in 1992 houses some of the more advanced technology available in the apparel manufacturing sector.

This ensures that its staff of around 900 full-time workers are able to fill orders in an efficient and timely manner on a one-off or ongoing basis meeting specification and standards.

We caught up with United Apparel managing director, Kaushik Kumar, who tells of the company’s stance, plans and contribution in the export sector.

“The primary objective of United Apparel is to be recognised by our customers and peers as a preferred supplier of choice for our core products in both local and export markets,” Mr Kumar said.

“We will achieve this by excelling in the quality of our products, going the extra mile for our customers, and meeting the commitments we make.”.

United Apparel is also one of an initial core participant in the groundbreaking Textile, Clothing & Footwear Council of Fiji’s accreditation programme.

The programme saw many consultants from all over the world assist and elevate participatory council members.

Upon the conclusion of the three-year programme, an audit was performed by an internationally-recognised, independent auditor.

Describe any competitive advantages your business has in the overseas market?

Our niche is being able to produce small quantities and providing quick delivery turn around times. This is an advantage we offer over our Asian competitors who are volume based.

We have also diversified in offering made to measure products in in export markets specially in corporate wear and producing for  suiting’s for Australian defence. We have proven ourselves as a reliable manufacturer and hence most of our clients have chosen to remain loyal to us for the past so many years.

Describe any competitive advantages your business has in the overseas market

Our niche is being able to produce small quantities and providing quick delivery turn around times. This is an advantage we offer over our Asian competitors who are volume based.

We have also diversified in offering made to measure products in in export markets specially in corporate wear and producing for  suiting’s for Australian defence. We have proven ourselves as a reliable manufacturer and hence most of our clients have chosen to remain loyal to us for the past so many years.

Describe the challenges faced in the export sector by the organisation in the last financial year and explain how you overcome this challenge. 

One of the biggest challenges is the increasing costs of doing business. Wages, overheads costs are increasing sharply and being export oriented and having to compete globally, we are not in a position to pass on increased costs to our buyers.

The cost increases are reducing our margins and there is a limitation on how efficient you can get. Productivity is not keeping up with increased labour costs.

We also have the issue with SPARTECA TCF expiring at the end of this year and negotiations are underway to extend this together with some improvements in the rules of origin to enable a wider range of products to be exported to Australia.

At the recent Fiji Australia Business Council conference in Suva, we saw the Prime Minster mention in his speech how important the extension and improvement of STCF was to the clothing industry which is a major employer and foreign exchange earner. Our Foreign Affairs Minister as well as the Minster of Trade and Industry also took this matter up with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop. Fiji has made a loud and clear request and we are hoping for a positive outcome in view of the normalised relations between Fiji and Australia.

Outline strategies and innovations that have been utilised to achieve your export results.

We’ve been quite aggressive in marketing efforts doing a lot of face to face calls. We launched a new product brochure and have updated our website. A lot of new equipment has been purchased to improve efficiencies and quality.

We really have been on top of things. My team has been very pro active both in the export markets as well as the local market where we are now one of the largest suppliers of uniforms.

Note:  
We are always looking for promising and successful business stories to tell our readers. If you know someone who has something interesting to tell readers through HARD TALK, do


Archives

Categories