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By TPCI | April 23, 2020

IndusFood-Tech talks to Samir V Limaye, President-Institute of Packaging Machinery Manufacturers (IPMMI) of India, to know whether there can possibly be any opportunities for the Indian Plant and machinery manufacturing and packaging industry amidst the corona outbreak. Limaye shares his thoughts on the possible new normal, trends post the crisis and the future strategies for the revival.

With three decades of rich experience pre-dominantly in industrial packaging, automation, mechanical engineering and in B-to-B space, Samir V Limaye has been spearheading IPMMI as the President and Wimco Limited as the Vice President.

Indusfood-Tech: How do you see Covid-19 impacting the plant & machinery manufacturing industry? As an industry doyen, what future plans can you coin for revival?
Samir V Limaye: As things look at the moment, CapEx is certainly going to be muted. In-fact, for three to six months, customers and manufacturers are going to take care of cash management and managing within the resources. Manufacturing and packaging companies may be forced to take every day challenge, as it comes. Moreover, a lot depends on harvesting season now, as rains would predict the demand pick up. However, we see huge relocation of international manufacturing facilities to India and this opportunity must be en-cashed by India.

Indusfood-Tech: What do you see as a real-time issues in trans-shipment of raw materials and machineries in the industry?
SVL: The entire supply chain has been impacted in the wake of the pandemic. At the same time, the demand side is also impacted heavily. Indian logistics industry and material movement uses multi-modal transport and is quite complex. It may take some time to regularize. Moreover, forward and reverse logistics movement and capacity utilization both are key concern for smooth logistics. It shall pick up soon, however drying up inventory supply lines are a concern now.

Indusfood-Tech: Post crisis, how can the industry leaders gear up for the new reality? 
SVL: Human travel may be further impacted; working from remote may be a new normal! Machines diagnostics through digital methods is clearly a winner. Also, more factory and consumer automation adoption is expected to happen. Moreover, Healthcare and Hygiene will be a more critical expense area. Quiet obvious, dispensing machines and transportation may undergo a change over time. I see, intelligent machine and interactive machines are the future. Thus, Flexible Automation and factory mechanization has huge potentials in the days to come.

Indusfood-Tech: Is there any trend that you foresee to hit in the coming times?
SVL: One thing is sure that the single use of plastic may temporarily take back seat due to the fact that healthcare & hunger are taking more priority. In the packaging industry, home delivery and takeaway packing will be more prevailing norm for coming times. Thus, Ready-to-eat packing shall drive more growth. However, innovative pack styles to meet unique needs of the end-customer can be taken as a good opportunity. Moreover, Sustainable packing and post-consumer usage segregation and recycle shall take more prominence in mid-term and long-term.