The Covid-19 outbreak has further collapsed the already tumbling Indian economy. The country is shut since 25 March 2020 to contain the spread of the deadly virus. Most businesses across the country face an uncertain future. A few credit rating agencies have issued updates slashing the earlier GDP forecasts for FY 2021. Nevertheless, the International Monetary Fund’s projection of a 1.9% hike in India’s GDP growth for FY 2021-22 is the highest among the G-20 nations. Under the complete lockdown, less than a quarter of India’s US$ 2.8 trillion economies is functional. The printing and a large part of the packaging sector remain out of order during the lockdown.
“Nearly all industries have taken a major hit amid the coronavirus crisis, and ours is no exception. Although Packaging may witness steep growth after lockdown Cancellations & delays in shipment affect investments some of our customers have permission to operate only for the packaging of essentials, they are working with a limited workforce and not to full capacity. Every component of the supply chain has been affected, and the situation doesn’t seem likely to improve until things are back to normal. However, we are optimistic that once the situation is stable, the industry will revive. We’re sure that our customers will come up with aggressive strategies to make up for these unexpected losses,” says Shashank Surana, executive director of Indo-Polygraph Machinery, the supplier of Koenig & Bauer equipment in India.
Impact of drupa postponement on K&B
In an interview, Sabine Geldermann, the director of drupa, said that the industry responded to the postponement of drupa positively and accepted the decision taken by the organizers. She added that Messe Dusseldorf would take all possible measures to meet the expectations of its global customers in April 2021. In 2019, most printers across the country delayed their investment plans since drupa was scheduled in the next year. Usually, the year before drupa slows down investments from printers as they wait to invest in the new technologies that suppliers offer at drupa. “Drupa is and will remain the most important exhibition for us. Koenig & Bauer is always at the forefront of innovations at drupa. The postponing of the trade fair will surely have an impact on the global printing industry, as we usually see a trend that customers are always looking forward to making investments during drupa.
“Since 2020 was supposed to be a drupa year, printing investments in 2019 were relatively lower than normal. On top of that, with the ongoing coronavirus situation, project implementation is further delayed due to some cancellations and delays in shipments,” adds Surana.
Packaging to bounce back soon
Many observers believe that the packaging demand in the country will shoot up soon after the lockdown is lifted. As and when FMCG, cosmetics, and other industries ramp up production, there will be a rise in the demand for packaging of these consumer products. “I strongly believe that the demand for packaging will shoot up in the latter part of the year. The entire supply chain has been affected, and once things are back to normal, printers will make up for this dark period as the economy comes back on track. Post-lockdown, within almost two months, packaging printers will be under tremendous pressure to increase production,” explains Surana.
K&B’s ensures full support to its customers amidst lockdown
Press suppliers across the country are taking adequate steps to ensure that their customers do not face trouble during the lockdown. “As soon as we heard about the nation-wide lockdown, we got in touch with all our customers to provide them all the assistance they require. We have also provided them a preventive maintenance plan about what needs to be done before and after the lockdown to ensure optimal machine performance once the lockdown is lifted. Our factory in Radebuel, Germany, is fully operational – be it the service department or the assembly line,” says Surana.
As far as Koenig & Bauer, all the upgrades of its existing machines in the market will be incorporated as planned. This activity is irrespective of the delayed drupa. However, the new launches scheduled for drupa 2020 stand postponed till April 2021. Indo-Polygraph has ensured its engineers are stationed close to customers and have special permission to assist them amidst the lockdown. On the other hand, the remote assistance offered to K&B customers remains unaffected despite the coronavirus situation.