Cost-ef­fec­tive and 'green' pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions from NEFAB In­dia

NEFAB In­dia wants to be a prom­i­nent pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions provider to the auto in­dus­try.

Commercial Vehicle - - WHAT'S INSIDE - Story by: Anusha B

NEFAB In­dia wants to be prom­i­nent pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions provider to the auto in­dus­try.

The auto in­dus­try is highly price-sen­si­tive, and in need of pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions that are highly cost ef­fec­tive. To cater to these de­mands of the auto in­dus­try, NEFAB In­dia, a wholly-owned sub­sidiary of NEFAB AB, Swe­den, is of­fer­ing ‘green’ pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions. This, it is con­fi­dent of, will re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact and pack­ag­ing ma­te­rial con­tent. With­out let­ting the qual­ity of its prod­ucts slip, the com­pany is keen to pop­u­larise ‘green’ pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions. This is also a part of NEFAB In­dia’s strat­egy to be the most recog­nised in­dus­trial pack­ag­ing brand by 2020. For the auto in­dus­try, the lu­cra­tive part of the ‘green’ pack­ag­ing so­lu­tion the com­pany of­fers, ex­pressed Prasad Man­drolli, Mar­ket­ing Man­ager, NEFAB In­dia, is the re­cy­cleabil­ity of ma­te­ri­als. “Our busi­ness con­cept is all en­com­pas­sive. We want to of­fer com­plete pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions that re­duce to­tal cost, and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact,” men­tioned Prasad.

Lever­ag­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to ad­dress in­dus­try needs

An ISO 14001:2004 cer­ti­fied com­pany, Ban­ga­lore-based NEFAB In­dia is look­ing at ‘green’ pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions as a way to carve out a po­si­tion for it­self in a mar­ket that is dom­i­nated by un­or­gan­ised play­ers. Prasad is of the opin­ion, that the pack­ag­ing sec­tor is dom­i­nated by un­or­gan­ised play­ers that em­ploy cor­ru­gated, wooden and steel

fab­ri­ca­tion ma­te­ri­als. Only a few play­ers like NEFAB In­dia, claimed Prasad, in the or­gan­ised sec­tor, use ma­te­ri­als that are re­cy­clable. Scant re­spect for en­vi­ron­ment, and ex­ces­sive use of trop­i­cal wood, rain­for­est ply­wood, etc., is a given ac­cord­ing to him. Nei­ther is this sus­tain­able, nor is it good for the en­vi­ron­ment. It is not in keep­ing with the strate­gies that the auto in­dus­try is keen to rely on, stated Man­drolli. He opined that there is a need to get the pri­or­i­ties right. There is a need to an­a­lyse the im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment of the pack­ag­ing ma­ter­i­las used. The cost of pack­ag­ing is off­set by re­duc­ing the cost of dam­ages.

With man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties at Mane­sar, Pune and Chen­nai, NEFAB In­dia draws from the ex­pe­ri­ence of its par­ent in pro­vid­ing pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions to tele­com, en­ergy, in­dus­try, ve­hi­cles, health­care and aero­space in­dus­tries. Since 1949, the Swedish com­pany, which clocked a turnover of SEK

3.3 bil­lion in 2016, has grown from a prod­uct-ori­ented com­pany into a mar­ket-ori­ented com­pany. Spe­cial­is­ing in com­plete pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions that re­duce their cus­tomers’ to­tal costs while min­imis­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, the com­pany is keen to cre­ate a niche for it­self in In­dia. Aware that the pack­ag­ing in­dus­try in In­dia is de­void of ma­jor en­try bar­ri­ers and needs low in­vest­ment, NEFAB In­dia, averred Prasad, has found out that the un­or­gan­ised play­ers of­ten copy so­lu­tions and of­fer them at a lower price. This is a big chal­lenge, he opined. Con­fi­dent of carv­ing out a place in the auto in­dus­try in In­dia by ad­dress­ing their ex­act­ing needs, NEFAB In­dia, ac­cord­ing to Prasad is keen to ad­dress the need for stan­dard­i­s­a­tion, cost an sup­ply chain re­quire­ments. “The au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try is highly price-sen­si­tive and the pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions have to be cost ef­fec­tive. Stan­dard­i­s­a­tion is a need for this in­dus­try,”

he ex­plained. Prasad ex­plained that there is a need to of­fer cost-ef­fec­tive and in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions. He drew at­ten­tion to ser­vices like con­tainer load­ing and lash­ing that are cost-ef­fec­tive and help to elim­i­nate dam­ages.

