Interviews

Andhra Paper Ltd : We always believe in “Customer First”

Established in 1964, Andhra Paper Ltd is  one of the largest Integrated Paper & Pulp manufacturers in India. The Company produces Writing, Printing and Copier papers  and Industrial Grades of Paper for foreign and domestic markets. Our production facilities at Rajahmundry and Kadiyam have a total production capacity of 240,000 TPA. The company employs around 2,500 employees and is headquartered in Hyderabad.

An exclusive interview from
Mr. Ashokkumar Singh,
VP – Operations, APL who is one of the largest paper manufacturers in India.

Q : Please explain about your company and its operations in India
A : The company since its inception has evolved through times and gained unique industry skills in all areas of paper business from multiple promoters. In 2011, the company was acquired by International Paper (IP), US which is the world’s largest paper manufacturer. 

In October, 2019 the controlling stake in the Company was acquired from IP by West Coast Paper Mills Ltd. (WCPM).  Consequently, the Company became a Subsidiary of WCPM. WCPM, is one of the oldest and the largest producers of paper for printing, writing, and packaging in India.

Q : What are all your basic & premium products for current market ?
A : APL manufactures a wide variety of writing, printing, copier and specialty papers for foreign and domestic markets.

Writing and Printing

We offer a wide range of superior quality writing and printing papers suitable for printing journals, text books, reference books, calendars and a variety of other commercial printing applications as well as for notebooks and diaries. PRIMAVERA, PRIMAVERA WHITE, TRUPRINT ULTRA, CCS , SKYTONE & STARWHITE are major Brands of APL products in W & P segments.

Copier

APL products  are available in best-in-class brightness and produced with Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) Pulp technology. Our range of Copier papers  is perfect for high volume photocopying and high-quality Color printing needs and engineered to run flawlessly on all types of Photocopiers, Laserjet and Inkjet printers and Multi-functional devices
Our Company has one of the widest ranges  of Copier with Brand names like REFLECTION, REFLECTION WHITE , ANDHRA MILLENIUM COPIER and HP Office with  Colorlok® technology.

Specialty/ Industrial Grades

APL offers a wide range of superior quality Specialty grade products that are custom engineered to suit specific and diverse range of applications. We cater to various applications  in this segment such as Cup Stock for Walls and Cup Bottom, Coating Base Paper,  Sketch books ,Stiffener,  Soap Wrappers and Blade Wrappers,  MG Posters etc.

Q : How your company or/and products are benefiting your customers?
A : With innovative products and service solutions, Andhra Paper Ltd  ensures best possible value to the customers and further solidifies our partnership. This high levels of service has helped Our  channel partners & customers to better plan their resources and commitments, thus increasing the value that the Company provides them.

In FY 2019-20, we  undertook various Manufacturing Excellence projects involving cross functional teams, like GSM Rationalization, Block Scheduling and On-line Order Status visibility to further improve customer satisfaction. Sustained OTIF delivery rate at 92%.

At APL , we  always believe in “Customer First” and continue to move in the right direction to create more value for our customers. The Customers need Company’s paper to convert, print, publish, and sell. The Company’s paper is enablers for their business success.

Q : What is your recent/new product launch?
A : We are focused at catering to changing customer needs. Our teams are constantly engaged in designing products to suit market needs.  Recently we have developed Grades like Pharma Inserts  , POS Thermal Paper , Andhra Virgin Kraft  and Super Print  to name a few.  We are working on developing Sustainable New Products in various segments. One of them is  to substitute  for Single Use Plastic Applications.

Q : What are all the innovations/advantages of your products ?
A : In order to create choice for our  customers and dealers, the APL  created different writing and printing paper for different applications and brought in the concept of good-better-best product strategy. This, in a way, allows the customer to upgrade in the product value chain from a good to better and best product based on their needs.

Our Copier variety has a very wide range from 65 GSM to 100 GSM. We are the only manufacturers of  premium HP Brand Copier Paper  in India which  comes  with   patented Colorlok®  Technology to impart Best  printing quality. ColorLok® Technology results in more saturated colors, bolder blacks, and faster drying times.

Our W&P segment Products are well established in the market. We continue to innovate to enhance customer value proposition in this segment too.

Q : What is your future target on market shares/business expansions/anything related ?
A :
Our long-term outlook for the sector continues to remain positive, with the current phase seen only as an aberration. The management has taken the opportunity of the last few months to re-examine the business and operating models. Keeping short term and long-term prospects in focus , a series of initiatives have been set in motion aimed at sustainable growth while minimizing the adverse impact of economic cycle. 

Management has  a forward looking approach to business expansion and  upgrade of technology for improving operating efficiency. Below are some of the key  capital projects we are working on :

  • Replacement  from WGCC as filler to WPCC
  • Upgrade of PM 3 & 6
  • Capacity Augmentation of Fiberline.

Q : What are your challenges in Indian Market ?
A :
The W&P  segment, in which Andhra Paper operates ,  has been the worst-affected sector in the Paper industry. A major share  of the demand of the segment comes from the education segment. As we know the schools and colleges have not opened and are unlikely to open for this academic year barring 10th and 12th standards. 

