Self Adhesive Labels Industry In India and The World
The pressure sensitive adhesive labels and packaging industry is growing at a steady and rapid pace in India. It is now time that the contribution of those who have achieved success is chronicled so that those who wish to move ahead have a platform to look for information, news and interaction. This Website intends to provide all that along with inspiration and reference.
Mumbai headquartered SMI Coated Products Pvt. Ltd., a family managed company headed by Ajay Mehta as Managing Director, India’s largest amongst the indigenous labelstock manufacturers has recently acquired three Matho waste management systems that were installed at their Ambernath unit. SMI that was setup in Daman in 1993 on a 750 square meter industrial plot, is now operating out of 25000 square meter plot with 13000 square meter shopfloor converting 1350 tons per month of paper with seven coaters and producing 100 million square meters of labelstock per annum. SMI is exporting to 22 countries and have setup a slitting cum distribution company in Jebelali Dubai UAE. Rohit Mehta Director of SMI says, “We continuously strive to invest in sustainable, clean room manufacturing and environmentally conscious practices. Installation of Matho waste management systems is a step in that direction.”
In an evolving current scenario, the labels industry is more concerned than ever with having a cleaner and green workplace. Environmentally and socially responsible manufacturers of self-adhesive label material or converters of labels simply do not wish to dump their production waste as garbage, in open or covered spaces. The slitting trims or matrix waste which has tacky adhesive on it and is voluminous is waste that attracts dust and bacteria so is a health a hazard and also occupies expensive space that can be used for productive purposes. German manufacturers Matho offers waste management systems to extract the trims and matrix by suction from the slitting machine or die-cutting station to transport it the main equipment to shred the self-adhesive waste without letting it stick to the sides and clogging the pipes and further blow it on to either collection bags in highly reduced space or compact it for easy disposal.
MATHO Konstruktion & Maschinenbau GmbH is a leading manufacturer of granulators and waste extraction systems in the packaging, converting, and labels industry. Headquartered in Ellwangen, Germany, and with more than 25 years of experience the company focuses on the entire waste handling process. This focus includes the project planning, manufacturing, installation and commissioning of waste extraction systems.
The sale of these Matho systems has been handled by Matho’s exclusive agents in India Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi established in 1982, who are providers of total label manufacturing solutions with exclusive representation of leading international equipment brands as principals. Commenting on this sale, Kanwardeep Sahni (KD) Managing Director of Weldon says, “SMI is an industry leader who is demanding and opting for the best. It is a prestigious sale for us to have been preferred by industry stalwart Ajay Mehta ”.
In my early years when I worked for my parental company Weldon Sales Corporation established in 1939, manufacturing stationary products like Weldon Fountain pen inks and office glues besides a range of stationary products, I remember that we used to affix paper labels on glass bottles using water-based adhesives. Initially these were solutions of gum Arabic and later we switched over to starch based adhesives produced by us captively. These worked well on glass bottles or paper-based packaging, the only challenge was that we had to wait for the adhesive to dry before putting these into secondary or tertiary packs as the labels would shift if packed wet compromising the appearance of the product. The same issue was encountered by the beer industry which continues to face it, at least for some brands that still rely on adhesives that do not address this problem. Since glass packaging was heavy and was susceptible to breakages in transit the introduction of plastic HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) bottles came as a big relief at that time. HDPE that was invented in 1953, started being initially imported and later produced in India by Polyolefin Industries Ltd. a Mafatlal Group Company under license from Hoechst Germany, in the late 1960s. HDPE plastic bottles came as a big innovative development for the liquid packaging industry. When we at Weldon started using outsourced Plastic bottles, later manufacturing them in-house, labeling them brought fresh problems.
The labels affixed with water-based adhesives, on drying would fall off in transit or get wrinkled. This was because of the reason that HDPE is a low-energy polymer and for normal water-based adhesives to form a permanent bond is a problem. For some round bottles, we started using wrap-around labels as then the label would come around and get pasted paper to paper. It was during this period after 1965 that the earliest self-adhesive labels started being produced in India and in the 1970s their usage in the packaging of products started to increase. These labels would bond instantly, would not need drying and would not shift in packaging , also aiding the aesthetics so their usage spread quickly and widely. It was that time we at Weldon also shifted to self-adhesive labels or pressure-sensitive labels. The rest of the evolution of Self-Adhesive labels is history and is still an ongoing process.
Adhesives: Pressure-sensitive adhesive(PSA) labels is now one of the fastest growing segments in a world of diverse labeling technologies. It provides accuracy of clean labeling and options to use a variety of adhesives for application on different surfaces in most environments, including temperature, humidity, exposure to UV, etc. Advancements in products and their packaging require labels to perform in extreme and demanding parameters.
