Packman: A franchise chain in packaging
Paper price hike, sustainability, eCommerce and all else. Abhishek Muralidharan of WhatPackaging? speaks to Packman Packaging’s founder Gaurav Jalan
05 Jun 2021 | By Abhishek Muralidharan
With 30 years of experience in the industry, Greater Noida-based Packman Packaging has recently come up with the idea of a franchise model, where the company is helping entrepreneurs establish their identity by providing them funds to grow more in the packaging industry.
“The franchise model for Packman was created keeping a few things in mind. One of them was to associate more people with Packman and allow them to be a part of the business and eventually lead them towards financial independence. Also, from a business point of view, customers can directly purchase from a local franchise store rather than waiting for their product to reach them, which usually takes a few days,” Gaurav Jalan, founder of Packman Packaging, explains.
Like many other businesses, the ongoing pandemic threw up both challenges and opportunities for Packman. On the one hand, manufacturing declined followed by declining sales and revenue, which resulted in a loss as far as major packaging products were concerned. On the other hand, the company started manufacturing Covid care packaging last year during the lockdown. It was not a part of the company’s packaging manufacturing, but something that it always wanted to do. Soon, this gave rise to the idea of establishing a franchise, and gradually, it helped the company reach newer cities including Hyderabad, Tirupati, Chennai, Erode, and Kolkata.
According to Jalan, the company has witnessed 70% growth for its Covid-related safety production, with sales figures at 15%. Food packaging is growing at 50% with sales at 15%, electrical goods 10% with sales at 15%, eCommerce packaging at 20% with sales at 45% and fashion and lifestyle packaging at 10% with sales at 10%.
Packman has witnessed a 70% growth for its Covid-related safety production packages
Jalan says that Packman is not just a company that manufactures packaging boxes or packets but has a complete range of automatic and semi-automatic machinery required for all forms of packaging, along with printing machines. However, right now, the company is not looking at new investments in equipment, but in the form of a franchise chain.
Coming back to the business of packaging, what has been the immediate impact of the kraft price hike on Packman and the corrugated board ecosystem as a whole? Jalan says it was not just a kraft price hike but overall raw materials used for packaging saw a price hike. “It was mainly because of the lack of supply of raw materials. As a result, production dipped and manufacturers were forced to hike the price of their existing products,” he said.
He adds that with the price rise of raw materials, the company has tried to keep the prices to nominal compared to the rest of the market so that it could help both Packman and its customers during the difficult times.
Packman says that it has been helping its eCommerce clients to cut down on plastic packaging.
Of the substrates, Jalan believes corrugated packaging will be there in the future. “The reason is simple. People are now a lot more aware of environmental factors. And this is where corrugated boxes will be a part of the future packaging, as they can be recycled and reused. One of the major factors that manufacturers need to pay attention to is the handling of corrugated boxes in humid conditions. The impact of humidity often causes swelling, warp or distortion. It also weakens the adhesive that binds the flutes. These are the areas manufacturers need to pay attention to. Fortunately, countering those issues are neither expensive nor complicated,” he says.
The eCommerce segment saw a rapid boom amidst the pandemic? Has this translated into an increase in sales? Jalan argues that when the lockdown was implemented, even the eCommerce companies were mainly selling essential items. But he agrees that owing to these items, it marginally kept the sale flow alive. “However, it cannot be said that there were huge sales because of eCommerce companies, as only limited products were allowed to sell initially,” he says.
He adds, “Packman keeps the interests of its clients in the forefront and can proudly say that it was one of the initial companies who started providing customised services for each of its clients. It included the design of packaging, logo, shape, size, and colour of the boxes and packages. Some of the customised services include boxes of books, chocolate, and cake.”
The Greater Noida-based Packman has recently come up with the idea of a franchise model
Packman has been at the forefront of helping its eCommerce clients to cut down on plastic packaging. “Besides plastic packaging, there are other alternatives,” Jalan says. “We have been helping our clients with corrugated boxes, cloth bags, jute bags, and paper bags. And those products are sturdy too. Besides, the plastic courier bags we provide also maintain the quality of 60 microns.”
Sustainability will be a major topic of conversation post-pandemic. Jalan agrees. Sustainability is the future and it will be visible even beyond 2021, he says and lists some trends, including made to recycle products, replacing plastic with other materials and compostable or biodegradable products.
“Recycling will be the key. More stress would be given to manufacturing products that can be recycled easily. To be recyclable, packaging requires to be separable, labelled properly, and clean, which are simple criteria to satisfy,” he says, adding, “Plastic will be scarcely used and new alternatives would be available. One would soon see packages made out of mushrooms. The other trend would be the usage of compostable or biodegradable packaging. All materials in it are easy to break down.”
But are brands, especially the mid-sized ones, ready for the change?
Jalan says, “General people are becoming more aware of environmental issues and in the long run, everyone has to join this effort. The same applies to mid-sized brands. With time, one will see a boom for sustainable products in those sectors as well. Even now, several mid-sized brands have started using sustainable ways of packaging.”
Packman boasts its range of automatic and semi-automatic machinery required for all forms of packaging
He adds, “When we talk about sustainability and going green, it refers to eco-friendly manufacturing products. When one talks of eco-friendly, it means the products should be recyclable so that it can save raw material, such as paper by cutting down trees. Similarly, compostable or biodegradable bags, which unlike plastic bags are easy to break down, do not affect the environment. Packman has always considered doing business that not only benefits people but also the environment. Our corrugated products, biodegradable bags, and cloth bags are some of those examples.”
But Jalan agrees that as of now a lot of work needs to be done because awareness and education are important on this matter. Still, many businesses in India are run by those who are not educated on the subject.
“I am sure with time these people will also become aware and will start adopting those methods that work in favour of the environment. As far as Packman or its partners are concerned, specifically, the franchise, we are already using sustainable methods in most of our packaging products and that is being circulated in all corners of India,” he adds.
He suggests ways through which one can achieve targets for packaging waste. These include an emphasis on recycling; using reusable products; going for recycled, recyclable, compostable or biodegradable packaging; and going for products having minimal packaging.
Looking ahead, Packman’s immediate goal is to recover the losses and go for the position it was in pre-Covid days. “Recovering losses takes time. So, the initial focus is on the same. As far as growing is concerned, even during this period, we have been able to start franchises in different locations. Thus, the company would look to increase the same. It will not just be beneficial for the organisation in terms of revenue but more importantly, it will present an opportunity for people to get employment,” he said.