Weather chal­lenges

Terming pack­ag­ing needs of the auto in­dus­try as sig­nif­i­cant, Prasad pointed at fac­tors like weather and im­pact. “To de­sign a pack­ag­ing so­lu­tion, im­pact and weather change has to be fac­tored in. In sea freight, due to con­den­sa­tion in­side a con­tainer, a phe­nom­e­non called ‘con­tainer rain­ing’ takes place,” he added. To ab­sorb mois­ture, use of con­tainer de­hu­mid­i­fy­ing agents like con­tainer des­ic­cants are sug­gested. Des­ic­cants ab­sorb

mois­ture present in the con­tainer and pre­vent ‘con­tainer rain­ing’ to af­fect the pack­ag­ing as well as the prod­uct. Weather chal­lenges also ap­ply to do­mes­tic move­ment. Quite of­ten, ‘close body’ con­tain­ers as pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions along with con­tainer des­ic­cants are ad­vised. Stress­ing upon the ba­sic func­tion of pack­ag­ing as a means to as­sist in prod­uct han­dling, Prasad said, “We de­sign pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions keep­ing in mind the sup­ply chain and to­tal cost of lo­gis­tics. This in­cludes multi-ma­te­rial engi­neer­ing. Typ­i­cally, the pack­ag­ing de­sign would vary for fork lift han­dling, sling, over­head crane and man­ual han­dling.”

En­tire sup­ply chain has to be con­sid­ered when a pack­ag­ing so­lu­tion is de­signed. This helps to op­ti­mise pack­ag­ing for var­i­ous modes of trans­port, stor­age and dis­tri­bu­tion. Pack­ag­ing is not just a box a de­signer de­signs; not for the auto in­dus­try for cer­tain. The com­plex shapes of auto in­dus­try prod­ucts, ag­gre­gates, etc., and their na­ture calls for

com­plex pack­ag­ing needs. A pack­ag­ing so­lu­tion there­fore has to be ac­cept­able in a sup­ply chain as well as con­firm to the needs of the auto man­u­fac­turer. Apart from the modes of trans­port, stor­age and dis­tri­bu­tion de­tails, there is a need to men­tion the prod­uct de­tails and han­dling pre­cau­tions.

It is of­ten the case that not one sin­gle pack­ag­ing ma­te­rial a man­u­fac­turer sug­gests to his client. It is ma­te­rial neu­tral. If there is a need, the man­u­fac­turer sug­gests a hy­brid so­lu­tion. This of­ten com­prises of two pack­ag­ing ma­te­ri­als. Typ­i­cally for an ex­pend­able flow, ply­wood, pinewood, OSB, cor­ru­gated boxes, pal­lets, etc., are sug­gested. Also sug­gested is a com­bi­na­tion of these pack­ag­ing ma­te­ri­als. For a re­turn­able flow, more sturdy ma­te­ri­als like steel, rugged wooden skids, plas­tic con­tain­ers, or a com­bi­na­tion are used to pro­vide a so­lu­tion. “All our pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions are RoHS, ISPM 15, FSC and E1 com­pli­ant, and suit­able for ex­ports to var­i­ous coun­tries,” ex­pressed Prasad. He said fur­ther, “There are sev­eral parts that go into the mak­ing of a ve­hi­cle. It is there­fore dif­fi­cult to have a stan­dard ques­tion­naire for pack­ag­ing de­sign. When de­sign­ing ex­pend­able pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions for au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try, we try to gather in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing prod­uct lo­gis­ti­cal flows, the sup­ply chain process and stor­age or shelf de­tails.”

Pack­ag­ing info

In the case of re­turn­able pack­ag­ing, the in­puts that are needed re­main more or less the same as that of an ex­pend­able pack­ag­ing so­lu­tion. The com­pany how­ever has to also con­cen­trate on gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion on project life, to and fro flow, and trans­port costs. Since re­turn­able pack­ag­ing in­volves cap­i­tal in­vest­ment, it would be use­ful to know the pay­back pe­riod and the Re­turn on In­vest­ment (RoI). Typ­i­cally, a re­turn­able pack­ag­ing so­lu­tion has a cer­tain life pe­riod. Re­turn­able flow should be eco­nom­i­cally vi­able as there are re­turn freight costs in­volved. The auto in­dus­try ac­counts for 15 per cent of the com­pany’s turnover ac­cord­ing to Prasad. It is steadily grow­ing. “We are not in­volved in direct ex­ports as of now. A ma­jor­ity of our cus­tomers use our pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions to ex­port their prod­ucts. As of now, a lit­tle over 50 per cent of our pack­ag­ing is used for ex­ports,” Prasad men­tioned. It is here that NEFAB In­dia is keen to of­fer ‘green’ pack­ag­ing so­lu­tions. It is look­ing at it as a way to un­der­stand as well as ad­dress the ex­act­ing needs of an au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try cus­tomer. Some­thing, which an or­gan­ised player can per­haps do bet­ter, and at­tach more value to.

⇦ Prasad Man­drolli, Mar­ket­ing Man­ager, NEFAB In­dia

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