R.Y. Narayanan

Coimbatore, March 17

IN an attempt to help the small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) improve their competitiveness by reducing cost and by upgrading technology, the Confederation of Indian Industry has planned to establish 100 clusters across the country, of which five are to be established in Coimbatore.

These will be clusters with a difference in that the CII would not be establishing any physical clusters but would adopt a `mentoring' approach to guide the SMEs through the process of achieving the goals set, according to Mr Krishna Samaraj, Chairman, CII, Coimbatore Zone.

Speaking to Business Line on the eve of laying down office, he said CII had already established clusters in Mohali and in Ambattur in Chennai to help the SMEs to reduce cost, to improve profitability, market their products by better networking and in sharing of best practices.

The CII is adopting a `hand holding' approach and it would not stop with merely providing advisory services.

He said the CII sent teams to industries that expressed a desire to participate in this project and only after proper evaluation the establishments were chosen, which would last for about 18 months.

The participating industrial units were charged a fee to be paid over the duration of the programme.

In Coimbatore, two clusters would be launched on Friday by the CII.

While one would be a geographical cluster involving ten companies in the SIDCO and Ganapathy area, the other would be a vertical cluster that would be Pricol-specific involving 10 of its suppliers.

He said plans are afoot to establish three more vertical clusters in Coimbatore involving LMW, Elgi Equipments and Roots Industries.

These were likely to come up during 2005-06.

Mr Krishna Samaraj said Coimbatore was probably the only city where CII would be establishing five clusters, four of which were vertical clusters.

The CII would be adopting a `mentoring approach' and would `hand hold' the participating SMEs through the implementation period lasting for about 18 months.

The CII team of experts in different areas of management would periodically visit the participating companies to evaluate the progress they have made and assist them in achieving the goals set under this project.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 18, 2005)
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