Some food and pharma products require the labels to perform at very low temperatures, typical are for ice cream, pharma and vaccines that require extremely low temperature for storage. Synthetic adhesives that are in use nowadays harden at very low temperatures and tend to fall off so must be formulated to withstand the application and storage conditions. These adhesive soften at high temperatures therefore signages and labels that must be used for outdoor in diverse environments, withstand UV light and heat build up due continuous exposure to sun also need adhesives specially formulated to perform for the duration of their lifetime. Direct PSA labels application on food products like fresh fruits and vegetables is now in use and labels must be certified safe for direct food contact and that they should not have adhesive or inks from which plasticizer may migrate into the product. Coming to labeling on low energy surfaces like HDPE bottles mentioned above, though the label sticks well but in these days of increased incidence of anti-counterfeiting, pilferage and tampering, the label with standard general purpose adhesive can be pulled off cleanly by an experienced hacker or counterfeiter. So, the adhesives are an important and integral part of evolving trends in self-adhesive labels. A lot of development has been done on these lines and continue to be taken up to produce special formulations that conform to the specific requirements.
Substrates and embellishments: As customers grow in numbers, segments, literacy, urbanisation and geographical spread, the packaging development managers are attempting to create innovations in partnership with label printers to woo the consumers, increase the shelf appeal of products and increase brand recalls.
Moving from simple label substrates like uncoated maplitho or uncoated woodfree paper, now the selection of substrate is as per the imagination or creative ideas of the label developers. The label face materials can be selected from a wide range of options available like semigloss paper, metallised papers or films, textured paper, various clear or opaque films, fabric, cork, lenticular films, holographic paper or films and anything that emanates out of a creative designer’s mind. As for embellishments, there was a time when either using a cast coated paper or a good varnish were the only options, but now a whole world of new ways to embellish labels has erupted. Using multiple printing technologies to get the best of every printing process, adding value to win customers and beat competition is becoming a necessity for printers. Today we see labels being made in-line in a single pass employing a combination of flexographic printing for spot colours or pantones, offset to create vignettes or skin tones, screen for higher deposition of ink, rotogravure to get the best results of metallic inks, cold foil, hot foil, using a variety of varnishes to create effects like textures, high gloss, matt, silk finish or just spot varnish, embossing and debossing to bring amazing results in the finished labels. We see printers create labels with raised effects like dew drops, print that seems to give the look and feel of wood and fruits with pulp, giving a natural effect. Adding further to the capabilities, now printers are employing digital printing either in combination as mentioned or as repass to do variable printing and or personalization. The options are getting to be limitless.
Security Labelling: Increasing number of instances of duplication, counterfeiting and pilferage has created a need for security to be made an important part of labeling.
Counterfeiting products is a problem not only limited to pharmaceuticals industry, but it also affects 5 to 7 percent of global trade. It has impacted other industries as well, such as electronics, automotive parts, spirits, consumer products and high-end cosmetics. Earlier security labels were only with security cuts incorporated at the time of die cutting, then specialized stocks with overt and covert features like the Void labels started being used followed by destructible labels. Holograms also have been largely employed and is now hologram production is a large segment of label industry. With development in pre-press and printing technologies printers use micro printing which is not visible to naked human eyes and other such printing methods used in printing currency to inbuild security in labels. Barcodes are also being largely employed to play an important role in security in labels besides aiding variable statutory information, track n trace information, inventory and logistical data. A very important development in recent times has been Intelligent labels that include near field communication (NFC) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to perform a wide variety of tasks. Integrating these capabilities with traditional labels is one of the most dramatic development in labeling.
Printing Equipment: The narrow web self-adhesive label manufacturing commenced in India in the first half of 1970s on small, about 4-5inches label presses imported from far eastern countries mostly from Japan at that time. These small narrow web presses that did block printing were extremely slow about 5 meters per minute but still did the printing and die cutting inline in a single pass, that was its USP.
It may appear strange to the younger printers of today that there were no drying arrangements in these presses. Printers would print and then hang the printed rolls of labels on a clothesline for drying before rerolling them on a core and sending to customers. Shop floors of narrow web label printers would look like washing yards referred to in India as “Dhobhi ghat”. The printing technologies with time went through continuous changes. The flatbed block printing made way for semi-rotary intermittent letterpress using polymer plates. With improvement in Flexo ink and plate technology, rotary label presses with central impression drum (CI Label Presses) found their way into print shops. These provided faster speeds at increased widths of 7 inches(180mm)-10inches(250mm) and as the buyers became more demanding on colours, speeds and performance, together with further evolution of prepress, advancements in plate making and registration controls, the CI narrow web label presses moved out making way for modular presses using water-based inks with hot air dryers. However, CI presses continued to be used for other applications like lami-tubes and mid-web flexible packaging. Label presses have over the years evolved to print wider web widths of 330mm, 430mm, 530mm and at last Labelexpo presses over 650mm were displayed. Printing speeds have also escalated to over 200meters per minute. In an evolving scenario of rising demands for perfection in print and printers facing challenges in reproducibility, colour variations due to viscosity changes in ink trays and set up wastage, were releived when UV inks, UV lamps for drying and short web path became a standard part of presses. The UV printing also enabled printing and converting filmic labels after addition of corona treaters inline to enhance print adhesion. Some label companies have of now reverted to include a combination of hot air and UV as some food products have witnessed migration of photo initiators in UV inks migrating into the food causing contamination, so the option to print with water-based inks comes in handy to service such requirements. LED UV also is being seen as replacement as there is energy cost saving and better as regards migration issues. Ideal solution maybe Electron Beam curing which is costly but that has still to be accepted by Indian label industry. There is hardly any installation with EB curing for production of narrow web labels in India.
