Success from continuing R&D
“Our factor has grown over the years because we have continued developing products, technology, management and services all the time. We have made a large number of samples to show to customers and provided quick response to their needs. This is how we get customers’ acceptance and trust to place orders with us,” explained Mr. Somsak Srisuponvanit, managing director of Suratanapat Textile Ltd., Part.
“Our business started out as our original trading firm under Kim Nguan Chan Ltd., Part, serving customers in Sampeng District. We kept getting requests from buyers for new fabric samples, particularly piece-dyed fabrics which were difficult to prepare in those days. So we started Suratanapat Textile 20 years ago with 88 air jet looms and 40 staffs to create sample fabrics for our customers who are garment exporters.”
“During the early days, we did not have many orders. I strongly believed that we should invest in fabric development which would yield pay back sooner or later. Development efforts also need to be sustained rather not starting and stopping. We continued to produce new fabrics for almost a year before gaining customers’ confidence and order placement. We have come this far because we have plenty of samples to show to customers, and also because we conducted R&D continuously. The way I see it, we still have a long road ahead in terms of growth,” said Mr. Somsak.
“Besides building the organization, the company continues to source new materials and new varieties of yarn for our weaving operation. We not only respond to buyer’s needs, but also strive to understand the needs of end users or consumers.”
“To compete in the global market, we need to produce fashion that the consumers want to suit their lifestyles. So we need information and follow world consumer trends to understand what end customers want and need. In fact, we do forecasting on our buyer’s behalf and continue sourcing new materials that are friendly to the environment in order to satisfy the needs of end customers.”
Green operation to address global warming
Since the minimum wage across the country was raised to 300 Baht/day since April 1st, 2013, we have a major plan to modernize all equipment and machinery in our factory to replace the labor which has become not only more costly but also hard to find. Starting from 88 weaving looms when we first opened 20 years ago, we now have 800 weaving machines, both air-jet and rapier. In the past 10 years, we have invested several million Baht to upgrade equipment and reduce electricity usage by 15%. We have replaced synthetic sizing with plant-based sizing, making our factory more friendly to the environment. By becoming Green conscious, we have conserved energy and lowered our production cost. If we all participate and cooperate, the global warming situation would improve rather than deteriorate, I think.”
Growth via integration
Our staff grew from 40 to over 600 right now and we consider them all parts of our family. Our motto is “Good, Fast, New and Cheap”, the one introduced by Mr. Songkram Chewaprawatdamrong, the former president of the Thai Weaving Industry Association.
If our Thai textile industry becomes more open-minded, and change our mindset from competing with each other to working together as allies, we would be able to find new ways to go forward, to improve, I strongly believe that we still have a long way to go,” concluded Mr. Somsak.