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MAS FABRIC- LEADING INNOVATION IN THE APPAREL SUPPLY CHAIN FOR SRI LANKA

 
     
   

 

 

By Mihiri Wikramanayake

When Timothy Speldewinde, CEO Stretchline Holdings Limited, says that they manufacture 1.5 million meters of elastic a day he is not stretching the truth. “That means we make enough elastic each year to wrap around the world ten times over and that’s without stretching it,” he says. This is just another feat at MAS Fabrics and one more chapter in the MAS Holdings success story.

According to Speldewinde, who is also the Managing Director of MAS Fabrics and a Board member of MAS Holdings, the whole Fabric story began with Stretchline Holdings, when MAS Holdings decided to venture into raw materials as a supply chain to their burgeoning business of lingerie and hosiery. In 1996, Mahesh Amalean, Chairman MAS Holdings signed up in a three way joint venture with world renowned Charnwood Elastics UK  and MAST Industries USA. At the time, Charnwood Elastics was considered the world’s largest supplier of elastics for underwear products. In 2001 Stretchline became a global brand and Charnwood elastics changed its name to Stretchline UK and MAST Industries sold its shares to Brandot International Ltd. owned by Martin Trust.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, today, Stretchline Holdings is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of elastics. The company is known for its innovative design and product development capabilities and supplies woven, knitted, jacquard and printed elastics to some of the leading global brands and retailers. The Stretchline Group of Companies has manufacturing facilities in the UK, USA, Mexico, Indonesia, China and Sri Lanka with a global workforce of over 4000 people.

“The success of Stretchline led to many things,” said Speldewinde. Being the first company within the Group to venture overseas, today, Stretchline is a truly global brand offering a unified product with global supply and a colour management system together with dedicated customer management teams. “All this was achieved within ten short years when we were a US$ 3 million company to being a US$ 80 million business.” Speldewinde says that the strategy was to team up with great partners in intimates. “We now regard the Sri Lankan operation as the hub where we offer the customers one global product,” Speldewinde explains.  “We offer solutions that are closest to the needlepoint. We follow the coca cola strategy.”

     
   

o add to the synergies, MAS Holdings set up a Fabric cluster teaming up with world renowned lace manufacturer, Noyon Dentelles, Calais, Prym Intimates Group PLC, Textprint S.A and Dogi International Fabrics (Dogi) of Spain and Elastic Fabrics of America (EFA) of the USA. With little persuasion, all of these partners have agreed to set up facilities in Sri Lanka run by Sri Lankan CEO’s backed by a team of technicians from the parent company
He adds that all these facilities were set up locally because of the availability of skills and training. “We have phenomenal talent and that makes us the leader in innovation,” he says. Even within MAS Holdings, Stretchline is considered the No.1 innovator.

Backing their excellence in performance is the recent feat at the Femmy Awards 2008.  The FEMMY Awards honour those individuals and companies that have significantly contributed to the intimate apparel industry and its growth in the USA.  The event is recognized as one of the premier events in the intimate apparel industry. Run by the Underfashion Club Inc., with the entire intimate apparel industries in the membership of this organization, Stretchline was awarded the Innovation Award 2008. “This is the first time ever in its 50 year history that a company outside of the USA has won this award,” avers Speldewinde. “This is a major achievement for us and has proven that our skills are phenomenal.”  Naturally, this recognition brought Stretchline huge inquiries as they grow within the industry.  

Speldewinde is especially proud of his Research & Innovation team. Headed by Krishan Weerawansa, this team has the creative power to turn simple tasks into superlative achievements.

In 2003, Stretchline UK was encouraged to relocate their Research & Innovation Centre from the UK to Biyagama solely for cost effective purposes.  It was undoubtedly a move that Stretchline has thrived on ever since. “We have now become the leading innovator in narrow performance products worldwide,” Speldewinde says explaining that narrow performance products range from 2mm to 155mm. The Research & Innovation Centre has 160 qualified employees working seven days on 54 machines and is by far the largest team in product development in the region.  This dedicated Research & Innovation Centre provides a strong focus on product innovation and design, working closely with retailers, designers and vendors at every step from concept through to production.

Considered a ‘wonder boy’ at Stretchline and amongst their partners, Weerawansa has a mind that works wonders and thinks out of the box. In fact, Speldewinde ruefully admits that Weerawansa is privy to more of Victoria’sSecrets than Mahesh or himself. The R&I team has  modified machines ‘so remarkably’ that our production is at unbelievable levels. According to him, the 35 million meters of elastic Sri Lanka produces monthly is fabricated on 160 machines whereas any other company would need 360 machines to achieve this figure. He also added that the Locksafe machines used at Stretchline are ‘all standard machines that have been expertly modified by our R&I team’.
But Weerawansa is not fazed by his reputation. For him, it is the ‘30 components which makes the bra the most complex piece of clothing’ that gives him more challenges than he ever thought was possible. “And wherever there is a challenge, there is an opportunity,” he says.

     
   

Weerawansa started off in production and moved on to planning, HR and operations. Recognising his creative talents, Speldewinde sent him to the University of Derby for a two-year degree where he quickly grasped the concepts of the entire textile manufacturing process, studied the complexities of lingerie and followed the fashion trends and desires of the industry. Weerawansa admits that he is also a keen observer of the latest developments in micro electronics, technology and smart fabrics which he will try to incorporate into his innovations. That would be the ultimate ‘wonder’ bra.
Striving for greater achievements and challenges, Weerawansa and his resourceful team work around the clock preparing products for seasonal ranges by Victoria’s Secret and Marks & Spencer; their most demanding customers adding that ‘these are customers who demand newness and innovation constantly and continuously’.

Some of its innovation lies in patented products such as the Fortitube bra-wire casing, Locksafe, as well as new developments such as Bondelast, Ecolastic and Stay4Sure.

Fortitube, with a 20-year worldwide patent, is a casing used for the underwire of a bra to prevent it from dislodging. Locksafe, also patented, prevents the unravelling of elastics and is used on all Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Bhs, and Victoria’s Secret products. Bondelast is a special elastic made using bondable adhesive and is now used by Speedo for their ‘Second Skin’ swimwear collection for the Beijing Olympics. “In fact, 14 world records have been broken by swimmers wearing Bondelast swimwear,” Speldwinde says.

Stay4Sure is a silicon technology used for strapless bras and hosiery. This patented product was donated to the British Cycling Team for the Beijing Olympics.
CEO of Stretchline Sri Lanka Natasha Boralessa Kumara says that MAS Fabric complements MAS Intimates and MAS Active in providing an integrated Supply Chain Solution. MAS Fabric is made up of six highly specialized facilities that make virtual verticality a physical reality on the island.
Collaborative innovation and speed to market are two of the main strategies pursued by MAS Fabric to further strengthen Sri Lanka as the preferred manufacturer of high quality intimate and active apparel.
“The Team at Stretchline Sri Lanka have a huge appetite to learn and embrace any new technology with ease” says Natasha.
“This eagerness to adopt new technology together with a never-say-die attitude helps us to continuously add value to our customers through innovative product and delivery solutions.”

Stretchline Sri Lanka’s customer portfolio includes some of the world’s leading brands such as  Victoria’s Secret Stores, Marks & Spencer, Gap, Nike, adidas, Speedo, Jockey, Intimissimi, BHS, Next, LBI, Triumph and Diesel.

The product portfolio includes Woven, Jacquard and Crochet elastic; processed through in-house printing and dyeing facilities. These facilities follow a “clean production methodology” and are also ISO14001 and Oeko – tex certified, which is the industry benchmark for global testing of harmful substances within consumer textiles.

 She adds that stringent controls have been incorporated into all processes to generate less waste and consume less resources i.e electricity and water. In keeping with BOI requirements the facility has its own effluent treatment plant where all waste is treated prior to being discharged to the zone treatment plant.
Stretchline Sri Lanka employs over 1300 associates of whom 90% are male. All associates are continuously trained by our in-house training department to develop them to their fullest potential. We are proud of the fact that the core teams who set up Stretchline plants in China, Indonesia and Mexico were made up of Sri-Lankans and to date that most overseas technical roles are performed by Sri Lankan expatriates.

The bra, considered the most complex common apparel known, is made up of accessories that require precision and accuracy.  Prym Intimates Lanka was set up in March 2002 as a joint venture between Prym Intimates Group PLC, a 400-year old German family business and Stretchline Holdings to cater to such components. Since inception, Prym Intimates has always been highly focused on providing innovative solutions to design issues having already pioneered a patent product, the Soft-Seal hook and eye. In addition, Prym has a strong record of innovating new products and solutions which improve comfort and durability, such as the ultrasonically sealed shoulder straps, hook & eye tape, Soft Seal and PET-coated metal underwire.  

Niranjan Wijesekera, Managing Director/CEO of Prym Intimates, Sri Lanka says that they ‘make all the little things that make all the difference’. With three manufacturing facilities in Malaysia, China and Sri Lanka, dedicated sales offices are situated in UK, USA and Hong Kong.

The patented Soft-Seal is the most superior and technically advanced hook and eye tape in the market. The unique sealed inverted edges and micro fibre feel, guarantees an ultra soft touch to the skin, thus enhancing the ‘never before’ achieved comfort for the wearer. Prym is also the exclusive manufacturer and distributor for this patented product in Asia. “This has become the industry standard providing the ultimate in comfort,” Wijesekera says.

Based on that success, Prym Intimates moved on to sports bras incorporating moisture management straps and the foam/gel inserted hook and eye with an emphasis on comfort and performance.

     
   

Wijesekera explains that this machine intensive plant is staffed by 300 employees with a production capacity of over five million hooks & eyes per month which are supplied to all key international lingerie brands. Complementary to this core product Prym Intimates Lanka also has established capacity to manufacture over eight million galvanized & PET coated underwires, 2 million made-up elastic shoulder-straps and corresponding requirement of rings and slides which comfortably covers the islands requirements of these bra trims.

The most significant customers remain leading retailers out of U.S and European markets which inspire Prym to continually innovate and improve performance of the cutting edge products being manufactured. Further expansion is also planned for, in order to meet growing demand out of Indian lingerie manufacturers.
 “Our biggest challenge is to find different innovative aspects to this component,” says Wijesekera. “Because what you can’t see is what makes all the difference in the bra.”  

The beauty of the bra is in its visual element and lace is a fanciful addition in that aspect. For nearly a century, Noyon lace has been renowned for these qualities to lingerie manufacturers the world over. As a leader in lace, Noyon continuously researches developments in fashion and technology to keep abreast with new design trends.

In 2004, MAS Fabric, in a joint venture with Noyon Dentelles, Calais set up Noyon Lanka to offer high-quality lace out of Sri Lanka thereby taking advantage of manufacturing in Asia as well as logistical and service advantages of being close to the “needle point.” 

Noyon Lanka’s technical capabilities include the entire process from warping, knitting, clipping, shaving, dyeing, finishing, inspection, QA testing and scalloping. Manufacturing Jacquardtronic and Textronic lace, the current annual production capacity of Noyon Lanka is approximately 11 million meters of gallon lace.

According to CEO of Noyon Lanka, Murad Rajudin, “When the GSP+ was introduced in 2005, we saw a lot of business come in to Sri Lanka.” Such advantages backed by the Noyon Lanka team’s ability and enthusiasm to learn the intricacies of lace making , as well as a global network of sales offices and agents, located in USA, UK, Italy, Hong Kong, Spain, Germany, Taiwan and India, enabled Noyon Lanka to grow its business rapidly. Customers are assured of prompt and efficient sales service worldwide. Noyon Lanka offers a high degree of flexibility in management of order volumes, pricing and lead times, thanks to close collaboration with the manufacturing unit in France.

With close to 100-years experience of being at the forefront of lace design, leading lingerie brands have accepted Noyon as a leader in lace. Noyon launches over 600 designs a year, closely complementing the latest seasonal trends. Noyon also offers a design service which works closely with customers to help them select the best design, colour and type of lace for their product.

Rajudin says that after the initial training given by technicians from Calais, in a relatively short period of time his team of 320 employees have studied the skills and knowledge of lace making and independently work the 36 looms as well as the dyeing and finishing processes. Today, Noyon Lanka has an impressive customer portfolio, including Intimissimmi, Marks & Spencer, Victoria’s Secret, Chantelle Group, La Senza, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic and Playtex.

Whilst Noyon is considered the leader in design, such designs are primarily influenced by European tastes. Noyon Lanka realised that Asian influences can also play an important part in world fashion. Therefore, collaborating with Indian textile designers, Noyon Lanka initiated an Asian influenced range within the Noyon collection titled the Jaali range. This range has been show cased in four fairs in Paris and Lyon since January 2006. Each season depicts a different theme, where inspiration is got from either a particular region, culture or crafts in Sri Lanka and India. The themes show cased to date had inspiration from Jaipur, Banaras, Sigiriya (aptly titled Apsara), Peradeniya Botanical gardens and the carpet weaving craft. “This will possibly set a trend with an Asian touch to this popular French product,” says Rajudin.

Noyon Lanka has also introduced Cupron, a copper based yarn, into selected laces designs. Cupron permanently binds its proprietary copper compound to textile fibers and offers antimicrobial protection against micro organisms, as well as other health benefits. Another area that Noyon Lanka is working on is the application of special finishes such as Aloe Vera to selected laces. Noyon Lanka also collaborates with other companies within MAS Fabrics and MAS to provide lace based on a common themes, as well as value added products such as laminated moulded lace cups.

The last, and certainly not the least, component of the supply chain is the body fabric. In 2007, this link in the supply chain was formalised with a joint venture partnership with Dogi International Fabrics (Dogi) of Spain and Elastic Fabrics of America (EFA) of the USA.

Headed by CEO, Dhananjaya Rajapaksha, DOGIEFA is built on the synergistic strengths of its two operational partners who subsequently merged to become divisions of Dogi International fabrics group, known for their innovation and manufacturing acumen. This high-quality warp knit operation is the first of its kind in the South Asian region and with the experience and knowledge of the global supply chain DOGIEFA brings international expertise in key market segments, including intimate apparel, swimwear, active wear and sportswear among others.  More importantly, DOGIEFA will result in decreased lead time for apparel manufacturers and will provide greater flexibility in choosing fabric suppliers.

DOGIEFA is geared to produce a range of stretch products including Tricot, Raschel, Satin, Powernet, Techsheen, Lockstitch, Mesh, Ribs, Novelty and many more. Since its opening in 2007, the facility produces 2.5 million meters per year and is forecasted to expand to 7.5 million meters per year by 2010.

  1. Rajapaksha says that DOGIEFA offers a wide range of warp-knit fabrics to its customer base by focusing on both collaborative and open-line developments that utilize the latest technology while incorporating trends that reflect the strategic mission of its key accounts. A highly trained and technically adept team of 130 employees man 21 warp knitting machines. This flattened technology is the only one of its kind in fabrics that has a two-way stretch. “It is a highly sensitive operation that requires accuracy in manpower and perfect temperature and humidity controls,” he says. DOGIEFA is now a fully vertical operation providing the complete process from warping, knitting, and dyeing to the finished fabric. 

To add more ‘colour’ to this product, in July 2007, MAS Holdings signed up with Texprint S.A, to establish a fabric printing facility in Sri Lanka. The alliance between these industry leaders was to cater to the fast growing global intimate, swimwear, active and sportswear segments, by supplying them with high quality fabric printing solutions.

High quality fabric printing requires the creation of print designs in line with the latest fashion trends and specific skills in handling high value fabrics and this state-of-the-art fabric printing facility was to cover both conventional and digital printing capabilities for synthetics, viscose, cotton and other fabrics used in the identified market segments.  This would fill the current gap for synthetic fabric printing in the island and is set to open up new business opportunities in the region’s high value fashion driven apparel business, especially in swimwear.

The country’s 2007 Young CIMA Star Award winner, Asanka Wimalaratna was handpicked to head Textprint Lanka which is located in the MAS Fabric Park (MFP) Thulhiriya.

“We offer customers the unique advantage of sourcing solid and printed fabrics from a single location with a significant cost and time saving,” says Wimalaratna. Using the most advanced technology in printing including flat-bed, rotary, rotating table and digital printing, Textprint, with special focus on research and innovation, is establishing itself as a modern and competitive printer within the region.

     
   


“Our role starts from the point the customer hands over us an artwork or a design concept,” he says. Textprint hopes to partner with world renowned design houses in USA and Europe , famous for their dedicated design creations in swimwear and lingerie, with worldwide customers such as Triumph, Simone Perele, Victoria’s Secret, Lands’ End, Vanity Fair, Chantelle and Calzedonia, will offer design expertise to customers manufacturing out of Sri Lanka.
 “Whilst our main focus is on swimwear and lingerie products, our target customer’s are Victoria’s Secret, Lands End, Speedo, Triumph and Marks & Spencer,” he adds.