Other evolutions that happened include label presses designed for quick change overs to enable a large number of jobs per day, servo drives to eliminate gears coupled with advanced vision camera systems to achieve perfect registrations in both machine and cross direction without human intervention, better matrix removal, web cleaners to eliminate pinholes and print aberrations, web turn bars to print both sides of the web along with the delam-relam function for enabling printing on back or the adhesive coated side of the web. Movable lamination stations and embellishing stations like foiling add value to the printed labels. Multiple die-stations to enable functions like embossing, debossing, slitting besides simple die cutting or sheeting have become a standard function demanded by high-end printing companies. Change of heavy magnetic cylinders was a cumbersome and time-consuming job requiring manpower and lifting arrangements. Now in a couple of minutes one can slide-out and slide-in a magnetic cylinder.
The pandemic that surfaced in end of 2019 and drastically impacted the whole world and made businesses suffer for all of 2020 and when we are hoping for it to taper off in 2021 providing relief to mankind, it has started to resurface. It has prompted the industry to re-engineer their working. The aim now is to work with less. Workflow management, increased automation, clean room manufacturing, inventory controls, effective management systems, etc. are the buzzwords that even smaller entrepreneurs understand and are making efforts to implement them. Automatic butt slicers/reel changing systems to achieve continuous 24X7 production when needed, waste management equipment sucking waste matrix right from the die cutting stage and shredding and inline inspection/colour management systems to reduce rejections which were earlier a preference of only a selected few, but these are now a part of standard equipment configurations envisaged commonly by Label printing companies planning expansion or planning new setup. The evolution and shifting of trends in self-adhesive labels have been an ongoing process and printers need to adapt the changes as they originate to stay fit, competitive and innovative.
Author’s footnote: Each parameter listed above and many other parameter’s like inks, special adhesives, coatings and machine design are subjects that are to lengthy to be accommodated into one article and need separate coverage.
Written by Harveer Sahni, Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-India April 2021
The adverse impact of lockdowns has not really worn off when a very awkward situation is now confronting the labels and printing industry at large. Prices of paper and all essential inputs are moving skywards disrupting the cashflows that appeared to be getting back to normalcy.It is a strange situation whereby there is a volume growth in demand and reduced availability of pulp and other materials
coupled with a compulsion of paper mills to recoup the losses incurred due to lockdown, driving up the paper prices. Stuck in between, the label and printing industry is compelled to swallow the increases with intense pressure on their operating margins and working capital requirements. The phenomenon is evident globally, as paper sellers are directing supplies to wherever they find a bigger demand around the world and can command higher prices. There are also logistics challenges owing to the shortage of containers. One wonders if this surge in demand is real or there is an element of stockpiling. If it is the latter, it may result in a market crash once the normal working returns that would be even more worrisome. It is mentioned by analysts that the present spurt in prices is due to increased demand coming from China’s domestic consumption increasing dramatically. Surely these are unprecedented increases happening leaving a premonition of adversity amongst the printing and packaging fraternity.
The price increases in the paper are coming continuously at regular intervals of time. Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) which is one of the largest pulp and paper company in the world, wide their notification dated 22nd January 2021 increased prices of all grades of paper by 100$ per ton then on 1st February 2021 they increased the prices by another 100$ per ton and also withdrew the reel discount they were offering,
yet again on 1st March 2021 they increased the prices by yet another 150$ per ton.With such a steady rise on monthly basis, one is left wondering when and where this will stop. SAPPI another global supplier of label, packaging and specialty papers, on 3rd March 2021 announced an increase of 7-11% in prices. In the case of labels, both the face stock and the release paper have suffered cost escalation. Vinyl Acetate Monomer or VAM is an important part of pressure-sensitive adhesives used for the manufacture of self-adhesive label stocks and tapes. Owing to a whopping increase in demand from China VAM prices also witnessed a continuous upward trend to reach an increase of more than 20% so far in 2021. This too directly impacts the cost of producing self-adhesive label stock and eventually labels. Many polyethylenes (PE) and polypropylene (PP) producers in Texas USA have shut plant operations because of the winter storm in mid-February 2021 sending prices of films upwards due to shortages. This increase in the prices of polymers directly impacted the price of label films and filmic label stocks. The increase for different films varies between 12-25%.
As if the raw material price rise was not enough the varying demand across different geographical zones in the world and shift in purchasing pattern of populations around the globe brought about a huge impetus to online retail business.
This resulted in a logistic change of transportation from established routes and volumes causing disruption of smooth flow of materials and altering the planning for container needs. All this led to increased freight rates, coupled with increasing fuel prices the ultimate impact on the end product keeps on escalating. It is surprising that such an unprecedented upward revision of all inputs in one go has never been witnessed before in the labels industry. The labelstock manufacturer is squeezed between the large raw material suppliers and the printers who are themselves under intense pressure of high equipment cost and facing print buyers who are not willing to increase buying rates. More so, considering that increasing number of label printers are bidding for the same business and are always ready to compromise a bit more, the situation is complicated.
