Bobst India reopens Pune plant after 40-day shutdown

Getting used to the new normal

Bobst India’s manufacturing plant near Pune

After being non-operational for 40 days, Bobst India’s manufacturing plant near Pune started functioning on 4 May. The plant was shut down in late-March after the lockdown was announced to stop the spread of COVID-19. “The Bobst plant in Pune re-opened on the 4 May 2020, after almost 40 days of enforced closure due to COVID-19,” Upendra Deglurkar, president and local entity head – Bobst India. “We are operating at partial capacity within the government guidelines for our industry, which currently permit work between 7 am and 7 pm.”

When the plant first reopened, Bobst India made sure it prioritized the machines that had been left incomplete at the time of lockdown. The company is now rapidly working its way through orders, says Deglurkar. Bobst India is now fulfilling orders placed by local customers and for exports.

“At Bobst India, we fulfill orders for customers all around the world, including the local Indian market,” he adds.

At this moment for Bobst India staff’s safety is of utmost importance and therefore when it re-opened it made sure all the protective equipment and procedures were in place to ensure complete safety at the workplace.

“We put a lot of work into planning the re-opening and securing all the necessary PPE kits (personal protective equipment). As a result, when we did re-open, I’m pleased to say, it all went very smoothly indeed,” Deglurkar says.

With COVID-19 here to stay, companies are planning to adapt themselves to the new normal. Bobst India too is fully ready to manage through the uncertainties.

“It may be more a case of adapting to the new normal. I think what is important is ensuring we are ready to manage through uncertainty. The current situation has shown us that we are can be flexible and adapt as and when needed. This may even reveal some better ways of working, which will help us to bring equipment to customers even more efficiently than before,” Deglurkar argues.

Carton industry to stay resilient

Although many sectors in the Indian economy have been severely impacted by the two-month-old lockdown, according to Deglurkar, the folding carton segment has been relatively unscathed owing to demand from the essential goods industry. He expects the carton market in India to remain robust.

“There has been a surge in demand in certain industry sectors, such as food and pharmaceuticals, during the current situation, which has had an impact on the cartons market. One of the things that have impressed me most during this crisis is seeing packaging manufacturers in India and elsewhere going the extra mile to meet the demand for these urgently-needed goods. In general, I think the cartons market in India is very strong and will continue to grow,” he concludes.

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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