Wimalaratna says that the initial capacity of 100,000 meters per month is expected to rise to 300,000 meters per month by 2009/10. “We provide a unique solution for Sri Lanka where all the print technologies come under one roof,” he says. His staff capacity of 50 employees handles the entire vertical manufacturing process from CAD/CAM design and development, screen engraving, printing, finishing to fabric inspection and testing. 

The MAS Fabric story is woven together within these six facilities and is very much a part of one of the most complex undergarments used. The expertise, innovation, accuracy and attention given to the bra can only be appreciated in the hard work and dedication put in by the 2500 employees at MAS Fabric. “We club together for sales and marketing and for presenting Sri Lanka as the preferred underwear manufacturer,” Speldewinde says. In fact their innovative marketing gimmick comes in ONE BOX-Made in Sri Lanka offering the gamut of accessories: elastics, lace, warp knit fabrics, moulded cups and printed fabrics.

“You can see that we are no longer an elastic company,” says Speldewinde. “We have achieved this status because we work hard and then we play hard!”

 

May 2008

 

MAS and HSBC launch MAS Go Beyond-HSBC programme on Managing Personal Finances

 
     
   

Seated left to right: Mr. Ravi Fernando (Director Corporate Branding & Strategic Corporate Responsibility, MAS Holdings), Mr. Sharad Amalean (Deputy Chairman/CEO, MAS Holdings), Mr. Nick Nicalaou (Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Sri Lanka & Maldives) and Mr. Trevine Fernandopulle (Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Head of Corporate Banking) assisted by Mrs. Chandanika Jayawickrema (Legal Officer, MAS Holdings)

 

MAS signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with HSBC on 29th April 2008 to launch a one-day certificate programme titled Managing Personal Finances for a Better Tomorrow for its machine operators and staff.

The programme which is an initiative of MAS Women Go Beyond Programme, was specially designed by HSBC under their Financial Literacy Corporate Social Responsibility Programme, HSBC Living Finance in collaboration with MAS Holdings to empower MAS employees in the Worker and Supervisory grade with skills to manage their personal finances. HSBC also plans to conduct 10 workshops targeting 1000 factory employees during 2008. 

The agreement was signed by Mr. Nick Nicalaou (Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Sri Lanka & Maldives) and Mr. Sharad Amalean (Deputy Chairman/CEO, MAS Holdings) while Mr. Trevine Fernandopulle (Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Head of Corporate Banking) and Mr. Ravi Fernando (Director Corporate Branding & Strategic Corporate Responsibility, MAS Holdings) acted as witnesses.

MAS employs approximately 37,000 women who make up almost 92% of the total workforce. According to findings from a survey conducted by LMRB, 87% of these women are aged between 18-25years and hail from low income families. Given that they are first time workers who support their families financially, guidance on how to manage their personal finances was found to be crucial.

MAS has set the global benchmark for championing women’s empowerment in the apparel industry under its MAS Women Go Beyond Initiative through which women employees are given the training and opportunities required to achieve their career aspirations while successfully balancing their personal lives.

Three value adding certificate programmes are already conducted under the initiative’s work-life balance focus, namely, Getting More out of Life (in collaboration with Unilever Sri Lanka), Balancing the Multiple Roles of a Woman and Empowering Women with Emotional Intelligence. This one day certificate programme on Managing Personal Finance is a new value adding programme which will supplement this focus.

Building on the LMRB survey recommendations, the benefits of having ready cash available at their disposal will be highlighted in the programme in addition to educating workers on the danger of not having money on hand for emergencies, the impact it could have on their self-esteem to be short of money despite the hard work they put in and the benefit of maintaining a savings account in terms of earning interest and obtaining loans against savings.

Ms. Nilooka Dissanayake, a professional trainer, writer and consultant will conduct the programme.

A maximum of 100 employees will be trained from each of MAS’ strategic business units (SBUs) in a full day programme to encourage a participative learning experience with individual exercises to facilitate a unique value addition. Participants will be encouraged to explore their life aspirations and set smart goals with plans to achieve them. On completion of the training, participants will be accredited with a certificate which will be co-branded by the resource organization, MAS Go Beyond and HSBC.

The programme will be launched at MAS Active Sleekline (Nittambuwa) on 4th May 2008 and marks a significant partnership between MAS and HSBC – both who are well known for their commitment to building sustainable communities.

 

May 2008

MAS INTIMATES THURULIE – THE FIRST CUSTOM BUILT ECO-FACTORY FOR LINGERIE MANUFACTURE

 
 
 
 

MAS Intimates Thurulie, MAS’ eco-manufacturing plant geared for exclusive manufacture of lingerie for UK high street retailer, Marks & Spencer (M&S) was declared open on 25th April 2008.

Housed at MAS Fabric Park (Thulhiriya), MAS Intimates Thurulie is the first lingerie manufacturing facility producing goods for goods UK retailer M&S which has been designed to reduce carbon emissions and aims to become carbon neutral.

It features the biggest installation of solar panels to date in Sri Lanka, which will provide around 10% of the total electricity required for the plant. The remaining electricity will be mini-hydro, sourced through a green power agreement that MAS pioneered for Sri Lanka earlier this month. The facility will also use net-metering allowing the MAS fabric park to utilize the solar electricity it generates when the factory is not in operation.

Dian Gomes, Managing Director of MAS Intimates, expressed pride at MAS’ union with the M&S “green” initiative saying:
“Our relationship with M&S is based on the values we share. With Thurulie this long and productive relationship finds new ground. When M&S launched Plan A, MAS was the first to commit to the construction of an eco-apparel manufacturing facility. It was a revolutionary venture – as always, MAS has forged ahead and set new standards. The global environmental crisis cannot be ignored. MAS is proud to be a pioneer in finding solutions. Thurulie is just the beginning of our eco journey.”

Commenting on the occasion Sir Stuart Rose, Chief Executive of M&S and Chief Guest at the opening said:
“The MAS factory is a truly exciting development in clothing production. It really has been a partnership of two like-minded companies, M&S and MAS, and will trial a completely new approach to manufacturing and set standards for others to follow. Not only has it been designed to be carbon neutral, use less electricity and less water than a similar scale clothing factory, it will also produce great quality lingerie products – what our customers would expect from M&S – whilst ensuring its workers are treated well through its leading standards in employee welfare.”

In 2007, M&S announced Plan A, its company-wide eco-plan, in response to big issues such as climate change and sustainable sourcing. One of the commitments within Plan A is to support the development of green factories with its suppliers. M&S has supported the development of the MAS Intimates plant through advice from its store development team in the UK and sponsorship of the solar panels and the architects’ design costs.

Features of the new MAS Intimates plant include:

  • the use of extensive daylight to help light the premises;
  • energy efficient lighting and LED based task lights reduce the energy used for lighting;
  • low energy cooling systems to replace air conditioning in addition to other cooling measures such as green roofs (roof with vegetation on top), cool roofs (roof with high solar reflectivity), and strategically positioned courtyards with wide arrays of greenbelts to cool the microclimate.
  • the use of eco bricks in construction to help maintain a cool interior.

These combined features will enable the facility to save around 40% on electricity compared to a similar scale factory. It will also reduce its water usage by approximately 50% by capturing rainwater to be used in toilet facilities, waste water management systems and low-flow fixtures.

Other notable features include:

  • part of the construction on stilts to avoid excavation of the earth during construction and to aid natural rain flow; 
  • cement-stabilized-earth walkways and roads;
  • anaerobic digestion sewage treatment facility with bio-gas captured for the kitchen.

MAS Intimates Thurulie will also become the world’s first lean and green manufacturing facility, designed for MAS’ lean manufacturing standard. Based on the renowned Toyota Production System, the MAS Operating System (MOS) is geared towards the elimination of waste both in material and process in order to achieve higher efficiencies.  
MAS Chairman Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean declared that “We have always excelled in ethical business practices and MAS Intimates Thurulie brings in the environmental focus to complement our excellent work in social sustainability. Today MAS has set a tough global benchmark to show what the future of manufacturing will be – ethical, efficient and sustainable.”

MAS Intimates Thurulie will initially employ 520 people with an expected increase in operations with 1,300 employees by 2010.

 

April 2008
 
 
MAS ECO GO BEYOND CHAMPIONS SUSTAINABILITY AMONGST 11,000 YOUTH IN SRI LANKA  
     
   

 

 

MAS Eco Go Beyond, a strategic CR initiative of MAS Holdings commenced in August 2006. The objective of MAS Eco Go Beyond is the provision of sustainable development education to selected schools in predominantly rural locations in Sri Lanka where MAS business units are located. Its main thrust is to create and raise awareness on the concept and practice of sustainable development; to provide an opportunity for the implementation of the knowledge gained.

With the launch of phase two in March the programme conducted workshops for 2700 students in 10 schools across Thulhiriya, Avisawella and Kandy. The workshops were structured to cover the ‘social', ‘environmental’ and 'economic' aspects of sustainable development.  Each session was followed by a skit linked to the sub area, and the workshop concluded with the screening of a customized documentary on environment sustainability.

Schools were provided with message boards and material which used symbols and brief descriptors to highlight main messages, while a mobile exhibit display was provided to visualize issues and encourage action amongst the audience of 15 – 18 year old youth. The programme targeted this cohort with the intent of empowering tomorrow’s leaders with the requisite skills and knowledge to build a better and more sustainable tomorrow. A value addition for phase two was the inclusion of a Tamil school as a pilot venture. This initiative is endorsed by the Ministry of Education.

A key secondary objective is the provision of support for applied learning where youth identify critical issues and work to improve life in their homes, schools and communities. Schools will work on applied learning projects from May to August; the initiative culminates in awards ceremony in September. Mrs. Sandya Wijebandara, additional Secretary to the ministry attended the workshop at Thulhiriya Maha Vidyalaya.

April 2008

 

 
MAS’S YOUNGEST GENERAL MANAGER ASANKA WIMALARATNE WINS GOLD AS YOUNG CIMA STAR 2007  
     
   

 

 

Asanka Wimalaratne (General Manager, Textprint Lanka (Pvt) Ltd) won the Gold Award at the CIMA Janashakthi Pinnacle Awards held at the Cinnamon Grand on 2nd April, 2008. The CIMA Janashakthi Pinnacle Awards were introduced five years ago to recognize and facilitate the accomplishment of business leadership and financial professionalism, to recognize talent, skills, to focus on ambition and the determination to achieve.

Asanka began his career at MAS in 2003 when he joined MAS Shadowline as Finance Executive after a stint at KPMG Ford Rhodes Thornton & Co where he was Trainee Consultant since 2002. In 2004 he joined the MAS Corporate Solutions team as a Financial Analyst before taking on the role of Manager MAS Investments, with the set up of the MAS Investments division in 2006 where he was responsible for the acquisition and set up of the MAS Fabric Park, Thulhiriya.

In 2007, Asanka moved up as Deputy General Manager, MAS Investments and was entrusted with the responsibility of setting up of business operations and managing the project implementation phase, including construction, machinery installation and commercial production, marketing of the business as General Manager of Textprint Lanka later in the year.
                                                           
The star recipient of the Pinnacle Award, Asanka Wimalarathne mentioned, “I am extremely proud to be part of this prestigious Award, CIMA is a great institution and it has helped me reach for greater heights. Professionally I want to grow in to a CEO known for Project Implementation and Turning around companies in difficulty. Personally I want to grow my Education Institute (currently London A/L's) and extend our services in to offering professional education services. I believe achieving both the above will allow me to realise my ultimate dream of setting up a "Young Sri Lanka" education fund which will support to hire/ sponsor teachers, coaches and lecturers to provide/share knowledge with students in the rural areas. Because I believe the talent available in our country is second to none and education is the best way to eliminate or reduce inequality in society. It’s the best pay back that we as professionals could give for our motherland.”

Asanka holds a B.Sc. in Business Administration [Sp] from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.  He is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants [UK] and the Chartered Institute of Marketing [UK] and a Passed Finalist from the Association of Accounting Technicians of Sri Lanka.

He founded the Prodigies Institute [June 2007] which specializes in the provision of education services for London Advanced Level students and was a CIMA lecturer at the Academy of Business Studies [ABS], Achievers Business School and Imperial College of Business Studies [ICBS] from 2003 to 2007.  

An award winner for his stellar record in academics, social activities and sports, Asanka has honed his skills through several programmes including Responsible Leadership (Indian Institute of Management Calcutta - 2004), Mergers & Acquisition Transactions (Henley Management School UK - 2004), Private Equity & Venture Capital Transactions – (Euro Money Training, Singapore - 2006), Excel at MAS Programme (conducted by INSEAD Business School, France) and the Doug Adams Leadership Challenge Programme.

 

April 2008

 
MAS FABRIC DIVISION’S STRETCHLINE RECOGNIZED FOR INNOVATION AT THE FEMMY AWARDS 2008  
     
   

Stretchline Holdings CEO, Timothy Speidewinde after receiving the award for Innovation on behalf of Stretchline Holdings with Silvia Harven, Vice President – Angels (Victoria’s Secret)

 

Stretchline Holdings was recognized as the most Innovative supplier by winning the 2008 Femmy Innovation Award at the Femmy Gala presentation ceremony held on 5th February in New York at the famous Cipriani Ball Room on 42nd Street.

Sponsored by the Underfashion Club (UFC) Inc., The FEMMY Awards honour those individuals and companies that have significantly contributed towards the intimate apparel industry and its growth. 

Commenting on the honour Timothy Speidewinde, CEO Stretchline said,
“This is the first time ever in its 50 year history that a company outside of the USA has won this award and this is a major achievement not only for MAS but for Sri Lanka as well”

“Winning the Femmy Award has proven that we are the best in the industry,” says the head of Stretchlines Research and Innovation dream team Krishan Weerasansa while continuously striving for greater achievements and challenges. The team has the ability to transform simple ideas into exceptional achievements such as their patented products; Fortitube bra-wire casing, Locksafe, Bondelast, Ecolastic and Stay4Sure.

 
Stretchline Holdings Ltd., a pioneer in the MAS Fabric cluster drives through its experience of being at the forefront of high quality, originality, and use of technology in steering the industry forward with innovation. The company has built their innovation platform on their ability to embrace and respond to the ever changing needs of the Fashion World.

MAS Holdings, an innovation focused company is one of the region’s largest suppliers of Intimate apparel and Active wear. Operating in five countries with over 44000 people, the company is a vertically integrated apparel service provider to its strategic vendors such as; Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Speedo and M&S.

April 2008

 
 
MAS ACTIVE DRIVES INNOVATION AND COMPLIANCE FOR PERFORMANCE APPAREL IN SRI LANKA

Everyone is familiar with the story of the three Amalean brothers and their successful journey with MAS Holdings. Their story has been dissected in journals, disseminated as case studies, interviewed on media, and held as examples of entrepreneurial excellence. However, mention MAS and everyone visualizes them primarily as a lingerie manufacturer, and especially as the ‘ethical’ bra manufacturer!  There is however another side to their business which is less well known yet, gathering momentum at quite a pace.

 

 
Two decades into the success story, the fabric of MAS has evolved from just hosiery and intimates into a catalogue of specialised clothing due to a growing need of customer diversity, demands and design. The MAS portfolio was too diverse and indistinguishable within the flagship MAS Holdings and was causing customer confusion and impeded accessibility. It became evident that customers were looking for a single point of contact, ‘and the right thing to do was to diversify’ was the collective management decision.Hence, MAS Active was formed to take on the migration from lingerie, to sleepwear and sportswear.

Four years ago, with a vision to be the leading manufacturer of sports and active wear, Lawrence was identified to lead this innovative team. Incorporating the active wear range of the MAS catalogue, whilst also trying to break the mindset of the people who still judge MAS as ‘purely a  lingerie manufacturer’, Shirendra Lawrence, Managing Director, MAS Active updates on the evolution of MAS Active. “We are not just a bra manufacturer anymore. We have evolved into something far more than that,” he asserts. 

Although MAS Holdings has a 100% stake in MAS Active, the administrative structure remains completely independent with a centralised engine room consisting the gamut of operational requirements.  

With nine manufacturing facilities located across the country, a design studio  and two overseas operations, MAS Active focuses primarily on non-intimate products under the categories casual wear, sleepwear, sportswear and  men’s essential wear.  And thus began another successful addition to the MAS story.

