CMT: Obsessed With Quality

ompagnie Mauricienne de Textile Ltée (CMT) is one of the largest and most successful
textile and apparel companies in Mauritius. It all began in 1986 when Louis Lai Fat Fur and
François Woo started the business as a sewing company with 20 employees. Today, the workforce has
grown to more than 10,000 employees in a fully vertically integrated company, known to be among the
largest and most progressive in the Sub-Saharan region.

cmtwoo“The very
essence of our mission statement composed decades ago was to become a hub for the textile industry
as well as a reliable employer for this country,” said Woo, a managing director. “The company’s
philosophy and investment strategy has been steadily reinforced over the years. We have ambitious
goals and nurture a bold spirit in our people to reach for the best. As per the end of the fiscal
year 2006-07, CMT recorded a turnover of 143.6 million euros, with a profit of 31 million euros. We
are running an excellent spinning plant with an efficiency of 99.7 percent. As the leader in the
industry, we feel proud and have the distinct privilege to frequently welcome the visit of numerous
statesmen in our facilities to discover a successful Mauritian textile company.”


“Money matters in business,” Woo said. “But it’s also my personal challenge to provide to our
people not only a working place but also a feeling of security. We have to do everything to prevent
accidents in our different working premises. Security is the big challenge for management.”

CMT is vertically integrated from spinning to knitting up to garment manufacturing. The
spinning mill runs at an excellent efficiency rate. And with such near-perfection performance, CMT
can even afford to keep a stock of yarn for its customers. The goal, however, is to constantly
strive for quality, with specialization in knitwear of all types of natural and man-made fibers.
These are the kinds of production setups that are required to effectively and efficiently sell
directly to the retailer without going through any agent. Currently, the market mix served by CMT
is shared among ladieswear with 60 percent, menswear with 30 to 35 percent, and the remainder in
children’s wear.

CMT, a vertically integrated company, has a workforce of more than 10,000 people.


CMT is putting a lot of effort into creativity, which Woo says is driven by the customer. “We
are working very often in close collaboration with our customers to develop new products with a
movement toward more casualwear than sportswear,” he said. “To be active in this delicate sector
means to be able to survive in hard times, too. At CMT, we have a very good team spirit; we have
learned a lot from sports.

“I’m a very family-oriented man,” Woo said. “My wife is also working at CMT, and we have
three children. All of them are dedicated to working one day in our business, and, frankly
speaking, we didn’t push them to do so.”

Market Situation

CMT exports 100 percent of its production – 95 percent to Europe and 5 percent to the United
States. Woo sees the current market situation to be very tough. “Today we are at the crossroads. We
have a lot of challenges: the soaring oil prices, the financial crisis, but also the food crisis.
In all markets, prices are going up, but not those for textile and apparel products. To survive is
the top priority for the people; therefore, they have less money to spend and, as a result, reduce
their budget for clothing. Competitors are fighting very hard to get the orders, and I’m sure this
situation will continue for the next two to three years. Many companies will disappear, some will
survive. I am convinced that we will survive. We have the right people with a commitment to the

Showcase Spinning

“Africa is producing a very good cotton quality,” Woo said, “but nobody was able to produce
value-added products some years ago in this region. To benefit from duty-free access to the United
States, we had to build our own spinning plant. And today, we even carry out product development
for even higher value added.”

CMT’s spinning mill comprises 32,400 regular ring spindles and 36,000 compact ring spindles
as well as some Vortex spindles. The average daily production is 41,000 kilograms of yarn in
different counts. All of the yarn produced is used for the in-house production of knitwear. The
capacity of the fabric-dyeing section is some 60 tons per day, and in yarn-dyeing, 6 to 7 tons of
dyed yarns are produced every day. The flat and circular knitting department produces 60 tons per
day. Using this production, CMT manufactures a wide range of cut and sewn jersey wear for ladies,
men and children. Products range from basic T-shirts and polo and rugby shirts to more intricately
sewn fashion garments with embellishments for private labels only.

A walk through the spinning section of CMT is breathtaking. The spinning mill is of a very
high standard. The layout is well-organized, and employees work wearing roller skates. “The reason
is very simple,” said Anubhava K. Katiyar, CEO. “The spinning mill is quite large, and we save a
lot of time if our people are working on roller skates. Their induction and training includes not
only to master the machines, but also to master the roller skates. It is amazing to see how elegant
and fast everybody is moving in this very special spinning mill. The whole spinning area is
equipped with the latest Rieter spinning machinery. We ordered the machines in 2003 when we planned
to start our own spinning. The production is running since 2004 to our entire satisfaction. The
major reasons for choosing Rieter machinery are technology, flexibility and service.”

The layout of CMT’s spinning mill is well-organized, and employees work wearing roller

Swiss Quality And Service

“To buy the machines is one thing,” Katiyar said, “but one also needs an excellent service
from the machinery supplier. We are convinced we have the best machinery existing on the market,
and the service is absolutely top-class. If we need something, we get the spare parts immediately.
After we analyzed the situation, I can say that the service provided to us is Swiss quality at its
best. We are working in the high-end segment, and we can only afford to have the best machines.
Rieter shares our commitment to quality, reliability and delivery on time. If you work with
high-end customers, you have no room for failure; you must be top and flexible. It is the blend of
all machinery components that makes the secret of our success.”

After working four years with these machines, how is Katiyar’s experience and impression?
“Excellent,” he said. “We have no complaints. We enjoy technology, service and professionalism at
100 percent, and our expectations are completely fulfilled. We did a lot of comparative work, and
after all, Rieter is still the best for us.”

“CMT wants to be the one-stop shop for our customers,” Woo said. “We want to supply the whole
range of garments for our customers, and other than being vertically integrated in the supply
chain, we also have our own embellishment plants for printing, embroidery and hand-embellishments.
Today, we are extremely fast and capable to produce every order in 10 to 14 days. This commitment
is part of our vision to be a top-class partner for the customer.”

CMT CEO Anubhava K. Katiyar

Market Changes

Compared to the market requirements five years ago, the biggest difference today is a faster
delivery time. “Five years ago, orders with a delivery time of three months were business as
usual,” Woo said. “Today, the markets are more demanding than ever, and delivery times of two weeks
after the placement of the order are quite common.

“I think [the reason CMT is considered a leader in its business sector is] the flexibility
and vertical integration of our setup in the entire production processes,” Woo said. “We are able
to deliver 300 samples a day. However, we don’t want to be a so-called leader; We want to be the
number one for our customers. What is an entrepreneur without his customers? Nothing. If the
customers are happy, we are happy too. On top of that, with the 100-percent vertical integration,
we keep full control on the quality of our products – this is very important to being successful as
a high-end producer.

“We can’t keep our position in the markets; we have to earn it every day,” Woo continued. “I
always tell our people that I’m not the one who pays them their salaries, but rather our customers.
Mauritius is an expensive place. Indeed, three times more than India. We have no chance than to
stay in the high-end market. We have to import all raw materials. This is a lot of money, but if
you are a serious supplier, the customer is willing to pay a little bit more. We are the largest
vertically integrated enterprise in the whole Sub-Sahara and have a vision that points to the
future: The main objective must always be customer satisfaction.”