Bobst helps Prefect Packaging maintain pharma supply chain

Overcoming tooling hurdles in the Covid-19 pandemic

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Prefect Packaging Bobst Expertfold folder-gluer Photo Bobst
Prefect Packaging needed a Z-fold attachment on its Bobst Expertfold folder-gluer Photo Bobst

Packaging manufacturers throughout India like Prefect Packaging have creditably navigated the challenges in keeping the supply chain for essential goods running. This is especially true for the supply of packaging materials for both medical and consumer products during the Covid-19 pandemic. One of these converters, Mumbai-based Prefect Packaging, supplied packaging for essential supplies during the lockdown from its plant in Vasai.

Established in 1986, the Prefect Packaging is a specialist in pharma and FMCG packaging and, within its printing and converting sections uses all kinds of equipment from leading global manufacturers. Shortly before India went into lockdown on 24 March, the company received an additional fitting – a Z-fold device for its Bobst Expertfold folder-gluer in the converting section – an essential attachment needed for manufacturing time-sensitive pharmaceutical orders. While the tool itself was delivered on time, the installation proved to be a bigger challenge due to the strict lockdown’s travel restrictions.

According to Bobst Services head, Sameer Joshi, although engineers were available in Mumbai, a specific process specialist’s inputs were required to install the Z-fold device, and travel even from Mumbai to Vasai was not permitted during the initial lockdown. “Like our customers, it was our turn to do our part to provide support during the pandemic,” says Joshi.

Prefect Packaging’s decisive leadership

Perfect Packaging’s managing director, Jamal Agwan, took decisive and helpful action. He applied for the police’s required permit for Bobst’s Mumbai-based engineer to travel to the plant 30 kilometers away from his location. “Mr Agwan also instantly arranged for a car to pick up our engineer to ferry him to the plant,” explains Joshi.

Once the engineer was at the plant in Vasai, a video call with the process specialist took him through the entire installation remotely – and step-by-step. “After a six-hour consultation between the two, the tool was successfully installed on the Bobst Expertfold,” says Joshi. “For us, the fact that the Bobst team duly adhered to the nationwide lockdown rules, but still found a way to work around it and assist our customer in ensuring timely production, was most satisfying.”

During the Covid-19 crisis, it is especially critical for Perfect Packaging that its business is fully operational, and any machine downtime avoided, so it can continue to provide its essential services. “We adhere strictly to the guidelines issued for companies operating during the lockdown,” said its MD Agwan. “However, when a machine needs a part or minor servicing, it is vital that you are dealing with a company that will provide all the support you need, exactly when you need it. For us, Bobst is that company.” He adds, “When we opted for the Bobst Expertfold, we knew that it was the perfect fit for us. We also knew that we would receive the best possible service after the machine was installed, and we sure did!”

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.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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