SMI Labels and Packaging Materials

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Breathless at showtime!

New Delhi or for that matter India, is still rejoicing at the success of being a proud host for the prestigious Commonwealth Games in October 2010. It is also the start of the festive season which brings with it feelings of celebration, elation and a boost to the markets. Public spending goes up and so does the sales of consumer products, which eventually leads to a high usage of labels. During this season we hope to see high growth rates in this market segment. The trends in the industry are already buoyant. Equipment suppliers are ecstatic at the growth in investment in Label Presses by Indian Label Printers. While many existing printers are the ones who are expanding and increasing their existing capacities yet it is interesting to note that an equal, if not more, volume of investment into self adhesive labels is coming from offset printers and flexible packaging companies.
Preceding and following the commonwealth games we have and have had a spate of shows relating to the label printing, Offset printing and packaging industry. I wonder how this situation is going to be taken up by the printers who have already been voicing their concerns about too many shows being held not only in a year but now, in matter of weeks. However at this point of time let me dwell on the fact that the Indian printers are in for an extravaganza of a show after another show! Some of the best suppliers/exhibitors will be trying to woe the Indian printers while they showcase their finest wares. The industry can look forward to multiple opportunities to learn, indulge, and technically update themselves. Fortunately for the exhibitors, the audiences they are targeting at are in a positive mood and as things stand these visitors are willing to see, investigate and shop. It indeed is time to show!
Towards the end of September 2010, Roger Pellow, the Managing Director of Labelexpo group and his team landed in India after having held a successful Labelexpo America at Chicago, earlier in the month. They held three road shows across India. In a whirlwind tour while they were in India for a week they organized road shows in Chennai, Mumbai and Ludhiana. Immediately after this it was Mumbai’s turn to showcase “Indiapack 2010” organized by the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) from September 30th to October 3rd 2010. Being the show of the premier government sponsored institute, it attracts a lot of interest from the major converters and users. It is interesting that majority of the packaging development managers in big companies are alumni of IIP. As we get closer to the end of the year, “Pack Plus 2010” will be held from 3rd to 6th December 2010. Just after a gap of one day “Labelexpo India 2010” will open up at the same venue Pragati Maidan. New Delhi from the 8th to 11th December. As a matter of fact both these shows were the brainchild of the husband wife team of Anil and Neetu Arora.  Anil sold his highly successful “India Label Show” to Tarsus, they renamed it as Labelexpo India. This gave the show an international perspective as it became a part of the Labelexpo series of shows around the world. The day Labelexpo will be opening its doors to printers in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, another printing show “Screen Print India 2010” (8th-10th Dec.)will be inaugurated at Mumbai. One is left wondering how the printing fraternity is going to be at two different places in one time. As we enter the second decade of this millennium, on January 16th 2011 “Printpack India”, the prestigious show of IPAMA and ITPO will throw open its doors yet again at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. It indeed is going to be a busy time for visitors and exhibitors. These exhibitions are expected to generate a lot of business and the market sentiments are pointing towards that. It is also time to network and meet counterparts in the industry repeatedly during this season. The printers will rejoice in the festive spirit.
On 27th of August 2010, the Label Manufacturers of India (LMAI) organized an event for their members and the label community at large. The programme commenced with the executive committee meeting followed by their AGM. After the AGM a presentation on lean Management was made by Dr. Mohan Parmeswaran and was well received and appreciated by the printers. The evening culminated in welcomed networking over cocktails and dinner. It was an extremely successful evening, rarely witnessed before, in the industry. It was a proud moment for the LMAI president Vivek Kapoor when 120 guests turned up to give value to the eventful evening. The camaraderie and networking was evident and brought satisfying cheer to the printers. They were sharing thoughts, gossips and discussing technical up-gradation. The evening ended on a happy note with many a printers shaking a leg or two on the dance floor!

He wished to fly high!

