MODERNISATION: HOW IT HAS ENHANCED PRODUCTION
When Moi University acquired the once collapsed giant RIVATEX in 2007, the company has been striving to modernize all the factory equipment with an aim of steering the company into sustainable profitability.
Initially, the production plant has been in operation using considerably old and outdated technology machines which were not able to compete with other textile firms across the world to realize high returns.
The Government’s intervention through a line of credit of Ksh 3 billion by Exim Bank witnessed an extreme transformation of the vertically integrated textile mill.
Anyone visiting the company for the first time, will not fail to hear the sound of humming machines spinning the yarn, weaving the fabrics and also witness highly trained employees commandeer East Africa’s best facility for woven fabric.
The presence of highly efficient equipment has opened doors to students from institutions of higher learning and those from Technical Vocational and Training (TVET) colleges who now have an opportunity to interact and gain practical skills from the new textile technology.
Students from various institutions have a chance to learn using the state- of- the- art machines at the facility.
Spinning, Weaving and Processing sections are fully equipped with ultra-modern machines thanks to the Government’s unwavering support to ensure textile industry is fully revived and contributes to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as create employment.
At the moment, the facility produces 40,000 meters of finished fabric daily with a capacity of producing more than 100,000 meters, depending on the demand along with an increase on the number of spindles from the initial 500 to 16,800.
Initially, the facility used to consume less than 10,000 bales of cotton annually but the provision of state-of-the-art machines has seen a tremendous increase that will require more than 40,000 bales annually sourced from farmers through ginneries.
With the commissioning of the new machines, the company has been able to take up huge orders from the Government such as supplying superior fabrics for the National Police Service, County hospitals, Kenya Power (KP), Geothermal Development Company (GDC), among many others.
Modernization of the factory has significantly increased the production capacity and also diversification of product range and outfits in the cloth line that are very attractive, targeting both local and global markets. The faculty has invested on quality assurance and control, which ensures all the products are fully tested and checked to meet international standards.
“Our biggest goal has always been to reduce importation of fabric and garments in general and increase GDP and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through Export Processing Zones (EPZs) that is why we have positioned ourselves in the industry sector to ensure that we serve the public’s interest,” said Managing Director Professor Thomas Kipkurgat.
The modernization of the factory process has encouraged counties to start cottage industry and also Small Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) who complete the value chain by adding value to our products (garmenting and tailoring) while creating employment in the forward integration.
“We have a number of tailors and retailers who have made Rivatex their one stop – shop for their products. They promote our fabrics and in turn, they have made profits besides improving on their financial gains,” added Professor Kipkurgat.
He also noted that the facility is best placed to bridge the country’s skill gap by giving graduates practical skills that they can use to create their own employment or firm up their experiences for their future careers.
“There is need to champion for citizens to buy new clothes instead of buying second hand clothes referred to as ‘Mitumba’ and this is made possible by taking advantage of economies of scale to make sure that the garments on sale is within reach to any citizen,” he noted.