NEW DELHI :
Home textile manufacturer Welspun has switched capacities to manufacture disinfectant wipes and surgical masks to meet the growing demand of essential products amidst coronavirus outbreak in the country, it said Thursday.
The company will leverage its advanced textiles business unit at Anjar in Gujarat for the purpose, which has been operational since 2012.
"Given the current circumstances, we have rejigged our facilities and deployment of people to be able to make some of the products that the nation needs", said BK Goenka, chairman, Welspun Group.
"However, the current lockdown poses its own challenges for sourcing key ingredients and managing workforce. For this, we are working with the government and local authorities who are extending all the support to ensure no disruption in the manufacturing process," he said in an emailed response to Mint.
Welspun has ramped-up the manufacturing capacity to make a couple of million masks in the coming weeks as opposed to a few thousands produced previously. The company is also looking to boost the production of hand wipes to a few hundred thousand packs per week.
Welspun Group has been making non-woven products and medium for diverse applications around safety clothing, filtration, personal hygiene and cosmetic segments.
"Currently, our country is facing an unhealthy gap between demand and supply for personal protection and wipes in general, so our conscience as an Indian multinational motivated us to step in to bridge this gap even for a non-specialised application need," said Goenka.
In compliance with the government directives, the company has been running the operations on scaled down basis with approximately 100 people; the large infrastructure requires its own essential support activities for security and utilities that is managed by another dedicated team.
"We have tried to be equitable with all the commissionerates involved in essential services like police, district, municipality, ports, NGOs’s and so on," Goenka added.
The exponential surge in demand for hand sanitizers and masks in view of covid-19 outbreak has led to several companies -- small and large -- manufacturing and selling these products.
Liquor firms such as Diageo India and Radico Khaitan as well as sugar mills have volunteered to start commercial production of hand sanitizer.
Consumer goods firm ITC has also re-purposed its perfume manufacturing facility in Himachal Pradesh to help produce an additional 1,25,000 litres of Savlon hand sanitiser. Chennai-based packaged consumer goods company CavinKare launched hand sanitizers under its popular personal care brands – CHIK.
Sales of the hand sanitizers grew 53% in the month of February from a year ago period, market researcher Nielsen said in its covid-19 impact on consumption behavior presentation on Thursday.
Nielsen said in all, hygiene categories showed significant growth in February. This was especially true for sales of such products on e-commerce that witnessed over 1400% jump in sanitizers orders between February 2020, and the first two weeks of March.