The passion to provide the industry with the best of value-added technology has driven Edgar Martinez, General Director, Nantex, to recently align with ZSK, Germany, a world leader in embroidery machines, and introduce the brand (ZSK) to the Vietnamese market at the VTG Fair held in January in HCM City. The company has already found success through its long association with another German world leader Heinz Wazz, known for its sturdy and reliable screen printing machines under the brand name SCHENK. “I am very passionate about the work I do, and for me nothing but the best is good enough,” says Edgar, who has been operating in Vietnam for over a decade.
Nantex specializes in providing screen printing machinery, screen printing equipment and screen printing consumables to the Vietnam industry. However, the services of the company are much beyond, and being technically inclined, Edgar is deeply involved in consultancy to support the industry in optimizing the machines and also increasing the productivity in factories.
A Mexican by birth, Edgar has over the years become more of a Vietnamese, inculcating a deep understanding of the culture and work ethics of the country. “For me, being a part of the industry is very important to understand how to better service their needs and over the years, my association with Vietnam has grown stronger,” says Edgar. He adds that most Vietnamese are straight-forward in their approach and appreciate good quality machines.
He emphasizes that unlike many other agents, he does not like to work with many brands, as he feels that he cannot justify his role both to the companies he represents and to the industry. “It is not about how many brands I represent, but how well I can market the product and satisfy each customer. If I am not able to do justice to the product or service the industry to their complete satisfaction, there is no point in taking up the brand,” he argues. This is one of the reasons that Edgar has remained with screen printing for many years without being tempted to add new technologies like digital printing. The Schenk textile printing machine in circular application is one of the world’s most reliable screen printing machines with customized possibilities for number of stations in multiple of two and colour options, and it also boasts of the largest printing area offered by any printing machine.
“The time will come, but I am in no hurry, as screen printing is a classic technology that will never run out of fashion and digital printing is still new and yet to find a stable market,’ says Edgar.
In fact, adding embroidery to his stable was also a conscious decision taken after much consideration. “I could see a growing demand for embroidery machines, as Vietnamese manufacturers are looking at value-added products for high-end brands, particularly to the American market. My association with Wazz led me to ZSK and when I started interacting with the team and understanding the product, I was convinced that the brand was in line with my own philosophy of not compromising on quality and so I decided to introduce them at the event; and from the response we have received, I am confident that it is going to be a hit product in the market,” says Edgar.
Another product that he is very happy to represent is sustainable inks for printing from Italy-based Eptainks, belonging to the house of Epta Nova which specializes in sustainable chemicals and inks for various industries. “Since we are into screen printing, providing world class inks to our customer base is important and with Eptainks, we are sure that there is no compromise on quality and sustainability,” says Edgar.
The company also represents Impress Apparel Machines from India, an ISO 9001-2000 certified company primarily into printing accessory machines like heat presses and screen printing presses. Edgar is supported by an international team of technical experts, who are trained to handle every machine that Edgar is dealing in.
ZSK… Re-entering Vietnam with a splash
After selling a few machines in the ’90s, ZSK has made a strong comeback in Vietnam with Nantex as their agents and the order bookings made at the VTG strongly confirm this. “We are not here to compete on price, but on quality and performance,” says Frank Giessmann, ZSK Sales Director Asia, adding that contrary to popular perception, the brand is not the most expensive embroidery machine in its category and it is very competitive among the top three brands in the segment. The focus for the company is now on both single-head and multi-head machines as the demand in both the segments is growing, as both mass customization and mass production are going hand-in-hand, many opting for both options to be market leaders.
Frank is very confident of the growth prospects in Vietnam and admits that the foreign-owned enterprises are already well aware of the ZSK brand. “These companies are willing to pay for our machines, as they know the value that our machines can add to their operations,” he shares. Overall, he feels that Vietnamese companies are open to high-end technologies because they are working with very good international buyers and cannot afford to compromise on the quality and design of the embroidery. The interest generated at the fair from all segments of the industry was very encouraging for the company.
One of the biggest strength of ZSK machines that has propelled their growing market share is the fact that they are expandable and can be retrofitted with any new attachment for value addition that the company develops. “We are not only bringing out new machines for various value adds, but also supporting our old machines, which makes our brand very flexible and adaptable to new fashion trends and supports users of the technology to stay in tune with the most current trends without having to change the machines,” says Frank. He adds that as of today, sequin work is in great demand along with very fine embroidery, both of which are the specialities of the ZSK brand. Rubbishing the notion that the increasing market for printing is eating into the embroidery segment, Frank says that the sales at ZSK has been continuously on the rise.
Aiding the company on its growth projectile is a new strategy brought in by a young leader who has changed the image of the company from an ‘unapproachable’ German brand, to a customer-friendly brand that is available on all social platforms. “Five years ago, we could never imagine that we would be such an open company, but now we have even posted maintenance and breakdown solutions on YouTube, so that customers can solve small issues by themselves and save critical downtime,” avers Frank. In the meanwhile, technical support will be provided by Nantex and regular visits by experts from headquarters in case of major issues.
Educating the customers is an important aspect of market penetration and the company is holding group sessions to initiate customers into the finer points of the embroidery machines. The emphasis is on labour saving with many features supporting automation.
New magnetic framing system, bar code reader for easy design identification and automatic bobbin changers are some of the features that reduce dependence of labour during the embroidery process.
“Every country has its own needs and while labour saving may be critical in Europe, the same is not so important in Asia today, but with wages increasing by the day, it is important for customers to know that they have these options,” concludes Frank.
EPTAINKS providing sustainable solutions for printing…
In an industry which had started talking sustainability about a decade ago, there are some companies that have been committed to the concept for much longer, and Eptainks is one such company. Based in Italy, the company designs, develops, manufactures and supplies ‘valuable’ inks for different technological applications, such as screen printing, pad printing, sublimation printing, off-set printing, transfer printing and rotogravure printing. The products offered and the processes used to manufacture the inks are sustainable with focus on both plant and people. “We can provide our customers with Compliance Declaration, issued by SHEQ, for each standard for which we have decided to homologate: CLEAR TO WEAR, GOTS and OEKO-TEX®, besides following REACH standards in testing,” says Davide De Ponti, Sales Manager, Eptainks.
The USP of the company is the productivity per hour possible with the use of its inks. “If one uses cheaper inks, it may cost less, but our inks will give double the productivity with the same amount of ink and the design reproducibility will also be sharper,” says Davide. He adds that of all the inks that they manufacture, screen printing inks are the speciality. “From a basic 12-colour spectrum based on Pantone formulations, we can produce any colour that fashion makers dictate,” says Davide. The company brings out colour trends every season and is in association with many brands in textiles for colour directions. Besides textiles, the inks produced by the company are also used for security purposes like in printing currency because of the reliability of quality.
Supporting its customers worldwide, the company has a demo centre in Italy and in India and is looking to eventually feed the Vietnam market from India where it has a major presence in the south of the country. Talking about the biggest challenge of working in Vietnam, Davide says that most of the local companies are still uninitiated into the advantage of using good quality inks, mostly because Chinese inks are an easy option, but he is confident that things are changing and companies are more willing to invest in good quality solutions.
Acknowledging that ink is a difficult product to apply for best results, the company is looking to meet customers’ hands-on and support them in the process. Davide is all praise for Nantex in providing the right type of support to grow in the Vietnamese market. “A strong technical team trained at our headquarters ensures that the customer is serviced for all needs,” says Davide, adding that growth of the industry in Vietnam is inevitable as the push to expand this industry is gaining momentum and even local manufacturers are changing their attitude to move with the trend.