While the Indian labels industry keeps evolving, adapting different printing and converting technologies, there is also a generational change happening in the leadership. Most of the founders, while still active as mentors, have passed on substantial decision making to their next generation who are now in the lower middle age group of 40 years, plus or minus 3 years. All those who I have covered belong to family managed companies. Though largely these young inheritors are the influencers or drivers of growth in their respective companies, yet, complying to the cultural heritage passed on in the Indian families, they give the credit to their parents or their mentors who founded the company. This is so heartwarming! These young men are professionally trained, well-educated and are always ready to adopt new managing systems. They do not hesitate to invest in new and innovative capital equipment to stay ahead of competition and drive expansion. They have come to establish themselves as the young czars of Indian label Industry.

Pragati Pack Pvt. Ltd., part of the Pragati Offset Printers group Hyderabad, founded by the legendary Paruchuri Hanumantha Rao in 1962, is led by his 37-year-old grandson Hemanth Paruchuri who is taking care of the packaging business in the group. The commercial printing business is taken care of by his brother Harsha Paruchuri. Hemanth is qualified Mechanical Engineer, an Alumnus of Purdue University Indiana USA, he has been mentored by his father Narendra Paruchuri who is an industry stalwart. Joining the company in 2007, he learnt the business hands-on practically, while working within Pragati. Presently, designated as director with responsibilities that include development, production, marketing and selecting areas of further expansion as well as identifying appropriate capex investment.

When Hemanth joined Pragati, packaging was just a small part of their business, which has now become 75% of the company’s overall business. Pragati is one of the highest awarded printing companies in India. Their annual calendar created by great teamwork at their commercial printing division is a piece of art that people preserve as prized collections.

Talking of future, Hemanth says, “Plan is to keep growing in packaging and in labels by doing more specialized labels predominantly self-adhesive.” 

For labels and packaging they operate at multiple locations in Hyderabad and in Noida. As for roll  labels they have three flexo presses and one HP Indigo label press, for sheetfed they have a small Konica Minolta digital press. For digital sheetfed packaging they may invest in larger sheetfed press in digital. Total manufacturing area for labels and packaging is spread over 440,000 square feet in Hyderabad, 120,000 square feet in Noida plus 80,000 square feet for commercial printing. The workforce for labels and packaging is  700, and 300 is for commercial printing.

Alumnus of Harvard Business School, UCLA Anderson and IIM-A 42-year-old Ankit Gupta, Joint Managing Director of Holostik India Limited, had pursued higher education after completing his BE in computer science. He along with his brother Shobhit Gupta took over the reigns of Holostik, a company founded in 1991 by their illustrious father Umendra Kumar Gupta who was leading personality in the Hologram and anti-counterfeiting label and packaging industry and passed away due to Covid in 2021. After a stint at A V Birla group as an IT engineer, he joined Holostik in 2005 as head of its real estate and chemical verticals. Thereafter, from 2007- 2020 headed the MarCom, HR, and Strategy followed by heading the Sales department. After taking over as Joint MD in 2021, he launched NaturTrust, the bio-degradable and compostable packaging business in the year 2022.

Ankit’s achievements include winning the prestigious Larry Wolfen Award for Entrepreneurial Spirit in 2006. Investing in multiple start-ups including Edukart – India’s leading education marketplace that was later acquired by Paytm and Bedrock Ventures and Mentoring and angel-investing in more than 15 successful startups across India.

For future he plans to keep working on innovation and integration of innovative technologies to fight the cause of counterfeiting, explore new markets and geographies both in India and globally and increase the use of sustainable technologies as their commitment to a green earth. Holostik India Ltd. is headquartered at Noida producing  Anti-counterfeit security OVDs (Holograms), Security Labels, 3D Labels, Holographic Packaging Films, Induction Liners, Digital Supply Chain Solutions among many others. They operate with 450 employees out of the 100,000 square feet shop floor with three European Flexo label presses and 2 Screen Printing Presses besides a host of other equipment.

Thirty-eight-year-old Naveen Goel is the Managing Director of Noida based Any Graphics, founded in 1987 by his father Kuldip Goel, past President of LMAI. After completing his MBA, Naveen joined Any Graphics in 2009, beginning his career in printing and packaging as Director marketing, responsible for business development, client acquisition, customer relations and direct sales for the company. 14 years on, now as Managing Director, he is committed and focused to providing solutions to customers across all sectors providing innovations, value engineering or cost engineering. Naveen says. ”Leading the company from 60 people to 800 people over the last decade has been a satisfying journey. Being second generation, it was very important for me to sustain the founder’s vision to consistently innovate and handcraft solutions to diverse needs of the customers.”

Any Graphics has achieved exceptional growth through sharp focus on award-winning products and solutions that include Rigid Boxes, Labels, Mono Cartons, Dome Stickers, Panel Overlays and Decals. They employ an 800 strong workforce operating with 6 label presses and many sheet fed, screen, digital presses and a lot of other allied equipment from 250,000 square feet shopfloor in 15500 square meters of land.

