The facility has been laid out on a surface area of 20 acres, with spacious production halls, each dedicated to one type of product. The halls are very well lit and ventilated.
The factory is also called ‘The Garden Factory’ because of its lush green gardens spreading throughout the facility to provide a healthy environment to the staff in particular and society in general.
The factory has the most mechanized English Willow Cricket Bat manufacturing facility in Asia. This ensures that accuracy, precision, cost and quality, are always under strict control.
The factory also supports an in-house facility for foam compression moulding for all types of protective equipment, ensuring quality and cost control under close supervision.
Mechanization and automation upgrades are reviewed very regularly in all departments.
The company has working systems and procedures in place, in all departments, ensuring that each and every operation is done by the book as per laid down standards to ensure maximum strength, durability, performance and quality to the final product. More so, some systems have been classified as critical (based on their importance of affecting the performance of the final product), which are paid extra attention.
FCS has long believed that if one wants to produce a trouble-free quality product, then one must start at the beginning and test each and every raw material when it comes into the factory.
With the help of the Research Department and also input from customers, FCS has been able to set up a series of specifications for all major critical raw materials.
These specifications include such tests as ‘Abrasion Resistance’, ‘Breaking Load’, ‘Tear Strength’, ‘Colour Fastness’, ‘Stitch Tear Strength’, ‘Impact Testing’ etc.
In some instances, materials are not only tested in the raw state in which they come into the factory but also after processing.
Another example would be the plastic buckle used on a leg guard. FCS has laid down a specification of 85 kgs which means that a man weighing this much could actually hang from this buckle without it breaking. Therefore it is obviously strong enough to withstand any mishap in the field.
The raw material specification is always related to the end use of the product. For instance, PVC for the inside of the instep of a cricket legguard which rubs against the cricket shoe must have high abrasion resistance, whereas PVC for a batting gloves finger roll should have high tear and high burst strength.
This testing done by FCS has given them confidence in their own product as well as giving a lot of confidence to their customers.
IN PROCESS QUALITY CONTROL
FCS believes, not only in thoroughly testing the quality of the finished product, but also in building quality into the product through in-process quality control.
After the purchase of the raw materials as per the proper specifications, the materials are then processed and turned into finished articles. We believe that quality can only be achieved by satisfied craftsmen side by side with strict in-process quality controls at every stage of manufacture.
When an order is received, the counter sample is checked against the Specification Card of that product to ensure that the correct current counter sample is available. Once this has been determined then the processing of the raw material is started.
For example, when a cricket ball is manufactured, as many as 16 checks are done at the various stages to ensure that the quality is upto the proper specifications.
Finally 100% inspection is done of all finished goods. To educate the production staff, samples and specifications are displayed on the workshop floor.
In addition to the company’s testing of the raw materials when they come into the factory, and the very detailed in-process quality control, goods are not dispatched from the factory without the okay of the Quality Assurance Department.
The Quality Assurance Department is responsible for test checking all goods manufactured in the factory.
The department specifically checked each first batch of finished goods coming out of any production department against a new order. The product is first compared with the approved counter sample of the customer.
Also, any remarks made by the customer (which are recorded on the Specification Card for the product) are also seen to ensure that the product is properly compliant. Only after Quality Assurance is satisfied that the product has been made to the customer’s specifications and that quality is satisfactory, will they issue a first lot certificate, without which goods cannot leave the factory.
This department also ensures that the ‘In-process Quality Control’ is carried out in the specified manner, i.e. all the work procedures and systems are being followed and adhered to with special emphasis on critical operations. For example, glueing the ping-pong rubber sheet on the palm of a wicket-keeping glove, which is directly related to the performance and durability of this glove, will attract extra attention of the QA department.
Also, as mentioned elsewhere, continuous field-testing is done to ensure that products not only look good but perform well also.
CRICKET ACADEMY - FIELD TESTING
FCS believes that a product should never be sold unless it has been tested in the field. To the extent possible FCS always tests its own products, at least under Indian conditions. Simultaneously it is recommended that the customers test the products under climatic conditions and ground conditions prevalent in their country as well.
On a regular basis one item out of the first lot of each batch of goods is sent through the Quality Assurance Department for field Testing. This is given, in a majority of cases, to experienced players who are also provided with a Test Report Form to fill in and return.
All returned products are studied jointly by the Production Department and Quality Assurance Department. In this way, any technical, design or material fault which may show up in the field-tested product can be immediately located and remedied.
New products are also tested, and normally FCS tries to do this on its own grounds which form part of the Sondhi Nagar Complex.
The cricket ground has a bowling machine, which helps in testing all probable strokes of the bat.
The cricket academy solves two purposes. One is that our equipment is field tested in our premises under supervision, which helps maintain the confidentiality of the design and pattern of the product. Secondly, kids get to play with international standard products absolutely free of cost !
The initial survey done by ISO consultants showed that FCS is already following the majority of necessary and relevant systems. The company achieved formal ISO 9001: 2000 in 2003. The certification was not renewed as part of recent cost cutting exercises !
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
The commitment of the company to scientific research originated in 1983 with the development and change in existing products. There was a need and demand for products offering better protection, and for lighter weight products. Simultaneously, more competitively priced products, at the lower and of the range, were required which would be affordable, to students.
Also, the drastic change in playing conditions, have necessitated a search for new materials, new designs and new products.
FCS is totally committed to the concept of improvement in all these areas and has its research laboratory along with testing fields where new products can be promptly tried out.