Having reviewed the best business strategy for MAS Active, Lawrence admits to restricting its customer portfolio to just  eight.  “In this arena, each customer operates in a unique manner.  Successful business growth is dependent on a clear understanding of each customer’s DNA, and the development of a team that  lives and breathes this every day,” he says.  With a dedicated workforce of 10,000, MAS Active has managed to double its volume of business  in the last three of years. 

“In 2005, we turned our business on its head,” says Lawrence. “We realised that as our categories evolved so did the garments and it was our prerogative to meet these challenges.” With in-house expertise within MAS Active’s dynamic talent pool, the company was able to offer customers a complete solution in value addition in keeping with ever changing fashion trends which included embellishments by way of printing and embroidery. “Although our product is not as complex as lingerie, our manufacturing processes are more onerous, and in order to deal with complex embellishments, we have invested in the machinery and know-how to do so,” Lawrence added.

 
“We are in a very competitive market with wafer thin margins and therefore it is essential  for us to continue to explore ways to meet the challenging  expectations  of our customers,” he says adding that as customers get smarter, they want
better products in half the time at half the cost. “And in this level playing field, we can be optimistic but cannot afford to get complacent.” Four years down the line, MAS Active has recorded a 25% growth, year on year, and is at the moment the most rapidly growing operation within MAS Holdings. “Our success lies in our customer relationships,” avers Lawrence. “We will never stop challenging ourselves because that is the only way we can do better and stay ahead of the rest.” Sharing the similar sentiment is Dilan Gooneratne, Business Director of MAS Active’s fastest growing unit- Nike, defined as the world’s best brand in sportswear. Gooneratne leads a dedicated Nike Team constituting the entirety from merchandising and marketing, product development, sourcing and the operational commitments. “This is a Team that has learnt to understand the brand ethos completely,” he adds.

With impressive customer commendations, Gooneratne says their secret to success is challenging themselves to meet with Nike’s stringent criteria. With accolades and awards to their credit, the ‘Nike Team’ at MAS Active manages almost 40% of Nike’s business in the region and 60% of Nike products in Sri Lanka.
Gooneratne reiterates that good customer relationships are fundamental to the Nike success. “It is our effort to go that extra mile and even further with Nike,” says Gooneratne. Having understood the extreme complexities of the customer’s entry processes, outlook, and expectations, MAS Active have encompassed the best in infrastructure, research and development and a very focussed team structure. “We are a step ahead of what our customer expect from us and have done so by focussing

 

on building brand leadership, focussing on partnerships across the entire Supply Chain, and an almost fanatical focus on process discipline and performance management to deepen our relationship.”  

Nike recognises MAS Active as one of their Global Best Vendors for 2007 and includes them as one of their ten strategic supply chain partners who support their apparel business development. MAS Active clearly leads its categories with regards to product development, delivery, quality and corporate responsibility and has been recognised by the brand for many pioneering programs that allows them to test and push innovation and supply chain management practices to the future. 

MAS Active received the Regional Award of Excellence for outstanding performance on all Nike deliverables above and was also recognised for their support towards product development and commercialisation through the successful management of “On-Site Product Development Trips’. The Nike teams were impressed by the end to end customer service offered by MAS Active and are keen to build on these advantages going forward.

Also amongst the highlights are the many world class athletes who dress for success in MAS Active manufactured apparel. The victorious Nike sponsored Indian cricket team sports MAS Active manufactured apparel for their training. The team here no longer sees their job as just chasing orders but as partners and associates of Nike who play an integral role in the success of the brand.

 

A revolutionary change in the cricket clothing arena was brought into play when MAS acquired to become the official clothing sponsor to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) in 2005. The players were offered state of the art performance fabric after a very close scrutiny of their cricketing lifestyles taking into consideration the shorter and longer versions of the game.

In addition, MAS is the proud sponsor for the Under 19 National cricket team for the period 2008-2010 and the blind cricketers of Sri Lanka at their World Cup tournaments held in the years 2005 and 2007.
Whilst the business development is handled by teams like Gooneratne’s, the integration of  a new technology known as “seamless” from the conceptual strategy to design and development to the final product  is done by the resourceful team of engineers and science graduates under the leadeship of Raminal Samarasinghe, CEO Linea Intimo. Situated in Biyagama, Linea Intimo comes under the umbrella of MAS Active and is where a technically superior garment is ‘put together’ to give functionality and a performance orientation to the wearer. This vertically integrated manufacturing facility is the only one in the country where the scope includes design to development from the very first stages. “We are the only unit in Sri Lanka that can provide the customer a total solution from concept to deliver in the same location. This means we begin our process from yarn to manufacturing the fabric and garment in parallel using a leading technology and finish a final product” he avers.

Dealing with the three major global sportswear brands i.e., Nike, adidas and Reebok, who expect nothing short of the best in development, quality, delivery, the processes used are highly technical whilst undergoing the intense scrutiny of compliance required by them.
According to Samarasinghe, Linea Intimo specialises in seamless technology and incorporates three main innovative applications i.e., bonding, ultrasonic and silicon to complete the value addition on the garment. He explains how this technology ‘attaches’ the garment together without the old fashioned stitch-together. “A seamless garment is produced on a single machine using many reels of yarn which can turn out the entire design which might include logos, patterns and body mapping,” he says. “This is a technology that allows the fabric and garment to be knitted in parallel.”

But before the garment is ready for manufacture, Samarasinghe and his team lend their savvy to their customers. Whilst the customer provide them with a conceptual idea on the fabric composition, its performance attributes, the likely texture and preferred silhouette, it is the expertise and knowledge of Linea Intimo’s Innovation and Development team that puts it all together. “Generally the customer will give us an idea of the performance, functionality and appearance of the fabric and the associated silhouette. We then convert this idea to the final product.  The real challenge is to develop a range that will have all the performance attributes and styling, within the strict tolerances of whatthe customer wants,” he says.

For this purpose, Linea Active employs the largest number of engineers in the apparel industry. Some of the ingenious applications incorporated in Linea Intimo manufacture are moisture management, multiple textures body mapped to create functionality with differentiated compression for performance enhancements and odour resistant activation. All these three are usually found in branded sportswear to help keep your body dry, thermo regulation of the body to reduce muscle fatigue and to control the body bacteria.  

Apart from Linea Intimo and Linea Aqua, the MAS Active portfolio includes eight other local manufacturing facilities which are headed by Dinesh De Silva.  Local operations start from the sourcing of raw materials to exporting the finished garments and follow two manufacturing models. The first model is made of a centralised value added unit comprising Logistic Management (for the entire organisation), Material Management, Testing and Inspection, Cutting, Embellishment Management (Development to Execution) and the final garment panels sent to four manufacturing units located in the outskirts  where they are completed and exported to the customer.

The second model begins from the receipt of raw materials to exporting of the completed garments. “This model serves the fast response required by some of our customers,” he says.
In addition, all the units have invested in ERP solutions-SAP- which has fast tracked all information from the shop level upwards. Large investments have also been made for technology that supports over 80% of their innovations in embellishments such as printing and embroidery.  He further explains traditional methods are being continuously challenged to give fast response to consumer demand.  Stating an example, traditional multi-head embroidery has been replaced in the manufacturing facilities with single head units which perform similar to an ordinary sewing machine.  Dedicated teams from various facilities and industry experts are continuously seeking innovation, and latest being experimenting printing as part of the manufacturing module.  Teams are being continuously challenged to innovate the industry standards and empowering them with the right skills and decision making powers are ingredients to make the industry competitive in the region.  He is quite optimistic of Sri Lankan talent given the right direction and opportunity to perform.

De Silva says that the local operations take a different approach to suit requirements of its customers who look for innovation from mass production to value addition in production and process. Working with consultants, MAS Active has incorporated their lean manufacturing processes. “Our objective is to increase productivity by eliminating waste and non value added processes,” he says. “Although this is an endless journey, we are intent on focussing on the economies of scale and potential to grow organically is immense.”

He says that manufacturing for world renowned brands is no easy feat. “However, the MAS Active operational model is such that each and every individual takes responsibility for his or her action.  He is commendable of his able General Managers, whom he believes are best in the industry.  They possess skills in technical, operational and leadership and have developed a natural flair in taking the organisation to the next level whilst continuously challenging existing processes and practices to ensure the business is well tuned and customers served well. “We salute our associates, without whom we could not have achieved what we have achieved today.  We value our human capital irrespective of their cast, religion and educational background and mould them to our thinking and culture from the day they enter our organisation,” he says.  On an average every employee goes through a minimum of seven to nine days of training per annum.  “We believe in empowering our associates at needle point and have given the right skill set for them to be part of organisation success,” he adds.

In terms of innovation, MAS Active was the first to develop, and deliver Victoria Secret’s bonded garments- the VSX,  a new product line which focus on sports culture.. 
 “We faced challenges and that led to competition but we continuously challenge ourselves and the name of the game is not to be happy with the status quo, and we are as good as our last shipment,” De Silva states.

With the challenging task of overlooking approximately 10,000 employees of MAS Active’s Cut and Sew plants, Dinali Peiris, Director Human Resources, has her cloth cut out for her. From the shop floor to the senior management, Peiris handles the complexities of operational and strategic functions in Sri Lanka and India. “It is all about building the connect and motivating all employees at all levels,” she says.

At MAS Active, human resource is structured under a dedicated Human Resources Manager (HRM) who heads the HR and Administration operation at each of the nine sites including the Operations Center, MAS Active’s headquarters. Supported by a Divisional HR team that focuses on Reward and Benefits, Management Recruitment, Performance Management, Training and Development, and Policy Deployment amongst other specialized areas, the unit HRM’s as well as the Divisional HR team work together to ensure both operational and strategic HR issues are addressed.

With the key principle being employee contentment and motivation, the HR team has to ensure that a ‘smooth run’ is maintained at all levels and that all employees are motivated, healthy, happy and challenged.

According to Peiris, her main challenge is introducing the “Culture Change” that is required at MAS Active in order to meet its strategic goals and objectives in the future. Developing a culture that is “customer centric”, “performance driven”, “adaptable and flexible”, “innovative”, “can-do and positive” will be the main challenge.

As 90% of MAS Active’s workforce consists of females, the much appraised Women Go Beyond programme plays an important part in empowering women especially on the shop floor. “We offer them career advancements, reward excellence, and teach them how to balance work and life,” she adds. In addition, the MAS Active Synergy plant has just begun their MAS ECO Go Beyond  programme which highlights sustainability within schools and the community. GAP, a leading customer at MAS Active, has funded the GAP Go Beyond program within the communities of Mahiyangana, where MAS Shadeline, their lead plant operates.  From the shop floor to the management team, the Advancing Go Beyond programme will touch the lives of the MAS Active’s corporate women. 

In addition to this, the management team at MAS Active are entitled to two prime custom made programmes- the Executive Director Programme (EDP) and the Management Development Programme (MDP), where both soft and technical skills and competencies required for an “ideal executive” and an “ideal manager” at MAS Active are transferred through lectures and  workshops.

However, Peiris admits that handling the complexities of the corporate layer is ‘most challenging’. In today’s Sri Lankan climate, where innovative ideas for career advancement and retention are needed as the country experiences a “brain-drain”, and corporations find it difficult to recruit and retain key talent to the organization.

“But we have got the formula right and the passion and positivity that is emerging in the MAS Active team, is leading to the One Team One Culture ethos that we are all about,” she avers. 
Spearheading one of the most important features of the MAS Active’s responsibilities of compliance and risk management is Eranthi Premaratne, better known as Peiris’s ‘lead resource point’. “Our stand on compliance is not negotiable,” she reiterates. With a centralised operational team, Premaratne sees that MAS Active conforms to local laws and customer requirements. “Most often, our standards are far higher than the norm and therefore we have set the benchmark which we now advocate to others,” she avers. Compliance conditions are scrutinised under social compliance, occupational health and safety, environmental conditions and the newly introduced Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism . These conditions are applicable to all levels of MAS Active employees, onsite service providers, sub contactors and ‘embellishments’ which include external plants both locally and overseas.

Under social compliance, there are several factors that are accounted for and strictly audited. The check list includes applicable standards, work hours & overtime, minimum wages, employee grievances such as harassment and abuse and minimum wage.

According to Premaratne, on a bi-annual basis an audit is done at each of the plants. The audit includes regular monitoring of key areas like overtime issues, monthly   JCC meetings, and progress tracking etc. Premaratne then sets up a monthly forum with the Compliance Team to update them on latest standards, learning, discuss issues, and to share best practices amongst the units.

In addition, awareness raising and training sessions are conducted for all levels of  staff to discuss topics relating to ‘creating a dignified workplace, grievance handling, labour laws, health and safety standards etc..’ “We now conduct a much-looked-forward-to knowledge quiz on compliance at the end of the year which recognises the best unit. The enthusiasm generated over the last couple of years has proven how important compliance is to all. ” she says.
Meanwhile, all of MAS Active’s units are internationally certified and/or rated. All units have been certified by internationally accepted factory based certification, Worldwide Responsible Apparel Product (WRAP).  The objective of the WRAP Certification Program is to promote and certify lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing throughout the world. Participation in the WRAP Certification Program demonstrates the sewn products industry’s commitment to socially responsible business practices by adhering to the WRAP Production Principles with core standards that address labour practices, factory conditions, and environmental and customs compliance.

All MAS Active units have been certified as Manufacturers of “Garments without Guilt” an initiative which focuses on the ethical manufacture and sustainable development assuring the industry's commitment to ethical working conditions, free of child labour, free of forced labour, free of discrimination and free of sweatshop practices. This is an initiative by Sri Lanka Apparel and the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), which is the apex body of the industry, whose membership represents all of the Apparel and Textile businesses in Sri Lanka. Saying NO to child labour being one of the principles governing Sri Lanka Apparel's industry ethos, others include providing a better quality of life to the apparel workers through rural poverty alleviation, women's empowerment, education and implementing environmental initiatives minimizing damage to the environment.

In addition, four of MAS Active plants have the distinction of being Nike A rated. “We are the only units to be regionally recognised with Nike’s highest rating,” says Premaratne adding that they have been encouraged to share their best practices with other Nike vendors in India, Vietnam, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.

Premaratne points out the many challenges that are faced in enforcing such stringent compliance strategies. Whilst these audits, training sessions, awareness programmes, and meetings take time, it is also costly for the company. “We also have to deal with overloaded compliance regulators, overtime limitations versus delivery deadlines, meeting high health and safety standards whilst trying to reduce costs,” she adds. However, the key to success is the commitment from the top management, the absolute transparency, and professionalism from all levels. “We believe that we walk the talk which makes us the benchmark for compliance within the industry and beyond,” she concludes.

 

Mihiri Wikramanayake
LMD - April 2008

 
   
MAS FABRIC PARK SIGNATORY TO SRI LANKA’S FIRST GREEN POWER SUPPLY  AGREEMENT


For the first time in Sri Lanka, “green” power supply and consumption was formally recognised with the signing of the first Green Power Supply agreement on 2nd April, 2008 between MAS Fabric Park Ltd and Nilwalabase Hydro Power (Pvt) Limited, with the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) joining as the verification agency. The agreement sets Sri Lanka’s manufacturing sector on a new path where industries using environmentally benign sources will be recognized. Manufacturers based in the MAS Fabric Park will be able to utilise green power with immediate effect and MAS Intimates Thurulie, housed within the Park to produce bras exclusively for Marks & Spencer will be the first consumer of green power through this agreement.

The issue of global warming has sparked growing interest among manufacturers to shift away from the use of fossil fuels and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global warming. The best alternative to fossil fuels is non-conventional renewable energy sources such as small-hydropower, biomass, wind power and solar energy. Industries using such environmentally friendly renewable energy generating technologies in their production processes are identified as consumers of “green” energy.

In Sri Lanka there are “green” power plants such as small-hydropower plants already connected to national grid. They sell power to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) under small power purchase agreements (SPPA) in return for small power purchase tariffs. Sustainability of such plants can be further strengthened by supplementing income from those plants through an additional payment by users who would like to be identified with these “green” plants. This means that users of green power will have to pay for the energy they use, the standard electricity tariff offered by the CEB plus an additional amount directly to the green power plant.

As an initial step, Nilwalabase Hydro Power entered into an agreement with MAS Fabric Park as the beneficiary of the supplementary charge corresponding to approximately 2.5-4 million units of electricity. In turn, Nilwalabase will ensure the annual supply of sufficient energy to the system in order to meet the “green” energy demand of the Park. While the CEB continues to be the supplier of electricity to the Park, the supply of “green” power component of the Park is identified with Nilwalabase Hydro Power with the payment of a supplementary charge.

The final energy counts of this process are verified by the PUCSL as an independent agency and the designated regulator of the electricity industry. It is expected that this concept will be replicated to other “green” power agreements eventually benefiting the “green” manufacturing industries in this country.

