Monthly Archives: December 2015

5 Reasons Why Flexible Packaging is a HIT!

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Skilling India: Addressing manufacturing sector’s dire need to source skilled labour

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Ashok Chaturvedi

My interactions with the Human Resource Department of my organization has for many years been primarily centered on attracting, hiring, training and retaining skilled workers at our manufacturing plants. Everyone in the manufacturing sector would agree that it is not capital, but finding skilled labour that is the biggest challenge confronting the growth of the sector.

According to National Skill Development Corporation’s (NSDC), India will need to add 109.73 million people by 2022 to cater to 24 crucial sectors in the country.  Currently the employment in those 24 sectors stands at 460 million and is expected to rise to 580 million by 2022.Around 240 million people are engaged in the agricultural sector while 220 million are in the non-agriculture sector. However, by 2022 the number of people dependant on agriculture is likely to shrink to 215 million, while the need of the non-Agri sector is expected to rise to 365 million. The mandate is clear, if we wish to augment the share of manufacturing in our GDP from the current 12.5% to 20%, skilled labour is one of the biggest issues that would need to be addressed with a sense of urgency.

Much has been written about the problems around getting skilled labour in the country, but I think the following four problems have considerably held us back. I strongly believe that the solution pretty much lies in the womb of the problem itself; therefore it is extremely important to identify the stumbling blocks. In the next few paragraphs I endeavour to identify the issues and suggest the remedial measures too.

Vocational education gets secondary treatment – One of the biggest problems for skilling people in the country is that the vocational education system is not attractive enough. Youth across the country still prefer traditional educational and technical degrees, even if it means they would remain unemployed for the lack of relevant skills. I have nothing against our education system, but it is clear that it does not produce the masons, the welders, the fork lift operators that the manufacturing sector of the country needs. Vocational education for acquiring a skill is often the last resort and is taken up when all other options have been exhausted. For the want of the growth rate that we are aspiring for, it is absolutely important that vocational training is systematically interwoven in the state curriculum at high school, senior secondary and under graduate levels.

Not a career choice – Like education, a vocation that leads someone to become a carpenter, an electrician, plumber is not a natural career choice. Even people engaged in such professions want their children to grow up and do something so called ‘better’. Doctor, engineer, management professionals are still the much sought after career choices. In fact, our society does not appreciate the role of skilled labour and someone working in a factory is largely viewed as much inferior from someone working in a consultancy firm. The perceptive barrier between white collared workers and blue collared workers is widening. It is a pity. As long as this mentality exists, it won’t be easy to get moving.  In fact starting early is the best remedy. If right from junior classes at school the emphasis of vocational education and training (VET) is distinctly explained then this mentality can be nipped to a great extent.

Regular initiatives must be undertaken by the Government and Corporate alike to explain the merits of vocational streams and the career opportunities arising out of them. Media can also play an important and responsible role in disseminating accurate and timely information to aspirants to make an informed career choice.

Brain drain – Under NSDC, lakhs of youth in the country have been trained under sector specific skill councils. However certain skill sets, especially in the nursing and construction sectors, see a steady egress of such skilled individuals from the country migrating to a different country for better employment prospects. For example the construction boom in the Middle East and better opportunities in Europe and the United States of America for nurses have caused much of the brain drain. We spend a lot of time and resources to get people skilled and it does not help us in any way when such individuals leave the country and take the leap. While we may aspire to be the global supplier of skilled workforce, but our own urgent needs force us to find a way to plug this problem in a rather sustainable manner. The Government and Corporate must leave no stone unturned to ensure reverse talent flow for arresting brain drain with a sense of urgency. Here I would like to particularly applaud, the Make in India initiative of Central Government that is poised to be the real game changer for Indian economy.

Standards – While skilling has been the priority and we have started the process on a war footing, for some reason we have failed to set the specific standards and competencies required for various job roles. This means that though the people may be skilled, but the industry has no means or measure to assess their mettle. . As a result, it has been observed that in several cases even the skilled people fell short of expertise required for a particular job role. However, with the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) this issue will be tackled to a great extent as the competency for each job will be duly determined. This in turn will enable everybody to map out the career progression and assess the skill –set relative to the requirement.