Now our design and development centre is functioning independently with two seasoned officers along with a team of highly skilled workers. They are responsible for scientific development of new products. Initial sampling to the customers is done by them keeping confidentiality of the products, design etc. At the same time, this centre is constantly working on new innovative ideas for product development and on new products for diversification.
SALES & MARKETING
As Mahatma Gandhi has said, we believe that :
“A customer is the most important visitor to our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.
He is not an interruption to our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our premises. He is a
part of it.
We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
FCS being a Sports Goods manufacturing company, selling seasonal products, always finds that everyone wants their goods at the same time during the year. To achieve maximum utilization of production capacity and minimize overheads we are always keen to offer incentives to our customers for placing orders out of season.
Although FCS does not call itself a professionally managed company, yet it does try and adopt a systematic and scientific approach to management, in other words, a professional approach.
We try and be extremely efficient in our dealings with customers and wherever possible, reply to them the same day.
We spend time and money on research and development and are always keen to try new ideas or even evolve new products for our customers.
We are constantly moving around the world and in addition to that we welcome and facilitate the visits of buyers to Jalandhar which has become much easier with an airport just one and a half hours away.
FCS is basically an export company with over 85% of its production being exported every year.
The major markets to which the company is exporting are the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa & West Indies.
The company is trying to achieve the same delivery schedules that its overseas customers get from the Far East. This is 90 days ex-factory for an initial and bulk order, and 60 days ex-factory for additional and/or smaller orders.
These days 99% of our consignments that are full container loads go through the Inland Container Depot at Ludhiana (a town approx. 65km away). Goods are stuffed in containers at the factory. The container is sealed by the customs department at Ludhiana in the presence of our own person, and no further checking is done until the container arrives at its destination.
Containers are sent by road from Jalandhar to Ludhiana and by train from Ludhiana to Mumbai. Since the containers are packed in Jalandhar, the goods arrive at the destination in better condition. We are getting very good feedback about this from our various overseas customers.
FCS has entered the Home Market very intrepidly. The company is very keen indeed to give world quality equipment with world quality service but at affordable prices. FCS is trying to keep stock of the main items of constant demand so that they can execute orders within 24 hours. The company is also keeping in constant touch with all its customers and keeping them informed regarding dispatch of their consignments.
The response to the PROTOS brand has in fact been far greater than expectations and the network of dealer is expanding rapidly. At present FCS is not spending too much money on advertising and signing up players but prefers to pass the benefit onto its customers so that the customers get more value for their money.
Today, FCS consists of a dedicated team of nearly 400 employees whose sincere work reflects in the performance figures and aspirations of the company. It has also adopted progressive policies in scientific planning, recruitment & selection, utilization, training and motivation of the team. Everyone at FCS is equally important to FCS.
To attain organizational excellence by developing and motivating the company’s true capital of human potential.
For this FCS is providing ample room and opportunities for growth, development, empowerment, satisfaction and enrichment..
To create a knowledge bank in the organization by embedding a culture of training, learning, innovation & team work, leading to a competent, creative, aware, adaptive and empowered team.
• To provide opportunities to all to explore their maximum potential
• To develop leadership qualities in all individuals at all levels
• To provide job satisfaction by placing the right person on the right job
• To upgrade skills & competencies by giving more responsibilities & opportunities for training & development
• To foster a climate of creativity, innovation and enthusiasm
• To enhance the standard and quality of life of our employees
THE FCS CITIZEN
The core value of the company’s HR policy is based on the realization of responsibility on the part of the company to develop and transform its people into better citizens. This is done through ‘walking the talk’ rather than just preaching the values.
FINANCE & ACCOUNTS
The payment system of a company determines whether the company is able to keep its suppliers happy. FCS have adopted a payment system that makes sure there are no delays in payments. The supplier concerned does not need to make continual reminders; instead, the company delivers cheques at the doorstep of suppliers. Tardy payments are often a failing of many companies, therefore the company feels proud of its reputation as good paymasters.
STITCHING CENTRE SERVICE CELLS
We established our Stitching Centre Service Cell in August 1996. This has enabled us to successfully provide Single Window Services to our various stitching centres. Among other services, the SCSC is ensuring door-to-door delivery of goods at the stitching centres in villages and within Jalandhar City.
Taking work to the stitching centres in villages is very environmentally friendly because it saves the ladies working in those villages coming into town everyday. In order words transport and congestion on the roads is indirectly reduced and at the same time the women in the villages hardly have to walk 5 minutes to come to the stitching centre and can pop home at lunchtime to see that their children are ok (normally looked after by some other members of a joint family).
The Government of India gives numerous awards to various categories of exporters. But perhaps the most prestigious is the NATIONAL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING EXPORT PERFORMANCE.
This award is open to all exporters throughout India. Multi-million dollar turnover public limited companies, Government owned banks and Government owned trading companies or even the smallest in the small-scale sector, all are eligible for this award.
Normally there are only 70 recipients each year from all the exporters all over the vast country of India (population 1 billion people).
The President of India personally presents these awards to the recipients. FCS has had the honour of winning this Award on four different occasions during its history.
Besides the above, there are certain other uncredited achievements that the FCS team can be proud of :
• Top notch International Players use Cricket gear made by FCS.
• The brands that we manufacture for have been credited with various recognitions for the equipment made by FCS. For e.g. one received Best Bat
• Award and the other has been polled to have bats with the Best Stroke.
• FCS has been Graded ‘A’ in Technical Audit and Social Accountability and Environmental Standards Audit which is done by third party auditors.