Why and how TechNova kept its plant open during the lockdown

Adhering to guidelines – safety measures to protecting its workers enabled TechNova to keep its plant running, C G Ramakrishnan, CEO of TechNova tells Noel D’Cunha

05 Jun 2020 | By Noel D'Cunha

Ramakrishnan: “We created a virtual war room with logistics, tech-support and sales team working 24x7.”

When the whole of India was under lockdown since 25 March 2020, still is, manufacturing kept right on going at India’s premier pre-media manufacturer-based plant in Taloja, Navi Mumbai.

Throughout the last eight weeks, four lockdown announcements, TechNova, the multi-product manufacturing company kept its plant running at 30% of its normal capacity with 50% employee strength, as stipulated by the government.   

As soon as the national lockdown was announced TechNova received requests from leading newspapers and publications to resume supplies, as print media is categorised under essential services, says Ramakrishnan “Print is an essential service, needed to provide authentic and timely information and news.”

Prepare for everything
TechNova approached the government authorities and obtained necessary permissions to operate its manufacturing plants, warehouses and transport vehicles for outbound distribution and inbound movement of the input materials.

“We put measures in place. Sanitation every hour at all the touchpoints, wearing protective gears including ubiquitous face masks and remaining two metres apart at all times were some of the steps we took while seeking to keep open the company,” says Ramakrishnan.

At the moment, running the plant means additional cost, but Ramakrishna says, the focus was on supporting our customers by keeping the production on without compromising the health and safety of our people. “As far as the additional costs are concerned, we will have to estimate those later and factor them in.”

Taking charge
The government guidelines were clear – people can travel but with proper documentation, should not be displaying symptoms of Covid-19, travel only by company buses point to point, among others. “We had to develop processes for the workers to travel and work in a safe and responsible manner, as also keep the areas where they work safer than before,” explained Ramakrishnan. “We created a virtual war room with logistics, tech-support and sales team working 24x7 to effectively meet customer needs.”

The results were steps affecting many aspects of workers’ routine, including eating place, toilet use, where to change into work clothes and regular temperature checks.

Some safety measures being taken by TechNova:

  • Regular disinfection of all contact surfaces in work areas and transport vehicles.
  • 24x7 availability of on-site medical services for employees.
  • Personal protective gear and sanitising consumables for mandatory use by all employees
  • Dedicated vehicles for pick up and drop of employees, ensuring social-distancing seating norms.
  • Social distancing measures at canteens, washrooms, and production offices
  • Work-shops with employees to educate them on preventive measures and hygiene guidelines as prescribed by WHO and UNICEF
  • Thermal scanning of every person at entry points
  • Mandatory handwashing at regular intervals
  • Hourly announcements on in-plant PA system on Safety do's and don'ts

While the entire country is in lockdown mode, Ramakrishnan says it is a matter of great pride for TechNova that it has overcome all hurdles. “We are glad we could keep our manufacturing operations open to ensure business continuity for our valued newspaper, publishing and packaging print customers,” Ramakrishnan concludes.

Pradeep Unny of Amar Ujala
Newspapers production contains multiple variables and manpower. So we implemented a system where only necessary staff come to the plant and produce the newspapers. Thus, employees come on alternate days.

On the other hand, the number of printing copies and pagination went down as well. Since the entire production has decreased, we don’t need manpower in full strength. There has not been much activity to report and there has been no advertisement.

After production, delivery is a big concern because newspapers are not allowed in many places due to Covid-19 infection. Most of the houses of the newspaper maintain stock for 45 days, so no worries on that front, especially when we are running our plant at 65% of its utilisation. On the other hand, our commercial print production is completely closed.

We use printing plates, printing blankets, ink-saving software and printing chemicals from TechNova and the company has managed trouble-free supply during the tough time.

Pradeep Unny

Gopal Poddar of Prabhat Khabar
It is a tough time for everyone, but newspaper production can’t be put on hold. So we are producing newspapers with full zeal. But it has been tough as allied industries are closed. However, TechNova has been helping us with printing plates and chemicals for pre-press and press. We are getting an uninterrupted supply for both from the company.

Most newspaper houses maintain stock for 30 to 45 days production and that stock was also helpful. We are producing the newspaper from our nine printing centres with half the regular pagination, as there is no activity in society. In this tough time, we and our suppliers have helped each other, especially in getting permissions and documents from local authorities.

While the page numbers have come down, the delivery of the newspaper has also been tough. Newspaper hawkers cannot deliver the papers in RED zones; it’s again loss for us. It seems that it’s a long haul and we have just entered into it. 


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