Orange Printers on track to beat the pandemic blues

Thiruvananthapuram-based Orange Printers was one of the many affected during the Covid-induced lockdown. The company is now gearing towards the New Year with its 'Hope 2021' mantra.

Roy Thomas, managing director at Orange Printers shares his experiences and nightmares that he witnessed during the pandemic.

06 Jan 2021 | By Aultrin Vijay

Roy Thomas, managing director at Orange Printers

What happened when the PM announced the lockdown?
It was a shock as the number of jobs in process was getting hammered. Since the lockdown was put in place to contain the pandemic, we completely supported the decision.

Did you shut down your factory?
Yes. We had to shut down our factory initially, as there was no clear clarity about the lockdown rules of the first phase. But, we were partially operational after the first lockdown.

How did you inform your staff? And what did you inform them?
It was not a worrying factor, as the whole world was aware of what was happening. But we officially informed all our staff that the company would be shut until there was clarity on the lockdown. We made speedy and reliable arrangements for all our employees to reach their respective homes before the lockdown, and we made sure of all essential support for our other resident employees.

When did you start printing again?
We resumed operations slowly at the end of May 2020.

What did you print?
We started printing labels for sanitisers and hand-wash liquids. We also made tags and boxes for various mask manufacturing companies.

How much of your capacity are you utilising now?
We are utilising only 50% of our capacity right now.

What is happening to the print industry in Thiruvananthapuram?
In general, the print industry in our region has slowed down. The volume of printing jobs has come down drastically.

Was there anyone who was Covid-positive?
Yes. Some of our employees were tested positive, and all of them recovered.

Any supplier or trader who has been a huge support?
Our regular suppliers supported us during the troubled time.

What made you smile in these tough times?
Smiling in the face of a pandemic is not right. But there were moments of happiness when we witnessed progress in the label segment. Also, my employees' support and empathy were big moments to cherish during this catastrophic pandemic.

Your worst moment?
We had to deal with a machinery breakdown right after resuming operations post lockdown. It was the worst scenario because due to the travel and transport restrictions we couldn’t find any engineers or the right parts to put the machine back to production.

Where does your press stand now?
We are 50% active currently, and efforts are in progress to reach 80% capacity within the next six months.

Biggest disaster in this period according to you?
Drastic and immediate cost-cutting measures taken by the government and other major industries have affected the printing industry, with ready orders and contracts getting cancelled. We have been the victim of large print orders being cancelled without notice, which cost us heavily as we had already sourced raw materials for that particular job order.

Today on hindsight, what advice would you give to yourself in March?
Keep the hope alive and keep it afloat until you can sail faster.

Your wish for 2021...
We have already named our wish for 2021 as an internal project called ‘Hope 2021’, which involves employees and other stakeholders. It is a survival plan on a month-on-month basis with targeted sales activities and innovations.


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