Gautham Pai founder and Executive Chairman of Manipal Technologies Limited Manipal, expressing concern at the situation prevailing says, “The price increase of raw materials is significantly impacting the business. In addition, the supply chain disturbances and logistic cost increases have added to the overall costs increases.
These increases at a time when buyers are still struggling with low demands and muted orders is a major concern.” U K Gupta Group Chairman & Managing Director, Holostik Group also feels, “Price increase in paper, solvents and adhesives have impacted the Label Industry badly”. Indian Labelstock producers have steadily grown in numbers and size as the industry registers double digit growth over the last many years. The industry players have gradually transformed from being manufacturers of just commodity stocks like semi-gloss and uncoated wood free or maplitho to advanced specialized label materials, both coated, uncoated, filmic and specialty products like security label materials. Since all inputs in labelstock manufacturing have been adversely impacted and spreading the effect to the entire self-adhesive label industry, Ajay Mehta Managing Director of India’s largest indigenous labelstock manufacturing company SMI Coated Products Pvt. Ltd. brings forth the reality that the industry is facing by expressing, “The price rise in all raw materials of Label Stock solutions have gone up tremendously and we have to pass it on to the Label converters and unless the Label converting industry joins hands, to take immediate action in getting a price rise from Label buyers , the Industry stands to loose INR 250 million per month, which is going to be extremely detrimental for the health of the industry”.
The pain and anguish at the emergence of this difficult unprecedented turn of events in words of, Ajay Agarwal, CEO of Syndicate labels New Delhi, “Price increase is nothing but a nightmare for the Label Printing fraternity and the biggest reason is that it disrupts the operations for all label Convertors.
The process of transmission of the rate increase to the end customer is extremely difficult and is often characterised by a new round of negotiations, reverse auctions etc. and most likely it results in reduced margins for the label convertor. While price increase is a reality and need of the hour yet in face of the current increase in prices of raw materials, it still leads to a lot of pain.” Sharing the same concern, Himanshu Kapur Director, J K Fine Prints Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai agrees, “Price increase is a necessary evil for accommodating inflation, if done effectively it will benefit the entire supply chain else operation will suffer long term. Unfortunately, the print buyers are also responsible for the collapse of an industry which was once an art form and now considered a commodity”. Rajesh Nema Director Pragati Graphics Indore and honorary secretary LMAI (Label Manufacturers Association of India), “Label industry is indeed facing tough times as cost of all inputs has gone up yet print buyers are not agreeing to price increases. Most of the self-adhesive label manufacturers are in yearly contracts with their buyers, it is difficult to make them agree to price increases during currency of the contract”. According to Lakshminarayanan business unit head-Wintek at Signode India Ltd. : Impact of Prices is not only from raw materials, but it is also due to Inflation and logistics. There is a strong demand for consumer goods and food packaging in the country. Nonessential packaging sectors is also regaining normalcy, but the price increases continue to challenge converters supplying due to their inability to pass on the price increases to end-users, who in turn are driven by their cost pressures and not accepting to consider any price increase in current situation. Considering the greater need for working capital due to the steep increase in prices during recent weeks and the narrowing margins, inventory held by both converters and end-users remained below the average.
A brave Anuj Bhargava of fast-growing Kumar Labels NOIDA beamingly says. “Price hikes shouldn’t affect any organization’s normal profitability in the entire eco-system. All actions favorable to this intent should be taken so that a new equilibrium is arrived at with positivity” However he further adds, “that price hikes should be passed on so that profitability is not affected for anyone. New equilibrium is with revised prices for everyone.”.
LMAI President Kuldip Goel, Managing Director of Any Graphics NOIDA, sums it up as a situation whereby in the covid times many in the industry have lost customers because when you take the increased price to them, your competitors who have their own pressures to strengthen their balance sheets so that banks are satisfied to lend more, are ready to offer without any profit or at a minor loss. Or if they have spare capacity and can retain their loyal customers they will attempt to take in new customers at unreasonable rates. It is not that the print buyer is not facing the impact of covid-19, the moment they see price escalation they will start exploring options to prevent the rise in the cost of inputs.
Printers at this time must evaluate as to how best they can handle the situation; price increase is imperative for them to sustain but then it needs to be seen how much of their business is dependent on that customer. One must strike a balance in price and cost optimization internally by trying to achieve more from their existing infrastructure and manpower. One must look within, reduce labour cost, wastages, save electricity, inventory control, and produce more with less.
At this time, the entire value chain is in jeopardy, each business product unit is customer of another, all constituents of the industry up to the print buyers need to empathise with their suppliers to bring some relief from this dilemma post continuous increase in input costs, that has descended on entire industry. It is appropriate at this time to mention a famous quote, “The journey is never ending. There’s always going to be growth, improvement, adversity; you just got to take it all in your stride and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment”.