Nilwalabase Hydropower is a fully owned subsidiary company of Hydro Power International (Pvt) Limited which has been providing complete solutions for small hydropower development since 2000. The company owns and operates a 600kW capacity small hydropower plant located in Kotapola Deniyaya. Its parent company has been involved in the development of 23MW of grid connected small hydropower in Sri Lanka. In addition the same company has extended its presence beyond Sri Lanka and is presently developing small hydropower plants in Rwanda and Burundi with the assistance of their governments and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

PUCSL was established by the Parliamentary Act No 35 of 2002 as a regulatory commission to undertake regulation of the Electricity, Water Services and Petroleum industries. In this capacity, PUCSL advices the government on matters concerning industries under its purview and promotes the interest of all stakeholders including utilities, consumers and prospective consumers. PUCSL also exercises licensing, regulatory and inspection functions and sets and enforces standards relating to safety, quality, continuity and reliability. Additionally PUCSL regulates tariffs and other charges wherever it is allowed within the existing legislations relating to the industries under its purview.

MAS Fabric Park is the first ever privately owned industrial park in Sri Lanka. Located in Thulhiriya, the 165 acre MFP is designed to attract textile, apparel and accessory manufacturers, thereby positioning the country’s apparel sector as a one-stop-shop for apparel solutions.

April 2008

 
MAS Holdings, Deutsche Bank & Dialog Telekom in search for the next batch of summer interns
 

Corporate heavyweights MAS Holdings, Deutsche Bank & Dialog Telekom are in search of the next batch of exceptional interns to join their annual Summer Internship Program, commencing July 2008. This joint initiative is rated one of the best internship programs in the island and has been able to achieve for international standards since its inception.

MAS launched the Summer Internship program in 2004 with the objective of giving Sri Lankan students exposure to career opportunities available at home. In

2005, Deutsche Bank partnered MAS’ initiative to help Sri Lanka retain local talent. In 2007, the two companies were joined by Dialog Telekom when they opened doors to allow interns to gain insight into their operations.  To date 45 students have undergone the internship.

The program entails a two week familiarization period in which the interns will gain an overview of the three companies, followed by a 2-3 weeks focused project at one of the three companies. Upon completion of the project, each intern will be presenting their learning’s, experiences and suggestions to senior leadership panel of MAS, Deutsche and Dialog. In 2007 internship presentations were made to Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean (Chairman – MAS Holdings) Mr. Stefan Mahrdt (Country Manager – Deutsche Bank), and Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya (Chief Executive – Dialog Telekom).

Internship program will also include skill development workshops, adventure based training and many other exciting learning experiences that will enhance participants personal and professional development.

Applications from students across all disciplines and interns are also encouraged to explore employment opportunities within the three companies upon graduation.

nterested final year Sri Lankan undergraduates, are invited to send in their résumé’s or write to summer@masholdings.com for further details.

 

Deutsche Bank, which commenced operations in Sri Lanka in 1980, is ranked among the top four foreign banks in the country, providing innovative trade finance solutions for multinationals, large corporates and financial institutions.  It is the market leader in integration of electronic banking platforms using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and pioneered the first seamless interface with Systems Applications and Products (SAP) in the country.

Dialog Telekom, operating Dialog GSM, is Sri Lanka’s largest mobile phone network and a fully owned subsidiary of TM International (L) Limited of Malaysia. The company prides itself for research, development and the introduction of new technology, which has placed Sri Lanka as the first country in the region in many technological initiatives including General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), Multi Media Messaging (MMS) and 3rd generation mobile telephony (3G).

MAS Holdings is South Asia’s largest manufacturer of niche market lingerie and competition sportswear offering innovation from design to delivery in strategic partnership with global brands Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Speedo & Marks & Spencer.  With a formidable family of over 45,000 people, MAS has won global repute for driving innovation with a commitment to sustainability.

The News article on last year’s programme can be viewed in our archives dated August 2007.

April 2008

 
EMBEDDING HUMAN RIGHTS THROUGH MAS WOMEN GO BEYOND PROGRAMME
 By Noshua Watson
 

Starting in 2003, MAS introduced the Go Beyond programme at apparel plants in Sri Lanka, India and Vietnam to provide its seamstresses with career development opportunities, health and lifestyle education, awards and local community development programmes. By far the majority—92% of MAS employees are female, just as in the apparel industry as a whole.

Before the Go Beyond programme, the variety and funding of classes and community participation were at each plant manager’s discretion. Go Beyond created a framework to standardize, improve and track the results of the employee programmes at each plant, with a particular focus on women’s issues. The company has ethical standards that predate the Go Beyond programme. These explicitly list the Global Compact Principles and UN human rights standards as guides for the company’s conduct. The Go Beyond programme identified where the principles were already in place and improved their application in other areas. As a result, it converted a company culture of “doing the right thing” into a systematic effort not only to avoid potential abuse and complicity in an industry known for labour violations, but to actively promote human rights. The Go Beyond programme emphasizes Global Compact Principles 1, 5 and 6.2 Enjoyment of a wide range of human rights is enhanced through the Go Beyond programme, including the right to just and favorable working conditions, the right not to be discriminated against, the right to the highest attainable standard of health and the right to education.

As a manufacturer for major retail brands, MAS is sensitive to its clients’ need for ethical and transparent sourcing in order to protect their brand reputations. MAS management was also encouraged to develop Go Beyond in order to turn its “sweatshop-free” reputation into a competitive advantage that differentiates it from other apparel manufacturers. This study thus also illustrates the business case for embedding human rights within a company’s management practices.

Company profile
Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, MAS Holdings operates 28 intimate and active apparel, fabric and accessories plants in five countries, employing over 45,000 people worldwide. MAS was initially formed as a joint venture to manufacture women’s dresses with MAST, a subsidiary of Limited Inc, which owns Victoria’s Secret. Since then, MAS has built more joint venture plants in partnership with MAST, Triumph, Brandix International (another large Sri Lankan apparel company), Sara Lee Courtaulds, Brandot International and Stretchline Global, a UK elastics company.

Today, the company manufactures bras, panties, briefs, sleepwear and athletic wear along with elastic, fabrics, lace, hooks and other accessories. MAS is the largest supplier for Victoria’s Secret and is also a major vendor for The Gap, Marks & Spencer, NIKE, Speedo and Reebok. In 2006, MAS’s revenues were US$693 million and it was the second largest apparel manufacturer in Sri Lanka. Average annual revenue has grown 20%–30% for the past several years.

MAS has won the American Apparel and Footwear Association’s Excellence in Social Responsibility Award for Women’s Issues, in addition to international safety and productivity awards.

The setting for the MAS Women Go Beyond
Labour rights and the status of women in Sri Lanka

The International Labour Organization has observed that sweatshop abuses are common in the apparel industry. This includes child labour, unpaid overtime work, unsafe facilities and denying workers the right to collective bargaining. These conditions have been attributed both to the separation of apparel branding from production, which is increasingly located abroad, and to the reliance on underage, female and/ or migrant workers.

The Sri Lankan government has worked to reduce the severity of these abuses. Child labour has been curbed and the minimum statutory age for employment in the apparel sector is 16. MAS voluntarily maintains a minimum age of 18. Sri Lankan employers are required to contribute 3% of salary to a trust fund that employees receive when they resign and 8% of salary to the Provident Fund, which employees receive as a lump sum upon retirement. After five years’ work, employees also receive a “gratuity” payment of a half-month’s salary for every completed year.

In Sri Lanka, 85% of the textile industry workforce is female and approximately 350,000 women work in factories. Sri Lankan women traditionally do not work outside of the home, but high unemployment in rural areas and displacement due to civil unrest have made many young women the family’s primary or sole  breadwinner.

A well-known stereotype is the “Juki Girl,” a woman in her late teens or early twenties who moves from her rural village to the free trade zone and works on a Juki sewing machine in a garment factory to send money home. Living in dormitories away from their families, Juki Girls do not necessarily have access to nutritious meals, reliable transportation or banking services to save their earnings. They are also vulnerable to sexual abuse.

Civil war in Sri Lanka
Ongoing civil conflict in Sri Lanka makes it a challenging environment for the operation of a multinational enterprise. A civil war between the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sri Lankan government began in 1983. About 64,000 people havebeen killed in the conflict and 800,000have been displaced. Both sides agreed to a ceasefire in 2002, but the conflict re-escalated in 2006 after the foreign minister, an ethnic Tamil, was assassinated. The war has devastated the Sri Lankan economy. Sri Lanka’s GDP per capita is $965 per year. However, compared to developing countries with a similar income level, Sri Lanka has a higher literacy rate, longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality.

The MAS Women Go Beyond programme
History of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at MAS

When the Amaleans founded MAS, they wanted to avoid the sweatshop model of production. They installed air conditioning, free company canteens and ample bathroom facilities and built plants in rural villages, rather than in the free trade zones. MAS did not require workers to take pregnancy tests—a common practice in other businesses— and instead provided special attention and extra meals for pregnant women. While the company does not have formal unions, MAS workers elect representatives to Joint Consultative Committees that meet monthly with management to discuss workplace, customer and community issues.

Each plant created its own educational and social programmes open to all employees. One plant offered English classes, reproductive health workshops and leadership training. Another was known for its athletics programmes, employing and subsidizing the training of national, international and even Olympic level athletes. Maternity clinics, vaccinations and personal hygiene programmes were common. At one plant, the senior executives donated their own money each month for college scholarships for village children. After the tsunami, employees raised money and spent their weekends building homes for displaced people. All the plants held Parents Days, when workers’ families could visit, tour the plant and meet the managers.

In general, these programmes increased costs 3%–4%, but the higher productivity and lower downtime of employees who embraced the company culture compensated for this. A senior manager estimated that a 1% increase in efficiency or decrease in absenteeism added $200,000 to the bottom line. The 3% spent on CSR programmes generally increased efficiency by 5%, a $400,000 net gain in profit.

Developing Go Beyond
In 2003, MAS reformed its Corporate Branding and Strategic CSR Department. The Department proposed that MAS systematize its employee and community programmes and begin to brand itself as an ethical manufacturer. Before the Go Beyond programme, the variety and funding of classes and community participation were at each plant manager’s discretion. Go Beyond created a framework to standardize, improve and track the results of the employee programmes at each plant, with a particular focus on women’s issues.

MAS examined the best practices in each plant and developed a four point framework of Career Advancement, Work-Life Balance, Rewarding Excellence and Community Activation. As a standard, each plant site offered English and IT classes and financial management seminars. The Department also recommended creating a name, logo and image for the new programme that had to be translatable into different languages, simple and short, but meaningful—Go Beyond.

The Go Beyond programme emphasizes Global Compact Principle 1, that “within their sphere of influence, businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.” The programme focuses special attention on the rights and treatment of women. In this regard, it also emphasizes Principle 5, the effective abolition of child labour, and Principle 6, the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

MAS launched the Women Go Beyond programme over a six-month period at 17 Sri Lankan apparel plants with high ratios of female employees. MAS created a new position to promote the programme to plant management and workers. The promotional materials included posters, stickers and newsletters in both English and Sinhala, presentations by noted guest speakers with singers and dancers, and even a short film. In 2004, each plant also selected a staff member to be a “Go Beyond Champion” who would supervise the programme implementation.

Outcomes: Internal effects
The reorganization of the plants’ employee programmes into the Go Beyond framework proceeded from June 2004 to May 2005. The implementation team launched an external Go Beyond website in October 2004. Based on the programme impact measurement framework that was developed in July 2004, the plants held 290 programmes in the four areas and reached the average worker 3.7 times in the first year.

At the end of 2004, a female employee was selected from each plant to be an “Empowered Woman of the Year.” For the winners, MAS held a gala awards ceremony with dancing troupes from each of the plants, a fashion show of MAS apparel and award presentations by leading Sri Lankan public figures and business people.

To benchmark the programme, MAS hired an external research company in May 2006 to survey 2000 managers, supervisors and workers about their awareness of the Go Beyond programme. 90–92% were generally aware of the programme and 63% of supervisors and 61% of workers knew specific programme goals. After two years, 40% of workers said that the programme was making a genuine difference but the remainder said they had not been affected directly yet. 70% of managers felt that the programmes clearly differentiated MAS from other companies in Sri Lanka, as well as those in China and India.

Over time, Go Beyond was rolled out to MAS plants in India and Vietnam. The Go Beyond Champion network now has 200 members who lead teams at each plant, which include finance managers, production managers and the Go Beyond Empowered Women of the Year award winners.

The implementation of the Go Beyond programme required programme design, technical and relationship building capabilities. The programme was based on MAS’s own best practices as measured against the apparel industry and more importantly, against international labour standards. The implementation also included frameworks for measuring results, benchmarking and subjecting the programme to external evaluation.

Outcomes: External effects
MAS invited local women’s activists and media representatives to participate in the selection process of its “Empowered Woman of the Year.” This exposed the programme to scrutiny from local media and NGOs. National newspapers in Sri Lanka wrote a series of articles featuring the Go Beyond winners. Afterwards, the Sri Lankan government sought MAS’s help to start a similar programme nationwide. Several MAS business partners donated funds to strengthen and enhance the Go Beyond effort.

These awards for businesswomen were the initial stage in developing strategic corporate social responsibility projects that MAS has co-branded with its customers. Based on the positive initial results for MAS, The Gap Inc. and Victoria’s Secret subsequently began their own initiatives recognizing women entrepreneurs in MAS plant communities. The Gap Inc. committed $150,000 for three years to fund The Gap Go Beyond programme in Sri Lanka and will expand the programme to other countries once it is operational.

The Gap Go Beyond programme has two phases. The first supports academic talent and provides sustainable development education. In communities where MAS business units are located, students in grades 10 to 13 are provided with a curriculum based on the Youth Xchange programme developed by UNEP and UNESCO. The programme also provides a grant for the best qualified female university entrant in the selected communities. Additionally, The Gap Go Beyond Schools Sustainability Awards annually reward and recognize the most effective sustainable development project.

In the second phase, the programme works with two organizations in Sri Lanka to develop a prototype for an eight- to ten-day certification programme for 20 to 25 women who have demonstrated entrepreneurial ability.

Another co-branded initiative is Unilever Go Beyond, which is a two-day programme called “Getting More out of Life” that is presented at the plants as part of the regular Go Beyond framework. It includes one day of health and hygiene education and one on personal grooming and confidence building. Unilever funded the salaries of the university lecturers, medical faculty and beauticians who teach the course, which concludes with an examination and a certificate of completion. Co-branded programmes are also in development with Victoria’s Secret and Marks & Spencer.

Ethical standards and the future
The Go Beyond programme created an opportunity for developing a MAS brand, a step not usually taken by contract manufacturers. MAS has begun talks with The Gap Inc. to put Go Beyond “ethically made” tags into its clothes, right next to The Gap branded labels. If the initiative is implemented, it will create a closer vendor-client relationship between MAS and The Gap, and also appeal to socially responsible consumers.

Noshua Watson is a doctoral student in management strategy at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France. Prior to attending INSEAD, Ms. Watson was a reporter at Fortune magazine in New York. The complete version of this case study, including references and additional annexes, is available on the UN Global Compact website at www.unglobalcompact.org. This case is based on interviews and data collected for an INSEAD case study (MAS Holdings: Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility in the Apparel Industry, European Case Clearing House, 2006) and an article about MAS Holdings for World Business magazine (“The Ethical Bra,” October 2006). The INSEAD case study was prepared under the supervision of Jonathan Story, Professor of International Political Economy at INSEAD and Shell Fellow of Economic Transformation. In July 2005, an INSEAD research team visited MAS headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and MAS plants in Pannala, Horana and Hanwella, Sri Lanka, to interview managers and plant workers. The visit was funded by a grant from the INSEAD R&D Committee and ground transportation and clerical assistance in Sri Lanka were provided by MAS. Other interviews included representatives from the Colombo office of the International Labour Organization, Clinch (Sri Lanka), MAST/Limited Inc., Gap Inc. and JW Thompson Advertising (Colombo). Follow-up research included phone interviews and in-person meetings in Fontainebleau, France, in November 2005 and March, August and October 2006.

Copyright ® 2007 United Nations Global Compact

April 2008
 
MAS LAUNCHES PHASE 2 OF ECO GO BEYOND, MIHIKATHAGE DARUWO
(CHILDREN OF MOTHER EARTH) CLUBS
 

MAS Eco Go Beyond, a strategic CR initiative of MAS Holdings commenced in August 2006. ‘Mihikathage Daruwo’, a flagship initiative of this programme is a sustainable development education project aimed at introducing the concept and creating understanding of applicability to youth as tomorrow’s leaders. The first phase of this programme which was successfully concluded in October 2007 was conducted in 20 schools across 5 communities in which MAS business units operate, namely Horana, Agalawatte, Hanwella, Pannala and Kuliyapitiya.

