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Dharmesh Zavery, vice president for sales & business development in Huhtamaki MEA in discussion with Venkat Raghavan, shares his two decades of experience in the industry.

Originated from Gujarat and raised in Calcutta, Dharmesh Zavery has completed his Bachelors of Commerce in 1994 from St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta and went on to pursue post graduation degree before starting his working career. After working in India and Japan, he finally landed in United Arab Emirates to start his new venture again at Huhtamaki Flexibles.
Talking about his career, Zavery added, “Even though I am originally from Gujarat, I did all my education in Calcutta. I pursued my schooling in Assembly of God Church and then I went on to attend my Bachelors in Commerce at St. Xaviers College which I completed in 1994. Later, I did my post graduation from Pune University and completed it in 1996. After completing my education I initially took a job in financial sector with a Non Banking Financial Company  Srei International Finance Ltd, Calcutta and served there for two years. Later through the known acquaintances I entered the packaging industry and joined Sharp Industries as a sales manager. Even though I entered accidentally in the packaging industry I have never missed to keep myself updated with all the latest technologies and happenings. After learning all the basics of the packaging industry I got an opportunity in Paharpur 3P and worked with them for 13 years in various roles. Later I joined in Huhtamaki Paper Products Ltd as head of sales for Corporate Head Quartered Accounts. I got an opportunity to work for Cosmo Films based in Tokyo by taking care of their operations in South Korea and distribution in Japan. It was during this assignment I got an opportunity to rejoin Huhtamaki as vice president of sales for entire Middle East and Africa. I have completed more than a year in this role based in Dubai.

HIGHLIGHTS
● Huhtamaki is certified for all quality standards including BRC IOP, FSC, ISO, and HACCP
● Huhtamaki company is headquartered in Espoo, Finland and have three divisions - Food Service Packaging, Fiber Packaging and Flexible Packaging

Talking about the Huhtamaki, he added, “Our company is headquartered in Espoo, Finland and we have three divisions - Food Service Packaging, Fibre Packaging and Flexible Packaging. At UAE we have three units of Flexible Packaging which is the Head Quarters for Middle East and Africa.  Apart from Dubai, our Sales and distribution offices are located  in Johannesburg, Durban, Nairobi, Accra and Cairo.
Speaking about his family and hobbies, he said, “My wife is a culinary specialist and has pursued her education from Le Cordon Bleu, French Culinary Institute. She couldn’t continue her career as she was taking care of the kids and very soon she will be starting her venture as the kids have grown up. I have two daughter and they are pursuing their schooling in Dubai. Whenever time permits I read non-fictional books. I love to play sports like Squash, Ping Pong and have started Golf recently.”
Speaking about the changes in the printing industry, he commented, “There have been drastic changes in the packaging industry in the last twenty years. When I started my career in packaging I have seen salt being packed in a polyethylene bags. The first project of mine was changing the polyethylene bags and converting them into laminate which was a polyester and polyethylene reverse printing laminate to offer a better life. This was one of the memorable moments in my career where it became a great success. Overall the packaging industry has changed based on the consumers concerns and requirements. All the packaging companies for the convenience of consumers have initiated a lot of work. However, the packaging in East Asia particularly Japan has a very matured market while compared to Middle East. Still I could remember that when I was staying in Japan my wife use to tell me that the need of the scissors to tear the packaging has been minimized by their packaging whereas the scissor usages was one of the mandatory items in other countries kitchen. Flexible packaging is again an important area where we will be seeing an enormous growth in it in the coming years. Singling out one particular area for growth in flexible packaging, I would say that liquid packaging for aseptic filling and preformed pouches should have significant scope of growth.”
Speaking about the region and companies plan, he added, “Due to a lot of uncertain economic scenarios all over the globe we face a huge pressure on prices. We see a less amount of customer loyalty which is mainly due to the pricing issues. However, to overcome this we have initiated several consumer engagement programs which would allow them to grow together with us. In the next five years we will be doubling our top line through organic and inorganic growth. Our State of the Art greenfield Project in Egypt should start production in Q4 2018 and shall enable our ambitious plans. Huhtamaki MEA is blessed with one of the best teams led by Nitin Sankhe, my reporting boss. We have the best technical know how and expertise supported by highly experienced sales team scripting our success in the region. In UAE we have invested in laser technology that enable breathability for fruits and vegetables and increases the shelf life of the product. The same laser technology allows us to produce packaging for STEM cooking and venting. We have our own extrusion capability here where we extrude our polyethylene and going forward we will be adding extrusion-laminating facility in Q3 of 2018. Our focus is to create and develop packaging that helps the brand owners to sell more.
Signing off, he advices that business has to be done in long term business goals and has to be planned strategically.