Addendum: Messages received after posting the above article;
Aaditya Kashyap, Marks Emballage Pvt. Ltd. Baddi”; Already struggling to come back to normalcy from the pandemic-induced challenges, the increasing raw material pricing is like the last thing we could have wished for. I see label printers in a very weak and vulnerable position completely squeezed out of business by increased prices from bigger players on the supply side and the dominant brands and buyers on the other hand who refuse to accept any price hikes. Would love to see that material manufacturers and suppliers work with printers to take the price hikes to brands and buyers. This is a difficult time for all, so need for all stakeholders to work together to find a win-win in this difficult times.”
Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi March 2021
Note: Print magazines are free to reproduce this article subject to giving credit to author with blog address
Sometime during the spring of 2002 while I was camping in Mumbai, a father son duo came to meet me to seek my advice on the way forward in their label printing business. They were making labels for beer and liquor companies by outsourcing printing from sheetfed offset printers and then embellishing them at their factory, Hot foiling, Embossing, Die-cutting, etc.
They were at that time deciding to go in for a narrow web label printing press. By the time the meeting ended they were sure that they will invest in a new label press of international brand. The duo was none other than, Joe Annunciation and his younger son Janus, he has another son Denver. They had been considering a Mark Andy press earlier when it was sold by EAC graphics. Meanwhile Heidelberg had acquired EAC and had also invested substantially in Gallus in 2003 due to which it came within the Heidelberg portfolio replacing Mark Andy, the Annunciations were inclined towards Heidelberg as their printing vendors had their equipment and spoke of their unmatched service support in those days. This situation motivated them to finally settle for a Gallus EM280 label press to initiate their journey into narrow web label printing and converting.
Joe Annunciation a B.Sc. in chemistry started his career with Colour Cartons a leading package printing company of that time. Joe had the unique distinction of being the first chemist ever to be employed by a packaging company in India to work in their laboratory.
While he was still at Colour Cartons, Joe got an opportunity to work in a Dubai based plastic molding company Cosmoplast which he readily accepted and relocated to UAE. Cosmoplast are manufacturers of Industrial, household moulded plastic items and disposables. Here at Cosmoplast he shifted to marketing. His elder son Denver was born in 1980 while they were in Dubai. As time passed, Joe ventured out on his own. Given his technical knowledge, he started trading in Plastic Bags, travelling, and selling in the entire Gulf region. He envisioned setting up a manufacturing facility of his own someday, so kept remitting his savings back home. In 1985 just before the birth of his younger son Janus, it was time to head home and initiate his own business. Joe and his wife Lourdes, a homemaker, returned to Mumbai and set up the family’s maiden corrugated carton manufacturing unit in partnership with Joe’s brothers. A decade later he parted company with his brothers and in 1996, he set up his present labels printing company, Janus International.
Joe’s elder son Denver Annunciation who now runs Janus International along with his brother Janus, did his earliest schooling in Dubai but on return to Mumbai went to boarding school for further education. Denver attributes the time at the boarding school as the most rewarding in shaping up his career.
Post school he completed his B.Com. from SIES College Mumbai. He wanted to study further and become a computer programmer but due to his father’s problem with his eyes, in 2001 he joined the family business working initially in the accounts department besides assisting his father in production. Within 2 years of his joining, the Anunnciations invested in a 5 colour Gallus EM280, since it was a 5 colour flexo press, they impressed upon customers and converted most jobs to suit their equipment. The first label that they printed on their Gallus label press was for Cannon 10000 beer. 5 years after Denver joined business, his brother Janus also joined strengthening the team to expand and grow the company. A challenging time came when their regular customer Shaw Wallace got acquired by Sab Miller. The auditor from the new team at Sab Miller had different parameters to assess the vendors and reduced their business substantially. A persistent Denver took that in his stride, worked harder to grow the business exponentially. From just one press in 2003 they had installed 4 presses by 2008.
In 2006 Denver while still working joined S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research to complete his MBA and then move to head the marketing and sales operations at Janus international. His brother Janus also followed Denver’s footsteps and pursued further studies to get an MBA degree.
While at S P Jain, a professor impressed upon Denver the unique model of Toyota whereby they could produce even one unique car. This had impacted his mind immensely, more so because they were already loaded with bulk manufacturing of beer and liquor labels day after day. Denver found this too monotonous and tiring without much innovation, even after registering a whopping 80% growth rate. He started thinking of the unique Toyota concept that his professor had advocated. Digital appeared to provide him the solution to diversify into an exciting arena of change and unique concept of creativity in short runs and catering to a much larger customer profile. At this time, they took the pioneering step of being the first label printing company in India to invest in an HP Indigo 4500 label press. Denver and Janus decided to visit Drupa in Dusseldorf and finalise the deal for an HP Indigo, but they were worried about the existing business in their absence for the long time that they would have to spend at Drupa. Fondly Denver reminisces that a day before leaving Janus accomplished a gigantic task of proofing 56 jobs in a single day so that things would run smoothly in their absence. At Drupa they signed the deal to invest in an HP Indigo 4500 Digital Label Printing Press. They had finally the capabilities to print Offset, Flexo and Digital. As early as 2008, Janus International led the Indian label industry’s move into digital label printing!
