A trip to India

by Alfonso Melesi. Palghar, Noon on March 6, 2014. The day had started early with a flight from Hyderabad to Mumbai National Airport. Mr. Mahendra of Renault welcomes us at the airport with a radiant smile, ready to accompany us by car along the western coast of India heading north, direction Palghar. The landscape is rural around us enlightened by the sun almost at its zenith; we experiment early summer temperatures in this late Indian spring. Before departure Mr. Mahendra instructs us that the journey through the region will probably last more than three hours being the geography of the region hilly and with a one-way bridge to pass, with waiting times even of 30 minutes. After three hours’ trip on the Mumbai-Palghar freeway, we leave the main road and enter a mountainous area with indication of the proximity of a hill crossing. On the top we are welcomed by a group of monkeys, very active in view of lunch time. After running downhill, the land becomes flat again. Getting closer to Palghar, our final destination, the landscape changes. We see an increasing presence of small industrial sheds dedicated to simil-industrial production next to archaic factories for the production of bricks. Palghar, district of Thane in the Maharashtra State has around 80 thousands inhabitants. The city is the site of OMET’s customer Renault, reason of our visit of today but not the primary aim of our visit to India. The trip had been originally planned to Hyderabad only but the desire to check on the XFlex X6 of Renault, which the customer reported had had a short downtime for a problem of calibration, pushed us to this unexpected trip. Mr. Mahendra is very passionate on his work and an experienced printer. He chose OMET back in 2010 and never ceased to be fascinated by his XFlex X6. He also works with a second-hand OMET ET400 of 1986 coming from South Africa, an authentic milestone in OMET’s 50 years’ history. Mr. Mahendra is pleased to guide us in a tour of his factory, which we enjoy. A light lunch and the refreshing air conditioning make it even more pleasant. The production of labels, wet glue and self-adhesive mostly for the spirits and beverage industry, is the company’s core business though film printing is also developed. We are fascinated by Mahendra’s style. He has great ideas and the way he conceives work is advanced and very modern. His age and the age of his closest collaborators is rather low. They are brilliant and widely inspiring. We were stunned by the fact that while the company is working in a wide context with global approach, the milieu in which it is settled influences its way of working. For operations like controlling, counting and packing of labels, Renault relies on the work of women who pile and pack the printed products. All dressed with colourful saris and with a great dignity, they receive a very small wage compared to European levels, less than 3 Euros a day for 8 hours of daily work. It is natural for me to sit down with them, with Mr. Mahendra’s permission, and start counting the labels piled inside a carton box. I felt at ease and strangely comforted. It is quite hard to leave that quiet place under the falling sun that sends out its latest beams of the brightest colors. But we have to move on, another customer is waiting in another region and a different environment…

Alfonso Melesi, Responsible of the Technical Office of OMET