Prakash Printers and Coaters Pvt. Ltd., established in 1975 by Thakurdas J Shivlani in Ahmedabad, is now led by his 40-year-old son Prakash Shivlani as Director. Prakash joined the family business while still in school as a salesperson. Those days they used to print on sheet Offset and were amongst the first ones in the Gujarat region for printing sticker labels exclusively. Transforming the sticker business to labels in roll form, they initially installed some smaller Flatbed and Letterpress narrow web presses machines Onda and Iwasaki. Later at the start of a new millennium, as business grew, they installed a CI Flexo from Etirama, Brazil.

After completing his undergraduate studies, Prakash joined the family business in 1997 sharing responsibilities along with his father, specialising in sales, however he now also takes care of production. Their production profile now includes Labels, Shrink Sleeves, Flexible laminates. They also produce silicone liners, Hotmelt adhesive label stock with diverse face stocks like Holographic/Metalized paper, Aluminum Foil , 2/3-layer substrates for In-house consumption. Prakash endeavors to expand into packaging in the near future. Presently they operate with seven European flexo presses besides other equipment from a 355,000 square foot shop floor with 150 employees.

29-year-old Krish Chhatwal is the grandson of late Narendra Chhatwal who migrated to New Delhi after partition of India in 1947 and worked for the famous Kwality Restaurant. In 1962 he set up his maiden venture, a printing press and nostalgically named it Kwality Carton manufacturing company. Later, the name was changed to Kwality labels unit of Kwality Offset Printers. Krish Chhatwal, a BBA in Finance and Marketing has been the director of Kwality Labels since 2017. He initially worked as a trainee in all departments of the company learning the nuances of printing. As for sales, he made cold calls, met potential clients and gained new ones for the company. Accompanying his mentor, his father Rajeev Chhatwal, visiting expos around the world, he realised the growth potential of labels industry.

After his active involvement, Kwality invested in a Xeikon digital toner label press, implemented ERP systems, Inspection systems, hybrid Xrite colorcert software for Density control of colours and software for pre-press. They have won awards for excellence from Printweek, NAEP, LMAI, Finat, Asian print excellence and many more. Krish plans to make continuous investments in equipment to produce highly embellished and security labels. They operate with 110 employees and seven label presses complementing their offset presses and allied equipment in a shopfloor admeasuring 35000 square feet, producing Self-adhesive labels, Anti counterfeit security labels, Wet glue labels, Variable data labels, Customized and Personalised labels, consuming more than 800,000 square meters of label stock.

Founded in 1992 by Hemen Vasa and Bhupen Vasa, Unick fix-a-form & Printers Ltd. Ahmedabad is a specialized producer of functional Labels, multilayer leaflet/booklet labels, piggyback dual labels, tri layer labels, scratch off labels, hanger labels, special peel and seal labels for pharma applications, shrink sleeves, etc. Heman Vasa’s 31-year-old son Priyank Vasa, a BE in Printing Technology from Manipal Institute of Technology, is now the youthful leader at Unick fix-a-form. He is designated as development & strategy director. Priyank specialized in Financial Modelling and Analysis. Before joining the company in 2014, he had spent his summer break as a trainee in the company while still pursuing his engineering. After joining, Priyank supported the sales team with new developments and innovations to venture into segments outside their comfort zone of pharma. He later also became part of the QA team to standardise inputs, ensuring error-free products.

Priyank has been instrumental in implementing ERP systems for smooth operations. Since their specialized labels lacked in aesthetics, he led the implementation of value additions like screen printing, embellishments, using special inks varnishes foils, metallics, touch and feel effects etc. The company has further undertaken projects to curb expenses, reduce wastage and optimise production processes. Unick operates from a 30,000 square feet shopfloor with 5 label presses and 250 strong workforce consuming 400,000 square meters of label stocks per month for their specialty labels.

41-year-old Aditya Kashyap is himself the founder and Managing Director of Baddi based Marks Emballage Private Limited and Marks group, that he established in 2011. An alumnus of the famous Ruia College Mumbai, he worked briefly in an international bank and later got trained in family-owned large Pharma companies for packaging development and purchase, followed by interning as a trainee in a label manufacturing unit before initiating his maiden venture. With Two Gallus label presses that he bought in one go, one Bobst Label press, AVT inspection system, Prati finishing machine, Pantec embellishing equipment, Xrite and much more, the company shopfloor is spread across 30,000 square feet having 60 employees. On his journey so far Aaditya says, “The journey has just begun, after setting the unit from scratch to what it is now.” He further adds,” “though we are setting up professional management, yet I am still involved to implement my vision of creating a world class company.”

