The paperboard - a factory that seems to be stuck in the 1950s. Corroding machinery, unkempt facilities, dwindling staff - this government industry seems to be destined for a terrible death.
The final product of this factory is a paperboard file that is used in government offices in Kerala. It is made from recycled lottery paper pulp and some red fiber - the proverbial “red-tape” in its physical manifestation. The factory manager seemed to be of the opinion that even though computers have made their obvious advantages known to the government offices, these files will never be replaced. A bureaucratic artifact from the hey days of the British era, this file is now manufactured in a handful of facilities in Kerala.
The annual demand is pegged at 5 lakh i.e. 500,000. They are not able to meet that demand with outdated equipment, methods and scarce labor. The labor force in this factory is a meagre 4. It used to be 10 times that number 10 years ago. Increasing living costs and reducing government wages drove people away.
Assuming that these files aren’t going anywhere, there is a tremendous opportunity to streamline this process. Paper mache is extremely malleable and there is an opportunity to expand the process into other product categories (the need of course to validate the existence of this new market).