The research paper studies the distribution practices of Banarasi brocade industry and the practices are evaluated from custome's point of view. Distribution is a trade which is responsible for bridging the gap between a manufacturer and his customers. E-commerce e-business, mobile commerce, supply chain management software enabled ERP are the advancement which have been affecting almost all kind of decision making that takes place in a commercial organisation. Benarasi brocade industry is a century old industry affecting the economic lifeline of million of people of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. The industry has been experiencing a serious downturn in recent past. The Paper attempts to suggest solution to industry for redesigning its distribution related decision for securing sustained success.
Distribution practices of Banarasi brocade industry.
India is widely known for its art forms, culture and heritage of art, music and literature., The richness of handloom industry and and culture heritage og handloom “India has a rich. Indians are world famous for their magnificent workmanship and produced the most beautiful and exquisite hand spun and hand-woven textiles”. Since ages, India has seen vast political and demographical changes for which the culture of india also has variations.
Each race has left indelible marks of its ethnicity on Indian culture thereby rendering it diverse colours and combinace of prefrences. From Rajputs to Mughals to Portuguese to British. Various dresses worn in different parts of the country is one of the major aspect of the culture in India. One such dress which is common to almost every Indian state and hailed as supreme in quality and design is indian Saree. Banarasi brocade sarees have been an integral part of the India. In the most ancient and sacred city of Varanasi, there thrives an equally ancient tradition. During the Mughal era, all art was amalgamated to create a fusion of aesthetics. Persian motifs and Indian designs on silk studded with gold and silver became a mark of class and elegance. Varanasi is famous for its finest silk sarees and brocades. These sarees are known for rich and intricately woven motifs of leaf, flowers, fruits, birds, etc. on a soft colour background. They are enriched with intricate borders and heavily decorated Pallus. It is a glittering weave of gold and silver threads. Banarasi silk is weaved mainly by using mulberry silk yarn (90%) and remaining (10%) by Tasar, Munga and Eri silk. Banarasi silk fabric includes brocade, crepe, Charmeuse, Doupioni, Noil, organza, satin, Jangla and Tanchoi.
Historically, silk was used by the upper classes. The sarees usually are very expensive and vibrant in colour. Garments made from silk form an integral part of Indian weddings and other celebrations. The heritage of silk rearing and weaving is very old and continues.
Literature Review :
Pandey (1981) pointed that when Banaras began producing silk fabrics is unknown. However, Jaiswal (2012) investigated the varying occupational structure and economic profile of the Textile Industry of Banaras, Uttar Pradesh by interviewing 300 adult workers working in different sectors in seventeen different factories and 300 non-textile workers. He argued that the end of the nineteenth century witnessed two kinds of cloth being produced in Banaras one of which was kamkhwab (kincob) or brocade, also described as ‘cloth of gold' and resembled the silk stuffs with fine floral designs of zari and silver threads for which Banaras silk was celebrated. The other type of cloth was plain silk mainly used during religious and auspicious occasions. Mahan (2012) in her study linked silk industry to tourism in India and indicated towards the potential of silk industry in reducing the harrowing problem of unemployment by stating that Assam silk earns significant foreign exchange growth as it is exported to countries like England, Japan, Nepal, etc., and promoting tourism in silk industry can help in reducing the problem of unemployment in the Assam region. Singh and Naik (2009) attempted to explore the socio-economic condition, marketing practices and problems faced by weavers in Banaras and posited that in order to fulfil the demand of the consumers from several socio-economic positions, they interacted with the weavers who expressed their requirements such as “provision for raw materials at reasonable price, special training to improve existing weaving technology, knowledge about scientific and low cost techniques of weaving, dyeing and finishing,
Singh (2008) posited that although silk products have an organised market in India as well as abroad, one of the main challenges of silk weaving industry is marketing of the products. She listed following marketing practices prevalent in Indian silk industry:
•Approximately three forth of the weavers (74%) sell silk sarees in local market and one tenth of the weavers (11%) export silk sarees to countries like UK, Canada, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore and certain African countries
•Monthly sales cycle
•Majority of the weavers sell their products directly to master weavers. Singh and Naik (2009) proposed that market value of Banarasi silk sarees are not only restricted to the host country but is present in other overseas countries as well. They suggested initiatives like centralising the handloom weaving sector for achieving greater consistency and constancy in the production in order to create adequate marketing channels for silk sarees as well other diversified silk goods. They also expressed need of advertising and publicising Banarasi silk sarees through advertisement, exhibition, displays and trade fairs so that the variegated sarees could be showcased in co-operatives, allied institutions and showrooms.
Research Methodology :
In recent past there has been decline of sale of Banarasi silk. The industry is facing down turn. Its is that industry that used to boast about is command profit, exclusivity and quality. One of the many reasons was the inability of Banarasi silk industry to understand the changing market dynamics . This caused the need to analyse the different dimensions of marketing practices of the Banarasi brocade and suggest solutions for improving the business performance.
