Before preparing a mesmerizing dish the Chef has to undergo the different set of trials to make it a perfect one. Likewise Mr. R.C Rastogi is one such chef of the Kraft liner board (KLB) in India who went through the series of challenges before churning out the kraft paper which has set the roads for steady corrugated boxes. Here we present the excerpt from his recipe book…………..
Joined paper industry as a management trainee after doing paper technology course from Saharanpur in 1972 and left
as a Chief Executive with the stint of 15 years. Belonging to the family of doctors Mr. R.C. Rastogi took up the challenge to set up a business enterprise. He started the commercial production in 1990 with an idea to produce a commodity which is easily saleable. Striking the opportunity of unavailability of high strength kraft paper in India he decided to make kraft liner board which is the right paper for making quality corrugated boxes.
Key Ingredients of his Recipe
According to Mr. Rastogi, the key ingredients of how to produce right paper are availability of right technology & right raw-material sourcing. In which his experience and knowledge helped in procuring right technology with customized equipment along with sourcing of right raw-material from abroad to produce KLB in India
Challenges faced during the successful recipe making
• Raw Material
In order to make high strength KLB from waste paper, he decided to import pre-consumer waste from US & Europe as there the virgin pulp is used in making paper. Being a small company it was a challenging task to source internationally. Further, as the containers came with mixed waste it was difficult to get it cleared through the customs authority but CPPRI helped by defining them the technical process. Adding further to this extracting pulp was another challenge as the waste contains impurities like poly lamination, foil coating, metalizing etc. Right technology for extracting these impurities was not available, so the technology was developed in house. The pulp was extracted in such a manner that it could match the international properties of virgin pulp.
• Awareness among the fraternity
In order to create awareness about KLB he organized seminars highlighting the benefits of KLB to the corrugators & the consumers i.e. MNC’s. His hard work paid as the economy was opening at that time and big electronic & FMCG companies were entering into the market, which created huge demand for better corrugated boxes. The conventional paper had some issues with their physical properties like getting cracked in summers or soggy in monsoons. After the acceptance of KLB, the challenge was to educate the corrugators how to use this paper on their existing machines. For which he worked closely with corrugators helping them understand the technical process of converting it.
Expertise and Practice
They have a very strong R&D department. Where, they undertake market study and make analysis on different subjects like the requirement of the markets, imports in the industry, market trends etc. Through customers feedbacks they develop the solution collectively. Moreover their specialization lies in identifying the raw-material and extracting pulp by eliminating the impurities and finally manufactures different specialized products.
New product development
Again eyeing the opportunity on the unavailability of quality hard tissue and poster paper, Khatema Fibres in 1995 entered. this segment after the success of KLB. In making tissue they used the same recipe as for the KLB i.e. identifying the right waste paper. Likewise they verified the fast food restaurant and imported poly-coated waste like poly cups, plates etc and again developed the technique to purify it in house.
Synopsis of the Indian Corrugation Industry
Since 1990 there is a radical change in the Indian corrugation industry with adoption of imported technology from China, Taiwan etc. capable of producing good quantities of corrugated boxes. But, one thing which is still lacking i.e. the corrugation industry is unorganized and there are no specifications for the corrugated boxes in any segment. So, it is very difficult to procure uniform quality liner board with respective specifications. Moreover most of the Indian corrugators don’t have the automatic line which creates chaos situation amongst the corrugators and the end user. So suggesting on the above Mr. R.C. Rastogi said “that corrugation community must have a forum, where they interact with the end-users which enables them to achieve the uniformity. Further, it would lead to certain benefits like cost minimization, waste control, right costing both for the converter and end user”.
Future of Packaging
I foresee in the next 5 – 10 years a drastic change in the automation level in the corrugating industry as there will be increased demand for the boxes produced on automated machines. As the departmental store or mall culture is coming in all the goods will be sold in the corrugated boxes. I see the very bright and promising future of the corrugated boxes.
We at Khatema Fibres want to establish ourselves as the specialty product manufacturer. We plan to study the international markets and try to develop the papers which are not produced in India.
Mr. Rastogi enlightened us with his path breaking learning’s:
• Firstly, one should know his subject and if you don’t know your subject then you will be lost.
• Secondly, one must go into the business in a very steady manner, financial stability is important. One should operate according to the available resources else a small mismatch will create lot of problems. So one must not over trade or expand very fast. Market is volatile and uncertain so one has to be cautious before expanding with the available resources.
• Thirdly, one must consider its buyers as partners in the business and be transparent with them. Your chain should be a partnership chain.
• Lastly, market is changing very rapidly, so one must keep pace with the new developments. Today’s specialized product may not be specialized tomorrow.
If one takes all these factors into consideration he may become a long term player in the game.
Age: 61 years
Qualification: Graduate in Paper Technology from IIT, Roorkee
Hobbies: listening old songs, watching movies, reading books, most importantly- workaholic