Brothers Surendra Kapur and Jatindra Kapur directors of Jai Kaushal Industries and R K Papers Mumbai mentored their sons Himanshu Kapur and Karan Kapur into label printing business with their start-up enterprise J K Fine Prints Pvt.Ltd. While their fathers and mentors continue to run their own continuous stationery, business forms and label printing unit R K Papers Pvt. Ltd., their young boys continue to grow their label business efficiently with financial discipline, quality assurance and modern business management systems in place. Surendra Kapur has been an early entrant into label industry and the founder president of LMAI (Label Manufacturers association of India). He draws immense respect from the label fraternity in India. On April 22, 2011 I wrote on Surendra Kapur in this blog https://harveersahni.blogspot.in/2011/04/trading-in-paper-to-producing-labels.html . On one of my recent visits to Taloja, Mumbai where J K Fine Print is located, I had the opportunity to visit and interview Himanshu Kapur and see for myself the path traversed in these last few years.
Since Karan looks after marketing and sales, operating out of their Nariman point office in SouthMumbai, I could not meet him. Himanshu an MA in Psychology and Karan an MBA from Mumbai’s SP Jain Institute were just 23 years and 24 years old respectively when J K Fine Prints was setup. It was a pleasure to see Himanshu now as a much learned label printer, confident and in control of what he was doing. I asked him whether he thought of opting for other careers before starting this enterprise and whether he faced any initial starting troubles, he said, “There was no problem in starting the company as Dad Surendra Kapur had trained him well for two years before starting this venture”. He further added that since the family was in labels he never thought of anything else, “I knew that for me, it has been labels, always!”
|Surendra Kapur & Himanshu Kapur|
Due to a talented and experience mentor behind, they never faced any real nightmares. Kapurs have traditionally been fans of letterpress printing. They even started this company with letterpress printing technology. For Himanshu the most satisfying moment till date has been the shift from 4 colour flatbed letterpress printing to Flexographic rotary printing by installing a 7 color Gallus press. Months before the press arrived he spent endless hours on internet surfing to learn the nuances of flexographic printing process. When the press came, he was ready for it and adapted it without any problem. He has been so satisfied that he has shifted most of his jobs from letterpress to flexo. I asked him which was the most complex job that he has done till date? Though he said there are many yet he mentioned the Kid Baion (Merck) label that he did. It was an 11 colour job that he compressed to 6+1 colour and achieved excellence. He proudly mentions that the elders do not interfere with their work and rather compliment them for having achieved success.
The unit has grown from 10000 square feet that was originally built to 18000 square feet by adding another floor. Presently they are working with two Gallus flexo label presses, two Letterpress label machines, three Omega’s, One Hot Stamping machine, fully automatic core cutting and a host of finishing equipment. As availability and management of manpower continues to become challenging, Himanshu has extensively indulged in automation. The automatic core cutter is one such equipment that cuts down time and reduces 3-4 persons permanently cutting cores. Plate cleaning was another area where they employed one person on each machine but with installation of an automatic plate cleaning machine they have just one person doing the job. They started with strength of 35 employees in 2006 and gradually went up to 70. With Himanshu‘s efforts they now produce more with just 35 people. He asserts that once he as an ERP system which he is working on in place, he will be able to reduce the workforce by another 4-5 persons.
The youthful urge to grow is evident in these young men. When they started they were consuming just 15000-20000 square meters of label stock per month. This has now grown to 300,000 square meters. It was amazing to see that when they implemented their expansion plans, three different additional press rooms have been constructed providing space for three more label presses planned for future. All the rooms have storage areas for toolings and plates. Only the presses need to move in! Once Himanshu is able to get these additional equipment in, he is says the capacity will increase by 200% and is confident that the company will double up in sales in the next five years. He has spent a lot of time and money on time optimization as also on track and trace implementation. Each core has a core identification barcode label generated through a dedicated software so that in case of need the material can be traced to all steps of process that it has gone through. All raw materials coming in is tested and recorded in a fully equipped laboratory. Finished products are inspected both online and offline for 100% customer satisfaction.
Himanshu has invested a lot of time in designing storage and handling systems for toolings and plates for easy access and their safety. The storage drawers and racks have specified materials that will not contaminate or scratch the toolings and consumables that contribute to quality production of labels. He is committed to continuously upgrade the setup to achieve higher levels of quality and efficiency. They have so far not invested in plate making capabilities because Himanshu believes that this job has to be left to professionals so that the product is delivered to them perfect and defect free. Maybe a day later in life, when the workflow and workload demands so, he may invest but as of now he does not wish to add a department in his company that will not produce additional revenue. Also given the fact he is comfortable with the quality delivered when plates are outsourced.
He has a voracious appetite to learn more about printing processes and his office is full of electronics and gadgets unlike his father’s office whose desk is devoid of any electronics or computers, only his mobile remains in his pocket. However even now if one visits Surendra Kapur, one cannot fail to notice that his desk is devoid of any papers and is immaculately clean. If a paper comes in to his desk, within moments he will dispose it off; either gives instructions on the matter or get up himself and put it neatly in a file. Himanshu for that matter also follows his father’s style but as far as electronics go, I need to go once again to see what all he keeps doing on that front. His main desk is in use when he is not on his computers and interacting with staff or visitors. His electronic workstation is on his right hand corner to be in use when he is on his computers and alone, to acquire further knowledge.
Though not actively involved in sales yet when asked about competition, Himanshu emphatically states that price is surely an area of concern and that we would prefer to lose a customer rather than reduce prices. Lastly when asked a question that I ask everyone, “what about digital printing?” Even more emphatically he says, “Not for another 7 years!”
Himanshu Kapur is not really the gen next in the Kapur family. Actually he is the fourth generation of the family patriarch Lala Jai Dayal Kapur who due to his friendship will Lala Karam Chand Thapar founder of BILT (now Avaantha Group) became the distributors for Ballarpur Industries Limited. Lala Jai Dayal Kapur’s son Ram Kumar Kapur, Himanshu’s grandfather setup, R K Papers in Mumbai to manufacture paper stationery. Ram Kumar’s son Surendra Kapur took over the reins of the manufacturing unit and expanded into labels, his brother Jatindra looked after marketing and sales. Now their sons Himanshu and Karan run J K Fine Print Pvt. Ltd. With a strong heritage and deep roots in business this, young duo is expected to rise exponentially in the label industry.
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Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi. September, 2016.