The objective of the study is as follows:
a to identify the existing distribution practices of the Banarasi brocade industry to evaluate the practices of industry to suggest solutions to redesign distribution decisions of Banarasi silk industry for marketing profits.
The initial part of the study a description of the general nature of the problem has been offered to understand the problem areas. Major issues has been kept iin mind to understand the industry. On acknowledging the study it became descriptive in nature and an attempt has been made to find solutions for more specific distribution problems.
The study is divided into two parts. First part defines the exsisting problems of distribution practices of Banaras brocade industry along with referring to the secondary study on the subject. In second part, a primary study has been conducted to give solutions to problem areas in the distribution practices.
Findings of the study are classified and presented into three broad sections in line with the main objectives of the study and are as follows:
Existing distribution practices of Banarasi silk industry
A product placement is done through marketing channel that performs the task of moving goods from producers to consumers. It overcomes the time, place and possession gaps that separate goods and services from those who need or want them from
Investigating distribution practices of Banarasi silk industry
In case of Banarasi silk products, the distribution channel is multi-tier and has a number of intermediaries right from raw material supplier to end consumer. The distribution of Banarasi silk products takes place normally in wholesale, retail and institutional forms.
The wholesale form:
The wholesale market of Banarasi silk product is very large in comparison to retail and institutional sale. Majority of the business gets transacted through wholesalers. Wholesale buyers come from different parts of the country and purchase based on their local tastes and preferences. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, Bengal, etc., are the major buying centres of Banarasi silk. The importers of the silk products meet the wholesaler and place order after inspecting the sample provided by wholesaler. Thereafter, the wholesaler takes on the responsibility of delivering goods at the buyers' end. This sale is highly cyclical in nature. At the time of festivals and marriages, the sales increase. Few of the big sellers have their websites as well to provide general information. An important feature of this mechanism is that many of the makers are unable to get good margins and the real benefit is derived by the people selling at the retail end reaping the maximum elasticity of demand
The retail form:
In case of retail business the wholesalers sell their product through their own retail outleta or sell some products to the local shopkeepers as well. There have been emergence of good quality retail stores in the city with good product portfolio and mix of products variety and forms. Many of the big budget manufacturers also own retail outlets in metros which they use as wholesale avenues also. However, the organised structure of retail outlets ism missing.
The institutional sale form:
Very petite attempts have been made by the marketers of Banarasi silk industry to get an institutional ties up with big institutions, especially with organised retail chains. This absence of a strategic relationship let the Banarasi silk industry forego a huge market because there is a strong power of empty pipeline. Consumer buying patterns, especially of high value purchases, have changed in the recent past and there has been growing tendency among a significant number of customers particularly in tier 1 and tier 2 cities to shop through organised retail chains. Since only select few manufacturers made almost negligible efforts to place their products at those stores, the high net worth customers are not able to get exposed to the artisans where as the artisans are not exposed to new form and designs according to the market. There had been few tie-ups made in the past to place the products at Shoppers Stop but somehow that broke down and since then nothing has been done on that front.
So, the current status is that the institutional sale of Banarasi silk products is negligible.
There is excess reliance on traditional form of distribution network. Banarasi silk product industry is largely confined to selling to the wholesalers coming from different parts of the country to Varanasi. They in turn sell to the retail stores in their city. The biggest drawback of the model is that the Banarasi silk product manufacturers are deprived of the real benefit and major chunk of the profit is reaped by these middlemen. Besides, the trend of retail sale of fashion and high value products has also changed significantly in the country. Emergence of the organised retail formats in clothing and multi product outlets have increased. The normal sales practice of the industry is that it is sold to wholesalers of big trading centres of the country. This model leads to following marketing problems
Restricted market information:
Being away from the real purchaser and user, it becomes difficult for the makers to get the real feel of the market trends and information of the customer's requirements. They get confined only to the extent of the information coming to them.
Cyclical nature of demand:
The existing model of distribution is also greatly responsible for the abrupt nature of demand. In this reactive model of sale, the wholesale buyers get active only when the customers start asking for the product. The moment there is a passive response from customer, the flow of buyers gets reduced leading to demand crunch.
Issues related to payment also crop up because of the prevailing form of sale.
