The pulp and paper industry is a major branch of Indian manufacturing that plays a critical role in the growth & development of the country. Yet during the last decade and a half, the industry has been overcome with economic, financial, and organizational dislocations that firms have found difficult to address. Among these are chronic problems of non-availability of good quality fibrous raw materials, high cost of basic inputs, environmental issues, poor brand image, human resource and infrastructure.
This brief history and characterization of the Paper Industry demonstrates a strong need for addressing its challenges and work on opportunities. The expertise and experience of industry leaders should be combined with fresh and independent perspectives and options that can pave the way for further development of the industry.
Faced with growing competition both within India and internationally, Indian firms have tended to respond to these difficulties through redoubled efforts to achieve greater economies of scale – strategies that typically rely on major capital investments (e.g., in newer and faster paper machines).
Workplace transformation or the organizational structures, management directions, and policies that collectively establish the work environment for those engaged in the development, manufacture, and delivery of product is another major challenge that needs attention.
Till now all paper companies have been ignoring the development of most critical component, which is their workforce or men as per 3M concept. Organizational changes aimed at developing more effective management structures and more flexible work systems are needed to achieve the higher levels of quality and productivity.
At present there is unavailability of skilled manpower due to:
• monotonous post working life
• very long & unpredictable working hours
• lack of “up to date technology & automation”
• lack of education & health facility in many units in rural areas
• remote location
• lack of transparent talent management process
Paper Industry leaders know that the pursuit of such knowledge can no longer focus primarily on the purely technological issues facing the industry. Nor can improved understanding be driven mainly by such a high degree of intuitive, distant advice as in the past. Instead, a dedicated effort is required to bring objective, fact-based, observation-driven, in-depth assessments to a wide array of non-technological issues, as have been identified above.
Strategies to address Manpower/HR issues in Pulp & paper Industry:
1. This problem cannot be tackled at individual company level. The industry should plan to introduce HRD programs wherein specialized training could be imparted to enhance the skills & knowledge of manpower.
2. Pulp & Paper companies should work towards enhancing their image from a polluter of environment to a contributor to economic growth.
3. Companies should actively participate in GPTW, Best Employer’s in India & Dream Companies to Work For, surveys and continue to improve their working practices thereby attracting best talent.
4. Specialized courses in pulping & papermaking can be started by other IIT’s on the lines of IIT Roorkee. This will not only lead to increased availability of manpower in this sector, however, would also promote healthy competition & fulfill the demand of this sector.
5. Improving the quality of life of workers will also help in addressing the manpower crisis.
6. Transparency in talent management process.