Bharti Aggarwal and her art of selling

Bharti Aggarwal, director, sales, NBG Printographic Machinery, and winner, Sales Champion of the Year, explains her workflow of creating a seamless customer experience

15 May 2024 | By PrintWeek Team

Bharti Aggarwal, NBG Printographic Machinery

How would you describe the feeling of winning this award?
It was an incredibly gratifying and humbling experience for me. I was deliriously happy when I received the news, because it symbolised the culmination of hard work, dedication, and the support from my mentors and family.I owe a significant debt of gratitude to my father, Dr S.K. Garg, whose unwavering belief in me and constant encouragement propelled me forward. His guidance and wisdom have been invaluable in shaping my career.

I am also deeply grateful to Mr. Nitin Garg, the director of NBG, whose leadership and mentorship have been instrumental in my professional growth. His support and guidance have enabled me to navigate the complexities of the sales landscape and achieve success.

Overall, winning the Sales Champion of the Year Award fills me with immense pride and serves as a testament to the collective efforts of my mentors and family. It is a reminder of the importance of perseverance, determination, and the invaluable support of those who believe in you.

Under your sales leadership, NBG has secured its position as a market leader in the paper bag segment, boasting an impressive market share of over 35% amongst manufacturers and suppliers in India. In terms of installations, what is the success rate of the semi-automatic paper bag machine of the Quad which NBG manufactures in its India factory?
The success rate of the semi-automatic paper bag machine is exceptional, with a track record of multiple installations across various client sites. This success is attributed to NBG's systematic approach, which emphasises acquiring customers and providing comprehensive technical knowledge and support.

With a focus on product launches, NBG ensures careful consideration of market segments where we have manufacturing or trading expertise. This approach ensures that new products are introduced strategically to meet the expansion needs of diverse segments while maintaining sustainability and productivity.

Recognising the complexities involved in sustaining quality and productivity across installations, especially with trading partner machines, NBG invests significant time and resources into understanding these intricacies. By collaborating with our technical team and channel partners, we ensure that every installation meets our standards for productivity and sustainability.

In summary, NBG's success in the paper bag segment, including the installations of the semi-automatic paper bag machines, reflects our commitment to providing exceptional products, technical expertise, and support to our clients, ultimately solidifying our position as a market leader in India.

Which paper bag segment is seeing maximum traction?|
The paper bag segment encompasses various types of handles, each with its own benefits and applications. While the flat handle paper bags have gained popularity because of convenience, branding opportunities, and environmental sustainability — it's essential to recognize that other handle types, such as twisted handles, also have their advantages.

Twisted handle paper bags offer enhanced durability and strength because of the tightly twisted paper material, making them suitable for carrying heavier items. Additionally, the twisting process can save time and resources compared to other handle types.

Both flat-handle and twisted-handle paper bags cater to different needs in the market. While flat handle paper bags may have a sleek appearance and offer benefits like space-saving during transportation, twisted handle paper bags excel in terms of durability and are cost-effective.

Ultimately, the choice of the handle type depends on factors like the intended use of the bag, customer preferences, and branding considerations. As the paper bag market continues to grow and evolve, both flat-handle and twisted-handle paper bags are likely to remain in demand, each serving its own niche within the industry.

How to design a seamless customer experience? What sort of workflow do you have for production planning and cost estimating?
Designing a seamless customer experience involves understanding your customers' needs, preferences, and challenges at every touchpoint of their journey with your product or service. I have in mind a simple workflow which I use to create a seamless customer experience.

The first is customer research and understanding. Here, we conduct market research to understand customer preferences, behaviours, and pain points. We gather feedback from existing customers, and map out the customer journey from initial contact to post-purchase support. It is useful to identify key touchpoints where customers interact with your product or service.

Next, we streamline the ordering process. We provide clear and concise instructions, and use efficient production planning to optimise resource utilisation and minimise lead times.

Cost estimation is important too — to account for the cost of  materials, labour, overhead, and other expenses associated with production. Using historical data and industry benchmarks helps estimate costs accurately.

We provide transparent pricing information to customers, including itemised costs and any additional fees. We clearly communicate any factors that may affect pricing, such as customization options or volume discounts.

We implement quality control measures to ensure that products meet or exceed customer expectations. We conduct regular inspections throughout the production process to identify and address any issues. We provide easy access to customer service channels.

By following this workflow and prioritising customer needs throughout the production planning and cost-estimating process, you can create a seamless customer experience that fosters loyalty and satisfaction.

You have been traversing the country, engaging directly with clients and spending time on the production floor. What are three big transformations which you have seen that will have a long-term impact on our industry?
Having engaged directly with clients and spending time on production floors across the country, I've observed three major transformations in the packaging industry that will have a significant long-term impact.

The first is a noticeable shift towards sustainable packaging solutions driven by increasing environmental consciousness among consumers and regulatory pressures. Companies are adopting eco-friendly materials such as biodegradable recyclable paper to reduce their environmental footprint. Sustainable packaging practices not only align with corporate social responsibility goals but also appeal to environmentally conscious consumers — influencing their purchasing decisions.

