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“Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) has helped in reducing our Downtime and Improving Productivity” : Sanjay Singh

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Find an Exclusive Interview of Mr. Sanjay Singh Divisional Chief Executive, ITC Ltd. – Paperboards & Specialty Papers Division over various issues and his long journey in ITC.

“Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) has helped in reducing our Downtime and Improving Productivity” : Sanjay Singh

ITC's Paperboards and Specialty Papers Division (ITC-PSPD), is amongst the leading names in the business worldwide. It’s innovative solutions to meet a diverse cross-section of packaging and communication needs have helped us carve a unique niche for ourselves. Recently, The Pulp and Paper Times connects to Mr. Sanjay Singh – Divisional Chief Executive, ITC Ltd. – Paperboards & Specialty Papers Division over various issues and his long journey in ITC. The conversation unfolds some interesting insight for our readers. Here are the excerpts:

Q: You joined the ITC as a management Trainee in 1977 and now you are CEO of PSPD division. How do you evaluate your journey in ITC? Haven’t you attracted to any lucrative offer from another company? Why?

My journey from management trainee to CEO has been very satisfying. There have been many lucrative offers but the work culture at ITC and the working environment kept me going. Have thoroughly enjoyed working for paper industry.

Q: How important employees are in the management hierarchy, right from small peon to management? How does ITC nourish the employees in order to make them a valuable ‘Asset’ for the growth of the company? What are those key points which attract an employee to stay in the company?

We have a culture of inclusiveness, A culture where bottom-up and top-down approach is followed. We continuously take the feedback from all levels and build our strategies for growth of the organisation. Everyone is made to feel important and included.

Q: Do you think that ‘Social Forestry’ by the paper mills is in line with Prime Minister’s Modi’s vision to double the farmer income by 2022? Is ITC planning any new experiment in the social forestry program? Or any new wood species?

We have pioneered the social forestry in India in 80s,, We are doing lots of work to improve productivity of our clones in farmers' field, The idea is to double the farmer's income in next few years.

Q: Paper Industry is a capital intensive industry. Most of the big paper giants are debt-ridden, they expanded themselves after taking a loan and still paying back. ITC is a debt-free company and taking a huge capacity expansion, how?

ITC is a debt-free company but each division of ITC is suppose to return the cost of capital to corporate, whatever investment we have done are giving us good returns and we will continue to grow profitably.

Q: ITC sets up the target to touch the One million tonnes paper production by 2025, what factors prompt ITC to invest huge capital in the expansion?

As mentioned above we believe in profitable growth and as long as there is demand from consumers we will expand.

Q: In a YouTube interview to The Pulp and Paper Times in 2018, you informed that ITC commissioned a new machine of décor paper and may put another new machine if imports come down, what is the status now? Will you go for another machine?

We have invested in a new Decor machine and is producing good quality of paper, We will grow in decor. With this new coronavirus we have to see the demand before we decide to expand.

Q: Previously you raised the voice against the contamination in waste paper import to India, now the government is considering to put the cap of one percent contamination limit in waste paper, do you think it is sufficient step to make India a non-polluted place? Or a lot is required to do in the line of Chinese policy for recycling paper import?

This is just the beginning, Lot needs to be done, the rules need to be implemented strictly, we are going through this epidemic and I hope we will realise the importance of a clean India.

Q: Indian Paper mills don’t spend much on the marketing of ‘Paper’ or you can say to make it a brand while the European and USA paper mills spend huge amounts on making the paper a ‘Brand’. What are your suggestions for Indian paper mills to change this scenario? How important is marketing in paper manufacturing?

Paper industry needs to improve its profitability and one of the ways is to improve our quality and brand it. We need to spend more time and money on branding our products.

Q: ‘Unplanned Downtime can be avoided by Planned Maintenance Shutdown’ do you think this could be the mantra for successfully running a paper mill? How does ITC handle day to day production glitches in order to maintain a smooth production level?

We have been following TPM in our units for the last 20 years. This has helped in reducing our downtime and improving our productivity and reducing our losses, It has improved involvement of everyone at all levels. 

Q. What transformations do you assess in the India paper industry in the last two decades? Where do you see the industry by next decade in the light of automation, process integration, renewal energy & industry 4.0?

Last two decades has seen a huge change in the industry, The industry has become more environmentally friendly, Lot of investment has happened in technology to improve quality and to reduce inputs like water and energy. Going forward, automation and industry 4. 0 will play a crucial role. We have been working on industry 4.0 for last one year and seeing good benefits coming in.

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