Amit Sheth
As a young boy, Amit Sheth would look up to the skies and wished to be flying in the clouds. He wanted to become a commercial pilot one day. As he grew up his ambition became stronger and he found support from his father Kirti Kant Sheth. His plans to pursue his ambition had to be given up when life took an unexpected turn and he was asked to give up that wish and join the family business…
Kirti Kant Sheth had started trading in printing machines way back in 1955. His flagship company “Sheth Bros.” with his brothers as partners became highly successful and respected sellers of printing and packaging equipment. By late seventies or early eighties Sheth Bros had reached their pinnacle. Their name was synonymous with printing and packaging machines. They spread across India with offices in Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati and Mumbai. As luck would have it in 1985 the brothers decided to go in for a separation. Kirti Kant Sheth had to call upon his son Amit Sheth to give up his ambition of becoming a pilot and join him in business. Amit did accept the need of the hour and stepped in to become a salesman in his father’s company, looking after sales of letterpress printing and bookbinding machines in Eastern and North Eastern India besides making efforts to export their equipment.
In 1991 Amit accompanied their family friend Dushyant Parekh of National Art Press Calcutta to visit Taiwan. Little did he realize that this visit would be a turning point in his life and would be decisive in making his entry into the world of self adhesive labels and narrow web printing. During their visit Dushyant Parekh showed to Amit equipment that could make “Stickers”. It could print multi-colour, Hot-foil stamp, over laminate, die-cut, remove waste matrix, etc in roll and also do sheeting at the end of the line. Amit was fascinated! The presentation and introduction of the machine and its operation was made to them by John Huang of Orthotec. Amit became Orthotec’s business associate and eventually a dear friend of John. This commenced the journey of Amit Sheth into the Self Adhesive Label industry.
In the excitement of making his first sale of a label press in 1993 to Antarctica Limited, Calcutta, he accepted a condition of restricted additional sale. Due to this he had to restlessly wait for two more years to sell another press. He was getting uneasy as the new technology was fast spreading. The relief came when in the opening hours of “Printpack India 1995” in New Delhi, Amit found his most satisfying moment! He sold the press he was displaying at the show to Rajesh Chadha of P C Chadha and Co. Rajesh a third generation entrepreneur, whose flagship venture is now called Update Prints Pvt.Ltd., has by far been Amit’s biggest supporter, customer and friend. His company Label Planet has not looked back ever since. Label Planet now represents renowned international principals like Orthotec, Focus, Cartes, Miyakoshi, Inktek and Rotary Technologies. Amit Sheth has been a hands-on man and the best sales person of his company. Travelling extensively he remains personally in touch with all his customers. It is incredible that till date he has sold over 200 presses and his appetite to sell many more at a fast pace is not letting up. He finds active support from wife Rupa, homemaker and a great mother to their two wonderful daughters Ruhi and Kyra.
Amit has done pioneering service for the Indian Label Industry. Despite being an industry supplier, he initiated and actively indulged in setting up the Label Manufacturers Association of India (LMAI). He brought together leading printers from across the country to meet one evening at Mumbai. He provided the necessary support from his office premises and his staff to do the groundwork. In appreciation of his work, he has been given the honorary membership of LMAI for life, he is also the honorary secretary. He has been instrumental in bringing together suppliers and label printers together on the LMAI platform. Having gained knowledge, experience and stature in the Indian labels industry Amit hopes that one day he is able to establish a Labels Institution and would like to indulge in educating the new comers in this field. Expressing his views on the changing technologies in label industry he feels the digital will continue at a fast pace however the conventional presses will remain the workhorses and retain their charm. He feels Laser printing and die-cutting will be a technology to watch in coming times.
Amit Sheth sums up his achievements by quoting his late father,” You wanted to fly high, you do not really need an aircraft, success will do the job”

Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 on October, 2010.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pack Plus provides Label Printers the opportunity to showcase!

In 2002 Anil Arora launched his maiden trade event “The India Label Show”. The show was a great success and kept on getting bigger with every edition. In 2007 this show was acquired by UK based Tarsus Group who later renamed it as Labelexpo India. It became a part of the chain of shows branded as “Labelexpo” held around the world. Anil launched many shows thereafter, India Packaging Show, India Converting Show, India Flexo Show, India Corrugated Show, Food Technology Show, Pharma Technology Show, India Automation Show and India AIDC Show. 2009 saw the amalgamation of the 8 niche shows with the additional strengths of India Retail Show and India Logistics Show giving rise to the Total Packaging Processing and Supply Chain Event- “Pack Plus”. According to Anil,” The 2010 edition of PackPlus to be held at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan from 3-6 December 2010, will be more technology driven and will showcase more exhibitors, value additions and business avenues than ever before”.

Anil’s first show India Label show was targeted at label printers with suppliers of presses, materials, consumables, equipment for pre-press and post-press, etc. as exhibitors. Label printers were always the visitors to his show. In contrast Pack Plus is meant for the end users like FMCG, Pharma, Food and Package using companies. This time the end users are the visitors to this show. The show has been aggressively promoted to these companies. Anil realized that the visitors to Pack Plus who are the buyers of packaging materials, are also buyers of labels. The visitors to his first show, who were the Label Printers, could be prospective exhibitors as now the visitors to this show were their prospective customers for them!
Anil Arora and his team noticed the void. The label printers had no platform to exhibit to prospective customers. They could exhibit generally at Pack Plus but in a big show the printers felt they would be lost in a crowd. The Pack Plus show now has decided to create a separate area only for Label Printers to exhibit and effectively promote their offerings. I feel it is a very good move and will give good exposure to the label industry. It is time when we in India agree that to sell more, we need to showcase. The label printers need to do the same, they needed the platform, and it is there now, thanks to Pack Plus.

Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 15th October 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Labelexpo India Roadshow at Ludhiana, a roaring success!