It is normal that when one indulges in a new technology there are many glitches and it becomes continuous learning until you stabilize and settle down to a comfort level. At Janus International it was no different, but Denver is appreciative of Ajay Rao Rane, then working for HP, who helped him through the learning process.
They had to test printing on all different materials, learn the primer coatings and other operational nuances. Now the brothers are adept in the digital label printing technology. They are capable of catering to a diverse range of customers offering short runs, immediate deliveries and customized jobs with variable information. 11 years after buying the HP Indigo 4500 they decided to upgrade the machine to HP Indigo 6900. Allowing Janus International to offer customers options such as shrink sleeves, cartons, pouches and in-mould labels. The upgrade has also enhanced Janus’ capabilities to address the requirements of a wider variety of brands, including small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) clients, for fast short-run production and packaging. With this installation they can print wrap-around labels, pouches, IML, lamitubes, security labels, pressure-sensitive, shrink sleeves as well as folding cartons. Gradually the customer base swelled from 14 customers to reach over 350 customers.
Looking back, Denver feels some of the events that have brought him happiness and success include the decision to join a boarding school, join S P Jain for masters in business administration and his meeting Wilona, his wife and marrying her. Dr. Wilona Annunciation is an MD MBBS, a successful psychiatrist. The couple is blessed with two children, a daughter Allyssah 9 years and Aeyden 7 years. Denver still nurtures his passion for IT and IT related activities, as he grows in business, he wishes to someday become an industry consultant related to IT enabled print services, digital printing being an important part of such services.
Facing the pandemic, lockdown and restarting production, the Annunciation brothers say, “There was no change for us, we have been investing in workflow management and automation for a couple of years now. We could start production in 4 days with just 5 workers”.
They had got permission to restart as they were supplying to manufacturers of food and pharmaceuticals which are termed as essential supplies. They have adopted the standard safety procedures as recommended by the government. As regards future growth Denver is not really interested in just growing the topline. It is the bottom line that makes him more indulgent. The company with their efforts, has attained a certain level of inertia and will keep on growing in the normal organic way. Janus International now operate out of a 30000 square foot factory at a single location with 11 presses, 110 people 6 flexo label presses, four sheet offset presses and one HP Indigo 6900 digital label press.
Commenting on the evolution of new label technologies like linerless and direct on product labeling, he is not worried and feels that as the human race grows in numbers and lifestyles change take place, need for labels and packaging will remain an imperative.
The new technologies will not take away a growth, this industry will remain vibrant and we intend being there through all the change. Nowhere is anyone saying that a label will cease to exist. Just the technology to produce and deliver the same will change. We will need to evolve with the technology. Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi August 2020
A resilient label industry that was reeling under the adverse impact of lockdown due to Covid-19 is now clawing its way back to normalcy despite facing a highly stressful financial situation that has left them staring at a massive gap in cashflow and loss of production. Customer demand is low as regards retail, with malls still not opening to full strength and consumers restricted to their homes, buying only essential items of use. A sudden spurt in requirement of sanitizers and pharma products has given a fillip to the label requirement but one is left wondering how long this will stay and with increasing number of printers offering similar products, the price of labels for this segment will also soon become intensely competitive and non-remunerative with no value addition needed as a necessity. The silver lining is that the industry at large is confident to bounce back to the pre-Covid levels, but this may take a few months to a year or more. Underlying threat of the virus not dying down continues to haunt the industry and it is time to look back evaluate the present and foresee or plan for a consistent future.
On the 11th of May 2020 an embattled Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fighting a mammoth pandemic Covid-19 on one hand and facing a dwindling economic scenario on the other, made a clarion call to the nation, calling for his countrymen to support his vision for Atma-Nirbhar Bharat or self-Reliant India. He mentioned the five pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat as: Economy, Infrastructure, System, Vibrant Demography and Demand. A natural human response to any form of attack is to go on defense however it is dynamism and daring spirit to prompt the nation into an offensive with long term growth perception. It reminds one of what George Washington wrote in 1799, “That offensive operations, often times, is the surest, if not the only (in some cases) means of defense”. In simpler terms “offence is the best form of defense”. The five pillars of the Prime Minister’s vision of a Self-Reliant India were also explained as. 1) Economy, which brings in quantum jump and not incremental change2) Infrastructure, which should become the identity of India3) System, based on 21st-century technology-driven arrangements4) Vibrant Demography, which is our source of energy for a self-reliant India and5) Demand, whereby the strength of our demand and supply chain should be utilized to full capacity To achieve the vision, a huge financial package is also being put in place to support and encourage the people, industry and other institutions furthering the cause. Stressing on the imperative need for going local in mind, he stressed the “make in India” concept to escalate inherent strength of the nation. If the instilled red tapism that has prevailed in Indian bureaucratic system and has refused to die down over the years, does not create hurdles in disbursement to the beneficiaries specially the MSME sector, the large cache of technically educated English speaking manpower in democratic India can deliver the expected results. Expressing his reservations Chennai (South India) based A. Ramesh, owner of Sree Krishna Labels & Solutions Pvt. Ltd. says, “Most MSMEs will be restarting from ground zero and Govt support package has still not reached the banks and it is in the bank’s hand to decide”. This sentiment has been expressed by others as well. As for “going local” or “make in India” concept, as explained by the Indian finance minister on the following day of Prime Minister’s speech, clarifies that it does not mean that the country wishes to be in isolation. It translates into achieving freedom of dependence from global brands for everyday consumption of materials which our youth can provide if their entrepreneurial capabilities are encouraged to produce. It remains to be seen if this package is what will make the industry stand up and applaud and move on.