As a part of its CSR initiative, Marks group has invested in sponsoring the annual “Printweek Student of the year” award to backup educational initiatives for encouraging young people to take up print as a career. Aaditya aims to grow the company multifold in coming years with his latest ideas. He aspires to roll out at least one new project every year for the next five years. He is pensive in his thoughts, ”this is the time for us to spread our wings before getting into a consolidation mode. “

A relatively new entrant in the self-adhesive labels industry 35-year-old Vatsal Vora Director of Asean Pack Ahmedabad, has achieved amazing success in just 5 years including the 2 years passed in covid. Asean Pack was founded by Vatsal in 2018 after completing his MBA. In a short span of time the company is producing Pressure Sensitive Adhesive labels, Shrink Sleeves and In-Mold Labels (IML) in a 40,000 square feet shop floor with 2 Bobst label presses and one HP Indigo Digital label press working with 115 employees.

He plans to add one more press in 2024 followed by yet another in 2025. Thereafter  he aspires to make continuous growth to increase their product range to include flexible packaging focused in producing pouch packaging coming from the short run customized and personalized packaging by adding more flexo and digital printing equipment.

Tejas Tanna aged 42 years, had in 2005, joined Printmann Offset Pvt. Ltd. after getting a Diploma in printing technology and B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degree from Rochester Institute of Technology New York USA. Printmann was founded in 1987 by his father Bipin Tanna the Chairman and Managing Director of the company. While working in the company Tejas parallelly pursued studies for getting an MBA from NMIMS (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies) followed by a crash course in packaging from the Indian Institute of Packaging. Tejas and his 36-year-old brother Ankit Tanna are directors at Printmann with Tejas looking after sales and marketing, quality assurance and new product development and Ankit taking care of supply chain and operations. Ankit is an MS in finance from Manchester. Printmann started with commercial printing but by 1991 they felt the need of diversification for future growth and since they were into marketing collaterals for FMCG sector they opted to concentrate on packaging focused on the pharma and health care segment.

Now, 80-90% of their business comes from this sector. They supply whatever these companies require in the printed packaging space, which includes cartons, labels, leaflets and foil. Tejas says ,”We are perhaps the only company to offer all the four verticals from just one source.” With European Pharma companies making tamper evident labels mandatory, Printmann is now producing these as well. They are three times winner of Printweek packaging company of the year award, including one that they got this year. For  making capex decisions, the brothers become influencers and since their father is controlling finance the final decision is a joint call that is made by all three.

Printmann’s main factory is in Navi Mumbai, for expansion, they were looking for land outside Mumbai and fortunately the adjoining plot became available which they acquired, constructed during covid years and shifted their carton division there. They have another unit for blister foil manufacturing in Vasai. Between the three locations, they work out of 160,000 square feet shopfloor with over 300 employees clocking a turnover of Rupees 160 Crores last year which is expected to rise to 180 crores in this fiscal year. Summing up, Tejas emphasizes, “We understand our responsibility to remain sustainable and thus we have commenced our journey towards sustainability. We are implementing safety measures, EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) systems and are tracking carbon footprints. We have hired PWC to advise and hand hold us in our endeavours on EHS.”

Janus International  led by brothers Denver Annunciation 43 years and Janus Annunciation 36 years is a producer of a wide range of print and packaging products like PSA Labels, In-mold labels, Shrink sleeves, folding cartons, rigid boxes, eflute mono cartons, etc. The company was founded by their father Joe Annunciation in 1999. Both brothers are MBAs and alumnus of S P Jain Institute of Management and Research. Denver joined the company in 2001 and Janus joined five years later in 2006. “It has been an exhilarating experience running and growing the company so far, I am looking at much more” says Denver. He had joined the company when they had just 9 employees in a 500 square feet shopfloor. This has grown to 202 employees in three buildings at the same location in Thane spread over 55,000 square feet. Janus International has 7 flexo presses, one HP Indigo digital press and 3 offset presses.

Talking of the future, Denver mentions firmly that they endeavour to create a World class manufacturing company with ongoing stable growth. The company registered a sale of Rupees 83 Crores in the last financial year and they are confident to double it in 3 years.

Alpine containers Pvt. Ltd. Jammu is a company producing labels and packaging, at the northern most location in India for labels,  founded by Harish Gulati who mentored his 40-year-old son Vipul Gulati from starting as a trainee to taking up a leadership role in expanding the company. Though Harish had set up the printing business manufacturing mono cartons in 1978 in an 800 square foot premises, but Vipul joined in 2003. The present company Alpine was established in 2008 when they expanded into corrugated board cartons. In 2012 they installed an automatic corrugation plant, the first one to be setup in entire region of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Vipul Gulati did his schooling from Prestigious Maharaja Hari Singh School Nagbani and BBA degree from Lovely University. Vipul led Alpine’s venturing into label manufacturing in 2015 with installation of a Gallus ECS 340 label press then a Mark Andy P 7 in 2019 and another Label press in 2022 along with 3 inspection machines and screen-printing machine. As Executive Director of the company, Vipul is responsible for purchases, new developments, expansion and day-to-day operations. He is  expanding label business beyond Jammu, setting up a manufacturing plant in Gujarat.

The company is now operating from two locations in a shop floor admeasuring 200,000 square feet employing more than 250 people. As for labels, they consume in excess of 400,000 square meters of self adhesive labelstock which is likely to increase exponentially once the expansions being undertaken are completed.

Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 December 2023