The need to skill people cannot be the prerogative of the government alone and there has to be greater private engagement and constructive participation. We in the industry have realized that we need to actively engage with the Government for the road ahead. A way forward has been the consultations between Government and industry to unanimously decide on the type of trained workforce we need and the minimum standards that would be expected.

The key to most problems lies in making skill training appealing to youth and ensuring general education and vocational education do not function in silos. The Industry  will have to play a greater role in supporting ITIs, setting standards for jobs and ensuring we give the qualitative and quantitative impetus to skilled labour in the country. With concerted efforts by Government and Industry towards skill building initiatives, we can ensure that India’s growth story continues unhindered.

Uflex acclaimed and awarded by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for superior ‘Innovation’

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The organization where Innovation holds the place of pride and is factored in every single strategic decision has been acclaimed by the top industry body, CII.

Recently, India’s largest flexible packaging company has been conferred with the CII Industrial Innovation Award 2015 in the ‘Manufacturing-Large Enterprise’ category.  The company has also ranked in Top 25 innovative organizations declared by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The award ceremony was recently held in the National Capital. CII Industrial Innovation Awards mark the recognition & celebration of innovative Indian Enterprises across industry segments. These awards encourage innovation and business growth besides recognizing innovation excellence on the global turf. These awards acknowledge innovation in processes, products and services alike that have fuelled growth through new ideas and approaches along with tangible results in the preceding years. CII Industrial Innovation Awards are a testament to Indian Industry’s brightest stars and top innovative organizations in the country.

Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman and Managing Director, Uflex Limited in an official statement said “It is a defining moment for Uflex to have been awarded for innovation by none other than the loudest voice in the industry—The ‘Confederation of Indian Industry’. Innovation to create differentiation is a way of life at my organization. We relentlessly innovate to bring out the best flexible packaging solutions to the strategic advantage of our clients spread across the globe. This coupled up with ‘Speed to market reach’ and ‘proximity to customers’ further lend that competitive edge to us. We will continue to delight all stakeholders by adding value in everything we do.”

Five reasons why Flexible Packaging has left the modern consumers ‘BESOTTED’

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Flexible packaging continues its stellar growth in the industry and topping the popularity charts amongst the manufacturers and consumers alike.

There are several important factors that have contributed to the ever rising popularity of flexible packaging since it first hit the market.

1) Source reduction

Flexible packaging production requires less materials and less energy than other types of packaging. Being light in weight it adds less weight to the packaged product and has a high product to package ratio. At the time of transportation, the light weight aspect plays a major role in cutting costs and reduction of carbon footprint, thereby being a comparatively sustainable option when compared to rigid packaging.  Flexible packaging provides significant reduction in costs; raw materials used and transport costs besides offering several performance advantages over rigid packaging. Use of flexible packaging can significantly minimize package transport costs between the converter, packer/filler, retailer and end user. Not only do flexible packs take up less space when empty as compared to rigid containers, but can also be formed on the spot from roll materials at the filling location, thereby economizing transportation of ready-formed empty packaging.  Post consumer waste can be re-processed further contributing to the circular economy.

2) Longer shelf life      

Materials like BOPET, BOPP, EVOH and PA have been demonstrating high growth owing to their barrier properties. Almost all brands demand packaging that ensures longer shelf life and greater protection for their produce.Protection from contamination and deterioration throughout its shelf life is also an integral part of flexible packaging.Intelligent packaging is designed to be able to detect food contamination and change of color incase the food is not fit for consumption by the consumer. Scientifically, barrier properties play a pivotal role in determining the effectiveness of any pack.

3) Ease in molding and designing

This form of packaging provides the liberty to mould it into unique sizes and shapes. The usage of flexible packaging is vast and versatile, unlike other packaging formats that cater to a limited set of products or a niche segment. This form of packaging also enables a printable surface so that brands are able to determine how much of the product to showcase, while maintaining brand impact.

4) Convenient for consumers

Flexible packaging happens to be the only source that has a high standard of functionality and sustainability making it perfect for the on-the-go consumers. Flexible packaging today offers a variety of packaging options that has shrink sleeves, re-sealable/ re-closable option,  zip pouches, stand up pouches etc which are highly functional and convenient for today’s consumers.

5) Sustainability

Sustainable ideas and environment friendly packaging occupy a mammoth concern for the flexible packaging companies across the world. Much of flexible packaging’s sustainability comes from the fact that it has reduced materials usage and lighter weight. There is less wastage and less use of energy and water at the manufacturing level.

