Microsoft Azure powers Bizongo’s automation suite

Automation standardizes packaging workflows and processes

Prakash Shetty, vice president - Global Partner Growth at Bizongo

Bizongo is a B2B digital platform for auto-replenishment in packaging. Started by three IIT graduates, Aniket Deb, Sachin Agarwal, and Ankit Tomar, the company’s clients include Amazon, Flipkart, and Myntra among others. A supplier to pharma eCommerce major PharmEasy, it sees automation as the key to the company’s future.

With warehouses in Mumbai, Gurugram, and Bengaluru, Bizongo offers paper and plastic-based packaging. Sustainable packaging alternatives are also offered. The company supplies close to 6000 tons of packaging of all types in a month.

“We operate through a network of partners – primarily packaging converters. Apart from offering packaging procurement solutions, we also offer packaging design. For packaging design too, we work with a community of partners across the country. All in all, we serve as a design, development, and sourcing platform for packaging materials,” says Prakash Shetty, Vice President – Global Partner Growth at Bizongo.

Microsoft Azure for Bizongo

Bizongo currently has an in-house automation suite for its business processes. Automation has massively helped in scaling to Bizongo’s capacity, bringing in efficiency and ensuring consistency in order processing across every stage of an order. Automation has also positively impacted in the reduction of lead time across various stages, standardization of processes, elimination of manual intervention and predictable execution

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers.

“Microsoft is driving startup programs to engage with companies like Bizongo to deliver technology, go-to-market strategy and leverage the Microsoft community. Bizongo and Microsoft are working together by leveraging the advanced capabilities of the Azure platform, it’s technology suite and the enterprise cloud in delivering Bizongo’s vision in the B2B space.” says Shetty

Sustainable packaging solutions offered by Bizongo

“On one end of the spectrum, we have introduced recyclable and biodegradable packaging to some brand owners associated with us. These have minimal to no impact on the environment and have successfully replaced traditional plastic packaging. We also provide one-time-use cutlery that is used mainly by food delivery giants such as Swiggy and Zomato.

“We have helped these giants move from plastic cutlery to wood-based cutlery. However, the higher price of sustainable alternatives, albeit their advantages, has somewhat affected their acceptance in the market. Nevertheless, we believe that all the companies in this sector will soon shift to sustainable materials,” says Shetty.

With plastic-use increasingly disdained by civil society, paper is often projected as an alternative. However, Shetty believes that paper cannot wholly displace plastic from the environment. “Certain products, such as carbonated drinks, are best suited for plastic based packaging currently. For such products, it is difficult to introduce an effective replacement. Hence, it would not be easy for sustainable materials to replace plastics completely,” Shetty asserts.

Chinese virus outbreak dents Bizongo’s business

The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on the global economy. A statement issued by the UN suggests that the pandemic could shrink the global economy by 1% in 2020. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) says that COVID-19 is disrupting global supply chains and international trade. With most industries impacted by the pandemic, packaging too is taking a hit.

The Indian prime minister announced a nation-wide 21-day lockdown on 24 March 2020. Since then, the country has come to a standstill, with most factories shutting down. Businesses are also affected due to the sudden announcement. “Most of our customers across the country have started complaining of a sharp decline in demand. Not just that, there were several logistical barriers with various states sealing their borders. Even though these restrictions were lifted at a later stage, there was a communication gap, and the message didn’t reach the local authorities on time,” says Shetty. Due to the several factors that have disrupted the supply chain, Bizongo has seen a decline in volume.

Bizongo’s contribution amidst the COVID-19 crisis

However, the company is tying up with hospitals where the demand and supply gap is causing an acute shortage of medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE). A significant part of Bizongo’s team is focussing on filling the gap by proactively sourcing and delivering PPE. The service is available exclusively for hospitals, health centers, pharmacies, essential goods providers, large public entities, and non-governmental organizations. It is also working on the expansion of its PPE sourcing and distribution capabilities.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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