The Founder & MD of Econovus Packaging, a Pune-based start-up working on providing sustainable packaging solutions for the automotive industry, shares the journey so far, demand for green packaging and plans for the future.
Can you let us know your journey from working for an OEM to becoming an entrepreneur serving the automotive packaging industry?
It has been an exciting journey from being an automotive working professional to start-up and now to become India’s fastest growing automotive packaging company.
The start-up journey started 3 years ago. Econovus is India’s first green automotive packaging – GC mark – and has a vision to become carbon neutral by FY2024. We have been recognised as All India Winner of innovative start-up by ASSOCHAM, which was supported by NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Trade and Electronics among many other recognitions. We are at the forefront in the automotive and industrial packaging segment with our unique engineering approach and best sustainable one stop solution.
What are the new products that you have developed for the automotive industry?
We have developed various sustainable products for automotive packaging for export and domestic requirements. The Palletless packaging is our flagship product, which completely replaces wooden packaging. This is largely used for export packaging.
We are ready to replace materials like EPS / Thermocol, XLPE dunnage, Plastic dunnage, bubble sheet roll, LDPE bag, EPE foam, polybag, plastic edge protector, foam peanuts and foam corners with sustainable alternatives.
In addition, we are completely aligned to new challenges of packaging for EV mobility. We are already aligned to automotive OEMS and Tier-1 for EV battery and motor sustainable packaging.
What was the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on your business?
We suffered about 25 percent degrowth in the first pandemic year FY2021. But despite the Covid-19 pandemic and challenges from being a start-up we managed to cover up our revenue target in the subsequent year. In the last 3 years so far, we have achieved revenue of close to Rs 30 crore and inspite of the pandemic year we are profitable.
Recently, we have set-up one of its kind and unique Industrial packaging manufacturing plants in the country. The new world class state-of-the-art facility located in Chakan, Pune, doubles our manufacturing capacity. In addition, under our Industry 4.0 initiative, we have deployed automation, digital packaging, big data and cloud computing (ERP – SAP implemented). Econovus Packaging’s systems and processes are completely integrated with our global automotive OEMs and Tier-1 clients.
We have a vision to expand across India and plan to set up warehousing in Gujarat and Sricity, Andhra Pradesh. We are also in the process of setting a manufacturing base in Chennai by FY2023.
During our last conversation you mentioned that using Econovus Packaging solutions enables 93 percent reduction in carbon footprint based on replacement of wooden packaging with eco-friendly lighter material. The target was to reach 100 percent by replacement of wooden pallet with its innovative ‘ESP Pallet’. Can you let us know the development on that front?
We have already consolidated our position with our sustainable solutions that enables 93 percent reduction in carbon footprint by replacing wooden and other non-eco-friendly materials.
We have progressed well on ESP pallet volumes in export but are facing logistic challenges for domestic packaging. We have tested ESP pallets with the load carrying of 3-tonnes from IIP that further boosted our technical capability.
Who are your key customers and the new ones that you have added in the last two years?
We work with almost all Pune-based automotive OEMs and talking with them for expansion in EV and other verticals. We are also talking to a Chennai-based OEM for southern expansion. There is also a clear focus to work with Tier-1 automotive suppliers.
What are the new investment and focus areas for Econovus Packaging?
Recently, we have invested substantially for our new facility in Pune, which doubles our manufacturing capacity and also consolidates our position in the western region in India. We have undertaken backward integration by adding automated machines.
Furthermore, we have also invested to create a Design Centre and set-up a world-class testing centre.
While the Design centre provides engineering solution to global customer, the testing centre covers raw material & packaging, product testing and validation like compression machine, puncture resistance, vibration and drop testing. This further strengthens our resolve to deliver FTR (first time right) product.
For the next 2-years we will continue to focus on the western region and new areas in South India by adding a manufacturing base and warehouse.
What is the estimated size of the automotive packaging industry and your market share in the same?
The India automotive component business size is estimated to be approximately $50 billion (Rs 387,850 crore). In this the automotive component packaging business is estimated $2 billion (Rs 15,514 crore) including export.
At present, we are targeting the export market, which is estimated to be around $0.7 billion (Rs 5,430 crore) and we are doing more than $2 million (Rs 15.5 crore).
Do you see a potential for your packaging solution in the global market? Are you planning to set-up an overseas manufacturing facility?
Recently, we started management of automotive vehicle export operations which is end-to-end support including concept, detail design, CAE analysis, testing & validation, stripping vehicle in to CKD, individual CKD packaging and containerisation.
How much reduction in their carbon footprint can a new client expect using Econovus solutions viz-a-viz traditional or competitive products?
Our unique design approach and the right sustainable material selection process we are always targeting to reduce carbon footprint by 93 percent. Further, the design to cost methodology and working in 3D environment for box and container optimisation boosted us to provide cost reduction up to 20 percent.
Some customers are keen to work with us as a partner because of as our carbon reduction green initiative. Our proprietary trademarked “ECOGAUGE” helps us to carryout LCA – Life cycle analysis to achieve our sustainability goal. This initiative also support our customers carbon neutrality target.
What volumes does Econovus Packaging typically do in a month?
In terms of revenue, we are currently doing Rs 1.75-2 crore in a month and the target is to double the FY23 revenue with respect to last year.