Interviewee: Dr. Rajat Agarwal, Head of Packaging and Consumer Goods Adhesive Technologies APAC, Global Head Sports and Fashion Steering Unit, Henkel Corporate Vice President
Q1：Since adhesives are normally invisible in packaging,could you briefly introduce us to Henkel's contribution to the packaging industry. What innovations Henkel has unveiled recently and accordingly the impact Henkel's solutions have had in the market？
A：Henkel currently provides food packaging adhesives for paper converting, end of line packaging, labels, and flexible packaging and coating markets. Its adhesive solutions are used in packaging applications for cereal boxes, beverage bottles,glass labeling, potato chip packages, straw attachment and film packaging for sausages and cheese. The company has developed a unique and innovative series of adhesives for food packaging. ItsLiofol Smart Cure, for instance, features a sophisticated curing mechanism to prevent the migration of substances from the sealing film to the food. Smart cure adhesives enable lamination to cut curing time from weeks to just a few days, thereby achieving fast Primary Aromatic Amines (PAA) decay and reducing migration risks.This new adhesive system allows for slitting within 24 hours, improving conversion productivity and will not require training for the safe handling of diisocyanates. Henkel has also developed a new coating weight measurement system for flexible laminates- LIOSCAN. It is an inline, contactless and non-destructive measurement system that can indicate any deviation from the specified coating weight. With this function, it can help improve operational reliability, reduce material waste and minimize the risks of potential claims.
Q2：Your previous position in Henkel was Innovation Head of Transport & Metal before being the Head of Packaging and Consumer Goods Adhesives APAC. So as a leader with rich R&Dexperience, how doinnovationsin the field of food safe packaging impact the industry and how do they help the company achieve its goals?
A：Henkel is continuously striving to lead the industry trends. All innovation ideas come from our knowledge and judgmentsof the market being served. Our vision is to be ahead of the legislation, the market by setting new standards for food safe packaging adhesives. We are committed to protecting both brands and end consumers. In recent years, Henkel has built 360-degree expertise around food-safe solutions. We offer customers expertise along the entire value chain: from the selection of raw materials, product development and analytics assessment to technical customer service, as well as professional education opportunities via exclusive customer events, webinars and training programs. What's more, Henkel has partnered with specialized associationsandinstitutions in this industry and engages internal and external experts. At the same time, we are also strengthening our R&D of innovativehigh-performance adhesive solutions.
Q3：You have now worked inChina fortwo years, what do you see asthe changesin the packaging market in Asia? Is safety in food packaging a major concern?
A：The packaging market is changing in profound ways especially in Asia in recent years.It focuses more on efficiency, high speed, automation, UV curing and so on.The trend fordematerializationis seeingcoatingsreplacing substrates. There is more focusonsafe packaging for food.In Asia, as elsewhere, food safety is a key issue for consumers, and it will have the greatest impact on consumer preferences in coming years. As the fast emerging markets, China and Southeast Asiaare accelerating their food safety improvements, such as tightening regulations and strengthening enforcement. Asian consumers at the same time are more vigilant towardfood quality and are placingincreasingly more attention on food safety and their health, especially after a few high-profile food scandals in recent years. Safety in food packaging means minimizing the risk of undesired substances migrating from packaging into the foodstuff, it is definitely ofgreat significance to the industry. In addition to the growing demand from consumers and stricter legal requirements, we have also observed a distinct desire from our customers for increasing support forsafe packaging for food. As the world’s largest adhesive manufacturer, Henkel has been a strategic partner to the packaging industry for decades and is deeply committed toimproving safety and sustainability of food packaging.
Q4：The price of the raw materials has been rising up since 2016. Henkel must face to the cost pressure, but also needs to meet the highest standards in food and packaging safety. How do you balance the challenges and missions?
A：Henkel has striving for constant contribution to food safe packaging as the world’s leading adhesive manufacturer, and we want to further live up to our commitment towards leadership in sustainability. Here is our attitude towards cost pressure: First, securing the supply is the most important, for supply is the most basic link in the whole production and sale. Even though facingincreasing raw material costs , we won't compromise on the product quality & delivery. About the ways to balance the challenges, we willoptimizeportfolio to replace single form, deliver the value / total solutions,as well as dedicate to assist customers to upgrade the industry with Henkel innovative technology.
Q5：What are your expectations for Henkel Packaging and Consumer Goods Adhesives APAC in the next five years? You have been working in different countries and different departments. Do these experiences make you with your own unique talent for the team management?
A：Of course we hope to do more for next five years.We provide high-impact solutions, created with consumers in mind. We understand the demands and expectations today’s consumer places on our customers. This deep knowledge means we can enable our customers to respond to consumers trends quickly and effectively, enhancing their competitive advantage in the marketplace as well as the consumer experience – protecting and strengthening their brands.Henkel will be more active in this emerging market and continue invest in APAC as long-term commitment.Along with the 1st innovation center installed in Shanghai, China, more premium technologies extended into AP and 2nd one in Jakarta, Innonesia.Besides, diversified markets but still are growing with bright perspective in core countries. For us, industry upgrading & requests on the premium products are exactly the trend that Henkel can contribute. About team management, we dedicate to create a professional team (dedication, reliable, passionate) to serve our customers. We also have annual talent management cycle (TMC) to develop people. What's more, attractive internal & external training courses available for individual employees andjob rotation system implemented.Finally, we will have regular discussion with team to have their input to continuously improve.