“In the Right Direction”

Friedbert Klefenz,
President, Bosch Packaging Technology.
"We are looking at clocking 30 -35 percent annual growth from the Indian market," shared Friedbert Klefenz, President, Bosch Packaging Technology. In an exclusive interview, he talked about the Company's Vision 2020, maintaining the position amongst the market leaders and the plans to offer complete line solutions for customers across global markets with Mittravinda Ranjan on the side lines of ACHEMA 2015 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Let us talk about the presence of Bosch Packaging Technology in India and the recent joint venture with Klenzaids.
Well, Bosch is a veteran in the Indian market and we have been there for almost a century! We started our manufacturing operations to offer packaging services primarily for the pharma industry through a domestic facility at Bangalore in 1995. Later in 2007, we moved the manufacturing operations to a rented facility in Goa and then we set up our own new manufacturing facility in the year 2012 that was inaugurated by Mr Manohar Parikar, Chief Minister of Goa.

The alliance with Klenzaids is our 2nd major move in India and Bosch has acquired a 49 percent share of Klenzaids, an owner-managed company that produces processing, packaging, and clean-room technology for the global pharmaceutical industry. By setting up the joint venture, the two partners aim to extend their global reach, particularly in liquid pharmaceuticals and packaging machines for cleanroom environments.

What kind of growth are you looking for in the Indian market now ?
Globally, both solid and liquid segments of the pharma and food industries are driving market growth for packaging equipment significantly, and India is one of the fastest growing markets. After Klenzaids joins the venture, we are moving the solid and liquid operations for the pharma industry to Mumbai while food packaging will continue to operate from our facility in Goa.

Our products and technologies have seen a strong demand in the Indian market which includes domestic production and also imports from our international sites in Europe. India has always been an important market for us and we have continued to clock around 11-13 percent of growth year on year and maintained a positive growth momentum, which is good. With the new joint venture we are targeting an increase in growth of 30-35 percent which will include growth from the imports from European facilities.

Since 2000, Bosch has carried out a series of acquisitions to strengthen the portfolio globally. Why was there a slowdown during the period 2008-10?
Bosch Packaging Technology is present in 119 countries with technical equipment, representatives, subsidiaries and manufacturing facilities. After 2000, we actively pursued acquisitions across the globe to strengthen our global footprint. Yes, we did not pursue any alliances during 2008-10 deliberately because of market uncertainties due to the global meltdown. Moreover, our primary target was to maintain the positive growth momentum, which our team was able to achieve while many companies were facing a tough time.

What are the various competitive strategies you have maintained to stay in the top rung across 119 markets?
I would say it is our technical competence in solid and liquid packaging for the pharma and food sectors; our constant endeavours to improve existing technologies, developing new technologies according to market demands and a continuous focus on customer satisfaction have enabled us to stay ahead in the competition.

Until 2012, we were very active in solid and liquid pharma, and food sectors , but we have expanded our scope of services to liquid food packaging which is also showing significant growth. We acquired Ampack Ammann - a German company that produces machines for low germ and aseptic filling of liquid and viscous food into pre-formed cups and bottles; and this year in January we took over a company in Florida, USA, to further strengthen our position .

We have continued to maintain high quality standards across all technologies in different markets worldwide. We believe that even small improvements are important and put a strong emphasis on research and development. A significant amount of revenue is directed towards R & D to improve existing and develop innovative technologies.

We have also set up a strong network of sales and after sales service hubs across the globe to continue providing services to our customers. For example in Africa, over the last three years, we have opened hubs in Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya and are covering the East, West, North and South of the continent.

What are your thoughts on the Make in India campaign announced by Honourable Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi?
It is a very novel initiative and a positive step to further accelerate overall industrial development in India. Bosch Packaging Technology has been present in India for a long time and we have never had to face any issues in the past. But there have been times when the industrial peers have faced challenges to set up their operations. With the newly acquired, politically stable government coupled with strong purchasing power, parity of growing middle class, there is a lot of interest across international companies in the Indian market. In my view, this is the right time for the Indian government to implement reforms to attract investments and be globally competitive.

Please share the charter of the Vision 2020 of Bosch Packaging Technology and the role of the Indian market for the growth of your organisation?
At the start of the new millennium, we relooked at the portfolio and decided on the direction we wanted to take for future growth. In the last ten to twelve years, we have significantly expanded our technology and product portfolios through in-house research and developed activities as well strategic acquisitions, as a result of which we, Bosch Packaging Technology, witnessed strong internal and external growth.

Two years back, we set up a small group to rethink our growth strategy and come up with ideas to realign our goals in accordance with the need of the industries we are serving. The Vision 2020 has set the direction and defined the focused path for our team. Bosch Packaging Technology intends to be the preferred partner along the value chain for our customers and aims at providing complete line solutions for customers in the pharma and food industries across all regions.

As already stated, Indian operations are very much an integral part of our global growth strategy and the recent acquisition is a testimony of our commitment to the Indian market. India has a huge market potential for all industries including ours and we are expecting a growth rate of 30-35 percent in the years to come.