India’s largest flexible packaging company Uflex Ltd. has been a pioneer in setting benchmarks for delivering innovative packaging concepts that ensure safety and viability of the packaged product through its life cycle.

Uflex offers technologically superior packaging solutions for a wide variety of products such as snack foods, candy and confectionery, sugar, rice & other cereals, beverages, tea & coffee, dessert mixes, noodles, wheat flour, soaps and detergents, shampoos & conditioners, vegetable oil, spices, marinates & pastes, cheese & dairy products, frozen food, sea food, meat, anti-fog, pet food, pharmaceuticals, contraceptives, garden fertilizers and plant nutrients, motor oil and lubricants, automotive and engineering components etc.Some of Uflex’s clients on the global turf include P&G, PepsiCo; Tata Global; Mondelez, L’ Oreal, Britannia, Haldiram’s, Amul, Kimberly Clark, Ferro Rocher, Perfetti, GSK, Nestle, Agrotech Foods, Coca Cola, Wrigley, Johnson & Johnson among others.

UFLEX conferred with ‘World’s Greatest Brand, 2015 – Asia & GCC’ CMD, ASHOK CHATURVEDI honored with ‘World’s Greatest Leader, 2015- Asia & GCC’

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Winning yet another accolade before the year draws to a close, India’s largest flexible packaging company Uflex has been conferred with the World’s Greatest Brand, 2015—Asia & GCC’in the Flexible Packaging category. The organization’s Chairman & Managing Director Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi has been honored with ‘World’s Greatest Leader, 2015—Asia & GCC’.

The awards were conferred in a star-studded event held at Jumeirah, Dubai with His Highness Sheikh Mubarak Al Nahyan – Minister of Community Development & Youth UAE; His Excellency TP Seetharam- Indian Ambassador to UAE; H.E. Mr. Anshuman Bhushan- Counsel General of India to Dubai and Mr. Kamal Nath- Former Minister of Commerce, Republic of India in attendance along with several other bigwigs.

The award ceremony was a part of the two day Indo-UAE Business Summit 2015 that saw some of the brilliant minds from Asia converging. The most powerful leaders from all genres of Business, Politics, Sports, Entertainment and Fashion were seen at the summit. The event also commemorated UAE’s 44th National Day.

Besides India, Uflex has state-of-the-art plastic film manufacturing facilities in Dubai, Mexico, Poland, Egypt and Kentucky. This award holds all the more symbolic significance for Uflex as Dubai happens to be the first plant outside India that the organization ventured into back in 2005. The idea behind reaching out to new geographies was to increase proximity to customers to be able to offer just in time deliveries. The manufacturing plant in Jebel Ali, Dubai is held by Flex Middle East FZE – a 100% subsidiary of Uflex. Flex Middle East’s Polyester film lines have an installed capacity of producing 52,000 MT per annum to serve the quality conscious customers of Middle East and Europe. Additionally two state-of-the-art plasma enhanced high-barrier metallizers have the capacity to produce 12,000 MT per annum of metalized film. The Net Revenue from the Dubai plant stood in excess of 100 million USD for the financial year ended 31 March 2015.

Uflex was adjudged the Best Brand in ‘Flexible Packaging’ segment owing to increasing brand equity, operational excellence, superior innovation quotient, quicker time to market and overall customer delight. Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, who is revered as the ‘Father of Flexible Packaging Industry’ in India is an acclaimed business leader with unparalleled dynamism, passion, conviction and commitment to excellence was an undisputable choice as the World’s Greatest Leader, 2015 – Asia & GCC spearheading the flexible packaging revolution in India and overseas.

Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi in an official statement said, “I am humbled by this prestigious conferral. I would like to thank all stakeholders for making Uflex reach where it has today.  The fact that we are getting this award in Dubai exactly 10 years after we set up the polyester film manufacturing facility here gives me twice the pleasure.

The award reinvigorates our commitment to excellence and further inspires us to serve our global clientele with the best in class flexible packaging solutions. With the sharpest brains and the most contemporary technology by our side we will keep innovating for yet superior products with an unwavering focus on adding value to our customers’ businesses. Uflex has come a long way to become ‘A part of your daily life’ and will further go a long way to touch many more lives.”