Forty students of the Bhawanipur Education Society College (BESC) led by Prof Stuti Vershney and Prof Rajesh visited the leather works of Rajda Industries & Exports an entity that has been engaged in the business for over four decades now, on February 23 rd , 2018, located in the Bantala Leather Complex in the eastern fringes of the city.
The leather industry, students were told, is one of the major foreign exchange earners of the country, with the eastern parts of India having a long and illustrious legacy, enjoying a number of natural advantages – the abundant availability of cheap but skilful labour topping the list.
Students were also made aware, as part of the welcome address by the company executives, about the exacting quality standards that exporters have to adhere to as a rule as opposed to providing mere lip service to quality.
The third aspect that was highlighted, related to the use of chemicals in the raw hides during tanning, any residue of which leads to rejection – a fact that is coming into greater focus with the increase in awareness about eco friendliness and sustainability.
Rajda’s clients hail from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Holland, Australia, and New Zealand apart from India.
Serving such niche markets, the company has built up the wherewithal to move into any virgin area of Europe, USA, Latin America, South Africa, South East Asia and is constantly on the lookout for fresh alliances and partners to expand its horizons.
The Company is also a permanent fixture in most of the renowned trade fairs of the world not only showcasing its
own products, but also holding the Indian flag high.
The Company, students were told, fashions a wide range of products from leather that include handbags, wallets, small leather goods, attaché cases, industrial leather goods apart from addressing the specific needs of its customers on a bespoke basis.
Students where then taken on a tour of the factory premises with the company executives taking turns to explain not only the functions of their respective departments, but also the contribution of the said departments in the entire value chain relating to the finished product.
From raw hide through to the finished goods ready to be dispatched to the discerning European and American
markets – every function, be that cutting, sizing, stitching, sorting, polishing, testing, quality control etc were explained to the students patiently and clearly, officials taking pains to address all the queries of the visiting students.
The back, office end of the operation was also shown to the students – especially areas relating to Foreign Exchange transactions and various legal compliances that exporters have to make in order to continue their business.
Market Development, Customer relationships and Branding – especially in the intensely competitive markets in the advanced west, were also issues that were addressed by the company officials who stressed on their importance.
Similarly, the procurement of raw materials, on the other end of the production chain, was another area that was discussed in detail, with emphasis on the cost of acquisition of raw materials, which often works out to be the key factor in competitive markets.
Vanilla accounting and the importance of the all-pervasive control on costs were also functions that were singled out for special talks – something that the students found of great interest as they were able to relate their accounting knowledge acquired academically with the same being practised in a globally competitive industrial setting.
In the end, it wasn’t the transformation of a foul smelling raw hide into an object of desire that earns valuable Foreign Exchange for the Nation apart from creating huge employment multipliers in its wake that fascinated the students.
What really fascinated them was the huge amount of work – requiring diverse skill sets and specialised expertise that goes into the making of even the most innocuous of objects.