ET PolymersJune - July 2020
You started your entrepreneurial journey about 13 years ago in 2007. What was the motivation behind turning an entrepreneur and how has been the journey so far?
I always feel proud to be a packaging professional, since I passionately believe packaging is the most contributing sector to the society. I started my career in 1984 in one of the country’s largest Papermills. For almost a decade I was in paper and paper board (BILT) industry. The real packaging saga started in 1994, when I was invited by Ballarpur Paper boards to Akerlaund & Rausing packaging, a Swedish global packaging firm, the innovator of expresso and liner cartons. Since then, I have been associated with packaging industry. Well, the technologies were old those days, but enthusiasm and spirit were always futuristic. We were making quality lined cartons for brands like AMUL, Brooke Bond Lipton Tea, Tata Tea, Heinz, Rasna, MDH masala etc. and exclusive expresso cartons to Reckitts & Benckiser. Memories are still fresh, of working with likes of Nick Hammer from Unilever on migration free packs for Wall’s international ice cream. Well, we have come a long way since then. Meeting the man of ‘White Revolution’ Dr. Kurien was a great experience.
A packaging convertor’s satisfaction cannot be measured in terms of turnovers and profits he achieves. I believe it comes out every time he lives up to his customers’ expectations, when he becomes part of a product innovation or a successful launch of a product with a great packaging in terms of aesthetics, design, and performance. Luckily, such instances are abundant throughout my career. Credit goes to my wonderful team members for all those achievements. Recognitions from likes of Mahashay Ji of MDH a quarter-century ago to CEOs of many pharma and FMCG companies of today’s industry are unforgettable forever. Technically, I became an entrepreneur in 2007 after establishing Ecobliss India, an Indo Dutch joint venture. The decade and half long assignments before were also of independent nature. It’s the collective effort of my colleagues (many of them have been with me for two decades or more) and the inspiration from Mr. Ron Linssen of Ecobliss International helped in setting up the organisation.
How important have been innovation and technical know-how in this journey?
Product packaging is considered as the silent salesman. An innovative package has an ability to attract the attention of a customer and boost product sales. Throughout my journey, my quest has been to think out of box, along with satisfying the basic needs packaging i.e., protect, preserve, and promote.
I could recall one such instance where we made some nice ‘transparent blister’ packs for tomato seeds, cotton & watermelon seeds. The combination of paperboard, plastic and aesthetically designed graphics aided the sales message silently yet very effectively. With this, customers could see the product before buying. I was fortunate to receive personal appreciation from Mr. Vindi Banga, the then president of Hindustan Lever Limited and his agribusiness head Mr. Venugopala Rao. I could recall Mr. Banga saying and I quote “Well done! जो दिखता है - वो बिकता है!” (That sells, which is seen).
Packaging is the first selling point of any product. Since Ecobliss specialises in pharmaceutical and healthcare packaging, what role do you think packaging plays for the products of these sectors?
Pharmaceutical industry approach today is more user-centric and has personalised focus evolving from traditional methods. Sensitive and potent drugs are on the rise! The designing of packaging and its labelling are being decided right at the product development keeping in view many factors like convenience, safety, patient adherence etc.
And those days the pharmaceutical packaging was limited to simple blisters and mono-cartons. With increasing demand of patient convenience, patient drug adherence, and new regulations, we specialise in the pharmaceutical wallet packs, physician samples etc., using a simple cold seal technology which was developed in Netherlands by my friend Ron Linnsen. Ecobliss wallet pack has a unique advantage i.e., as long as the last tablet, capsule or drug is consumed, the entire packaging is with the patient itself. This is not the case in regular mono carton. It acts in its own way as tamper evidence and aids the patient in drug adherence. For brand owners, it is a silent salesman.
One of the latest packaging which we have introduced lately is called Locked4kids where the packaging is designed to prevent children to access dangerous drugs yet adults can easily access. This concept won several international awards including CPHI pharma awards, Worldstar President award, Ameristar best of show award etc.,
What is your analysis of the blister and high-visibility packaging sector in India?
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June - July 2020