Some months ago the Tarsus management decided to hold roadshows across India to promote their premier Label show, Labelexpo India 2010, which was called “India Label Show” before they acquired it. They had already decided to hold one each in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi. My friend Roger Pellow, the Managing Director of Labelexpo Group, wanted my opinion. I was not in agreement with him. I personally believe that the Metros and big cities have reached a point of saturation and it is now time to move to smaller towns. The real growth is coming from families of people who once thought that industry was only the forte of those who lived in big cities. A young and literate India is changing all that. They understand the dynamics of business and know that to be successful one does not have to locate in big cities. Even if we look at our label industry, we find big investments happening in towns like Sivakasi, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Nagpur, Nasik, Pune, Bhopal, Indore, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, etc. I requested him to shift the last venue from Delhi to Ludhiana. I suggested Ludhiana in the state of Punjab, for many reasons. To list a few famous traits of the Punjabi’s (As those belonging to the state are referred to); they are great hosts, they are hard working entrepreneurs, they love to show and they love to splurge! No wonder the makers of automobiles like Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Jaguars, Rolls Royce, etc. make a beeline towards Ludhiana. Moreover a few years back in Ludhiana, I had the pleasure of attending an exhibition and later another label road show. The strength and unity of the local association (Offset Printers Association, OPA) was amazing! They were and still are one of the most effective trade associations in the country. Reluctantly Roger decided to give in and try what I said. Reluctantly because there were no direct international flights into Ludhiana and that the logistics were not as appealing as he would like them to be.

The labelexpo group’s final announcement about the roadshows did surprise me and others. The three shows were to be held on three consecutive days i.e. 27th September in Chennai, 28th September in Mumbai and 29th September in Ludhiana. The itinerary that Roger communicated for himself and his team was even more surprising. They were to land in Delhi on the afternoon of 26th take and evening flight to Chennai, after the roadshow next morning they would go to Mumbai for a roadshow that evening, next morning they were to fly to Chandigarh and drive to Ludhiana and later that night drive to Delhi to catch a flight to London. Anyway I left the logistics for them to worry about. I was worried if the OPA would deliver and bring the required audience to the show! I felt, maybe I have over indulged. However despite reservations my faith in this association was very strong. I called my friend Kamal Chopra, Secretary of the association to ask whether we will be able to gather enough people. In true Punjabi traditional style Kamal asked reassuringly, “How many printers do you want?” The question was the assurance.

Roger landed in Delhi on a Sunday 25th September around noon and had almost five hours before his flight to Chennai. We discussed the roadshows and he was very optimistic about the Chennai and Mumbai venues but did appear concerned whether Ludhiana was the right choice. As luck would have it the Chennai and Mumbai road shows were in his words, from “Not too bad” to “OK, well, good” To put it in plain words I understood they were not up to the expectation and the turnout was small. He now hoped Ludhiana would deliver. I got worried too. While the Tarsus team was flying to Chandigarh enroute to Ludhiana, I was in a train from New Delhi to Ludhiana with my son Pawandeep Sahni. I could not resist calling Kamal Chopra and asked if he was confident that the printers will come. Yet again he laughed and said, “The press carried the news of the roadshow this morning and printers will come from many cities in Punjab and also from the neighbouring states” I was surprised and reassured once again and agreed to meet Kamal for Lunch. After checking into the hotel we went straight for Lunch with Kamal and some guests from the printing community, we were amazed to see his phone kept on ringing constantly. Printers were calling to ask about the roadshow. I was pleased.
The roadshow was planned to start registration at 7PM. I and Pawan reached the venue at 6.30 PM, even before anyone from Tarsus was there. The venue was all decked up, stage was ready, Bar was laid out, Dinner tables were all set and only the guests were awaited. As the evening progressed it was surprise after surprise. The first guests arrived at 6.45 PM and at a steady pace they just kept coming in. The whole team of offset printers Association alongwith the President Parveen Agarwal and Kamal Chopra were there to welcome the guests. Representatives of MSME (Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises) came, surprisingly the General Manager, Directorate of Industries came in and to top it all the media came in. The President OPA welcomed the guests, Roger Pellow and Andy Thomas made excellent and informative presentations. Jade Grace, Show Director Labelexpo India was the perfect hostess. Michael Hatton The Tarsus head of marketing was managing the event excellently. The OPA honoured and felicitated the Tarsus team and the important guests by presenting traditional shawls and garlands. I was really surprised and overwhelmed when Kamal Chopra called me to also to receive the felicitations for having brought the Tarsus team to Ludhiana. As I stood up to receive the honour and turned back, I was overjoyed to see the audience. It was a full house!

The evening ended with a lot of networking over drinks and dinner. The Punjab printers were happy to have delivered the taste of Punjabi hospitality to their guests. The news was on television in the local news and the Press carried it in all the leading local newspapers next morning. Kamal Chopra and his colleagues at Offset Printers Association need kudos for having made the “Labelexpo India Roadshow at Ludhiana, a roaring success!”

Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 on 1st October, 2010.