SPEARHEADING A LEGENDARY company such as Lakshmi Machine Works (LMW) that has pioneered manufacturing machinery for the textile industry is a task that comes with lots of expectations and responsibilities. Sanjay Jayavarthanavelu has held and fulfilled both with passion and panache in the last two decades as chairman and MD.
The enterprising DNA in the family started with the business of cotton. Jayavarthanavelu’s great great grandfather G. Kuppuswamy Naidu founded Lakshmi Mills in 1910 for manufacturing cotton yarn. Soon, his son and Sanjay’s great-grandfather Dr. G.K. Devarajulu identified the opportunity in the market for spinning machinery and tools. In 1962, Dr. Devarajulu founded LMW. Sanjay stepped in, armed with a degree in business from the University of Philadelphia.
Speed frame was the first machine to be rolled out from LMW’s shop-floor. The company has come a long way since, and the range currently includes ring spinning and winding machines as well. In the last six decades, LMW has grown steadily, building a portfolio of textile machinery, CNC machine tools, and a foundry division, catering to both domestic and export markets.
“From day one, we understood that it is a continuous process. From raw material to yarn, we are set to provide Indian customers with the entire range of spinning equipment,” Jayavarthanavelu says in an interview.
The spinning market has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, much ahead of the rest of the textile verticals. India today has an installed capacity of 48 million spindles and exports 1.2 billion kilos of yarn per year. Many players have entered the market, bringing in variety for customers to choose from.
For LMW, however, sales is not the only goal. The company’s solutions are supported by continuous innovation. A dedicated team works to foresee the problems — be it energy, speed or productivity of machines, and fixes them for customers. “Each individual requirement has a place,” says Jayavarthanavelu.
From inception till date, cost-effectiveness has been at the heart of LMW’s philosophy. For the company, cost is a reflection of a product’s lifecycle. Hence, it tries to keep costs within an affordable range through continuous R&D, keeping in mind the unpredictability in the spinning cycles and raw material availability. The introduction of high-speed machinery for spinning has added a new layer to the company’s cost-competitiveness.
Textile has always been a capital-heavy and cyclical business. Moreover, most companies function conservatively, and pump profits back, irrespective of the performance. Hence investing in new machinery is beyond reach for many. LMW offers automatic winding machines and jet spinning machines as OEM products. It has also introduced machines to spin recycled fibres.
Growth and evolution for the iconic brand, after being in the business for more than six decades, translates into the drive to strengthen and support industry growth. As a sector leader, Jayavarthanavelu believes in building a resilient ecosystem to enable companies to reach out to one another in times of need. It prevents disruptions to the value chain during a big catastrophe such as Covid, he says. He also organises mentoring and guidance sessions for young entrepreneurs to give them a heads-up about the industry and the trends.
For Jayavarthanavelu, sustainability means embracing it at all levels — business, environment and community. It includes reduction of the company’s carbon footprint by transforming the design, manufacture and packaging of the products, and digitising systems and processes.
India has a bright future ahead in textiles and can easily double its global footprint, says Jayavarthanavelu. In the context of growth, “LMW will strive to remain a relevant brand that continues to support customers,” he adds.