Interview with Sheikh Nisar Ahmed Parcham Walay – Managing Director, VIP Flags
Sheikh Nisar Ahmed Parcham Walay was born in Delhi (India) in August 1947. He completed graduation in 1965 and migrated to Pakistan in 1967 with no money in hand. He started his business first by taking experience in a textile mill and after two years he was able to start his own factory initially with four power looms and then gradually increased number of looms and production in cloth industry.
PAGE had an exclusive conversation with Sheikh Nisar Ahmed Parcham Walay about Pakistani brands, production quality etc. Following are the excerpts of the conversation:
Pakistanis products are valued all over the world, however, Pakistan needs to work on exploring new markets and work with competitive edge in the ever-increasing world market. In 1985, I set up my company named VIP Flags and started the flag business. At that time in Pakistan, the flags were made with hands and star and crescent of Pakistan flag were made by stitching and there was no concept of printed flags. I started the production of printed flags with no-joint in green and white part and first time ‘printed crescent and star’ were introduced in local market. That brought about a big boom in flag market and from that time VIP Flags has become the biggest flag manufacturer in Pakistan.
My company has made products for many international consumers and has won accolades from almost all corners of the globe. In 2004, VIP Flags broke the Guinness Record for the largest flag of the world. The previous record was made by America for 12 years. The American super flag was 1,25,000 sq. feet in size , VIP Flags broke that record with the margin of 50,000 sq. feet and their flag size was 1,73,400 sq. feet. That record was recognized by the Guinness team and it was added in 2004 Guinness Book. In 2006, VIP Flags made the biggest flying flag of Saudi Arabia measuring 6000 sq. feet mounted on 100 meter tall pole in Riyadh city. In 2008, VIP Flags made the biggest flag of Afghanistan measuring 250,000 sq. feet, ordered by MTN Afghanistan. It doesn’t end here, still VIP Flags is making big flags and all the big flag poles in Pakistan carrying flags are made by VIP Flags and it is an honor for the company that whoever wants good quality flags or big size flags they always contact VIP Flags. We produce 120 items related to flags and accessories. The range includes in printed flags sizes from 6″ x 4″ upto 6 feet x 12 feet in different fabrics. Also there is a big variety of hand flags in different sizes and qualities. Car flags, motorcycle flags, table flags, indoor flags, big flags for buildings and outdoor flags are also available in different qualities. There is a big variety of badges can be seen in our production list. T-shirts, Polo shirts and caps of different styles with head bands and hand bands are also produced in our factory.
Our success in market is based on our quality and prices. We always try to introduce our product for all segments of the society. There is a 5 rupee flag as well as 500,000 rupee flag available as per requirement. Usually, we deal in big quantities but our moto is not to send any customer empty hand. That is why we take every order from customers.
Pakistan’s exports have been declining continuously for past few years. For a country like Pakistan that already faces a very huge trade deficit, this is a very alarming situation since our imports continue to increase simultaneously at a very high rate causing a growing trade deficit every year. The trade imbalance also affects our exchange rate causing all sorts of other problems. I do believe that we can reverse this diminishing exports scenario with some honest, systematic and concerted effort. I have tried to give a few suggestions towards the goal of sharply increasing Pakistan’s exports by taking the right steps and making the right efforts.
I would like to divide this export trade promotion effort into a few salient categories:
- Awareness of different needs, trends and tastes of foreign consumers in each of the export target countries. This knowledge of consumer trends would vary country by country. In order to be successful in foreign markets, it is very important that our industrialists and exporters produce goods that meet the high quality demands of the foreign consumers while conforming to taste and style appreciated by the foreign consumers in each particular export country all at very competitive prices.
- Need for strong and systematic marketing effort particularly in new markets.
- Need for introduction of right modern technologies that would make our export products both value added and competitive in foreign markets.
- Efforts towards giving the industry workers right skills that they could easily manufacture products conforming to tastes and trends of foreign consumers in each different country. Encouraging knowledge based consultancies that would keep exporters abreast of changing trends in importing and exporting foreign countries related to all of the above salient points and would advise industries and related infrastructure that could help and make it very easy for the decision makers in those industries to take the right steps towards successfully making appropriate changes to their industrial businesses so as to thrive in international export markets.
Technology plays a very important role in the production process nowadays and I believe recognition of all the better ways to improve our quality and productivity is a former step towards betterment. As per the advancements in technology, competition has increased in the global market dramatically and has become one of the biggest competitive advantages. If I were to quote example of my own firm, our production process has evolved completely over time. To remain competitive and maintain our market share, we had to take action as soon as possible. The printing of flags and process of manufacturing garments in our factory has entered a whole new phase compared to the past 20 years. Let me tell you about the factors that made us realize the significance of technology in our product quality. The most important key process indicator is overall equipment effectiveness with availability, plant performance and quality and reduces these to a numeric value which is shown relative to the achievable optimum. Using up-to-the-minute key indicators for capacity utilization, efficiency (volume per hour, production per hour of work, per employee), production figures (target/actual comparison, machine run time, production output, machine cleaning time) and target figures, order through put times and inventories of raw materials or cost-intensive input materials can be optimized.
We know from experience because when we ignored these key indicators. We generally started working below our actual capacity. Tasks that at one time involved manual labor, are now mechanized and automated by computer systems, and manufacturers need employees who are more tech savvy than ever.
In addition to being high-tech, our today’s production facilities are clean and inviting workplaces so quality is not compromised at any cost. Over the time, we realized that technology also helps a business understand its cash flow needs and preserves precious resources such as time and physical space. Warehouse inventory technologies let business owners understand how best to manage the storage costs of holding a product. With proper technology in place, executives can save time and money by holding meetings over the internet instead of at corporate headquarters.
Due to the increased competition, customers are the real rulers in every industry and thus, to maintain our customer loyalty and customer satisfaction, they have a variety of products to choose from and each offered at a low rate and better quality. To compete with that, we improved our technology as it affects a firm’s ability to communicate with customers.
In today’s busy business environment, it is necessary for employees to interact with clients quickly and clearly. Websites allow customers to find answers to their questions after hours. Fast shipment options allow businesses to move products over a large geographic area. When customers use technology to interact with a business, the business benefits because better communication creates a stronger public image. A business that has the technological capacity to research new opportunities will stay a step ahead of its competition. For a business to survive, it must grow and acquire new opportunities. The Internet allows a business to virtually travel into new markets without the cost of an executive jet or the risks of creating a factory abroad. We are sailing the same boat so let’s see what the future holds for our firm and the global market.