Interviews

The Conglomerate Capacity

Tanveer Ahmed
Director of Envoy Group

As a young entrepreneur, Tanvir Ahmed joined the family business in 2008. He brings with him an impressive educational background specializing in Business Management, Administration and Finance. Tanvir is the Managing Director of Green Textiles Ltd & Director at Envoy Group, Sheltech Holdings Ltd, Sheltech (Pvt.) Limited, Sheltech Engineering Limited, Sheltech Brokerage Limited, Sheltech Protection Services Limited, Sheltech Ceramics Limited, Sheltech Technology Limited, Aero Speed International Limited, Speedy Intl Ltd. He has also gathered experience in RMG and Textile fields through his internship completed in Hong Kong. Apart from his professional life, Tanvir has also involved himself in social and welfare initiatives for the underprivileged and works closely with a number of NGOs to alleviate poverty.

What are the criterions for receiving the Export Trophy?
There are a number of different measures set by the Export Promotion Bureau and these must be maintained in order to achieve such a status. The main area of emphasis is the volume of sales and financial turnover in terms of sales in comparison to the previous year. All the companies who apply for this are evaluated based on the growth. The company with the highest growth rate is given this prestigious recognition. There are certainly other criteria that need to be met as well. In this context, the Factory Establishment & Inspection Department visits the premises and prepare a report. The department thoroughly inspects the factory premises to ensure worker safety in their working environment. It is also very important that the company pays its taxes provided that it is also one of the key criteria which are taken into consideration. Both the company and its owners need to have a clean tax payment history to achieve this recognition. In addition, the Bureau takes into account the previous three years’ performances and emphasizes on the number of international certifications received by the company. Environmental certification plays a very important role for consideration. It is very important to contribute to the country not only through monetary revenue but through environmental causes as well. Sustainable development includes caring for the environment through activities such as water treatment which helps us to create a green environment. The Bureau emphasizes whether local raw materials are used in order to produce our products. It inspects how much the company invests in research and development, which may mean investing in a new piece of equipment in order to produce new products. Finally, employee benefits such as provident fund and gratuity are also taken into consideration.

It is very important to contribute to the country not only through monetary revenue but through environmental causes as well. Sustainable development includes caring for the environment through activities such as water treatment which helps us to create a green environment.

How have you maintained the high standards required to produce products for international consumers?
We have a highly professional team of experts comprising of both locals and foreigners. This team of dedicated individuals, work very closely in parallel to helping the management by guiding and monitoring the production process so that the best standards are maintained throughout. It is crucial to maintain constant innovation in product development in order to compete with global competitors. Apart from manufacturing according to the buyer’s requirements, we also develop our own fabric to diversify our range of products. We also work closely with the buyers to create and suggest various new trends in the market. Moreover, caring for the environment has always been our main concern. Sustainable production is always a high priority for buyers in the developed nations, especially North America and Europe. These buyers put a lot of preference on how we develop our products in an environmentally friendly way. Strong Employee sustainability along with environmental sustainability has made us eligible to apply and achieve the Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) from the USGBC (U.S Green Building). In doing so, we are now the only textile factory in the world to have achieved this feat.

How has your team supported you in reaching this level of success?
Apparel manufacturing is a very fast paced industry where trends keep changing every season of the year. In order to meet the ever-changing demands of international buyers, our team of experts provides us with new products with different fabric constructions and washes. Our marketing experts, which include a liaison office in Hong Kong, continuously meet and interact with the buyer. At the back end, our Human Resource and Administration department ensure that employee migration is as minimal as possible; we have an employee migration rate of 1% to ensure consistent production. Our technically trained engineering team ensures that we get the proper utility that is required to operate in such a big industry. We have our own 10 Megawatt power plant which provides uninterrupted electricity to all the plants and machinery of Envoy Textiles which is built over 100 acres of land.

What are the main challenges and bottlenecks exporting products? How have you overcome these challenges?
The prices of raw materials, such as cotton, are very crucial for us. Since cotton is used to produce yarn, which in turn is used to make fabric, it is very important that the price of cotton remains constant. Due to a significant rise in the price of cotton, the price of yarn fluctuates as well causing an increase in the cost of production. Due to a rise in production cost, we cannot provide a competitive price for fabric to our buyers. This has been a constant challenge for us and in order to overcome this, we have started our own spinning plant which produces yarn at a daily capacity of 60 metric ton. The utility is always a problem; we often face the problem of load shedding which can causes frequent breakdown of the technical and sophisticated machinery. To overcome these power fluctuations, we have decided to start our own power plant. Being a 100% export oriented industry; the interest of banks plays a crucial role here as well. A bank’s interest rates are often quite high in our country compared to banks in other countries. In such cases, to minimize our financial costs, we often opt for offshore finance in the case of purchasing of plant machinery, thereby saving around 3% to 4% of the overall financial costs.

What are your company’s future plans?
Apart from textile, there are various ventures we are focusing on; our hospitality industry can be counted as one. We have also started our own Spun Pre-stressed Pole (SPC) manufacturing plant and we are also venturing into opening our own ceramic factory that will produce floor and wall tiles. We have expanded into the aviation sector, having a General Sales Agent (GSA) for certain airlines such as Malaysian Airlines. We have ventured into industrial construction and the financial market and are now buying and selling shares through our own brokerage licenses. We are involved in the retail business where we sell meat and meat related items all over the country through Bengal Meat. We are also in the process of setting up our own RMG unit in textiles as well so that the entire process of Apparel manufacturing from yarn to the finished product can be done in house thereby strengthening our chain of production and reaping the advantage of economies of scale.

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