The Indian self-adhesive or pressure sensitive label industry is completing almost 50 years of existence. In the early years, the production was either manual or simpler and evolving technologies of that time were being used sparingly across India.
It is only in the last decade that the industry has risen to global standards in installing technically advanced label printing, decorating, and converting presses comparable to the best in the world. Since most label printing companies are MSMEs, they have faced a big adverse impact of lockdown following spread of pandemic Covid-19. They are mostly family owned first generation entrepreneurs who do not have large industrial groups backing them. Now if they get the financial aid as communicated by the government, it will be difficult and long before the industry bounces back. However, at this time the support as given, is not a compensation of losses incurred by industry, Government is only giving loans that will attract interest and add to the burden of the entrepreneurs. It may be enhanced business for Banks but a burden on industry. From the difficult experience gained during this lockdown, it may still make sense to take the Prime Minister’s appeal seriously towards becoming Atmanirbhar. Surely it does not imply going into isolation shunning everything or all technology that is foreign. Surely it means we use the best capital equipment available across the world to produce end products that are largely local in content. If Indian equipment suffices the need, it should be preferred. However, the industry needs to aim and create products in their factories that are of high standards and eliminate the need for imported products.
Label industry around the country on the contrary is unhappy and distressed at government’s response and decisions to sufferings they are facing and will be facing an even bigger challenge of reduced demand in coming months. The author interacted with label industry constituents in all geographical zones of India and the reaction every where was somewhat similar.
Kuldip Goel, President LMAI (Label Manufacturers Association of India) said, “I don’t see any benefit in the package being offered. A Loan being given and repayable in just 4 years is not the support that MSMEs need for losses that they incurred in lockdown facing this pandemic. The instalment and interest will be huge and add to the woes of MSMEs in a burdensome time”. Leading Label stock manufacturer Ajay Mehta Managing Director of SMI Coated Products Pvt. Ltd. is also apprehensive about the losses due to the lockdown, he says, “The governments financial support package is a reflection of its policy of Atmanirbhav, the confidence it has on the Indians to be able to take things ahead, despite all the constraints, by providing funds to take care of the liquidity crunch and not delve into the compensating the losses already made in these months, as well as what losses would be incurred in the coming months.” Manoj Kochhar of Holoflex Kolkata in the East of India feels there is no direct incentive given, the biggest hit is due to this pause in operations. The Government should have at least made the loans interest free and for longer tenure. It is not easy to deal with banks as they have ways to become selective and find loopholes to refuse or reduce support. Harish Gupta heading Sai Com Codes in Rai, district Sonepat in the Delhi NCR is quite upset at the governments package, “We have been pushed back by two years! The support package is an eyewash and joke on the industry” he says and adds, “Ask anyone if he can easily get a loan from bank, they will make you cry”. He is also worried that workers who went back home are starving and they have no support, they now wish to return but there are no means to come back. LMAI General Secretary Rajesh Nema of Pragati Global Indore in Central India expressed, “Lockdown has taught us to live our life in a simpler way. Govt’s package would indeed increase liquidity in hands of entrepreneurs but the interest burden is going to be there. The Govt should have waived off interest for 3 months or at least reduced income tax to lessen the burden.” Sanjeev Sondhi of Zircon said, “Two things are killing; cash flow and manpower shortage. Government initiative looks a big puzzle if you can solve it, you may get something in the end”. Accepting life as it comes Harish Gulati Managing Director Alpine Containers Jammu in the northern most part of India said, “The biggest impact of lockdown has resulted in bringing economy to its knees which is beyond any body’s imagination and taught many new lessons out of management books. The tough time is going to be a new normal for quite a long time.” With a divergent response Raveendran Selvarajan Managing Director at Sel Jegat Printers Private Limited Sivakasi in South India states, “In present circumstances Government has made a good effort to bring about liquidity in market, If the intended support reaches the industry, it will bring buoyancy back into markets”. Summing up Jigesh Dani of Maharshi Labels, Ahmedabad western India says, “Justice delayed is justice denied!” he explains that the corona virus erupted in December 2019, government should have gone into planning to reduce stress on workers and industry, it would then have not led to migration of workers. If you look at the financial package of 20 Lakh Crores, the cost to Government is just 2500 Crores! Please see the table at the end of this article. Even out this amount meant for them only 20-25% will reach the targeted MSMEs. A small single owner entrepreneur does not have the capability to cope up with the formalities that banks ask for and they finally get tired of pursuing and give up. By the time, the support does eventually reach some, they will be deeper in RED. If the government is earnest in supporting, then they should have transferred the monies straight into accounts…this delay is denied justice.” To recover from this catastrophe there is need to look within and find the strength as Albert Einstein said, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.” To re-engineer your business we must adopt an operating structure of financial discipline. The adherence depends on profitability and cash flows. The production may appear to be profitable, but a negative cash flow will hamper the march toward self-reliance. Printers need to balance the inflow and outflow all the time and ensure its positive status, it may sound difficult for MSMEs but the