Phase two of the project sees an additional 10 schools coming on board from the 3 communities of Avissawella, Thulhiriya and Kandy bringing the total to 30 schools this year.

The launch of phase two took place with a meeting at the Ministry of Education, Isurupaya for the principals and teachers of the participant schools. The meeting was held under the support of Mrs. Sandya Wijebandara, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Education.

The event’s proceedings included a very insightful talk on sustainable development by the programme consultant who highlighted the timely need for this topic in education. Mrs. Sandya Wijebandara, reiterated the Ministry’s support and endorsement of the project.

 

The Principal of the champion school of phase 1 Mr. J S Chandasena of Walagedara Maha Vidyalaya, , shared his experiences in conducting this programme last year and commended MAS Holdings for making this programme available to rural schools.

Further to the in-school workshops, dedicated teams will work on projects which will enable application of the knowledge gained.

April 2008
 
MAS Holdings, Empowers its Communities                                                                                  
 

Known for its high labour standards/high employment standard and commitment to support its female employees who constitute over 92% of its workforce MAS entered into a partnership with one of its long standing clients, Gap Incorporated to launch the Gap Go Beyond Programme in 2006 .The programme which is supported by Gap’s Social Community Investment Fund extends it’s outreach to selected communities in which MAS business units are located.

The programme is based on the belief that women play a critical role in the progress of their communities and as such empowering women to maximise their potential and propel their communities forward, is key to community development. MAS actively seeks to integrate its business units into the wider community. A high percentage of the workforce is recruited from the given community. MAS business units are transparent in their operations and actively partner community level organisations and entities to spur development and improve living conditions of the respective populace.

The success and progression of a community is greatly contingent on its main resource, its people. Apart from the visible direct impact of employment creation, locating a business unit within a given community also involves indirect impacts such as improvement of the local economy, improved access/provision of infrastructure and services. In turn, the community supports the functioning of the business unit. As such this programme is based on the premise that community development is a mutually beneficial exercise.

Initiatives:

Advancing educational talent

This component seeks to enable/support pursuance and completion of higher education and expansion of academic potential. To date it has provided scholarships to five selected female youth from the communities of Horana, Agalawatte, Pannala, Kuliyapitiya and Hanwella to complete their undergraduate degrees. An open call for applications was issued whilst the selection was based on criteria combining merit and need.

Advancing women’s entrepreneurship

This component focuses on developing the skills and knowledge base of selected women entrepreneurs to advance and fortify entrepreneurial activity. It provides a ten day training to selected female entrepreneurs on aspects of entrepreneurship such as business planning, marketing, finance, product development etc. Sarvodaya – SEEDS serves as the activation agency. The programme which works with micro entrepreneurs has been completed in the communities of Mawathagama, Mahiyangana ,Kuliyapitiya And Biyagama targeting 80 selected women. The trainees work with SEEDS for a six month follow up period to apply the learning gained. A second phase which will pilot a micro finance component across these communities will be rolled out this year.

March 2008

 
Mas Holdings unleashes Sri Lanka's corporate potentials                                              
 
MAS Holdings recently invested in Sri Lanka’s greatest natural resource, its people. Their “Ready to Unleash” programme guides students from the classroom to the boardroom with necessary tools needed to begin their six month internship with MAS. The sixth programme was conducted by MAS, for the students from the department of Industrial Management at Kelaniya University, and undergraduates from the National Diploma in Technology(NDT) commenced on 6th and 7th of February 2008.“Ready to Unleash” is MAS’ initiative to support the development of employable graduates.

This program has evolved into a comprehensive two day workshop that focuses on building competencies such as leadership, etiquette, positive thinking, personality development and time management amongst students, equipping them with much needed skills prior to their entry into the business world. Up to date, over 240 students from local universities have attended the workshop. The workshop which was conducted by Unleash Talent INC. was the first residential workshop to be held at the MAS Institute of Management and Technology (MIMT) after its opening on the 31st January, 2008. MIMT is a centre of excellence in developing competencies within Sri Lanka by providing skills to equip youth for employment and strengthening industries with the ability to succeed through vocational, technical training and executive education. 37 students who attended the workshop in preparation of their 6-month internship at MAS’ Business Units were treated to state of the art facilities offered by MIMT.

"We are very happy to partner with MAS Holdings for the 6th time to offer the Ready to Unleash program to a batch of university students. We feel that this initiative really demonstrates MAS’ industry leadership by committing to nurture emerging talent to face the challenges of the future and uplifting the industry overall," said Rukmal de Silva, Chief Visionary Officer of Unleash Talent Inc.

MAS will continue to prove that given the right conditions, Sri Lankans have the skill to be equal or better than their counterparts worldwide pushes MAS Holdings to continue raising the bar on traditionally accepted standards, when they merged the students from the two universities in order to encourage interaction and nurture values such as friendship, teamwork and camaraderie.

“By mixing students from the two institutions, it helps them understand where they stand as they are made to interact with others from different universities,” says Ms. Jayasuriya – Senior Lecturer in charge of the NDT program.

MAS Holdings has reiterated its commitment to assist universities develop employable graduates by extending its ‘award for the best overall student’ to specific degree programs at the universities of Moratuwa, Kelaniya, Peredeniya, CITI, TT&SC and NDT, in order to encourage “well rounded” graduates. The winners will be selected based upon academic performance, extra curricular activities, teamwork, initiative, commitment, and professionalism. Winners will be entitles to a cash award while their names will be engraved on the “MAS Hall of Fame” at the universities. MAS Holdings, an innovation focused company is one of the region’s largest suppliers of Intimate apparel and Activewear. Operating in five countries with over 45000 people, the company is a vertically integrated apparel solutions provider and the preferred sourcing partner for world-class brands such as; Victoria’s Secret, Nike, adidas, Reebok, Speedo and M&S. 

February 2008;
MAS Active’s Dilini Perera wins CIMA Sri Lanka Technical Paper Competition   
 

At the 2007 Technical Paper Competition organized by CIMA Sri Lanka Division, Dilini Perera from the MAS Linea Intimo Finance team won the competition for her paper on the “Critical Success Factors for setting up an offshore business in Sri Lanka”.  In her paper Dilini highlights Sri Lanka’s potential for increasing its market share, given the global momentum off-shoring is gaining.

The paper continues to say, that Sri Lanka should increase electricity generation, reducing tariffs and regulatory barriers, provide tax incentives to the industry and incentives for supporting the marketing efforts of the local industry in order to set up more offshore businesses in Sri Lanka.

Winner of the competition, Dilini Perera said:

“There were 15 topics available for the technical competition. I was interested in writing on this topic because I felt that off-shoring is a growing business and it could be the next biggest opportunity for Sri Lanka. As our strength is in the quality of our labour force, we could leverage on them to provide common corporate functions which is the niche market we should focus on. Sri Lanka produces a large number of professionals in the fields of IT, Accounting and other professions. As off-shoring has gained momentum globally and developed countries are considering off-shoring to be a strategic management tool there is a large demand for this service. They are now looking at countries that have skilled labour. Since I am also working in this field I am confident that Sri Lanka has the talent that it demands.”

 
 

Dilini was able to present her paper at the CIMA Technical Symposium on Friday 15 February 2008, at the BMICH, Colombo. She received her award from CIMA Sri Lanka Division with the presence of Managing Director of Linea Intimo, Raminal Samarasinghe.

Dilini who joined Linea Intimo in 2000 as a Management Trainee is currently working as an Accountant. Before joining Linea Intimo she was employed at Ernst & Young as a Management Consultancy Trainee. She schooled at Sirimavo Bandaranayke Balika Vidyalaya and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from the University of Colombo, ACMA and MBA from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

February 2008
 
MAS READY TO EMPOWER THROUGH EDUCATION AT MIMT                                                             

MAS Holdings announces the launch of the MAS Institute of Management and Technology (MIMT), located at the MAS Fabric Park, Thulhiriya.

MIMT is a public training institute with exceptional facilities and infrastructure, including a fully equipped auditorium seating 300 people, 17 training rooms with labs for English language, IT, textile processing and sewing machine mechanics and residential facilities for up to 250 people.

MIMT is being launched with a vision to enhance employment opportunities to the youth of this country and to uplift competencies in the industries in Sri Lanka. There will be a particular focus on the Textile, Apparel, IT and BPO sectors. MIMT will partner with leading training providers to offer a range of programmes. The flexibility of working with a network of partners will ensure that MIMT’s training will remain relevant to the changing needs of our country.

Partnering with Informatics, a premier IT training institute, MIMT will offer a suite of IT programmes ranging from diploma level to degree programmes along with qualifications in 3D graphics and JAVA. MIMT will also offer a suite of technical programmes to skill employees in the textile and apparel industry. A range of English language,  soft skill development and etiquette programmes will enhance the employability of people.

MIMT CEO, Chandan de Silva said:
“MIMT will offer customized programmes to address the skill shortages in the IT enabled, BPO, Textile and apparel industries. We want to develop well rounded candidates by focusing on core competencies and soft skill development.”

MIMT’s own job placement center will help students from MIMT find employment within the MAS Fabric Park and in other industries.

MIMT also offers Corporate training programs targeting workers, supervisors and executives. These could be residential or day programs. Companies can work with MIMT to create customized programs to include relevant technical training coupled with soft skill development and experiential learning.

MIMT’s partner, Borderlands, will bring experiential learning into the Institute, utilizing the rock, waterways and natural surroundings.

MAS is also announcing that it aspires to launch the MAS Business School later in the year. This will be for senior executives and will be centered around Leadership Excellence and Innovation.

MAS Holdings Chairman Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean said:
“My vision is to see Sri Lanka recognized as a destination for knowledge and innovation within the next five years. This is one step towards that goal.”

The ceremonial opening of MIMT took place on the 31st of January 2008 under the distinguished patronage of Professor Malik Ranasinghe, Vice Chancellor, University of Moratuwa.

About MAS:
MAS Holdings, an innovation focused company is one of the region’s largest suppliers of Intimate apparel and Activewear. Operating in five countries with over 45000 people, the company is a vertically integrated apparel solutions provider and the preferred sourcing partner for world-class brands such as; Victoria’s Secret, Nike, adidas, Reebok, Speedo and M&S.

January 2008

MAS HOLDINGS FELICITATES ITS EMPOWERED WOMEN                                                                    

MAS Holdings felicitated their Empowered Women of the year for the 4th consecutive year on 16th December 2007 at the BMICH.  21 Empowered Women of MAS’s various business units were recognized for their personal and professional achievements.

The annual “Empowered Women of the Year” awards are a focus of the “Go Beyond” programme, through which employees excelling in all walks of life are recognized.  The programme aims to empower employees and impact communities by championing the cause of women’s empowerment in society.  The programme also focuses on ensuring employee’s career advancement and strengthening their work-life balance.

Chief Guest, Ms. Gowrie Ponniah, Member of the MAS Strategic CSR Advisory Programme Coordinator of the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour at the ILO stated in her Keynote address stated: “MAS’s plants are a valued member of the community that it is located in. Not only contributing to the rapid economic improvement of the area, but also a major supporter of  local educational, sports, environmental and religious  activities. Nationally, I am certain that the success of the Go Beyond programme spurred the Apparel Industry’s Garments without Guilt campaign aiming at creating new global markets for our products”.

Guests of Honours included, Country Director for Sri Lanka and India of Victoria’s Secret, Ms. Reena Cheriyan, Director for NIKE- India, Sri Lanka & Pakistan, Mr. Atul Ujagar, Ms. Rosy Senanayake & Ms. Chandini Rajaratnam, Vice President Executive Creative Director, JWT.

Speaking on behalf of Victoria’s Secret, Ms. Reena stated; “MAS had done a fantastic job with the CSR area which gave Victoria’s Secret a sense of pride and confidence about the future of the South Asian region, and the Go Beyond Awards is VS’ favourite Corporate Responsibility event which they look forward to every year.”

Addressing the large gathering, Mr. Atul Ujagar said “MAS is already amongst our [NIKE] top 5 vendors. It’s been our privilege and honour to partner with MAS and sponsor its annual Go Beyond Awards. We are sure this program will go a long way in extending our brands appreciation towards the worker community at large.”

Victoria’s Secret and NIKE, both strategic buyers for MAS, have shown their support towards the “Go Beyond” initiative through the sponsorship of the winners’ awards over the past 4 years and 2 years respectively, since it was launched at MAS.

The theme of the awards ceremony reflected MAS’ journey of 20 years and its credibility in its practices which focused on its predominantly female workforce leading to its strategic differentiator, MAS Women Go Beyond, which was launched in 2003.

The Women Go-Beyond initiatives at MAS have been globally recognized and rewarded. In 2005, the programme was awarded the American Apparel and Footwear Association Award for Excellence on women's issues.

In recognition of MAS’ Corporate Responsibility initiatives the UN Global Compact in July 2007, selected the Go-Beyond programme as a 'Case for inspiration'. MAS Holdings was one of the 22 companies that had been selected from a membership pool of 4400 organisations to be featured in the report.

This month, Market Movers, an International Finance Corporation (Member of the World Bank Group)/SustainAbility publication, featured MAS Holdings as one of 4 companies. Furthermore, the Go Beyond program has been used as the case study in the most recent publication of UN Global Compact / Human Rights Commission called “Embedding Human rights into Business Practice II”.

Established in 1987, MAS Holdings is one of the region’s largest suppliers of intimate and active wear. The company manufactures for world-class brands such as; Victoria’s Secret, Nike, adidas, Gap, Reebok, Speedo and M&S. MAS has achieved its goal of placing Sri Lanka on the world map as a preferred sourcing destination for ethical apparel sourcing.

January 2008

 
ADIDAS RECOGNIZES MAS AS MOST INNOVATIVE SUPPLIER                                                         

MAS Holdings was recognized as one of it’s Most Innovative Suppliers by adidas at the annual conference hosted by the adidas Group in Hong Kong on 27th November 2007.

A global leader in the sporting goods industry, adidas is built on passion and a sporting lifestyle. As customer focused innovative company; adidas is committed to continuously strengthen its brand offering to improve competitive positioning.

During the judging process, the adidas Group took into consideration not only MAS’ innovation in product, but also its’ management thought process and continuous improvement culture.  Special mention was made of MAS’ support and guidance in the development of adidas’ sports intimates and seamless categories,  in particular their assistance in helping adidas understand and develop these products and their ‘go to market’ strategy.

The conference was attended by global Direct Suppliers as well as Raw Material Suppliers to adidas Brands (adidas, Reebok and Taylor Made) in the Apparel, Footwear and Accessories categories, and was concluded with an awards ceremony to honour significant achievements.

Shirendra Lawrence (Managing Director of MAS Active) and Apurba Chakraborty (Chief Executive Officer of MAS’ adidas Business) represented MAS at the conference and received the award on behalf of MAS.

Commenting on the honour, Sharad Amalean (Deputy Chairman/CEO of MAS Holdings) said:
“This achievement was made possible by the combined adidas teams at MAS Active, MAS Intimates and MAS Active Linea Intimo. We have come together under a customer–centric structure to drive a common vision that meets and exceeds customer expectations.”

MAS offers its service as the preferred sourcing partner for world-class brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Nike, adidas, Reebok, Speedo and M&S and earlier this year was named Vendor of the Year 2006 by Victoria’s Secret Stores and Nike. With over 44000 people, MAS operates 28 world class manufacturing facilities, design studios and a sourcing arm.

A US$ 720Mn global company, MAS is passionate in its vision to develop Sri Lanka as the hub for intimates and sportswear sourcing.

The Group’s recent investments include the development of dedicated Textile and Apparel Industrial parks in Sri Lanka (MAS Fabric Park) and India (MAS Apparel Park) and the setting up of facilities for warp knit fabric (DOGIEFA), textile printing (Textprint Lanka), an eco friendly lingerie manufacturing plant (MAS Intimates Thurulie) and a training and development centre (MAS Institute of Management & Technology) all of which are located in the MAS Fabric Park. Drawing on its operational excellence, raw material supply and design capabilities, the Group also launched its own lingerie brand (amanté) in India in October.

December 2007
MAS launches own lingerie brand in India                                                                             
 


MAS Holdings, South Asia’s largest supplier of niche market intimate wear, launched it’s very own lingerie brand – amanté - in India on 21st October 2007.

