Ahlstrom-Munksjö makes products that serve many critical industries around the world helping to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including medical and food packaging industries.
One of the plants producing materials for medical applications is situated in Mundra, India. Mundra’s Plant Manager Manoj Chadha tells about the work at Mundra Plant and how the current COVID-19 crisis has changed the ways of working.
Manoj Chadha joined the Ahlstrom-Munksjö family in 2012 as a Finance Controller before going on to become Mundra’s Plant Manager – a role he has held since 2016.
“I am part of the Medical BU team. We are a close-knit group that is full of young, supportive and extremely talented individuals.”
Manoj goes on to describe how the Mundra Plant has dramatically improved its performance over the last three years. It has been an HPR rated plant by FM Global since 2017 and received successive prizes from the local SEZ Industrial Area Team for best Safety practices in 2015-16, and 2016-17. The Plant completed 10 years without LTA in mid-April and also crossed the 10K+ Production & Sales Milestones for the first time in its history in 2018! In addition to that, waste improvement has excelled year-on-year, with new lows in 2020.
Manoj also adds, “People Development has been a major focus area and achievement for us here in Mundra, where one of our Managers was recently placed in a US plant, while his junior (who had joined as Graduate Engineering Trainee six years ago) has been trained to become his successor in the Process & Production function.”
The importance of Manoj and his teams’ work has never been so vital as during the current COVID-19 crisis. The plant’s products are for medical applications and therefore in high demand right now.
Manoj explains, “With the sudden lockdown announcement, we had to shut the plant for almost 12 days. That period and the period thereafter to restart was crucial. I would like to express gratitude to the whole plant for stretching themselves and working towards the restart despite so many challenges. I especially want to thank Vijay Joshi (HR) and our HSE Team (Dip S. Manek and Kanak Zhala), who went above and beyond to enable us to get back up and running quickly – while keeping everyone safe.”
From employing safety measures at the gates and sanitization methods to medical check-ups for all employees and essential visitors – there were many new processes to introduce in order to keep the plant safe during the crisis. Yet despite all the challenges, the team were still able to dispatch the plant’s second highest monthly tonnage in its history!
With so much to deal with at Mundra since COVID-19 came along, there has certainly been some major challenges and obstacles to deal with. Manoj explains how they ranged from issues around regulatory approval, abrupt closure and uncertainty as to the delay in readiness of die packs for the machines.
“But the biggest challenge was the non-availability of transportation to move goods out and to receive incoming Raw Material from port.”
Before ending our conversation, we asked Manoj which of Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s six Culture Cornerstones can he relate to the most.
“For me, sustainability is very important. Sustainability looks to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health, while driving innovation and not compromising our way of life.”