“Archroma is working closely with Pakistan’s textile industry
for achieving sustainability”
Furrer, President Brand & Performance Textile Specialties and
Innovation recently visited Pakistan. Pakistan Textile Journal
is pleased to present an exclusive interview of
for the interest of our readers conducted at Archroma Pakistan.
Marcos Furrer, President Brand &
Performance Textile Specialties, and Innovation.
Welcome to Pakistan Mr. Furrer.
Archroma has seen remarkable success in the short span of five
years. Please share with us the motivation behind this
At Archroma, we believe in working on the
solutions to help our customers achieve sustainability. We want
to change the thinking about sustainable production methods. We
aim to create chemical technologies that minimize environmental
impact by accessing the total cost of production. What is the
cost of the wasted water and the energy consumption on the
product cost per square meter of fabric produced? We want to
really help the industry get to the next level by providing more
effective solutions for our customers through new processes such
as ADVANCED DENIM, Smartrepel®, EarthColors and ONE WAY
You have had long and extensive
experience in the Latin America. How do you compare the Latin
American market with Pakistan as developing markets that are
very important for product developments and innovations?
I’ve been in charge of the Americas for
five years. I find a great deal of commonalities between Latin
America and Pakistan. I see, the textile industry, per se, it is
an industry whose success is based on three factors. You have to
have firstly a good cost position, secondly innovations strength
and the third factor is compatible infrastructure, energy and
logistics with which the industry needs to grow. Countries in
Latin America, I believe, have been suffering much more than
Pakistan in the last five years. I see potential growth in the
textile industry of Pakistan, which is missing in Latin America.
The industry here is growing despite facing infrastructure
challenges and increasing cost of production.
What are some of the main product lines
or areas you will be focusing for Pakistani market?
We want to reinforce our position in the
denim market. We are continuously investing in Pakistan to
become a number one supplier of complete chemical solutions
provider for the industry. With the integration of the BASF
textile chemicals business in Archroma, our portfolio is now
even more comprehensive with product lines that were missing in
the past. This I consider is a big advantage for us. Our focus
is on adding value for the customer in terms of systems
solutions where our products offer a definitive advantage for
the customer. Through our performance-focus solutions, the
customers are able to produce products that can achieve superior
And lastly, what we consider extremely
important are the environmental-focus solutions. These
environmental-focus solutions give the industry an opportunity
to do something different while minimizing the impact on the
environment such as Earth Colors. Through our products we want
to reinforce our innovations to offer environmental solutions.
One example is Denisol®, the liquid indigo that is now produced
in Pakistan by Archroma. This is a local solution for the denim
sector that did not have a choice in the past. This would make
our customers in Pakistan more competitive as indigo is the one
of the major cost components in denim production.
What are some other areas where you can
see expansion in the future?
Digital printing is one of the segment that
we believe will grow most within the next few years. There are a
number of reasons behind it. This not simply because the
digital prints are attractive and vibrant, but also because of
the ability of the industry to personalize more according the
demands of their customers. In the past there used to be large
volumes of repetitive designs printed on the rotary printers.
Only few printers with the economies of scale were successful
and competitive by producing hundreds of thousands of meters.
The fast changing fashion market cannot be captured through
conventional rotary printing.
Personalization is the future where
consumers want to be different. We shall be prominently present
in this market segment to provide our customers viable
solutions, such as Inkpresso® a ink delivery system that allows
flexibility and personalization. The big volume business will
always be there but the future is with the customization
possible with the digital textile printing.
Naveed Kamil, Head of Human
Resources Pakistan & Bangladesh, Shahana Kaukab, Manager
HR & Communications, Qazi Naeemuddin, Head of Operations
Jamshoro site, Marcos Furrer, President Brand &
Performance Textile Specialties, and Innovation, Mujtaba
Rahim, CEO & President, Archroma Pakistan Limited,
Muhammad Altaf, Head of Operations Landhi site, Hadi Raza
Lakhani, Head of Sales & Marketing
Competition is very strong, not only in
your traditional European players, but from the rest of the
world as well. What are some of the challenges you foresee?
I think the challenge will be for the
entire industry. It is a time when pollution is becoming a major
problem and shortage of raw materials is taking place more often
compared to previous times. Now people are starting to realize
full cost of a product that is not simply the raw material but
also carries cost of meeting stringent requirements for
protecting the environment.
So I foresee for the chemical industry,
that cost increase as well as availability of raw materials that
will be a major problem for certain products. If we talk about
the chemical industry, the big raw materials producers and
suppliers, mainly from China, have been trying to increase
prices for the last five years. They have been largely
unsuccessful mainly due to overcapacity in the market. Now due
to the pressure of the governments, again mainly in China, the
overcapacity is being reduced, resulting in higher prices. The
second factor is a higher demand as the global textile industry
is doing well. The assumption is that this increase in demand
will continue to drive the raw material prices higher.
The third factor is that people want to
live long and meaningful, sustainable lives. Sustainability and
green chemistry will continue to go hand in hand. We have to
show our customers that a new product that is better and more
sustainable can be produced in the same way and with the same
performance as they were produced before.
How do you plan to deal with these
We have been focusing on sustainability for
the last five years and have a good head start to meet the new
industry challenges. We have developed different tools for
ourselves and different products to offer environmental-focus
solutions. We are working more on those and our innovation is
focused on reducing waste of energy, water, salt consumption as
a process. Our ONE WAY Process Simulator is a really interesting
tool to compare what you are doing today to what you could be
doing. It helps mills and brand owners to develop innovative
textile solutions that are both more ecologically and
I believe this is the future and we want to
show our customers what we can offer to them as a full package
solution, tailor made to help with their total cost of
production, not simply a product. We are providing these
solutions to those customers who have the acumen to sell these
sustainable products to their own customers.
Not only are we banning hazardous chemicals
from our product line, Archroma opened its first sustainable
effluent treatment (SET) facility for a textile operational
site, in Jamshoro, Pakistan in 2013. With an investment of 371
million PKR the facility supports the substantial recovery of 80
percent of water and allows effluent treatment based on zero
liquid discharge. We are working towards sustainability as well
as product safety. This provides us with an edge and it is an
opportunity for us. This is what we stand for.
I would like your comments on the
position of Archroma Pakistan in the global
scheme of affairs?
Archroma Pakistan is for us one of the
models to follow. We have excellent leadership here, and a team
who is highly motivated. Different departments from production
to supply and sales all work extremely close together as one
unit. The Archroma Center of Excellence in Pakistan is a
state-of-the-art textile applications lab. I have not seen many
like this in the world. Above all the team is extremely close
to our strong customer base in Pakistan and works hard to help
them stay viable and successful.