Interview with Mr. R. Ramanathan, Director, Parle Global Technologies Pvt. Ltd
1. As a market leader in the packaging sector what’s your strategy on ‘Make in India’ and serve the world?
Make in India is an excellent drive, initiative that gives an opportunity to source the best in technology, having it made in India through our manufacturing advantages. The change that it brings with cost effective but technology aligned products and solutions, brings up to the end customer be it from India or the World a total package of ‘Affordable Technology’ to their benefits. We have been through this journey since a decade & have been actively pursuing the opportunities around us to this comprehensive benefit to one and all. The focus in this endeavour has helped us have strategic tie-ups by way JV’s and technology collaborations with 6 of our Associates and the scope to expand them is still ON. The core strategy – is to be a ‘Good observer, listener to understand the customer needs of the current & tomorrow’s market around us, Map and Match the technologies that can be an Ideal & affordable fit for these needs, be a cordial, comprehensive and learning organisation to employ experience with updated technology – will certainly bring the global technologies to join your Mission of Make in India for the mutual benefit of one & all.
2. Which markets to you foresee to offer more growth once the post the covid-19 situation improves. How will buyers in India respond to expansion and investments in your technology?
Post the COVID is in question, with great hopes around us and I believe the day is not too far. The point is amidst this Pandemic too, we have seen a major shift in the buying patterns from consumers. There has been seen a major rise in the demand of packaged food products & other snacking options as mostly consumers are working from home and these kinds of food items are meeting all their demands. People being skeptical about ordering outside or even visiting a restaurant, the packaged foods have been their biggest source. Overall, the average purchase value per customer has been going up, at least in the last quarter for sure.
Buyers are our customers who are the manufacturers of such packaged foods. The response has been good and there are expansions & investments regularly happening through. Yes, there are some delays since the market projections have been little varying and delayed, but the movement is definitely there and our product ranges are well moving. The point of encouragement is, the preference of consumers have changed slowly and steadily towards packaged food. Many reasons like well secured packs, clear scope to know more on the product, avoidance of any adulteration or spillage, meeting the food standards, etc. Moreover, with the social distancing alert is always there, people may avoid crowded places like restaurants and cafeterias and prefer to take packaged food. One more important reason is the rise of E-commerce in facilitating you to get what you want at your door step, in a more assured and convenient way.
Since our technologies are more in the league of packaging of cooked, ready to cook and ready to eat foods, we are definitely in a better position to meet the growing requirements in the industry. We have equipped with customer support teams across India with a central support from Mumbai to meet the customer needs. With a few credible decades of our investment in customer reach, care & support, with leading global products reaching with an affordable solution of product performance &support package, with the current trend in the industry of better acceptance of packaged foods, we have already realised a good response and are confident that this would be definitely progressive ahead.
3. What were some of the important measures you took to get back from lockdown and how did you serve you clients despite challenges of the lockdown?
Actually the measures taken by us during lockdown, helped us to get back from Lockdown with lesser challenges. Considering the scene of Pandemic and its extension over many months, we set our objectives straight and clear to meet the needs of the Essential Goods suppliers like Pharma & Food companies. The objective was to serve non-stop, despite lockdowns. Thanks to our 1000 plus Parle it’s who joined this mission and we were able to meet the requirements in a better manner. There were challenges as like any else would have faced, but pure planning, scheduling & executing helped us to meet what we wanted to, towards customer satisfaction. We had set a task force who were the key people to ensure that they are there at the levels of executing the needful as planned and scheduled. They had their sub-teams who were assigned with their role plays in line with the challenges that they could meet. Overall we had to work with limited workforce, limited logistics, limited vendor support, etc. in a nutshell ‘doing more with less’. The overall approach was pure sequential planning, tagging, labelling, monitoring, co-ordination, 360 degrees care in people/product/pack safety etc. were many customized ones that were the need of the hour and that has become the current rule of the whole operations.
4. COVID has thrown multiple challenges to manufacturers. What are some of the new innovations that has made this challenge into an opportunity?
Covid’s challenges are multi-dimensional and the impact has been severe and significant. But to the sector of food products in particular or the areas that we are associated, one of the major opportunity that we have realised is the ‘consciousness to Quality, Hygiene, Safety’. This in turn reflects in the kind of product that we consume, pack that is used to secure the product before it reaches us, etc. Innovative food packaging is the need of the hour, where information about the current state of the packaged food can be read, felt, seen, or smelt. Innovative food packaging is also done to ensure longer shelf life as new methods continue to emerge in efforts to delay the process of degeneration. Not only do safe and sustainable methods of packaging solutions provide a reliable method of protection and prevention during various stages like transportation, storage, retail and so on but they also ensure that environmental damage is limited. Trends like Nanomaterials usage in food & beverages packaging, introduction of newer type of packs, application of Robotic technology, Growth in the Retort packaging, PET packaging, Aseptic packaging etc. are some assured approaches that have been brought to use.
5. How do you compare B2B exhibitions in India and abroad especially with events in Germany and China? Do you see India emerging as the go to destinations of Packaging event?
B2B exhibitions are indeed a useful opportunity, a scope that can set your fortunes right and lead a path towards progress. The number of participants/exhibitors in the similar segment and around them, will be more beneficial to the whole match making process. The exposures with the events in Germany and China are different from the profiles of central linkage one with the former on a larger focus in Europe & the later in Asia. The profiles, scope, opportunities, etc. will play different. India has been an event already in various other fields. This market is unique and multiplexed. The economics, advancement and acceptance too are at different level playing field. Though we may not draw a direct course of line with the similarity and scope of events as that happens in Germany or China, from the point of a sizeable market and a destination point of view, the emerging India is one.