Suchita Oswal Jain spins over a billion dollars a year at the head of the Vardhman Textiles Limited, leading the country’s largest textiles conglomerate engaged in manufacturing yarns, fabric, threads, fibre, and garments with exports to over 40 countries.
In an interview given to website YourStory, Suchita explained how she joined the family business at a young age of 22, some two decades ago.
While there weren’t many women at the helm of companies back then, she says she never felt awkward as it “came from within”.
“There is just one key to success in any field, and that is passion. You must have junoon for whatever you do,” she says.
Suchita explains why she joined the family business when “I could have joined any other company or started something of my own.” She knew there were opportunities within the Vardhman Group where she could contribute.
“However, when I was growing up, I realised there were opportunities in the group itself where I could contribute in bringing efficiencies, taking the company to new geographies and to new heights. Thus, there was natural synergy between my attitude, skill set, and the opportunities,” Suchita said.
Born in Ludhiana, Punjab, Suchita completed her Master’s in commerce from the Punjab University and went on to complete the Accelerated Development Programme from London School of Business, and the Special Programme on Project Management from IIM-Ahmedabad.
Reminiscing her sojourns to factories as a teenager, she says she realised down the line that business of weaving and fabrics requires a lot of attention to detail and a good sense and appreciation for colours, patterns, and fashion trends and she was able to identify a lot of areas where she could contribute significantly in bringing economies and efficiencies.
Suchita set up the Woven Fabric Division of the group with a capacity of over 180 million metres per year. The company exports yarn to around 40 countries overseas, while its production is spread across Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh, employing over 28,000 people. Suchita has established connections with such global giants as GAP, Benetton, and Esprit.
As part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, Suchita has been instrumental in steering the production towards environment-friendly practices.
“I can say with a little bit of pride that I have been instrumental in making Vardhman Group country’s largest textiles conglomerate engaged in manufacturing of yarns, fabric, threads, fibre, and garments with a total turnover of nearly $1.1 billion today,” she says.
“We have been able to augment or set up physical infrastructure in many schools, including setting up of classrooms, toilets, desks, water purifiers, and other such arrangements that ensure children and teachers can focus on education and not worry about health issues. We are also helping Sri Aurobindo College of Commerce in Ludhiana to construct ‘Mother Auditorium’ in the college. I am also involved in a new CSR project, which is called ‘Nandini’. It’s an initiative to help rural women and young girls break the silence on menstrual hygiene and health,” Sucita adds.
The group has employed 1,000 women at its location in Madhya Pradesh where they are also provided with hostel facilities.
Speaking about the period of 1992-99 when the fabric business was in its nascent stages, Suchita remembers the challenges. These included achieving operational excellence, human resource training, skill enhancement, marketing, and profitability.
“The decision to serve the toughest quality conscious market of Europe within a year of inception shortened the gestation period. We achieved what we set out to do, despite the quota regime and anti-dumping duties,” she adds.
According to Suchita, the highs have “not been coming in bits and pieces, but in a continuous flow forming a beautiful stream”.
“Ever since I joined the Woven Fabric Division of the group back in 1990s, it has become one of the growth engines, and is still expanding and growing. Because it is still growing and we, as a group, are able to add to new foreign destinations for exports every now and then, I think the highest high is still to come!”
Suchita is married to Sachit Jain, and has two daughters, Saumya and Sagarika. Both were very young when she joined the business. “I would juggle between work and family, but got adequate support from my husband and family members. My husband always encouraged me. Now my girls are grown up so I can dedicate more time to the business.”