The first amanté store was opened in Bangalore in the Lifestyle Mall as “a store in store”, followed by the launch of amanté in Chennai’s Shopper’s Stop Mall on the 24th. The next launch was in the up-market ladies’ fashion and ethnic store Brisah in the city of Hyderabad on the 28th of October. The brand will be launched in India’s Northern and Western States in the first half of 2008.

Chief Executive Officer for amanté operations in India, Mr. Venkatesh Rajamani said, “amanté is designed specifically for the South Asian Corporate Woman, the Young Experimenter, the Socialite and the Modern Mum. The product will have international trend and styling with a unique “Indian-ness” and will follow the Indian lifestyle and festival occasion.”

He added that amanté lingerie will be made at MAS’ Intimate facilities in Sri Lanka and distributed through large-format retail stores, regional multi-brand outlets and exclusive franchised outlets in India.

MAS, which provides innovative fashionwear in the intimate and sportswear categories to leading global brands, was largely instrumental in spearheading the transformation of Sri Lanka’s apparel industry from a contract manufacturer to a fully integrated service provider with the set up of Sri Lanka’s first product design & development centre.

Mr. Ajay Amalean, Managing Director MAS Corporate Solutions and Retail India said “We will continue to service our existing customers, maintaining a high level of integrity and confidentiality, while developing amanté as an independent business.”

amanté (Italian for Lover) is MAS’ first brand with an investment of US$ 10Mn and will be present in Sri Lanka and other neighbouring countries in the latter half of 2008.

The launch of amanté in India aptly coincides with MAS’ 20th year anniversary and is a culmination of the excellence it has achieved in manufacturing, supply chain management and design.

October 2007
 
MAS launches South Asia’s first textile & apparel industrial park and           
warp knit facility                                  
 

Preferred partner and supplier for the world’s leading brands in intimates and sportswear, MAS Holdings broke new grounds with the launch of the first textile and apparel industrial Park in South Asia today. The MAS Fabric Park (MFP) and DOGIEFA a joint venture of MAS Holdings and DOGI International Fabrics (Spain) were ceremonially declared open by His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa accompanied by stakeholders and other officials.

Located in Thulhiriya, Sri Lanka, the 165 acre MFP (former Kabool Lanka complex) is designed to attract textile, accessory and apparel manufacturers, thereby positioning the country’s apparel sector as a one-stop-shop for apparel solutions.


Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of MAS Holdings Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean said “We at MAS envision Sri Lanka becoming an apparel sourcing hub. The MAS Fabric Park is one of our contributions towards this vision, while our partnership with DOGI will help supply the growing demand for warp knit in the region, enhancing Sri Lanka’s competitiveness”.

Some of the other projects underway at MFP include MAS Intimates Thurulie – one of the first Green intimate apparel manufacturing facilities catering exclusively to Marks & Spencer (UK), BAM Knitting (Pvt) Ltd. - specialist knitting arm of BAM Holdings PLC specializing in knitted collars, cuffs and hems - and Textprint Lanka, a joint venture fashion textile printing facility between Textprint S.A (Spain) and MAS Holdings.

MFP is a project of MAS Investments, which manages a similar fabric park in India and operates the MAS Institute of Management & Technology as a centre of excellence encouraging the spirit of innovation.

Plug-&-Play Option
MFP’s shared infrastructure and services model facilitates a plug and play solution for manufacturers to commence operations with minimal investment of time and resources, a lean and cost competitive environment with a 90 minute location advantage to the port, single window of clearance for cargo, on-site BOI assistance and readily available pool of skilled human resources.

Infrastructure conveniences include water supply, biological and chemical effluent treatment facilities, alternate electricity supplies, steam and compressed air; all designed to include modern energy saving methods, offering a compelling advantage amid the growing global concern that environmental implications are too large to ignore.

Sustainable Manufacturing Environment
Designed by international experts, MFP conforms to specifications of the United Nations Environmental Program, Global Compact and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. MFP is set in leisurely surroundings with a “green” belt to maintain ecological balance and includes provisions for dormitory and housing facilities with a capacity to house 300 persons.

The “green” concept further encompasses an all round commitment with concern for minimal damage to the green environment in building and road construction, maximization of natural lighting and ventilation, recycling of waste, rain water harvesting and wetland absorption.  Also in the pipeline are plans for methane extraction from biologically degradable waste for cooking purposes in the canteen.

DOGIEFA – First branded warp knit fabric manufacturer in South Asia
DOGIEFA is a joint venture between Dogi International Fabrics and MAS Holdings with a USD 30Mn investment. Built on the strength of two companies renowned for their innovation and manufacturing acumen, the facility is the first high-quality warp knit operation in South Asia which will cater to the increased demand for warp knit fabric in the region driven by the growth in Intimate Apparel, Swimwear, and Sportswear markets.

The addition of DOGIEFA to Sri Lanka’s supply chain portfolio increases the competitiveness of the local industry, while its strategic location at MFP adds value with a two hour access to all major garment manufacturers catering to international markets.

DOGI International Fabrics
Based in Spain, DOGI International Fabrics is the largest warp knit fabric manufacturer in the world with manufacturing facilities in Spain, China, Thailand, North Carolina, Germany and the Philippines. Dogi International Fabrics is the owner of world renowned brands Dogi, Penn and EFA and are known as one of the most innovative fabric makers in the world.

Commenting on the occasion, Karel Schroder, CEO of Dogi International Fabrics said “we are honored and delighted to be the first business to be housed at MAS Fabric Park. Our Joint venture partnership with MAS Holdings, which is known as one of the largest intimate apparel manufacturers in the Indian subcontinent, consolidates our presence in Asia, reinforcing our global capacity and also enhancing our ability to satisfy the needs of the greatest brands of the world market”.

MAS Holdings
Founded in 1986 as an entrepreneurial venture, MAS currently comprises a portfolio of 28 world-class facilities and design studios across 5 countries employing over 41,000 people. The company provides innovative design-to-delivery solutions in intimate apparel and sportswear through its focused divisions, namely MAS Intimates and MAS Active.

The MAS Fabrics division comprises an integrated supply chain for lace, elastics, intimate apparel accessories, moulded bra cups and textile printing, and a portfolio of related services towards strengthening the region as a hub for intimate apparel and sportswear sourcing.

MAS Investments manages a portfolio of services including SAP Solutions through Attune Consulting (Sri Lanka) and the development of dedicated industrial zones to strengthen the region as a hub for intimates and sportswear sourcing.

MAS is a strategic vendor to Victoria’s Secret, Nike and Marks & Spencer and services other global brands such as Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, addidas, GAP and Speedo. The company was selected by Victoria’s Secret Stores and Nike as Vendor Partner of the Year 2006.

A key factor of MAS’ success could be attributed to its ability to forge strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as The Limited Inc., Triumph International, Speedo International, Stretchline UK, Noyon Dentelles, Prym Intimates Group, DOGIEFA and Textprint S.A to consolidate a regional supply base.

MAS is renowned for its progressive management culture and people centric work environment, and is held up as an industry benchmark for championing the cause of women empowerment through its flagship CSR initiative MAS Women Go Beyond.

October 2007

 
MAS Intimates wins SAP Award for Customer Excellence 2007                               
 

MAS Intimates Pvt. Ltd. was awarded the SAP ACE 2007 (Awards for Customer Excellence) in the Best Textiles and Apparel Sector Implementation - Large Enterprises Category during an award ceremony organized by SAP on 27th August 2007, at the Hyatt Regency, New Delhi in India.

SAP ACE recognizes the best leveraging of a SAP solution to manage and drive the business, while supporting strategic decision making, business transformation and managing growth.

The awards are re-affirmation of SAP’s long term commitment to strengthen customer partnerships in the Indian Subcontinent. Insights gained during the evaluation process will be leveraged in creating solutions and service innovations in the future.

In a letter to the company, President and CEO for SAP Indian Continent, Mr. Ranjan Das, said “It is an honour for SAP to recognize and reward best-run businesses like MAS which are setting global benchmarks in excellence.  I congratulate you and your organisation on winning the award, and take pride in being a part of your business transformation journey.”

In 2004 MAS Intimates re-architected the business model moving from a product centric organization to one that is customer centric. MAS Intimates SAP team launched Project Fusion to reorient the information infrastructure to facilitate this change of focus. This included an organisational culture change towards information orientation with employees at all levels working seamlessly on information generated on SAP.

Commenting on the news Mr. Dian Gomes, Managing Director of MAS Intimates (Pvt) Ltd. said “This is a validation of our commitment to information technology as a key driver of business value addition. We are excelling in all spheres of our business to provide our customers superior service.”

MAS have re-aligned their IT policy to meet the needs of a fast evolving business in close alliance with customers and suppliers.

Speaking for the group, Chief Information Officer at MAS Holdings, Jay Keller said “It is our goal to facilitate interaction and information sharing at any point in time with all parties involved.  For us, the process starts with the idea for a product and ends with the sales of the product to the final customer.”

MAS Intimates is a division of MAS Holdings specializing in niche market lingerie for global brand leaders such as Victoria’s Secret, Marks & Spencer, GAP Body and DIM.  MAS Holdings is South Asia’s largest manufacturer of intimate apparel and competition sportswear.  Operating 28 world class manufacturing facilities worldwide, MAS offer design services through studios in the UK and Hong Kong, and is backed by a fully integrated raw material supply chain.

The company has won global repute for progressive management and was one of the first in the region to use the SAP R3 Apparel and Footwear system.  It was also the first company to launch a global SAP Consulting firm, focusing entirely on the Apparel and Footwear industry.

August 2007

 
MAS-Deutsche- Dialog Summer 2007 Interns take a bow                                              
 

The MAS Holdings-Deutsche Bank-Dialog Telekom Summer Internship Programme concluded on 17th August 2007, with twelve interns making individual presentations on their learnings to the Chairmen of the companies.

The programme which is in its fourth year, was launched by MAS Holdings and Deutsche Bank to help retain local talent, by giving students graduating overseas a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s corporate sector. This year, Dialog Telekom joined, offering students an insight into operations of Sri Lanka’s leading conglomerates.

Applications for internship were received from students across all disciplines affording them the opportunity to work in a group that had diverse training.  The internship began with a two week Familiarization period in which the interns gained an overview of the three companies. This was followed by 2 weeks at one of the three companies. Interns were allowed to choose a company to work in based on the topic of their ‘focused projects’.

A workshop on persuasive presentation skills with Ms. Sharlyn Stafford (Stafford & Chan, Singapore) and an adventure based outward bound training programme (Borderland Lanka) formed part of the training.

At the end of the internship, students met with Mr. Stefan Mahrdt (Country Manager – Deutsche Bank), Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean (Chairman – MAS Holdings) and Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya (Chief Executive – Dialog Telekom) to present their learnings.

Deutsche Bank, which commenced operations in Sri Lanka in 1980, is ranked among the top four foreign banks in the country, providing innovative trade finance solutions for multinationals, large corporates and financial institutions.  It is the market leader in integration of electronic banking platforms using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and pioneered the first seamless interface with Systems Applications and Products (SAP) in the country.

Dialog Telekom, operating Dialog GSM, is Sri Lanka’s largest mobile phone network and a fully owned subsidiary of TM International (L) Limited of Malaysia. The company prides itself for research, development and the introduction of new technology, which has placed Sri Lanka as the first country in the region in many technological initiatives including General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), Multi Media Messaging (MMS) and 3rd generation mobile telephony (3G).

MAS Holdings is South Asia’s largest manufacturer of niche market lingerie and competition sportswear offering design to delivery solutions to global brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Marks & Spencer, GAP Inc, Speedo and Triumph.  With a formidable family of over 41,000 people, MAS has won global repute for progressive management, and best practices in human relations, while being held up as a global benchmark for initiatives championing the cause of women’s empowerment under its flagship CSR initiative Women go Beyond.

The MAS Holdings-Deutsche Bank-Dialog Telekom Summer internship programme also allows students to explore employment opportunities within the three companies, on graduation.

Commenting on the internship, the students expressed the following views:

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in Sri Lanka’s most successful organizations, and made me realize that there are truly global, professional organizations I can come back home to”

– Lakshini Dias (University Montesquieu, Bordeaux, France)
 
“It helped us align our learnings with hands-on practice, in a work environment that is World Class through and through”
– Mariam Ibrahim (ACBT, Sri Lanka)
 
“I saw a future which I thought never existed”
- Artha Salagdo (California State University, Long Beach, USA)
 
"It is encouraging to know what we can come home to and how we can apply our expertise to improve the nation. A much enjoyed experience that will undoubtedly enhance our careers and stay with us forever"
- Sidath Dassanaike (Nottingham Trent University, UK)
 
August 2007
 

MAS commences work on first model eco manufacturing plant to                     
produce lingerie for M&S

MAS announced the commencement of construction on its model eco manufacturing plant to produce lingerie exclusively for Marks & Spencer (M&S) at MAS Fabric Park, Thulhiriya.  Mr. Dian Gomes, CEO of MAS Intimates, accompanied by Mr. Paschal Little, Head of Technology, Lingerie at M&S, laid the foundation stone on 16th August 2007 in a ground breaking ceremony to mark start of construction on the new facility.

Earlier this year, MAS announced its commitment to support UK retailer M&S in the implementation of its Plan-A initiative, which will set new standards in ethical trading and help its customers and employees choose a healthier lifestyle.

Speaking on the initiative MAS Chairman Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean expressed his views on the project being “an excellent way to kick-off MAS’ environmental initiatives.”

The Group is working on improving energy efficiency of all facilities and will focus on the environmental impact of operations in the next few years.

Mr. Paschal Little, Head of Technology, Lingerie, Marks & Spencer commented, saying: “Just as we are aiming to reduce the carbon footprint and waste from our operations in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, we are also keen to work with our suppliers to reduce our impact in the countries in which we source our goods. The MAS factory is an exciting development as it will set a new benchmark for sustainable garment manufacturing, whilst delivering stylish quality products our customers want. We look forward to working with the MAS team on the development of the factory over the coming months.”

The eco manufacturing plant
 

The factory will be a 110,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility that will manufacture bras exclusively for M&S.

M&S will support the development of the factory by providing advice on sustainable construction through its experience in store development and the creation of its ‘green’ stores in the UK. It will also provide sponsorship for the architects design costs. The project design philosophy is based on respect for the site, the user and the environment,

while the building draws inspiration from traditional Sri Lankan architecture, building on stilts, with inner courtyards and extensive greenery around the structures giving thermal comfort, minimizing disturbance of land contours and drainage patterns.

The facility will be surrounded by green-belts with introduction of native or adapted flora and endemic plants, as part of a comprehensive bio-diversity plan. Incentives will also be offered to management and employees to promote the use of bicycles and reduce fuel consumption.

Solar-electric, solar-thermal, wind and methane through sewerage treatment will be used as renewable energy sources on site, while energy saving equipment including LED based task lights will be used to minimize energy consumption. Rainwater harvesting is also planned for the full roof area.

Ecologically friendly construction material including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood and cement-stabilized-earth bricks will be used for construction.

Training and awareness initiatives on environmental sustainability will be provided for employees and the community. It will include aspects such as educating employees on the need to live in harmony with the environment and make economically sustainable decisions.

The factory is the first to be specifically designed for MAS Operating System (MOS), the lean manufacturing methodology developed by MAS for the apparel industry based on the principles of the Toyota Production System, making it the first lean and green apparel manufacturing facility.

It will be operational by March 2008 with a combined workforce of 550, and is expected to operate at full capacity with 1300 people in employment by 2010.

It is also expected to deliver more than 50% and 40% savings on water and electricity respectively in comparison to a standard factory.

The project will be independently certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.

A team from the University of Moratuwa was engaged in the conceptualization and design of the project.

MAS Intimates Managing Director, Dian Gomes, said: “We are proud to associate ourselves with M&S’ Plan A, which is one of the most far-sighted and bold corporate initiatives in the present age.”

“With MAS’ alignment to Plan A, we will bring in our skills and innovation to address the environmental challenges facing Sri Lanka and the world.”

“This initiative is proof of the shared values and outlook, where interests of both parties are closely aligned.”

In 2003 MAS piloted the Marks & Start Programme for the Asian region with M&S, giving disabled people (mostly women) the opportunity to be integrated into a mainstream working environment, and help them contribute towards the economic stability of their families.

The MAS Team looks forward to play a similar leadership role in M&S’ Plan A initiative through this iconic eco manufacturing plant.

MAS Founders – Mahesh, Sharad and Ajay Amalean - were ranked 14th among the Top 20 Asian Progressives (World Business Magazine May 2007) for progressive leadership and actively raising the bar on traditionally accepted standards of ethical practices in an industry long plagued by the sweatshop stigma, while the continuing work done through the programme underscores MAS’ commitment to place Sri Lanka on the world’s map as the preferred sourcing destination for ethically manufactured lingerie and sportswear.

