Sumant Singhal: Economic repercussions of Covid-19 would vary from company to company

PrintWeek asks Sumant Singhal, CEO, Chiripal Poly Films, how the company is dealing with the Covid-19 crisis

07 Apr 2020 | By PrintWeek Team

Sumant Singhal

How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your business? What will be the long-term repercussions?

There have been two stages of affect so far. First, when Covid-19 was largely present in China and some neighbouring countries, we helped our exports customers who were impacted because of the Chinese logistics issues. Secondly, when it started to spread the world over and post the lockdown, the overall Indian business was impacted. However, as we were covered under the essential category and with due permission from the concerned authority, we continued to run our production units and are supplying to FMCG and big converters who were allowed to run their production units. Lots of efforts went into keeping our production units safe. All the workers were provided with masks, sanitisers, thermal scanning of each and every individual was taken so that we can provide a safe environment to our staff. Almost everybody was staying inside the premises and were isolated and are not allowed to move outside of the premises.

There could be financial and economic repercussions of Covid-19 and it would vary from company to company, sector to sector and country to country. It would be a long lead time before the world will emerge from its impact. An all-round effort would be needed to come out of this situation which is unprecedented of recent times.

How is the manufacturing process going during the lockdown?

We were able to gauge the situation and were prepared for lockdown situation and had our inventories built up in February and March of various input resources. So far, we have been able to continue our production and supplies have been there, but most likely some resources would start to dry up largely because of logistics and labour issues.

These items are largely imported material which is stuck up due to logistics and some items are indigenous packaging material which would be impacted because of labour and logistics issue. We are working on the alternative solutions.

What steps can the government take to better the situation? 

There few steps which the government must ensure for the companies involved in essential supplies. These include increase of moratorium period to at least six months; reduction in interest rates and electricity tariff for one year; logistics support and back-end supply chain industry should not be impacted due to labour and logistic support.

Any message for the industry?

The world is witnessing a difficult time due to the pandemic Covid-19. People across the world are in isolation and are mostly locked in their houses. However, humankind has always evolved post these kind of difficult and challenging times. I personally see some changes will happen post Covid19 — paradigm power shift to emerging economies, heavy digitalisation across all sectors, lots of effort on medical care and innovation, minimalist lifestyle, emphasis on hygiene.

We think plastics played a huge role in this crisis, be it PPE masks, sanitiser bottles, packaged foods. Plastic was more boon than bane and the world will realise the importance of plastics in much better way than yesterday. Yes, recycling and circular economy will further improve and continue to evolve so that plastics leave as less carbon footprint as possible. We, at Chiripal Poly Films, are pledged to provide you affordable, sustainable solutions for your flexible packaging needs and are working through this difficult times to provide material for packing essential goods and also continue in future with best efforts.

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