As the Indian economy expands and manufacturers scale up to achieve a certain size, some desire to expand beyond the domestic market. Initially, they target the developing markets in Africa and Middle East and then move to more developed markets such as Europe and the US. Mumbai-based Maharashtra Plastic & Industries has also followed a similar trajectory. The company makes polypropylene (PP) box and polyester (PET) strapping. The packaging strap is most suitable for packing and sealing, reinforcing, unitizing and palletizing of articles. It began exporting its products a little over a decade ago to African and Gulf countries. Now the company is aggressively targeting markets in the US and Europe.
“We have a sharp focus on exports and have set up a full-fledged export department. We see a tremendous growth opportunity in the export markets. Customers in Europe and the US demand top quality and we think we can provide the same since we now have the required scale and infrastructure,” says Ram Bhagwat,
chief operating officer, Maharashtra Plastic & Industries.
The company has been exporting successfully to the developing markets and has also been able to secure repeat orders, which has lent it the confidence to approach the developed markets. So, it was during the last interpack in 2014 that it delved aggressively into the European market. With it successful participation at
interpack, the company now has customers in multiple European markets such as Spain, Portugal, Germany and Netherlands, among others. The company currently supplies products to the European market directly to the customers and through distributors. Maharashtra Plastic & Industries also participated in Euro Asia 2016 in Turkey to further enhance its European presence.
Having set up a decent customer base in Europe, the next step for the company was to target the US market. For that the company participated in Pack Expo Chicago in November last year for the first time. “The initial feedback has been very encouraging,” Bhagwat says. “We had put up a world-class show at Pack Expo Chicago. We also managed to generate some very promising business leads. The potential is huge in the US market and we could gauge that by the fact that most visitors who we met were very receptive to our products. However, we also figured that handling the US market needs a different approach than the European market.”
Live and learn
Maharashtra Plastic & Industries is a leader in the Indian market, especially in the organized sector where usage of high-speed automatic strapping machine is a norm. Bhagwat says despite the company’s leadership, it is always open to learning and improving. “Our learnings from the developing markets came in handy for the developed markets. As we grow in the developed markets, we will strive to continuously adapt and upgrade our skills to meet the high-quality demand,” he states.
The company’s has its manufacturing plants in Daman and Roorkee, and currently boasts of a combined annual capacity of 8,000 tons per year while exports are about 10-15% of the total business. The company’s exports are now growing at the rate of double digits.