August 2007

 

 MAS shines at Nike Regional Vendor Summit 2007 - India                                          

 

MAS Holdings, the largest apparel company in the South Asian region with capabilities in Intimate wear, Active wear and Fabrics, was commended for their focus and commitment towards Corporate Social Responsibility, Manufacturing Excellence & Innovation at the Nike Regional Vendor Summit which took place in Bangalore on 2nd August 2007.

Nike, the leading global sportswear brand, is present in Footwear, Apparel and Equipment and brings with them global best practices in supply chain management with very demanding standards.

Nike’s Indian Liaison Office, which has continued to grow over the past decade, celebrated its’ success during the last Fiscal Year at the vendor conference in Bangalore. Nike also celebrated its’ performance with regional vendor partners, who have supported the brand along key performance priorities.

The MAS Group, which enjoys a global repute for Best Practices in Manufacturing Excellence and Social Responsibility, especially through its flagship initiative MAS Women Go Beyond, was commended by Nike on many areas of business performance including Innovation, Regional Product Development, Quality and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The MAS teams have embraced the Brand Partnership and shown an amazing passion in creating excellence that is valued by the Nike consumer. The teams come together across MAS’ various business units and disciplines to understand the expectations of the Brand and deliver on a common vision that meets and exceeds their expectations of the region.

MAS Active, the region’s fastest growing provider of competition sportswear, was presented the award for “Outstanding Performance” in all these areas as well as a very high success rate of on-time delivery performance, while also being applauded for consistently good Product Quality, with zero defects being identified at Nike’s independent audits over the past 9 months, and an annual defect rate of just one tenth of the accepted standard.

The division also received a Certificate in recognition of its support of Nike’s product development initiatives.  MAS Active will further strengthen its support in this respect, by launching a Centre of Excellence for Nike in the near future.

Bodyline (Pvt) Ltd., MAS Intimates’ specialized bra facility, was presented with a Certificate for Innovation & Outstanding Quality Performance on highly complex products, both in innovation, and manufacturing quality standards.

All Group Divisions were acknowledged for “Doing the right Thing” in maintaining high compliance standards, and contributing to community development.

August 2007

 
MAS Go Beyond - empowering women to achieve work-life balance                     
 

MAS Holdings widened the reach of it’s Women Go Beyond (WGB) initiative, to empower women executives and management to effectively cope with the myriad roles they play in a professional and personal capacity.

“Empowering Women with Emotional Intelligence”, a MAS Go Beyond value adding certificate programme, targeting women in the executive and higher cadre of MAS Corporate Solutions and MAS Active Operations Centre, was facilitated by Mrs. Mihirini de Zoysa of Corporate Druids (Pvt) Ltd. late this month.

The one day workshop focused on equipping women to effectively balance work and life, using emotional intelligence, effective communication, stress management and other techniques.

The unique feature of the programme was its two fold approach of group inquiry and simulation/training which made it both interesting and thought provoking for the participants.  Role play, group discussions, creative drawing and story telling, real life case studies, psycho drama, and self reflection were some of the facilitation tools used.

Principle Facilitator Mihirini, designs and conducts training programs for human resource development, with special emphasis on areas of self-development.  Mihirini draws on an eclectic background which ranges from Software Programming to Systems Analysis, Business Process Reengineering, Psychotherapy to Organization Development and Human Resource Development.

Participation at the forum was encouraging under the auspices of Chief Guest Mrs. Gowrie Ponniah, Programme Coordinator of the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour at the International Labour Organization (ILO) Colombo.  Mrs. Ponniah, a member of the MAS Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Advisory Committee, has continued to actively support the MAS WGB initiative since its inception in 2003.

The programme mirrored ”Balancing the Multiple Roles of a Woman”, another MAS Go Beyond Value Adding certificate programme which was launched early July for female workers and staff of MAS Sleekline. This programme is a key element of the MAS WGB initiative which focuses on helping its largely female workforce achieve Work-Life balance. MAS Corporate Solutions Managing Director, Mr. Ajay Amalean was the Chief Guest on the occasion.

Former Miss Sri Lanka, Miss Asia Pacific International and Mrs. World and UN Population Fund Goodwill Ambassador, Rosy Senanayake facilitated “Balancing the Multiple Roles of a Woman” drawing on her expertise in promoting rights of women and adolescents in Sri Lanka and her first-hand experience in balancing the multiple roles of devoted mother and wife.

In 2005, MAS launched the “MAS – Unilever Getting More out of life programme”, the first of a series of value adding certificate programmes, which has impacted 1500 workers through 18 programmes to date.

Women Go Beyond, MAS’ flagship CSR initiative, championing women’s empowerment in the global apparel industry, has won the approbation of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and was featured in the UNGC annual report (July 2007) as a best practice embedding human rights at the work place.

MAS Founders – Mahesh, Sharad and Ajay Amalean - were ranked 14th among the Top 20 Asian Progressives (World Business Magazine May 2007) for progressive leadership and actively raising the bar on traditionally accepted standards of ethical practices in an industry long plagued by the sweatshop stigma, while the continuing work done through the programme underscores MAS’ commitment to place Sri Lanka on the world’s map as the preferred sourcing destination for ethically manufactured lingerie and sportswear.

July 2007

 MAS partners with Spanish print specialist Textprint S.A to                                  
strengthen “one-stop” solution offering in Sri Lankan Apparel Industry

 

MAS Capital (Pvt) Ltd. signed a Joint Venture Agreement with Textprint S.A on 19th July 2007, to set up a modern fabric printing facility in Sri Lanka. The signing of the agreement took place in Spain and Colombo.

The partnership envisions the setting up of Textprint Lanka, which will fill the current gap for synthetic fabric printing in the island, and open up new business opportunities in the region’s high value fashion driven apparel business, especially in swimwear.

The project will be located in the MAS Fabric Park (MFP) in Thulhiriya, Sri Lanka, where MAS is also setting up a new Warp Knitting facility in partnership with Dogi International Fabrics, Spain.

Seated left to right: Mr. Josep Fernandez and Mr. Josep Espigul, Directors – Textprint S.A,/Link Advisors during the signing of the Agreement at Textprint S.A, Spain.  

Both the fabric plant and printing facility are expected to be fully operational by the end of this year, offering customers the unique advantage of sourcing solid and printed fabrics from a single location with a significant cost and time saving. 

High quality fabric printing requires the creation of print designs in the latest fashion trends and specific skills in handling the high value fabrics. The state-of-the-art fabric printing facility will cover both conventional and digital printing capabilities for synthetics,  viscose, cotton and other fabrics used in Swimwear, Intimate Apparel, Leisurewear and Activewear.

Commenting on the partnership, Managing Director Textprint S.A, Mr. Josep Espigul said he was happy to be involved with MAS and most especially in the future development of what he feels will be “one of the most important textile centers in South Asia.”

Mr. Mahesh Amalean, Chairman MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd., also commented on the partnership, calling it “a reinforcement of MAS' commitment to develop Sri Lanka as a one-stop shop for niche market Intimate and Activewear”.

 

Textprint, a Catalan printing company in Argentona, Spain, is one of Europe’s leaders in the field.  Using the most advanced technology in printing including Flat-bed, Rotary and Digital printing, Textprint caters to the Swimwear, Intimate apparel and Casualwear businesses.  Working hand in hand with their customers, with special focus on research and innovation, Textprint has established itself as a modern and competitive company offering a solution to all fantasies.  Textprint uses environment friendly processes and has been awarded the Öko-Tex Standard 100 certificate.

MAS, is South Asia’s largest manufacturer of Intimate apparel and one of the fastest growing providers of high fashion Active and Sportswear.  Headquartered in Colombo, the group is founded on

Left  to right: Mr. Sharad Amalean, Deputy Chairman/CEO – MAS Holdings with Investment Promotions and Enterprise Development Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama and BOI Director General/Chairman Dhammika Perera after the signing of the Textprint Agreement at the BOI Director General’s office, Colombo

 

successful partnerships with Limited Brands, Triumph International, Stretchline Holdings, Prym Intimates, Speedo International, Noyon Dentelle, Pacific Textiles, Brandot International and Brandix Lanka Ltd.

MAS caters to global brands Victoria’s Secret, Triumph, Marks & Spencer, adidas, Reebok, GAP, Speedo and Nike through 28 world-class manufacturing operations and three design studios employing over 41,000 people worldwide.

The joint venture between these industry leaders will cater to the fast growing global Intimate, Active and Sportswear segments, primarily supplying apparel manufacturers in the South Asian region.

July 2007

 

 Silueta joins MAS SAP community                                                                                             

Silueta joined the SAP community of MAS earlier this month, within a short timeframe of only 3 months. Silueta moved to a new software platform to allow the business to sustain the impressive growth rate achieved over the past year.

Part of the Intimates Division of MAS, Silueta specializes in lamination and moulded foam bra cups. This specialized capability offers the group greater flexibility and strengthens its position as South Asia’s largest manufacturer of Intimate apparel.

SAP AFS the apparel and footwear solution of SAP was implemented by MAS’ preferred implementation partner – Attune Lanka – in a team approach involving the Silueta people and the MAS SAP team. 

July 2007

 

 MAS Holdings felicitated as Victoria’s Secret’s Vendor Partner                         

 of the Year 2006         

 

MAS Holdings was named Vendor of the Year 2006 by Victoria’s Secret (VS) at a ceremony held at VS headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, USA on 12th June 2007.

The award, presented in recognition of MAS’ consistent commitment to Victoria’s Secret Stores’ success, included criterion such as partnership, collaboration, innovation and design, cost competitiveness, community involvement and overall performance.

In a letter announcing the honor, Executive Vice President of VS Production & Sourcing, Mr. James F. Pappas congratulated MAS and their associates on the accomplishment, attributing VS’ growth to it’s partnership with world class organizations that share it’s focus on excellence and customer satisfaction.

Mr. Pappas went on to say MAS Holdings exemplifies VS’ values and beliefs and is critical in helping VS deliver industry-leading products to customers who expect the best quality and value.

Founded in 1977 in the USA as a luxury retailer of lingerie, women's clothing and beauty products, VS offers women a novel lingerie shopping experience as opposed to the traditional department store environment. 

 

Owning company Limited Brands, which began as a single store, has since grown to be a multi-brand retail enterprise due to the vision, commitment and determination of it’s founder and leader – Mr. Les Wexner. 

 

Limited Brands Inc. sells women's and men's apparel, lingerie, beauty and personal care products through more than 3,700 stores employing more than 100,000 associates throughout the United States.

 

From an entrepreneurial venture in 1987, MAS Holdings has grown to become a responsible global entity.  Working in strategic partnership with global brands Victoria’s Secret, GAP, Nike, Marks & Spencer and Speedo to innovate in the glamour markets of Intimate apparel and Sportswear, the Group operates a total of 28 facilities, two design studios and a sourcing and innovation arm across seven countries with over 40,000 people.

 

MAS champions the cause of women’s empowerment through the Women Go Beyond program, sustainable community development through the GAP Go Beyond Program and ethical and sustainable manufacture through the joint project with Marks & Spencer to build the first ever iconic ‘Green Plant’ in Thulhiriya, Sri Lanka.


 
June 2007

 

MAS Founders rank 14th among Top 20 Asian Progressive Leaders (World        Business Magazine)

 

With the corporate sector increasingly being looked to in matters of national interest, the World Business Magazine took a look at Asia’s Top 20 Progressive Leaders “who are the modernizers and reformers steering the region towards good business practice, transparency and management excellence”.

Led by China’s President Hu Jintao, who is increasingly recognized for improving distribution of wealth among China's poor and promoting transparency and Press freedom, the Top 20 includes a variety of personalities from country leaders to prominent businesspeople and reformists whose work to bring about rules-based civil societies and better governance in business or government has impacted people’s welfare.

Ranked 14th among the Top 20 were the Founders of MAS Holdings – Mahesh, Ajay and Sharad Amalean – for their progressive leadership in running a professionally managed responsible private entity while adhering to the core values of honesty, integrity and fair play which is culminated in their CSR initiative championing women’s empowerment.
For more details go to http://www.worldbusinesslive.com/article/655151/top-20-asian-progressives/

May 2007

 

MAS Holdings, Textprint, Grupo Moda Estilmar and Dogi International Fabrics alliance to strengthen fabric printing in Sri Lanka                                                              

MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. signed a Letter of Intent on 31st January 2007 with Textprint S.A, Grupo Moda Estilmar S.A. (also known as “Italmare”) and Dogi International Fabrics (Dogi) to establish a fabric printing facility in Sri Lanka. 


The alliance between these industry leaders will cater to the fast growing global Intimate, Active and Sportswear segments, primarily supplying apparel manufacturers in the South Asian region catering to the global market.


High quality fabric printing requires the creation of print designs in the latest trends and specific skills in handling high value fabrics. The state-of-the-art fabric printing facility will cover both conventional and digital printing capabilities for synthetics, viscose, cotton and other fabrics used in the identified market segments. 

This would fill the current gap for synthetic fabric printing in the island and is set to open up new business opportunities in the region’s high value fashion driven apparel business, especially in swimwear.

 

The printing facility would be located in the MAS Fabric Park (MFP) Thulhiriya where the Warp Knit Fabric plant jointly set up by Dogi International Fabrics, Elastic Fabrics of America and MAS Holdings would be sited, offering customers the unique advantage of sourcing solid and printed fabrics from a single location with a significant cost and time saving.  Both the fabric plant and printing facility are expected to be fully operational by the end of 2007.
Dogi (listed company in Spain) is a leading manufacturer of warp knitted fabrics with manufacturing facilities in Europe and South East Asia with commercial offices in 11 countries.  Dogi’s combined worldwide manufacturing capacity of over 34Mn meters is marketed under the “Dogi” and “Penn” brands to clients Hannes Brands, Triumph, Chantelle, Vanity Fair, Victoria’s Secret and Marks & Spencer.


Textprint (Argentona, Spain) - Europe’s leading fabric printers - caters to the Swimwear, Intimate apparel and Casual wear businesses.  Using the most advanced technology in printing including Flat-bed, Rotary and Digital printing, Textprint, with special focus on research and innovation, Textprint has established itself as a modern and competitive Öko-Tex Standard 100 certified company.


Grupo Moda Estilmar (Barcelona, Spain) is famed for their dedicated design creations in Swimwear and Lingerie. With approx. 90% of its production being exported worldwide to customers such as Triumph, Simone Perele, Victoria’s Secret, Vanity Fair, Chantelle and Calzedonia, Italmare offers design expertise to customers manufacturing out of Sri Lanka.
The signing took place at Textprint S.A., Spain by Josep Espigul - Managing Director Textprint, Francisco Lopez - Director Grupo Moda Estilmar, Sergi Domenech - Group Marketing Director Dogi International Fabrics and Mahesh Amalean - Chairman MAS Holdings.


January 2007

 
MAS further consolidates complete solution offering                                                 

Underscoring MAS’ commitment to offer it’s Customers a fully integrated apparel solution, MAS Active showcases a new capability in the form of Activeline.   The new facility was declared open on 5th January 2007, in the Katunayake Investment Promotion Zone, by Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean - Chairman MAS Holdings (Pvt) Limited, Shirendra Lawrence – Managing Director of MAS’ Active Division,  and representatives of it’s key Customers Nike, Gap and Victoria’s Secret.  

 

Anticipating strong growth in the Activewear and Sportswear area of it’s business, MAS’ Active Division through Activeline, would consolidate functions of four plants dedicated to the manufacture of these products, namely Shadowline (Katunayake), Shadeline (Mahiyangana),

Contourline (Kandy) and Sleekline (Nittambuwa). The establishment of Activeline centralizes a portfolio of services spanning not only warehousing, cutting and logistics but also embellishing in the form of panel printing and embroidery, thereby enhancing the company’s ability to service the Sportswear product category effectively.

 

The addition of Activeline supports the anticipated growth and enhanced capability requirement of the Group’s Activewear and Sportswear business, working with world class brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Nike, and Gap, and would enhance MAS’ presence within the region.  The project further demonstrates MAS’ commitment to deliver on their tagline all you need is an idea, we take it from there to the store.

January 2007

 
MAS FABRIC PARK EXPANDS ACROSS SOUTH ASIA                                                                       

MAS Fabric Park (MFP), specializing in the operation of Industrial Parks, entered into a MOU with the Government of Andra Pradesh in December 2006 to open a 750 acre Industrial Zone in Nellore District as a second phase expansion into India.  This move will facilitate customers looking to expand in India, working through Sri Lanka as the hub for Product Design, Development and Raw Material Sourcing.