This has caused shrinkage of demand for W&P paper segment. 

Having said that we see , despite of challenge there is a  silver line that India’s per capita consumption is 12/kg against the global average of approximately 45/kg. Unlike Global trends of consistently declining consumption patterns, India has a lot of gap in consumption trends  to make up till the saturations is achieved.

We believe that W&P sector will have a quick correction in the demand from next quarter onwards and demand would be growing at around 3-4% for next 4-5 years.

Q : How is your market in India & its growth ?
A :
The Writing & Printing segment, in which Andhra Paper operates, accounts for ~30% of the industry capacity. This segment has been  growing at the rate of ~ 3-3.5% until the Covid -19 outbreak. 
Overall the industry have grown at the rate of 5 – 5.5% over a period of last 5 years.

The Indian paper industry is highly fragmented where top 5 players account for ~30% of the capacity.
Currently , APL is operating with a market share of ~4%.

With an objective to sustain growth and stay competitive, We are  pursuing several strategic initiatives to serve the customers and reduce the cost. The initiatives include developing new products, improving the quality of the products, optimising the facility capacity for building scale and reducing cost, improve machine efficiency.

Q : Tell us about features of your production facilities.
A : Our Production facilities operate within a structured framework of Manufacturing Excellence (ME) and world class Manufacturing  Best Practices  to ensure that we remain highly competitive in the business and work for our customers’ delight.

Manufacturing Excellence (ME) system provides operating frame work for improving efficiency and productivity of our operations and covers all aspects of the company resources such as
Environment, Health, Safety, People, Cost reduction, Reliability and Capital. 

To achieve the operation excellence, we train and certifies expertise in techniques using 6-Sigma, Lean, RCFA and process improvement. We have ~94 certified green and black belts who take on
improvement projects to make our operations better, while another ~47 trained yellow belts inculcate lean culture into everyday practices.

In terms of Technical configurations of the facilities, We have  state of the art Fiberline supplied by Andritz, Finland   having  Continuous digester with Lo solids cooking  technology for uniform cooking and consistent pulp quality. We have  ECF bleaching processes which produces the stronger fibers, while conserving environment  and enhancing recyclability. 

We have 9 machines across both locations Rajahmundry and Kadiyam.
On Finished products side, we have state of the art A4 Cut Size plant from Bellomatik ,Germany in addition to other Folio sheeting capabilities.

Q : What is your mission & vision ?
A : Our Vision 
To be among the most successful, sustainable and responsible companies in India.

Q : What is your long time goal in the Industry?
A : Our long term goals are consistent to our Vision. In order to convert our Vison into reality , APL’s key strategies and goals are already in place .We are committed to preserve the values etched in the APL’s business model.

The company will continue to focus on the five growth drivers:

  • Sustaining fiber source
  • Investing in people
  • Improving the planet
  • Creating innovative products
  • Delivering inspired performance

while maintaining high standards of integrity and people safety in everything the company does. 
Further to substantiate  our long term commitment towards the company’s vision, we have recently rolled out  long term sustainability goals 2030 termed as “ Vision 2030 Goals.”

Q : What is your company’s culture & values given to your employees ?
A : Our Company has a  Performance-based Culture. Our Values are built around Safety of Our Employees and Contract Workers, High Ethical Standards, Commitment to Excellence and Supporting our Communities.

Q : What is your contribution to the society ?
A :
Social and environment sustainability is engraved in our business model. With our social sustainability initiatives focused around three areas i.e Education, Community Engagement and Health & Wellness, we stepped up our efforts to support our society in and around our operating environment, benefitting the community, students and schools. Our commitment to the environment sustainability initiatives are not just aligning with the statutory requirements but a bigger corporate responsibility.

Q : Is there any special quality certifications and achievements ?
A :
APL operates with ISO  Management Systems which have a framework to document and improve operational practices in order to better satisfy the needs and expectations of workers, customers,  and all the stakeholders. 

Company has  certified ISO  Management Systems   :

ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management System),  

ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management System) and 

ISO 45001:2018 (Occupational Safety and Health Management System)
The facilities of APL are certified for FSC 100%, FSC Mix and FSC Recycled against the standards of FSC-STD-40-004 V3-0 (Chain of Custody Certification) and  FSC-STD-40-005 V3-1 EN (Requirements for Sourcing) FSC® Controlled Wood.

Q : Do your company have any voluntary associations / trusts to help public ?
A :
Andhra Paper Foundation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Andhra Paper Limited. Through its focus areas – Education, Health & Wellness and Community Engagement – Foundation makes positive contributions to the communities around APL’s manufacturing facilities and farm forestry areas. 
Andhra Paper Foundation is continually refining its programs and seeking opportunities to make a difference in the communities we live and operate.

Q : What are your company’s principles ?
A :
Our company has well defined operating principles  which can be summarised as : 

  • Commercial Excellence &
  • Customer Focus
  • Manufacturing Excellence
  • Productivity | Low Cost
  • Efficiency | Compliance
  • A performance – based Culture 

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