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C. H. Negandhi, managing director of Leo Pack LLC., Ras Al Khaimah in conversation with Venkat Raghavan, shares his experience and how to run a smooth business with the available technologies

Having more than two decades of experience in the printing industry C. H. Negandhi started his career in the year 1971. He pursued all his education in India and studied all his education in scholarship. He started his carrier as QC Manager after completion of academic studies with Vijay Flexible, one of largest & oldest flexible, Corrugated & offset company in India where he had learned the basics of packaging. Later after gaining more experience he came to UAE in 1990’s. He got married in 1975 and he is living with his family in Dubai.

HIGHLIGHTS
● He has around 46 years of experience in the industry
● He is a professional consultant for Plastics & Packaging industry
● Leo Pack has an ISO 22000: 2005 certification on Food Safety Management System

Talking about his education and career he added, “I have completed my BSc Honors with Chemistry in 1968 from Mumbai. After completing it, I did BSc Tech in plastics technology from one of the most reputed institutes in India (UDCT Mumbai) and completed it in 1971. Again with the more eagerness in the packaging industry I did a course in Packaging from Indian Institute of Packaging in Mumbai and completed the same in 1972. I had some interest in business management which made me to do Business Management Diploma from Bajaj – one of the leading management institutes in India. My first job was with Vijay Flexible India Pvt Limited in 1971 as quality control manager and I worked there until 1975. Later, I joined in Colour Cartons Limited from India in 1975 as senior marketing executive. I worked there until 1980 and turned the unit as profit making center during the first year of operation. While I was working with Colour Cartons almost all the clients request me to start my own business in the Packaging industry which made me to start Inter Pack in 1980 with partners where I was responsible for the total operations and turned the unit as a profit making center during the first year of operations itself by catering to all the multinational companies with value added products with international quality and a competitive price. I was running the company until 1995 and later I decided to venture a full time business in UAE and came here. I initially started as a director in United Flexible Packaging Ltd, Dubai, UAE in 1992 where it the first flexible packaging unit in Jebel Ali manufacturing bi-laminates and tri-laminates of films and foils for major FMCG companies in the UAE. I continued the business until 1994 and in 1994 I joined in Thani Plastics & Packaging, Dubai, UAE as general manager and worked there for around one year. Later, I joined in Flexcon Industries, Dubai as general manager and setup a printing ink manufacturing unit in Dubai, manufacturing water based & solved based inks for flexo and gravure printing. (Dubai Clearing and Forwarding Company – DCFC). IN 1996, I joined as a general manager in Express Flexi Pack, Dubai, UAE and worked there until 2007. I handled the total sales with one of the largest flexible packaging companies in Jebel Ali (part of the Express Group of Companies). Finally, I started the Leo Pack LLC in 2007,”
Talking about the industry, he added, “There are lot of changes and challenges in the current flexible packaging industry and people always wanted to go for higher technology with higher speeds. Earlier people use polystyrene cups for packing water, drinks and many more. There are advantages as well as disadvantages while using it. The material melts and get mixed with the product when it is not ceiled under the correct temperatures. Over a time period the demand went up and they got replaced with PET and again PET replaced with polypropylene cups. The biggest problem I faced was to develop a suitable material to seal the cap and it took almost two years for me to develop a solution. The next issue with the limitations for aluminium lids in flexo and even the separation process was not available in 1990’s as well as inks was not available. In order to overcome the aluminium lid limitations I taught the ink companies to develop suitable primers and heat resistant inks for aluminium foils. In an average the flexo packaging is having a growth of around 10% every year. However, due to the number of players in the market the margins has come down which demands us to increase the capacity or offer new things.
Talking about memorable moments, company policy and business, he added, “The memorable moment would be the day when I received an appreciation letter from P&G Company for the creation of substitute laminate for Vicks. Like others, we provide accommodation and transportation for the employees. Challenges always persist and most troubling among them are the payment, undercut pricing and credit period. Our company credit period varies from 60 through 120 days but at this period we can’t even say a definite period for it. The new players are quoting less than their running cost which is a big concern for us but we are sure that they cannot prolong it in longer run. We do around 70% of our business in GCC and African countries and rest 30% we are doing locally.”  
Signing off, he advices, “New players have to do a proper homework before venturing into the industries and they should not compromise on the quality to get the project. Existing players has to offer more to their clients.”