Talwar Cases From India
The Music Trades, December 2010
High Quality, High Value, And Innovative Design Define Fast-Growing Indian Case And Accessory Manufacturer
PRIOR TO THE GLOBAL recession, Indian accessories manufacturer Talwar Brothers Ltd.’s sales were growing an astonishing 30% annually. Best known for its Gard brand gig bags and “wheelies” (rolling gig bags with extendable handles) for brasswind and woodwind instruments, Talwar also makes Takt orchestral batons, violin family fittings, and guitar parts in wood, bone, and horn. Its products are sold extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan, and on a smaller scale in Latin America and Australia.
Since 2008 Talwar has ridden out the global economic downturn, but its sales have effectively plateaued. To revive its torrid pre-recession growth rate, the company is further upgrading its quality standards in accordance with President Vijay Talwar’s uncompromising strategy for success. “We are defined by a fanatical adherence to quality–at Indian prices,” he says. “Unless we have a markedly better quality product or a markedly cheaper price, we will not enter the market with that product. And as soon as the competition achieves parity with us in quality and price, we will abandon the product.” The three-generation family-run business is currently staying ahead of that ultimatum with a new designer range of gig bags and wheelies, orchestral string instrument fittings “equal to or better than anything in Europe,” and ultra-precision-machined bone products that are “equal to or better than anything in Japan.”
Talwar has benefited greatly from its use of the internet, particularly in speeding communications from artists as far away as the U.S., Norway, and Germany through multiple generations of product prototypes. Its dramatically streamlined product development process is just one area in which worldwide advances in transportation and communication technology have made it easier for Talwar to conduct business internationally. However, the company’s president points out, these same advances have brought “plenty of competitors into the market.”
India may be on the cusp of becoming a manufacturing superpower, but being at the vanguard of the nation’s music products industry presents considerable challenges. “In India,” Vijay Talwar continues, “one can see a 19th Century bullock cart alongside a Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car! In Europe and the USA the focus is on saving labor; in India it is on saving raw material. The focus abroad is on top quality; in India it is on manufacturing to a price or frugal manufacturing. The only way to compete in the global market is to train our labor force extensively so that we bring these objectives together to not only meet, but surpass, all the market’s expectations.”