SECRET OF THE SUCCESS STORY OF IQBAL DOSSA, CHAIRMAN CTPL

Making each day better than the previous one

By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Sep 19 - 25, 2005

Iqbal Dossa, the Chairman of Commodities & Textiles Pvt. Limited (CTPL), a leading export-oriented knitwear unit of Pakistan, had started the journey of his career as a clerk with Habib & Sons in 1963. Today, Iqbal Dossa enjoys a status in the export world, which many of the people dream to reach there.

When he was asked to reveal the secret of his success story, Iqbal Dossa said in a firm tone: "it is the honesty of the purpose, focusing the target, hard work and of course the blessings of Allah Almighty which altogether help a man make true his dreams". It is the business reputation, which enabled CTPL to earn the distinction of being the first exporter to Iran for barley, the first exporter to introduce jute products in Iran and the first exporter to send Halal gelatin to Europe and the Far East countries.

As a result of untiring efforts and a team spirit of the co-workers, the CTPL today is known as the house of quality products around the world, succeeded to earn a good name in the market as a result of continuous efforts, dedication and firmness to its commitments. CTPL has carved a respectable place in the export world in the United States, European and Canadian markets with an export turnover estimated $8 million in 2001, $8.5 million in 2002, $8.94 million in 2003, $ 9.70 million in 2004 and $8.45 million in 2005.

Recalling early days of his struggle, Iqbal Dossa observed that he left Habib & Sons with, what he described the blessings of Husein Seth who was kind enough to lend him a helping hand to start his own business.

Paying rich tributes to his former boss, Dossa said, " I learnt from Husein Seth to value the feelings and sentiments of the people around you, actually, it is the secret of happiness and the soul of the social life". I got this sprit from Seth Husein and now sharing it with my colleagues and workers who are working with me as family members by giving their heart and soul which really helped reach at the present business level.

Outlining the history of his struggle, Iqbal Dossa observed that he started his business under the name of Commodities & Textiles which was established in 1989 with an initial capital of Rs4 million at a premises in Keamari on a 1000-sq. yard piece of land. We did not have our own stitching plant and were only commercial exporter.

In 1992, we procured a plot of 1.25 acre of land in Korangi Industrial Area and in 1994 we started our own processing plant. In 1996, Commodities & Textile (Pvt.) Limited (CTPL) started a stitching unit with 60 sewing machines and now, we have over 600 machines with four of our own stitching plants.

In 2004, to give support to our exports, we put up 5 brand new Tajima embroidery machines and entered the uniform business. By the grace of Allah, we are making uniforms of Shell, British Petroleum, Best Buy, Pizza Hutt, Panda and Chevron," he said.

Today, Commodities & Textiles (Pvt.) Limited, is certified by world class business houses and world quality standards including Wal-Mart, K-Mart, J.C. Penny, WRAP and ISO 9001-2000. CTPL is also complying with all Labour laws in Pakistan i.e. EOBI, Social Security and other government requirements for the manpower is enjoying the facility of Insurance and Gratuity in our organization.

CTPL is basically a vertical knit garment and fabric-manufacturing unit producing a variety of knitwear products. In fabric, we specialize in IXI Rib, Hearing bone, Pique fabric, Lyera, single jersey, Mesh fabric, two and three-thread fleece, French terry and Interlock fabric.

In garments, CTPL specializes in Rugby and Polo Shirts, Crew, Mock and Turtle Neck T-shirts, Fashion and Nightwear garments, leggings, Sweat and hooded shirts, and Jogging suits.

Currently, the production capacity is around 250 tons per month for knitted fabric and almost 30,000 dozens per month for stitched garments with over 600 machines and a strength of 1100 dedicated and willing work force associated with CTPL. Major quantity of our knitted garments is exported to the United States, European Union and Canada, while we are exporting fabric to Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

Having cordial business relations with world renowned business houses of international repute like JC Penny, Oved Apparel (Ferruche), Sara Lee, Happy Kids, Roca Wear, E.S. Sutton, Vanity Fair, Mecca, New Port News, Hilton Corporation, Wal-Mart, Eddie Bauer, Karim's International, Carrefour, Lonsdale, J.D. William, Primark & Penny's, gives an idea about the quality and standard being maintained by CTPL of its products.

