Left to right: Sachin Patil (BOBST) and ES Murali Krishnan, Production Manager, Ramco.
When Mahendran, Managing Director of Ramco Enterprises, decided to venture into the world of packaging back in 2010, the first thing he did was to buy a site in Navi Mumbai, India. The company then began to add machines to its portfolio. He hasn’t looked back since.
“BOBST, as a company, has been like a friend to us,” said Mahendran. “Their customer service team is readily available to resolve our machine problems,” he added.
The company was one of the first businesses in Mumbai to receive a Bobst Ambition A1 folder-gluer when it was installed in 2010. Most recently, Ramco has invested in an Ambition 106 A2. “We wanted to buy the Bobst Ambition106 A2 folder-gluer at a later stage, but ultimately thought investing now was the right thing to do,” said Mahendran. “Furthermore, the Bobst team explained the machine’s features and benefits well. This convinced us it was the right machine for us and it was the right time to invest – we were able to think of our business with a future perspective.”
Additionally, the company was offered a competitive price for its existing Ambition A1 folder-gluer simply by word of mouth. “The good reputation of the Ambition A1 resulted in us receiving a good price for our existing machine and accelerated our next machine purchase decision,” Mahendran said. He added that the transition from the older machine to the new one was smooth. Furthermore, confidence in the machine’s performance in the market, even as a secondhand machine has been great. “The machine’s attractive buyback price that we were offered along with Bobst’s guidance and assistance, even after the purchase of our first machine helped us make the final decision to upgrade,” he said. “To provide good customer service is a priority for us. We are able to cater to the needs of our customers due to our robust machines. They help us deliver jobs in a timely and consistent manner. Quality and reliability are maintained to the highest levels.”
The Bobst Ambition 106 A2 folder-gluer can handle jobs like straight line with open blank and with widths from 76mm to 1,060mm, as well as crash lock bottom open blank with widths from 146mm to 1,060mm, and with maximum production speed of up to 300 m/min. The variable speed-independent drive offers easy adjustment on the machines in real-time during operation, and therefore enables handling of a range of boxes, including four and six-corner lock-bottom boxes and value-added boxes.
“That is what we hope will be in demand in the next few years,” adds added ES Murali Krishnan, Production Manager, Ramco. “We look at the future with hope for improvement. We are gradually returning to normal post-pandemic and we hope that things will get back on track and there will be a boom in business. The Bobst service team has always been helpful and the customer care number is brilliant. They have always been readily available whenever we have needed them and have always been prompt to respond,”
Talking about the pandemic and its effects, Mahendran said, “We had some troubles during the first wave, as it was a completely new situation for everyone. Luckily, our plant was shut only for the initial 2-3 weeks, and upon the completion of all COVID formalities, we re-started operations instantly. We realised we were functioning better after we re-opened, despite having less staff, due to our automated machines. After the initial slowdown of three months, we were able to adapt, and now, we are functioning in full strength. Having survived this, we are now extremely resilient.”
About the changing consumption patterns during the pandemic, Mahendran said, “Consumption has not increased globally, because market off-take is comparatively low. For example, personal grooming products did not sell as much as they would have. India is a saving economy rather than a spending one. Only the bare necessities were purchased and consumed. Volumes were a bit down in the FMCG sector. However, the pharmaceutical and the food industry did quite well. Also, the movement of people between urban and rural areas due to the lockdowns and working-from-home situation increased the demand coming from the rural areas.”
So, what were the learnings from the pandemic? “We learned that if automation is well implemented, you can run a business with minimum manpower. Packaging, overall, is going to get more and more globalised with time. Upgrading, automation and innovation is the way forward and it is important for the next few years for any business,” concluded Mahendran.