Inability to forge strategic relations with key partners in distribution
The industry does have strategic partners, i.e., designers, fashion houses, lifestyle brands, organised retail stores and leading hospitality players such as hotels, corporate offices, airlines companies etc. Designers like J.J. Valaya and Sabayasachi visit Benaras in the hot lean summer season to source fabric, give it a modern twist and take it to the fashion runways abroad. But this is passive, occasional and unstructured. Banarasi silk industry is still not having organised and structured tie ups with these potential partners. Exporters have worked on this to some extent but barring very few exceptions, none of the players are have any strategic partners on the domestic front. Relationships with designers can prove to be hugely beneficial. Most of the today's upper middle and higher class customers who possess good paying capacity, buy products with designer labels. Hence, their relationship becomes very important to leverage the market. In home furnishing segments also, use of Banarasi silk as curtains, table cloth and other forms provides elegance. The problem found in the personal interview held with industry people is that the industry largely waits for the order to come to them instead of approaching the interior designers or the company. There is hardly any strategic partner ready to provide a big leap to the elite class for business development on a sustained basis. The industry has not attempted to establish sustained relationship with organised retail. Sale to the organised retail players like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Westside and others could have been leveraged. There is also no attempt to open there own chain of retail stores or enter into tie ups with design houses.
Marketing practices needs to be customised keeping in mind the changing trends of the market. The numerous small players at Varanasi have not been able to come together or pool capacity for dealing with the market or the policy environment which is responsible for the continued decline. These small players can come together to form a big entity and bring in technology and financial resources required to give a decisive push to the cluster and be accountable for return on labour and working condition. A distribution decision is done through marketing channel that performs the work of moving goods from producers to consumers.
It overcomes the time, place and possession gaps that separate goods and services from those who need or want them. In case of Banarasi brocade products, the distribution channel is multi-tier and contains a number of intermediaries right from raw material supplier to end consumer. The distribution of Banarasi silk products takes place normally in wholesale, retail and. Institutional forms.
5.1 Suggestions for strategising distribution practices of Banarasi brocade industry
Following recommendations are suggested for the industry for achieving sustained success in its marketing practices: 1
Leveraging designers' relations:
Limited range of designs has been one of the problems in this industry. Still, very limited attempt made by the industry to seek services of professional and leading designers from the country. These designers would not only bring in new dimensions for Banarasi silk products but also may bring in new set of customers. They can provide the industry a vital value addition that may help it in fetching superior premium for its products. Through collaboration with designers, the weavers' communities can also get exposed to modern ways of working as well as contemporary aesthetics. The dialogues between the weavers and the designers may result in a richer revival of the industry the region and the country once boasted about. The Banarasi silk industry can also see this as a possible step to transcend borders and breathe life into an old tradition. Organisations have collaborated on the project as well by adopting weavers' villages and working with them to develop specific products and textiles.
Building strategic tie ups:
Strategic tie-ups with different stakeholders is missing. There can be variety of stages of developing such strategic relationship. These strategic relationships could be with suppliers, logistics partners, packaging partners, channel partners and even customers. Forging strategic relationship with them would: a increase efficiency b reduce cost. These resultants would make the Banarasi silk products more competitive at the market place. Kanjivaram silk had a tie with Indian Airlines for usage of its sarees by air hostesses. Similar was followed by Sahara. Banarasi silk could also attempt for such tie-ups.
Introducing the concept of maximum retail price (MRP):
There has to have some attempts by the industry to popularise the use of MRP among the retailers. This would be helpful in imparting confidence among the customers. Though the model has inherent complications of as Banarasi silk product is not entirely a homogeneous product. The products are design-based and different designs have different cost, time and effort. To begin with, first retail stores may be encouraged to start practicing MRP. Subsequently, MRP may be introduced at industry level. This would create a major transition from being an unorganised industry to more organised and structured industry. Industry level MRP may be started with the products that are homogeneous as silk that is sold in length largely used for men's kurta and shirts. Those are the products largely plain in design. Then, the home furnishing items can also be taken up for use of MRP.
Increased use of technology to optimise process and reduce cost:
There are varieties of technologies used in modern businesses to create efficiency and effectiveness in the business. Another direct advantage of use of technology is reduction in cost. Variety of software such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, customer relationship management (CRM) software, design and accounting software are being employed in different aspects of business and can be effectively used in the interest of the industry.
Its application would notonly increase efficiency of the process but also help the industry reduce the cost.
The prices of many of the Banarasi silk products are high but the makers in most of the cases are not the real reason and the beneficiary of this incident. This is because the industry does not have any forward integration strategy. Forward integration links the manufacturers with the customers. This provides several advantages to the manufacturers. As manufacturers keep getting customers responses to its marketing practices, they feed the business better with timely and adequate supply of information and above all, become the master of the business in real sense by having control over majority of the profits generated out of business. This profit not only helps business sustain the bad times and enhance the processes but also check any wrong doings of the intermediary. And ultimately, all these advantages get passed on to the customers who are the real reason for existence of any business.
Establishment of service infrastructure along with retail sale:
Customers were found to be very positive towards availability of service infrastructure. To begin with, product maintenance could be offered along with product sale. This would infuse confidence among the customer and relieve them from the issue of maintaining the products. Especially, in case of sales to newer region and institutions, the industry or the government or both under public-private partnership may take some initiatives to provide training to the staff in case of institutional buyers as hotels, offices, airlines, etc.
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