Digital printing technology has revolutionised the packaging industry by enabling high-quality, cost-effective, and flexible printing solutions. Brands are leveraging digital printing capabilities to create personalised and customised packaging designs, catering to niche markets and enhancing brand recognition. This trend towards customisation allows for shorter production runs, faster turnaround times, and greater design versatility — meeting the evolving needs of brands and consumers alike.

Smart packaging technologies — including QR codes — are being increasingly integrated into packaging solutions. These technologies enable enhanced product traceability, authentication, and interactive consumer experiences — driving engagement and loyalty. Smart packaging also facilitates supply chain optimisation, inventory management, and real-time data analytics, leading to improved operational efficiency and cost savings.

These transformations underscore the evolving landscape of the packaging industry, characterised by a heightened focus on sustainability, customisation, and innovation. Embracing these changes and leveraging emerging technologies will be essential for companies to stay competitive and meet the evolving demands of consumers and markets in the long term.

What, according to you, is the present industry scenario for rigid boxes?
The rigid box industry is experiencing rapid expansion, fueled by a demand for high-end packaging solutions across industries such as food and beverage, electronics, cosmetics, and consumer goods. Innovations in design, including collapsible boxes, and advancements in machine automation are reshaping production processes, leading to increased efficiency and reduced labor costs. 

With businesses placing greater emphasis on brand positioning and distinctiveness, the demand for aesthetically pleasing and customised rigid boxes is on the rise, indicating a vast scope for future growth in the industry. For instance, new machines capable of producing both the top and bottom parts of a box in one go are streamlining production, reducing labor requirements, and optimising inventory management. With these advancements and a growing demand for premium packaging solutions, the rigid box industry holds immense potential for future growth.

What are the specific sales strategies that you adopted in NBG when you interact with customers in the metros versus non metros?
Our sales approach in metro areas focuses on highlighting the advanced features and capabilities of our products, emphasising innovation, customisation, and technological advancements. We prioritise building strong relationships with key stakeholders — such as decision-makers in large corporations — by offering personalised consultations, demonstrations, and after-sales support services.

In non-metro areas, customers may have limited access to resources and may prioritise affordability and simplicity in their purchase decisions. Our sales strategy in non-metro areas emphasises the value proposition of our products, focusing on cost-effectiveness, durability, and ease of use. Building trust and credibility with customers in non-metro areas is crucial, and we achieve this through transparent communication, local partnerships, and providing reliable support services.

Overall, our sales strategies aim to meet the diverse needs of customers in both metro and non-metro areas by adapting our approach based on their unique requirements, preferences, and market dynamics. By prioritising customer satisfaction and delivering tailored solutions, we strive to build lasting relationships and drive growth across all segments of the market.

India is a large consumer of packaged items. What are the growth prospects for packaging in India? How can brands be grown in today’s ‘ever-changing landscape’. What is one thing NBG is doing in this regard?
The growth prospects for packaging in India are highly promising, driven by various factors such as the rapid expansion of consumer markets, particularly in processed food, personal care, and pharmaceutical industries. As one of the fastest-growing sectors in India, the packaging industry has become a key driver of technology and innovation, contributing significantly to various manufacturing sectors, including agriculture and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).

India's growing population, coupled with increasing income levels, is driving higher consumption across various industries, leading to an increased demand for packaging solutions.

Changing lifestyles and preferences are also influencing consumer behaviour, resulting in a shift towards packaged products, thereby fueling the demand for innovative and attractive packaging solutions.

Urbanisation and improved media penetration, especially through the Internet and television, are driving demand for packaged products, even in rural areas. This trend is expected to bolster the demand for packaging solutions in India. 

To capitalise on these growth opportunities and navigate the ever-changing landscape, NBG has adopted innovative strategies that focus on understanding consumer needs, embracing technology and innovation, incorporating sustainable practices, and being involved in client support and counselling.

In summary, as the packaging industry in India continues to grow, brands that embrace innovation, sustainability, and client support are well-positioned to thrive in today's ever-changing landscape. 

Is NBG on track to double its sales in the Drupa year? What are your strategies for innovation, pricing and customer support?
Yes, NBG is on track to double its sales in the Drupa year. Our strategies for innovation, pricing, and customer support are integral to achieving this goal.

We prioritise innovation by continuously investing in research and development to introduce new products and technologies. Our advanced technology team consistently works on enhancing machine capabilities, improving efficiency, and meeting evolving customer needs. Launching new products like wide-web flexo , combi press and narrow-web flexo demonstrates our commitment to innovation and keeps us ahead in the market.

We adopt a strategic pricing approach that considers market dynamics, competition, and value proposition. While ensuring our pricing remains competitive, we also focus on providing value-added features and benefits to customers. By offering innovative solutions at competitive prices, we aim to capture a larger share of the market and drive sales growth.

Exceptional customer support is at the core of our business strategy. We believe in building long-term relationships with our customers by providing comprehensive support throughout their journey. From pre-sales consultations to after-sales service and technical assistance, we ensure that our customers receive the assistance they need to maximize the performance of our machines. Our participation in events like Drupa allows us to engage with customers, gather feedback, and strengthen our customer relationships.

Overall, NBG's focus on innovation, competitive pricing, and superior customer support positions us for success in doubling our sales during the Drupa year and beyond. We remain committed to delivering cutting-edge solutions and unparalleled service to our customers, driving growth and leadership in the industry.