CTPL has taken quite a few measures to improve competitiveness not only against China but also against other competitors. Since the beginning of 2004, we embarked on an aggressive marketing spree and trying to tap non-traditional countries for supply of our stitched garments as well as fabric. We have increased our production capacity both at the knitting, dyeing, finishing as well as stitching units. Just to cite an example, in early 2004 we had only two stitching units and today we have four stitching units. Our motto is to focus on the quality issues in detail as well as honoring our export commitments by excellent delivery timings. CTPL believes that it is not only the price but it is the quality of the products and the timely delivery of the products required by the choosy buyers.

Knitwears have the potential to earn $5 billion dollars within 3 years. Knitwear Industry enjoys an outstanding position amongst all the textile segments because of its outstanding export performance exceeding to $1.20 billion despite facing financial constraints and lacking social environment which is required to display products to attract international buyers.

Take the example of neighboring India with almost identical social and cultural environment to Pakistan but that country holds fashion shows round the year, which help India multiply its exports every year. Contrary to that situation, we in Pakistan cannot hold fashion shows due to social, political and religious pressures while law and order situation also sends signals abroad scaring away the international buyers. All leading stores, shopping malls and international business houses purchase our made ups because they have an edge in terms of quality which is far superior that what it being produced by our competitors including China and India. Though they also have an edge in terms of price because of massive production facilities they have yet we beat them in quality and the choosy buyers do not comprise quality against low cost.

If your statement is taken correct than why are trade volumes in knitwear is not even one fourth of our competitors? Well you have a point, said Iqbal but added quickly, "just see harsh policy of our financial sector. They gave a quantum leap to export refinancing from 3 percent to 9 percent on the pretext of mounting inflation. In fact inflation and exports have no clash. As a matter of fact, it is the exports, which help curb the inflation than on what ground export refinancing has been enhanced is best known to the policy makers. Another fact, which pulls down the knitwear industry play its due role in export promotion is the stepmotherly attitude of the financing sector with the knitwear industry, which comprises mostly of the medium sized entrepreneurs. The banks are always reluctant to extend advances to the knitwear while the spinning sector, which has already reached to the saturation point, is welcomed with open arms by the banks. Giving his own example, Iqbal sadly remarked that despite his unit have a strong asset value wroth over Rs300 million the Habib Bank declined to accept collateral for an advance of over Rs10 crore. This bank even ignored the value $8-9 million export earnings of my unit," he remarked bitterly.

Currently, over 700 of the knitwear units exist in Pakistan, of which only 250 are operative while rest of the units are out of business obviously due to financial constraints. Since the present team of the economic managers has a target to enhance exports they should concentrate to reactivate knitwear units by providing them financial assistance on easy terms. It is the responsibility of the Export Promotion Bureau or other government agencies to visit directly to the knitwear units to assess their financial and other procedural requirements to make them productive members of the community. The government has a plan to set up Textile City and Garment City in Karachi. Iqbal Dossa came out with the suggestion that the knitwear industry should be allotted a piece of 2000 acres of land where they could set up their units as strategic partner of the government in the scheme of promoting textile exports. If the knitwear industry was given due support by the government it has the potential to add $5-6 billion export earnings within next few years, he said with confidence.

COUNTRY-WISE EXPORT OF KNITWEAR

Value in '000' $

Countries

2002-03

2003-04

Usa

700,251

841,600

U.K

101,604

156,779

Germany

68,614

88,523

Netherlands

42,735

74,700

Italy

27,523

45,533

Belgium

33,317

39,982

France

27,035

39,490

Spain

13,605

24,323

Saudi Arabia

1,0319

11,620

Sweden

4,539

7,858

Hong Kong

3,441

6,593

Denmark

4,147

6,073

Finland

2,363

3,400

Greece

2,139

2,759

Irish Rep

2,392

2,537

Japan

1,362

1,870

Austria

1,543

1,614

Norway

1,003

1,605

Switzerland

914

1,520

New Zealand

1,162

1,503

Sri Lanka

485

1,202

South Africa

622

1,082

Turkey

96

863

Portugal

610

683

China

152

446

Malaysia

374

391

S.Korea

358

382

Poland

135

369

Czechrepublic

291

358

Hungary

146

304

Bangladesh

252

256

Qatar

138

244

Jorden

156

225

Thailand

75

203

India

31

162

Iran

0

152

Other Countries

92,745

91,532

Total

1,146,674

1,458,736