 

The investment envisaged is approximately US$ 200Mn and the expected export revenue will be US$ 500Mn over a period of 5 years.

 

In March 2006, MAS Investments Ltd. entered into an agreement with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka to develop the 175 acre Thulhiriya Textile Park into an Export Processing Zone named MAS Fabric Park. This would be Sri Lanka’s first privately managed Industrial zone dedicated to produce fabric and apparel.

 

MAS Investments will invest US$ 25Mn to develop the Industrial Zone in consultation with Atelier Management; a Singapore based Industrial Zone Architectural Company, to design a state of the art industrial zone enabling the Sri Lankan Fabric and Manufacturing sector to compete with large Industrial Zones in China, Vietnam and India.Investments in excess of US$ 100 million are expected in Knit Fabric Manufacture, Fabric Printing Embroidery and washing and dying to strengthen Sri Lanka’s supply chain to improve its competitiveness

 

Plans are also underway to set up a Training College - Asian Institute of Management and Technology (AIMT) - within the zone. The new Institute will work with local and foreign universities to position itself as a knowledge centre for Textile & Garment Technology, Lean Manufacturing and Corporate Social Responsibility programs for community development.

December 2006

 
MAS FELICITATES 18 EMPOWERED WOMEN AT 3rd ANNUAL GO BEYOND AWARDS CEREMONY             

Stakeholders and well wishers joined MAS to felicitate their Empowered Women of the year on 9th December 2006 at the BMICH. 18 Empowered Women of MAS’s various business units were recognized for personal and professional achievements.

The annual “Empowered Women of the Year” awards are a focus of the “Go Beyond” programme, through which employees excelling in all walks of life are recognized. The programme aims to empower employees and impact communities by championing the cause of women’s empowerment in society.  The programme also focuses on ensuring employee’s career advancement and strengthening their work-life balance.

Stakeholders and well wishers joined MAS to felicitate their Empowered Women of the year on 9th December 2006 at the BMICH. 18 Empowered Women of MAS’s various business units were recognized for personal and professional achievements.

The annual “Empowered Women of the Year” awards are a focus of the “Go Beyond” programme, through which employees excelling in all walks of life are recognized. The programme aims to empower employees and impact communities by championing the cause of women’s empowerment in society.  The programme also focuses on ensuring employee’s career advancement and strengthening their work-life balance.

December 2006

 

MAS FEATURED IN OCTOBER 2006 ISSUE OF WORLD BUSINESS MAGAZINE                             

“Ethical policies will set you apart….


These days, companies fall over themselves to prove their CSR credentials. As the sweatshops of Asian textile manufacturers supplied the world with cheap goods, MAS Holdings, based in Sri Lanka, focused on creating a healthy working environment for its employees, close to the rural settlements where many of them live. As competition from China has increased, MAS has used the strength of its ethical reputation to set it apart from its competitors. The policy seems to work as it has maintained its orders with its Western customers, which include Marks & Spencer, Gap and Victoria's Secret. The company's experience shows how CSR can drive profits, but at the same time it is worth noting that the founders established their ethical policies because they believed it was the right thing to do…” - Morice Mendoza, Editor – World Business Magazine


( INSEAD Case Study: MAS Holdings: strategic corporate social responsibility in the apparel industry).

 

October 2006

DOGIEFA- THE REGIONS FIRST EXPORT SCALE WARP KNIT FABRIC MILL                         

MAS-WARP KNIT FABRIC MILL 

 

 

MAS-DOGIEFA

The foundation laying ceremony of DOGIEFA (Pvt) Ltd’s 200,000 square foot warp knit manufacturing facility took place on October 26th, 2006 at the Asian Apparel and Fabric Technology Park (AAFTP) in Thulhiriya, Sri Lanka.

 

The commencement of construction and renovation of the facility comes after the signing of three-way joint venture between MAS Holdings of Sri Lanka, Elastic Fabrics of America (EFA) of USA and DOGI international fabrics of Spain.
 
DOGIEFA is the region’s very first export scale warp knit fabric mill. The fabric produced will be either a combination of Nylon and Spandex or Polyester and Spandex depending on the requirements of individual customers. Its main application will be in the areas of intimate apparel, swimwear, synthetic briefs and sportswear production. The new partnership will put into place a pioneering initiative that will cater to the growing demand for high quality warp knit fabric for the apparel industry in Sri Lanka and the Indian sub-continent, as well as help strengthen the supply base in Sri Lanka.  More importantly it will result in decreased lead times for apparel manufacturers and provide greater flexibility in choosing fabric suppliers
.

October 2006

 

STRETCHLINE : 10 YEARS OF EXPANSION                                                                                        

MAS-Strechline

From its humble beginnings at Biyagama in a 60,000 square foot factory, Stretchline, Sri Lanka’s leading elastic manufacturer, has grown to global proportions with over half a million square feet of facilities worldwide.

Looking back at the decade that has passed, Stretchline’s track record has been very impressive. Just three years after commencement of operations, owing to rapid expansion, a second unit is built in Sri Lanka. In years that followed, Stretchline is invited to invest overseas, making it the first local fabrics company to branch internationally.

 

Firstly penetrating the ASEAN market, Stretchline sets up facilities in Indonesia and China. With the introduction of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Company then ventures to Mexico to service the intimate apparel giant Victoria's Secret and other American producers in the region.

The year 2003 sees Stretchline acquiring a stake in Delta Elastics of Israel in a bid to improve its flexibility and speed. In the preceding years, Sales and Marketing offices are opened in the UK, US and Hong Kong to provide customer service, design and technological innovation to its customer’s design houses.

 

Owing to the high skill and knowledge of the staff, Stretchline opens a Research & Development centre in Sri Lanka to carry out all innovations for its global operations.

Recognized by the National Chamber of Exporters as the “Best Overall Exporter in Sri Lanka”, Stretchline has now ventured into ancillary products, namely the manufacture and sale of elastomeric yarns. In 2006 Stretchline signed a MOU for setting up a brand new elastic facility in India, combining forces with India's largest elastic manufacturer Spica Elastics.

October 2006

 

STRETCHLINE SIGNS MOU WITH SPICA ELASTIC OF INDIA                                                       

Stretchline (Pvt) Ltd signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Spica Elastic (Pvt) Ltd of India, on Monday 16th October 2006 for the setting up of a brand new elastic manufacturing facility in India. This is a historic occasion for Stretchline as it celebrates 10 years in elastics. Combining forces with Spica will enable the new Group to expand and to further service its customers on the sub-continent thereby increasing it’s global presence.

 

Commencing operations in 1996 as a tri-partite joint venture between MAS Holdings, (SL) Brandot, (US) and Charnwood Elastics, (UK) Stretchline’s customer portfolio includes Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Nike, Banana Republic, Maidenform, Sara Lee,  Lane Bryant, Express, Vanity Fair, Marks & Spencer, Bhs, Next, Triumph, Tesco, Asda and Intimissimi.

 

Spica Elastic was established in 1965 by Mr. Rajnikant Jaitha, who is now the Chairman of the Company. Spica is owned by the Jaitha family who are also the founders of the famous Mooljee Jaitha cloth Market in Mumbai. The family has been in the Textile Business for over a 100 years and the Company is managed by a team of professionals, headed by Manish Jaitha, the Managing Director and Amish Jaitha, the Marketing Director.

 

Spica is India’s first and largest manufacturer of narrow elastics. It has manufacturing facilities in Pune and Goa and has sales offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Tirupur, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata. The Company’s portfolio of customers include Fruit Of the Loom, Hanes, Marks & Spencer, Gap, Wal-Mart, Champion, Polo Ralph Lauren and Jockey.

 

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Manish Jaitha and Amish Jaitha on behalf of Spica (Pvt) Ltd, and by Norman Collier, Christopher Tubbs, Mahesh Amalean, Sharad Amalean and Timothy Speldewinde on behalf of Stretchline (Pvt) Ltd, and signing as witnesses were Sharen Turney, President & CEO of Victoria’s Secret Stores and Jerry Stritzke, CEO of Victoria’s Secret Stores.

October 2006

Sterchline
Spica
 
 
MAS WELCOMES JAY KELLER AS THE CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER                                      MAS-BOI

MAS WELCOMES JAY KELLER

As the newest member of the CEC, Jay brings experience from some of the world’s best known companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Sony Corporation into MAS.  His dual citizenship as a Swiss/American, his fluency in several languages and his extensive business travels all over the world have enabled him to work in different cultures with a vast blend of people.

 

Jay considers himself a business professional who entered into IT during the hay days of computers and has never lost his fire and enthusiasm for this challenging field. 

 

“I started as a junior programmer and walked through all the ranks to become a CIO”, he says.  With three degrees in Business Administration, Organizational Management and Computer Science, he is a good fit for the important role as business partner for the non IT people within MAS.

 

Jay drives the development and integration of world class information management and business processes and helps provide a technology architecture that will enable the MAS business strategy.

September 2006

 
BOI SIGNS INVESMENT AGREEMENT FOR THULHIRIYA TEXTILE MILL                                        MAS-BOI

BOI signs Investment Agreement for Thulhiriya Textile Mill

Sunil C. Perera and Daya Weerasingha , Reporting from Colombo

 

An agreement was signed by MAS Holdings Ltd and the Board of Investment for the development of Thulhiriya Textile Mill Complex in to a state of the art Industrial Zone dedicated for Fabric manufacture.  The agreement was signed on Sunday under the auspices of Minister of Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion Rohitha Bogollagama at his Ministry.

 

MAS Holdings also paid a sum of Rs. 500 Million to the Government as part of the agreed amount of Rs. 1200 million.  The Company has earlier paid Rs. 200 million at the signing of the MOU. Rs. 700 mn. Received will be utilized by the Government to pay compensation to around 3200 employees of the now defunct Kabool Lanka Textiles Ltd.


MAS Holdings has agreed to pay Rs. 100 m. annually to the Government for five years. MAS Holdings plans to improve the Infrastructure facilities of the complex investing US$ 25 Million. The Company expects to attract investment in excess of US$ 100 million in Knit Fabric Manufacture, Fabric Printing Embroidery and washing and dying to strengthen Sri Lanka’s supply chain to improve its competitiveness.

 

Dogi EFA three way joint venture between Dogi of Spain, Elastic fabrics of America and MAS Holdings will set up the first of such projects with an initial investment of US$ 30m. This factory will be the first export scale unit of its kind in South Asia.

 

Mr. Amalean explains that the Thulhiriya concept began as a result of the Seethawaka and Biyagama BOI Zones having insufficient water supply and treatment capacity to accommodate the proposed DogiEFA project and during initial discussions with Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama – the Minister of Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion, the Minister proposed using the Thulhiriya site for the proposed DOGIEFA site while also suggesting the site be developed as an Industrial Zone run by the private sector. Mr. Amalean also noted that competitors in China and India are also evolving towards such solutions. Mr. Amalean lauded the Minister on his vision to develop Thulhiriya and also praised the officials of the Ministry, the BOI, the Treasury and the Department of Labour for fast tracking negotiations so that development work can commence in August this year. MAS will now embark on renovating the site to international standards and market the location to attract fabric and accessory manufacturers from across the globe to set up within the zone. At the same time, MAS will also develop the Training Institute to enable community development for the region.

 

Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said the BOI joins up with MAS Group in creating the first Private Sector led Industrial Zone dedicated for the apparel sector and in general for all other sectors as well coming up at Thulhiriya in the old site of Thulhiriya Textile Mills. This venture undertaken by MAS group is one of far reaching developments & progress for Sri Lanka’s economy for the future. The lease that has been exchanged today extending up to 99 years again is a milestone in terms of Sri Lanka’s private sector development where the Government has placed confidence & trust in it’s pursuits with the private sector to contribute as partners in progress. This is the first time the private sector has been given status under the BOI along with a lease of a property belonging to the BOI and other commercial pursuits on a throughout basis managed by MAS group.

March 2006

 
MAS JOINS HANDS WITH THE GLOBAL REPORTING INITIATIVE (GRI)                                     

GRI

MAS JOINS HANDS WITH THE GLOBAL REPORTING INITIATIVE (GRI) 

In 2004 on the recommendation by Nike, MAS was invited by the GRI to be on the steering committee to develop a sustainability supplement specifically for the Apparel & Footwear sector. Major global apparel brands such as Nike, GAP, Timberland, Levi, Inditex (Zara), H&M and C&A participated. Having accepted the invitation, MAS had the opportunity to influence the global apparel industry and bring in a manufacturer’s perspective to an otherwise customer dominated forum.

The Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) primary objective is to bring together all organizations to report on economic, environmental and social performance (widely  referred to as the Triple Bottom Line), driving home the concept of sustainability reporting therefore making it a process as routine and comparable as financial reporting.

 
MAS FABRIC- LEADING INNOVATION IN THE APPAREL SUPPLY CHAIN FOR SRI LANKA
MAS AND HSBC LAUNCH MAS GO BEYOND-HSBC PROGRAMME ON MANAGING PERSONAL FINANCES
MAS INTIMATES THURULIE – THE FIRST CUSTOM BUILT ECO-FACTORY FOR LINGERIE MANUFACTURE
MAS ECO GO BEYOND CHAMPIONS SUSTAINABILITY AMONGST 11,000 YOUTH IN SRI LANKA
MAS’S YOUNGEST GENERAL MANAGER ASANKA WIMALARATNE WINS GOLD AS YOUNG CIMA STAR 2007
MAS FABRIC DIVISION’S STRETCHLINE RECOGNIZED FOR INNOVATION AT THE FEMMY AWARDS 2008
MAS ACTIVE DRIVES INNOVATION AND COMPLIANCE FOR PERFORMANCE APPAREL IN SRI LANKA
MAS FABRIC PARK SIGNATORY TO SRI LANKA’S FIRST GREEN POWER SUPPLY AGREEMENT

MAS HOLDINGS, DEUTSCHE BANK & DIALOG TELEKOM IN SEARCH FOR THE NEXT BATCH OF SUMMER INTERNS

EMBEDDING HUMAN RIGHTS THROUGH MAS WOMEN GO BEYOND PROGRAMME
By Noshua Watson
MAS LAUNCHES PHASE 2 OF ECO GO BEYOND, MIHIKATHAGE DARUWO (CHILDREN OF MOTHER EARTH) CLUBS
MAS Holdings, Empowers its Communities
Mas Holdings unleashes Sri Lanka's corporate potentials
MAS Active’s Dilini Perera wins CIMA Sri Lanka Technical Paper Competition
MAS READY TO EMPOWER THROUGH EDUCATION AT MIMT

MAS HOLDINGS FELICITATES ITS EMPOWERED WOMEN

ADIDAS RECOGNIZES MAS AS MOST INNOVATIVE SUPPLIER

MAS launches own lingerie brand in India

MAS launches South Asia’s first textile & apparel industrial park and warp knit facility

MAS Intimates wins SAP Award for Customer Excellence 2007

MAS-Deutsche- Dialog Summer 2007 Interns take a bow

MAS commences work on first model eco manufacturing plant to produce lingerie for M&S

MAS shines at Nike Regional Vendor Summit 2007 - India

MAS Go Beyond - empowering women to achieve work-life balance

MAS partners with Spanish print specialist Textprint S.A to strengthen “one-stop” solution offering in Sri Lankan Apparel Industry

Silueta joins MAS SAP community

MAS Holdings felicitated as Victoria’s Secret’s Vendor Partner of the Year 2006

MAS Founders rank 14th among Top 20 Asian Progressive Leaders (World Business magazine)

MAS Holdings, Textprint, Grupo Moda Estilmar and Dogi International Fabrics alliance to strengthen fabric printing in Sri LanKA

MAS further consolidates complete solution offering

MAS FABRIC PARK EXPANDS ACROSS SOUTH ASIA 

MAS FELICITATES 18 EMPOWERED WOMEN AT 3rd ANNUAL GO BEYOND AWARDS CEREMONY

MAS FEATURED IN OCTOBER 2006 ISSUE OF WORLD BUSINESS MAGAZINE  

DOGIEFA- THE REGIONS FIRST EXPORT SCALE WARP KNIT FABRIC MILL

STRETCHLINE : 10 YEARS OF EXPANSION

STRETCHLINE SIGNS MOU WITH SPICA ELASTIC OF INDIA

MAS WELCOMES JAY KELLER AS THE CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER

BOI SIGNS INVESTMENT AGREEMENT FOR THULHIRIYA TEXTILE MILL

MAS JOINS HANDS WITH THE GLOBAL REPORTING INITIATIVE (GRI)