We have to cut down our costs regardless of paper price increase. We have got to deliver on time. We have got to be always amenable, friendly and another one which is not so urgent but which is coming soon. We have got to think of the safety. We have the responsibility to make sure our product safe for the community to use. So all these are the difficulties for us but now there is an opportunity and which has also popped because of the financial crisis. We need to change.
When I first came to the industry, not being a box manufacturer, I told my boss we have to change this and change that. Then someone complained. Wong do not poke your nose into everybody’s affair. We have been making money why the hell we need to change? We are doing okay. We are making tons of money. So then I asked my boss. He was at that time 55. He started as an apprentice in the box plant walking to the factory, later on riding bicycle, then riding motor bike. When I asked him how do you come to the factory, he said by car. Then I told him you got to change and go back to bicycle. You cannot maintain your mercedes benz, you have to go back to riding bicycle. But if you keep on changing, one day you can arrive in helicopter to your office. If you don’t change you have to go for the bicycle at that time too old to ride. You have got to change because of the crisis. We have to improve our efficiency when we are vulnerable. You have to keep on improving.
Our industry has to make boxes as per order. Actually it is not manufacturing. It becomes servicing sector more than manufacturing. So if we are being squeezed by the order, there is no choice. Either you want this job or you are out of this industry. But there is something, which is non?packaging ? where we make our own product.
In this area, there is a big potential. But unfortunately we don’t have good marketing men. In the developed countries, all the goods, vegetables, whatever, they are using corrugated but over here in India even in Singapore they are using bamboo baskets or banana leaf to pack. There is plenty of potential. We can change it, of course it takes time. A lot of people say well in Bangkok for export they are using boxes, but for domestic transport they are using banana leaf. Big baskets loaded up to whole lorry height but when arrived 20% cannot be used, squeezed out. But in the corrugated box, you can maintain the freshness of the fruits and you can take the fruit. One which, is just about to ripe and better. You can market at a higher price. Cut down the waste, you can take the boxes, But they don’t see it. If they don’t have that 20% waste or reject, the price will collapse may be that is another point.
And then we get ready to recover from the crisis. When we are making money, when we are busy, there is no pressure for us to change. We tend to relax. But after this crisis the opportunity is being given to us. If we don’t use the opportunity, when we are busy again, we are not ready we have to go to position ourselves. In short, we have to strengthen internally ourselves. You have got to get ready.
I end with my so called slogan the future of the box requirement. You follow these 5 letters QCDES. Quality, Cost, Delivery, Environmentally?friendly and Safety. This one you should remember. You have got to know your past before you know the future.
If you are committed, you can go places. All we need to have is patience and work hard. The automation on the equipment. Depending on the situation, depending on the own company’s capability. You cannot do everything faster. What some one does, you may not be able to do, you have to pace according to yourself but one thing I recommend is you have got to have the basic quality because you cannot get quality because of the machine. Then you have to change. When you cannot get the productivity, if you are using more people then you are trying to adjust, justify. Everything can be justified. Everything can be measured. Then slowly change, you will have a very bright future.
Founder President, ACCA