The Silicon Review
“The tremendous growth of Epic Group over the past few decades can be attributed to three broad pillars: commitment to sustainability, improvements in manufacturing and solid personal connections with all stakeholders.”
Today’s consumers, especially millennials, are increasingly concerned and influenced by companies’ accountability and initiatives around sustainability. Whether it is because they follow #gogreen, #meaningfulchange, #tcktcktck on social media or because of the growing understanding that climate change is a real threat to humans in the near future. This has manifested itself in the fashion industry with a new trend towards ‘slow fashion’.
Now more than ever, consumers are curious about where their clothes were made and under what conditions. The slow fashion movement promises to be the opposite of the fast fashion trend (inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends) by delivering sustainably procured and produced clothing to mindful consumers. Instead of the never-ending sale offerings due to rapidly changing trends. Slow fashion items are designed to be sustainable, functional, durable and stylish.
In light of this, we’re thrilled to present Epic Designers Limited.
The company designs, manufactures and distributes a wide range of apparel for men, ladies, and kids. Epic mainly serves customers in the United States, Europe & North Asia.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, Epic Group started its operations in 1971. Today, the company operates 16 world-class manufacturing facilities globally, overseeing the welfare of more than 25,000 employees who produce nearly 90 million garments annually.
Ranjan Mahtani, Epic Designers Limited Founder and Chairman, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Q. How successful was your first project? Share the experience.
In 1984, Epic Group, through one of its subsidiaries, became one of the first international garment manufacturers to establish a presence in Bangladesh. Starting with a small team procuring silk garments on behalf of US-based customers, it became the largest buying office in Bangladesh with revenues of US$100 million in the early 1990s.
Q. What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?
Our customers play a critical role throughout our value chain. We strive to listen to our customers and create solutions that add value to them – this also helps us evolve. Over the years, we have constantly been acknowledged as industry leaders, especially in terms of product development, the use of leading technology, first-rated attention to quality, and a culture of continuous improvement.
Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it?
During the initial years, one of the biggest challenges would be to zero-in on the location of setting up new manufacturing facilities. Apart from the in-depth knowledge of each region’s assets, including quality, availability and cost of labor, infrastructure, and manufacturing standards, there also needed a fair bit of foresight to strategically analyze where the industry is headed.
My advice to peers would be to remember each region has its certain type of expertise. However, as factors change, so does the industry. A thorough understanding is needed for initial & continuing success.
Q. “Earning trust and respect of consumers all around the world is through consistent focus on delivering high quality in all of our actions.” How do you interpret this statement?
This statement truly reflects the sentiments of all individuals who represent Epic. It is the recognition of Epic’s unique combination in manufacturing excellence, including state-of-the-art physical infrastructure, process-oriented work culture helmed by a highly experienced management team, continuous focus on productivity improvements and innovation, and a highly engaged and motivated workforce. This unique combination of factors has been the key to EPIC’s growth to date, resulting in our drive of exceptional operating metrics and making us one of the fastest-growing garment manufacturers in Asia.
Q. Fostering a culture of feedback is crucial to the success of every organization. How is this true with your company?
Epic has always strived for a work culture that places open and direct communication at its very center. Realizing the need for periodic feedback, Epic encourages an “open door” policy with 360 degree of feedback across all levels and are working together to set up more avenues to encourage feedback and discussions.
Q. How do you manage to resist/serve the needs of a highly volatile market?
Constant Innovation, more specifically product development, is a key differentiator that helps us stand out from our competition. Understanding the customer is key. We truly believe that product development is the core of a successful industry, and the capability of doing so stems from very effective market surveillance. While technology enhances our capability of providing the most customer-demanded products in an ever-efficient way, it is a matter of integration and utilization of the technology empowerment to understand the market and engagement of our customers beyond their expectations.Q
Q. What do you think is the biggest asset for your organization, and why?
At EPIC, we firmly believe that the biggest asset for the organization is our people. We take immense pride in the core EPIC values that are engrained within each individual working across different function lines and believe that we can always add value to our customers through consistently exceeding expectations and by asking the right questions to provide an end-to-end supply chain experience.
Q. What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s growth?
The tremendous growth that Epic has seen over the past few decades can be attributed to three broad pillars: Commitment to sustainability, constant improvements in manufacturing through process re-engineering and automation, and building solid personal connections with all stakeholders encouraging a healthy professional culture among everyone working within the group.
Q. Do you have any new products ready to be launched?
Employing the use of cutting-edge solutions, our design offices are strategically located in New York, London, and Hong Kong. These design offices work together with leading apparel brands, combining many years of industry experience to look through the latest fashion trends and come up with new designs for our customers striving to always stay ahead of the market.
Q. As a question on sustainability, where do you see your company a couple of years from now?
Sustainability is at the heart of what we do, from the head office to the manufacturing plants. We take great pride in our role to support industries, governments, and citizens around the world to achieve the greatest advancements economically, socially, and environmentally. Being in the business of manufacturing apparel, we quickly discovered that we could improve and touch lives across our versatile demographics. Our mission and values guide us in our purpose to focus on what is important and to progress in economic growth, social inclusion, environmental protection, physical and digital safety, and living conditions. To this end, we choose business partners who match our level of commitment and drive towards building a better world. Epic Group is a proud and active member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which is the world’s largest non-profit organization working to secure a more sustainable future for the cotton sector. Through innovative technological developments for sustainable washing and zero-discharge finishing, we continually strive to develop new technologies in the field of garment manufacturing that will effectively help us reduce our environmental footprint while delivering next-generation solutions for the future.
Ranjan Mahtani: A Charismatic Entrepreneur
Ranjan Mahtani is an industry veteran with over 35 years of experience. He worked with several big players in the apparel industry as an intern before starting Epic operations out of Bangladesh.
Mr. Mahtani earned a degree in Economics.
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