Birla VXL Ltd, the flagship company of the S.K. Birla group, and a leading producer of woollen and blended fabrics, has shifted its focus from production to marketing the Hindu Business Line reported.

"Earlier, the accent was more on production and less on marketing. The present thrust is entirely market-driven," said a company source. The shift in emphasis, also encompassing the thrust on the core business of manufacturing and marketing of fabrics and ready-to-wear garments, sources point out, is in line with the recommendations of Anderson Consulting, since renamed Accenture. The management is confident that the present policy will lead to higher sales and profitability, according to sources.

The other features of the policy shift include the company's decision to invest heavily to reinforce the Digjam and OCM brands and promote the Jack Barclay brand of shirts and other casual wear, research in designs to access the premium end of the market and proper inventory management.

In fact, applying brakes on production temporarily is part of the conscious decision of the company to deal with inventory accumulation, even at the cost of financial losses for the time being.

The company's results for the 18 month period ended December 31, 2000, showed a sale of Rs 386 crore, including Rs 84 crore in exports. The net loss for the period was Rs 148.05 crore, after providing Rs 29.92 crore for depreciation, Rs 5.68 crore as provision for diminution in the value of investments and Rs 27.14 crore as change in inventory valuation.

The 18-month period also saw the beginning of closer integration of the operations of Jamnagar and Amritsar mills, keeping in view the consumer preferences in the domestic and exports markets.