The Aero group, which manufactures and markets adventure footwear and outdoor apparels under the Woodland and Woods brands, is reworking its business and sourcing strategies in response to the Make in India initiative.
The company plans to increase production in India by setting up more factories and reduce sourcing of finished products and components from China and Bangladesh, among other measures.
“Given the likely incentives for manufacturing for global markets, we will focus on producing most of our requirements here. We are committed to expanding our facilities by 25-30 per cent every year. The roadblocks are slowly getting streamlined, which were a concern in terms of government clearances,” Harkirat Singh, managing director, Aero Group said.
Aero Group started operations in the 1960s and had acquired Woodland, the Canadian footwear brand of winter and snow boots, in the early 1990s. That was when the brand entered India.
The brand’s annual turnover of Rs 70 crore in 1999-2000 has grown to Rs 1,200 crore in 2015.
The company imports 15-20 per cent of its apparels, mainly leather jackets and bags from Bangladesh. It has been growing at 10-15 per cent a year and exports 20-25 per cent its products.
Singh added, “We are expanding to Hong Kong, China, Australia, Europe, Middle East, Southeast Asia, South America, and GCC and CIS countries.
The retail market is extremely well developed in these regions and within the next two to three years, we are contemplating opening our own stores there.”
With brand awareness and disposable incomes growing in semi urban India, Woodland will expand its retail network in tier-II and III cities, besides expanding its range of outdoor accessories.
Since the products are high-end and cater to the exports market, Aero Group is focusing on innovative technology embedded in products. “We have already introduced a GPS-embedded jacket,” Mr Singh said.
The company will also introduce the ‘ResQ’ technology in jackets that can be a life-saver to explorers. A light-weight transmitter fitted in these jackets will send and receive signals and help in rescuing people.