India Sourcing Insights – We Are Garden
India Sourcing – Strengths of the Garden Products sector
As part of our We Are Garden series, we have been looking at alternate markets outside of Vietnam where we had already identified product opportunities within the Garden & Outdoor sector. Our India Sourcing team have therefore been looking for opportunities within this sector to further complement our offer from Vietnam. Raw material, labour cost as well as investment in the manufacturing sector are all advantageous characteristics which India has in abundance.
More than ever, sourcing strategies are looking to remove dependency on any one market and spread risk around different countries. India has a growing workforce and has product expertise in certain categories that plays into the We Are Garden initiative. This is beneficial at both a product and sourcing strategy level. Certainly, companies in this sector would be well placed to look at India sourcing as part of their overall strategy.
Garden Products – Key Industries
As your Asian sourcing expert, we have identified key categories within this sector which include some of the following products:
- Garden Tools (spades, forks, trowels, rakes and hoes)
- Coir Products (liners, hanging baskets, fibre, ropes, chip blocks)
- Jute/Cotton Products (Pot holders, seed bags)
- Garden Furniture (Stool, benches, wooden couches)
- Garden Accessories (bird baths, lamps, feeder, watering cans).
Notably, some of these products have beneficial import duties into certain markets, particularly when compared with China.
To build on some of the insights we have provided at a factory level, we recently spent some time with a Coir supplier in the industrial area of Tuticorin.
The Coir Industry
Coir is largely produced in the coastal regions. The continuous awareness about environmental protection contributed to the increase in its demand. Sustainability and use of a natural fibres has become increasingly important to the Consumer. Being bio-degradable in nature, this has buoyed the category considerably over the past 5 years.
Currently, the Indian coir industry exports to around 70 countries worldwide and the Indian Coir Board is looking at doubling the export revenue in the upcoming years. The Government has also played a vital role in reviving this traditional industry and has set up many initiatives to support it.
We arrive at the factory after a long drive, off the main road, we come to the factory site and meet the CEO of the business. Notably, with the current Covid-19 crisis in India, the team let us wear protective clothing for the tour of the facilities.
This vendor, one of the first in this region, opened the doors for business in 1998 and now exports a wide range of coir products to USA, Middle East, Australasia, South America and EU countries.
Production is at full capacity and full use is being taken of their large warehousing unit that is currently holding approximately 30 container loads of products. At capacity, the facility can hold up to 50 container loads. Notably, the factory produces up to 1,000 tonnes of product each month.
India Sourcing – Interview
1. Which countries within the Asian Region do you see as your main competitors?
We see Sri Lanka and Vietnam as our main competitors. Even though these countries are the biggest producers of Coir, the Indian Coir industry is much larger and competitive pricing coupled with quality and Innovation makes India a better proposition.
2. What does ‘Sustainability’ mean to your business?
Coir is a natural product and our production process follows International standards with Zero harm to the natural Environment. Certainly, we believe in creating new organic products based on client requirements. Moreover, we educate our Employees to work ethically towards Zero wastage.
3. How do you continue to develop your export market and client base?
We have both knowledgeable and experienced business development team focusing on increasing our client base. Also, we aim to feature in many Global Trade Shows and are also looking to use Social media to increase our client base. Certainly, we are looking to have long term business relationships with clients by supplying best quality products at right pricings on-time.
4. What are your biggest challenges as a business?
It is difficult to keep everyone happy but we strive to work towards zero customer complaints. Due to Covid-19, we have had some manpower issues, but we these have been addressed now.
5. What is the future for the Indian manufacturing base in your product category?
The annual growth of the coir Industry in India is estimated at 5% in terms of Annual Export Volume and Indian factories are working on manufacturing new products as well. In addition, the Indian Government has formed the Coconut Development Board to boost coir production as well. Also, most factories in India are phasing out the traditional production process in the coir industry by replacing manual labour with modern equipment so as to eliminate inefficiencies in the production process and to enhance productivity and quality.
As an India Sourcing company and having been on the ground for over 9 years, we have identified the Garden Product and Outdoor sector as a growth manufacturing sector in India. Where necessary, we are already working with Indian manufacturers to produce high quality products.
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