Cosmo Films Ltd. is entering a growth phase in the U.S. market that will see production capabilities increase thanks to a $1 million investment.
The New Delhi-based company, in acknowledging cultural integration problems in the United States, now believes its new leader here is able to bridge the gap that's existed and help facilitate growth plans.
Sandeep Dutta, the new president of U.S. operations for Cosmo, also says he brings a wealth of international experience, both on the sales and manufacturing sides.
Cosmo, with operations also in India, the Netherlands and South Korea, believes it's important to have a manufacturing presence in the United States if the company wants to succeed here, Dutta said.
“We don't want to be seen as a cheap overseas supplier. We are not and we don't want to be labeled as that,” he said.
“We realized over the years that it's important to have an asset in the U.S. to win the trust of the people in the U.S.,” Dutta said.
And now that asset is getting larger, with an estimated 40 percent increase in capacity from the current 200 metric tons per month.
The company entered this market through the 2009 acquisition of GBC Commercial Print Finishing. And since that time, the company basically has focused on running that business as is.
But now, with growth aspirations, Cosmo is in the midst of a three-week shutdown at its Hagerstown, Md., plant to allow for improvements that will not only allow volume to increase, but also provide an opportunity to expand its portfolio of products made in the United States. That location makes thermal lamination films in biaxially oriented polypropylene, PET and nylon.
“Over the past five years we've been concentrating in the U.S. primarily to run the GBC operations the way they were running. Now we've decided that it's time for us to start investing and bringing in more technology from our side of the world and to try to expand the horizon of Cosmo films in the U.S.,” Dutta said.
Proving yourself on U.S. soil to U.S. customers is a key to success in this country, Dutta said.
While the past years have proven to have some rocky points for Cosmo in the United States, the company used that time to understand the market.
“Now that we've said we've learned this market well, now we've decided it's time for us to expand in this market,” CEO Pankaj Poddar said. “So this is just the beginning from our side. We look forward to making more announcements as we go along.”
One issue that was trouble for the company in the past has been the differences in how business is conducted in India compared with how business is conducted in the United States, Dutta said. The new president said he brings an understanding of each culture to help meld the two together for his company.
“Our basic challenge was integrating two different cultures,” he said.
Expanding capacity and the types of films available for manufacture here in the United States will help Cosmo overcome what Dutta said has been a problem in the past: delivery times.
Cosmo expects its U.S. operations to be back up and operating by June 23, after three weeks of downtime for the improvements, and Poddar anticipates even more growth in the future.
There's enough room in Hagerstown to facilitate that growth, the company said. Along with that site, Cosmo has a slitting operation in Addison, Ill.
The company is adding 10 to 15 employees on the sales and marketing side to give it more “boots on the ground,” Dutta said. The current improvements changes will not increase employment in manufacturing, but Dutta said future growth there will mean more jobs there.
Cosmo makes BOPP film and calls itself one of the largest exporters of BOPP films from India as well as the largest manufacturer of thermal lamination films in the world.