TPT March 2023

shifting towards normality. Skipper had to absorb additional costs in exchange for keeping the manufacturing and operation running. Losses were incurred and since then Skipper has strongly bounced back. However, I also take pride in the fact that Skipper reported a strong set of financial results in the period after Covid, preserving our liquidity and preventing the loss of net worth. More significantly, we used the time to push forward with our other businesses aggressively while maintaining focus on our strategic pillars and laying the groundwork for our development goals. This feat was only possible with the help of our hard-working workforce who prioritised the needs of the company before their own. As the director of Skipper, nothing makes me happier than achieving success as a family. How do you see the tube and pipe industry changing over the next few years following the global recession and the recent pandemic? I think the world has returned to normality in terms of trade after a brief halt for the pandemic. India is expected to perform positively in terms of economy and there are good reasons for it. India is witnessing rising PVC pipes demand from agriculture, automotive, building and construction, electrical and other end-use industries owing to the government’s initiatives. India is one of the biggest consumers of CPVC through plumbing pipe and fittings products. The mounting need for clean water in all residential and commercial projects has driven the growth of plumbing pipe and fittings products. Further, the amplified demand for housing, which is attributable to the ever-increasing population, as well as the rise in personal disposable income, has also driven the overall growth of this segment. There has been a shift in demand from metal to polymer based pipes, especially in plumbing and piping application in the construction industry. This has led to an increase in the usage of plastic pipes and the emergence of CPVC pipes for hot and cold water plumbing. In order to encourage the sector, the Government of India has been placing orders for sewage, water supplies and plumbing pipes. Continuous increase in the allocation of irrigation and housing by the government is going to give momentum to the piping industry. With the rapid growth in population, there has been an increase in demand for residential applications of pipes as well. The government at the centre and states has put the priority focus on the Jal Jeevan Mission, Swatch Bharat Abhiyan, sanitation and affordable houses to all and the development of 100 smart cities on a Pan India basis. As for learning after the pandemic, I would say that organisations can truly understand their supply chains.

of) real-time, actionable third-party risk management (TPRM) data. Few organisations have invested in the infrastructure and master data management processes required to create this kind of real-time TPRM data platform. Post-Covid we have specifically strengthened our technological capabilities and concerns. Build a circle of trust – suppliers need to be able to communicate more openly with buyers when they are struggling and not fear that this honesty will cause them to be cut out of the supply chain. Enterprises need to change the conversation with suppliers by making it clear that they are willing to “take on a bit of risk to manage risk” by helping struggling suppliers recover. This could involve providing management and process advice, or even financial assistance. What advice would you give to someone trying to make it in the tube industry as you did yourself? For youngsters who are considering starting a plastic manufacturing business, I would advise them to first put a firm business plan in place. Any type of business is challenging and involves an element of risk, and in these tough economic times, stabilising a new business can be demanding. However, by managing your expenses well, shifting your marketing focus to an online environment and implementing a solid business plan, you can make a plastic manufacturing business a success. Begin by coming up with a clear vision for the company. Work out what your missions and objectives are and get advice from consultants and experts in the industry. Second is to determine your niche – one key thing you need to think about is the kind of plastic you want to produce. You will not be able to come up with integral elements of your business plan like costings and marketing strategies until you choose your niche. Work towards gathering critical information like the types of machinery you will need, raw material components and the best place to procure them from. Always remember a good leader completes thorough research to determine product profitability. As a last piece of advice, I would strongly suggest that you learn about the production process – even though you will hire highly skilled experts to run the manufacturing facility, at the end of the day, you are the boss. So, you need to make sure you have the right knowledge about your industry. You should understand how the machinery works and know what the production process involves. There are many different types of technologies and methods used in the plastic manufacturing industry, so you will need to learn about injection moulding, extraction moulding, blow moulding and rotational moulding.

The methods of driving supply chains were not adequate for the unanticipated environment of Covid-19, including spikes in demand, partners that suddenly paused or ceased operations and sudden material and product shortages. We need to embrace technology a faster response. The pandemic exposed the need for (and shortage

Skipper Limited



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