In December 2018, Amcor opened a new home care packaging site in Bharuch, Gujarat. In an interview with Packaging360 team, Mr. Roy Joseph, Vice President and General Manager at Amcor India, talks on the company’s growth plans for Indian market and also highlights the high growth areas or sectors such as cosmetics, FMCG, and F&B, among others in India. Amcor is a global packaging company, which caters to different industries like medical-device, personal care, pharmaceutical, beverage and food, etc.
Mr. Joseph discusses about the new manufacturing plant and also throws light on the product portfolio as well as innovative packaging formats or structures that will be produced at the plant. He gives a brief description on the advanced technologies adopted by the plant.
He also talks on Amcor’s “Sustainability” initiatives and proactive steps taken by the company.
Roy Joseph, Vice President and General Manager at Amcor India
P360: Please enumerate the growth plans of Amcor to cater to the packaging requirements of the Indian market.
Roy Joseph: Amcor is committed to the Indian market where we expect to see increased capacity across our sites over the coming year.
Our efficient new factory in Bharuch, Gujarat forms part of a seven-year agreement with Unilever signed in 2017. We’ve made a substantial investment to build and equip the state-of-the-art Bharuch plant. The new plant is producing packaging for Unilever that will meet the rapidly evolving expectations of the company and the consumers who buy its products.
Amcor will introduce new product lines in the Western region of India in 2019 as part of our growth in the snacks and food category. We are also expanding our healthcare facility in Chakan, near Pune. We will also expand our footprint in the Southern region, with the de-bottlenecking of our Pondicherry site.
The starting point for growth at Amcor is the deep customer relationships we have in India and across the world. Each year we do more with our current customers, and our relationships continue to broaden and deepen. We have extensive relationships with the large, global customers in the FMCG space. Amcor’s value proposition with these customers is based on our ability to supply them around the world together with our continuous innovation.
At the same time, we have seen great success with smaller customers. Today these smaller brands are emerging as quickly as ever and capturing a disproportionate share of the growth in many product categories and Amcor is well positioned to support these customers with tailored solutions to meet their needs.
P360: Could you highlight the high growth areas or sectors (FMCG, F&B, Cosmetics, home care, pharmaceuticals etc.?) In India for the next 5 years?
R.J: Amcor’s business in India and the region offers a differentiated customer value proposition due to our broad network of plants and our ability to leverage the strong innovation capabilities of a global flexible packaging business. Across the region, the business has strong positions and generates attractive margins and returns.
We generate a significant amount of our sales each year, almost one third or about $3 billion, from emerging markets. Our emerging markets participation is diversified. We operate in 27 different emerging markets. This broad geographic footprint means we are uniquely positioned to support larger customers, who are becoming increasingly global themselves.
In India, Amcor has a strong presence in the food and beverage category, with more than 50% of our current volume derived from this segment. We are expecting to increase our presence in focussed subcategories, through a combination of additional capacity and new technology. We believe this will add value and provide cost benefits for our customers.
The homecare category in India is a growth opportunity for Amcor and we expect to see high demand in this segment. Our investment in the new facility in Bharuch, Gujarat is an example of our commitment to serve the homecare category.
Pharmaceuticals is one of the fastest growing categories in India. We see huge potential to grow in this segment. We serve the pharmaceutical market in India with a basket of products sourced from our global sites while also manufacturing locally at our facility in Chakan. We are expanding this facility in 2019 and will supplement our product offering with additional sourcing from Amcor’s global sites, especially in the medical packaging space.
P360: Could you explain the product portfolio from the new plant?
R.J: Our new flexible product-focused site in Bharuch, Gujarat will serve the homecare category in India. This plant employs new technology and a unique supply chain model. The site is expected to serve the entire country for this category, rather than just one or two regional markets. This has many benefits including product consistency, faster roll out of new products, and continued innovation.
P360: What are the innovative packaging formats / structures from the new plant?
R.J: The new site is expected to roll out structures that are fully recycle-ready. This replaces a current host of structures which may be difficult to recycle today. This is possible due to the deployment of new technology.
P360: Could you detail some of the advanced technologies adopted in this plant?
R.J: > Advanced flexo technology ensuring high quality outputs
> Solventless lamination handles substrate aimed structures that are recyclable
> An inspection systems workflow link minimizes and isolates potential defects
> Superior ink dispensing systems that deliver repeatability and reproducibility
> High standards in inks and solvents that ensure product safety across the supply chain
> A solvent recycling system ensuring zero discharge
> An energy efficient and automated ventilation system with centralized fire detection.
P360: Could you also highlight some of the best practices in this plant?
R.J: > Rain water harvesting system
> Automated solvent and plate handling systems
> Warehousing management systems integrated with distribution centers
P360: Please throw light on the “Sustainability” initiatives especially for the Indian market?
R.J: Sustainability is one of the most important consumer trends around the world and so it’s one of the most important opportunities for Amcor to further differentiate ourselves from our competitors.
First, we start with the conviction that packaging plays a vital role in the global supply chain for fast moving consumer goods, whether that’s by reducing food waste or by protecting and extending the shelf life of medical products. So of course, we believe in packaging, but we believe in responsible packaging, for example as lightweight as possible and with an end of life solution.
Responsible packaging means differentiated packaging and that’s why Amcor is uniquely positioned to develop products that will meet the increasing consumer demands for solutions that are environmentally sound.
In January 2018, Amcor became the first global packaging company pledging to develop all our packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025. We’re also committed to significantly increase our use of recycled materials, and to help drive greater recycling of packaging around the world. While much of our packaging is already recyclable or reusable, and we are designing packaging that uses less material in the first place, there is more to do. As the first packaging company to make such a pledge, we are aligned with major global brands, retailers and NGOs in making a shared commitment to address the challenge of plastics in the environment. The team at Amcor is enormously proud of this commitment and we are energized by the potential to position Amcor further ahead in our industry.
P360: What are your thoughts on plastics bans & proactive steps taken by Amcor to eliminate plastic waste?
R.J: Plastic pollution is a significant issue, and is primarily a result of poor waste management and recycling. Packaging is vital – and plastic packaging is often superior – for assuring the safety and performance of a variety of products from food to pharmaceutical consumer goods.
The packaging that Amcor makes is engineered with the right materials and design to protect products most efficiently, reducing waste and protecting consumers. Banning these types of primary plastic packaging is not the same as bans on items like shopping bags. Bans on primary packaging would often result in more product loss, larger amounts of waste and GHG emissions, and more risk for consumers.
With better waste management systems on both a local and national level, much of Amcor’s plastic packaging today could be recycled or reused.
Amcor is committed to developing and producing packaging that is better for the environment and consumers. We are also constantly improving the environmental efficiency of our global operations.
We were the first global packaging company to pledge to develop all our packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025. Amcor’s commitment to make all packaging recyclable by 2025 will effectively resolve concerns about non-recyclable multilayer packaging in India and around the world. This will help facilitate the collection and sorting of flexible plastic packaging for recycling, and also improve the economics of recycling these materials.
We are working hard to use significantly more recycled materials, driving greater recycling of packaging, and helping to diminish plastic waste overall.
P360: What are the knowledge & skill gaps identified in terms of manpower required for your plant operations & overall business?
R.J: Our new factory in Bharuch, Gujarat has introduced many new technologies to the Indian market, therefore building the skill and knowledge base of our workforce is crucial to running a successful and safe facility. Since this technology is already deployed in other Amcor sites, we have used these global facilities as training centers for our staff. We have also developed a curriculum to ensure our staff receive continuous training and upskilling. On the supply chain front, we are building a robust model customized to the Indian market with the support from our global team.