present situation has made us realise that we have to be focused on quality customers and not quantity. The latter if not taken care of, will adversely impact your own status in terms of quality as buyers. Costing needs to be in check, for some persons this may translate into integrating backward and forward. Some big label companies may toy with the idea of producing labelstock to cut costs, but that would be counterproductive. It will be prudent to stay with core competence and keep achieving excellence in what you produce. It will also help in maintaining a focus of achieving a quantum jump. The reduction in cost must be in terms of wastages, down time, reduced human intervention, better inventory management and effective logistics. Label stock is the major part of a self-adhesive label and it involves a lot of imported papers. In an effort to localize, our Indian stock producers need to take initiative to reduce the imported content of labelstock and consider using alternative liners and indigenous face materials. They need to interact with paper mills to achieve the localization of these specialty papers. Label printers with support from Labelstock producers need to impress upon print buyers to opt for indigenously produced label materials reducing dependence on imported materials which are not really a necessity. This leads to the need for better infrastructure and equipment which is a onetime capital investment, amortization of which is quicker as you produce in quality and quantity without wastages but if the equipment is wanting in parameters the impact of higher cost is ongoing for all jobs resulting in reduced profitability. There is now need for printers to implement automation and workflow management. Materials must move in a planned manner without hindrance in the given floor space. Equipment with highly advanced automatic registration control ensuring reduced wastage and setting time help in cost control. Order receiving from customer, approval and processing for production, make ready (like ink preparation-plates and dies), just in time raw material ordering, final printing, converting, packing and finally logistics to dispatch all with real time targets can all be done through software. The progress of any order can be tracked by the customer, all departments concerned and logistics handlers who are involved with the process. There is virtually no need for huge inventory as materials are received just in time at allocated times and are lined up at designated presses for converting without need of extra worker moving around on shop floor reducing dependence on them. This may look expensive but as mentioned these are one-time costs that get amortised quickly as you produce more. Systems are which make life easier for the management in label companies. May it be HRD, time management, sales/marketing, customer care, production, order tracking both inward and outward, etc. should all have pre-set systems implemented through proper software that can be accessed by whoever it pertains to with it being limited to his or her area of responsibility or concern. Successful will be those companies that are driven by systems and not by persons. This will surely leave enough time to innovate, create, network and much more to be a part of a vibrant demography. As the economy of the country if and when it improves and there is more disposable money in hands of consumers, the demand will rise. Demand that has nosedived due to lockdown has impacted economy heavily and created a difficult situation for the label industry which has a direct link to sale of consumer products that need labels and packaging. The present boost promised by the Prime Minister is expected to bring the consumer back to the shopping arenas uplifting demand. Currently Label printers need to deliver well, quality of a label and its ability to motivate an end customer to lift it off the shelf gives a fillip to demand. It is a difficult unprecedented happening that has occurred in our lifetime and we wonder how long it will last? It is now duty of all concerned to contribute their might in bringing back normalcy, there is of course the big condition of receiving governments promised support in time with ease and not loaded with conditions. As the economy of the country if and when it improves and there is more disposable money in hands of consumers, the demand will rise. Demand that has nosedived due to lockdown has impacted economy heavily and created a difficult situation for the label industry which has a direct link to sale of consumer products that need labels and packaging. The present boost promised by the Prime Minister is expected to bring the consumer back to the shopping arenas uplifting demand. Currently Label printers need to deliver well, quality of a label and its ability to motivate an end customer to lift it off the shelf gives a fillip to demand. It is a difficult unprecedented happening that has occurred in our lifetime and we wonder how long it will last? It is now duty of all concerned to contribute their might in bringing back normalcy, there is of course the big condition of receiving governments promised support in time with ease and not loaded with conditions.
Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Ltd. New Delhi May 2020
Printing magazines may reproduce this article by giving credit to author.
The Indian label industry has been quite resilient to market oscillations over the years. It has constantly been registering a positive CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) and attracting investment over the last two decades. Even in the time of economic slowdown or the great global recession of 2007-2009 the Indian label industry was still growing, though at a lesser rate.
The investment in new label presses and equipment that were technically more advanced offering automatic registration control, faster job change overs, short web path and reduced wastages was never stopped, it may have paused for a couple of months but would bounce back. This has been primarily due to the growing demand of consumer products sale emanating from an increasing number of literate young people with gainful employment and higher disposable incomes in their hands. A large population, predominantly rural and which is second in numbers only to China has a middle class that is getting urbanized being exposed to changing lifestyles courtesy the TV channels or networks and mobile telephony is adopting the modern day global living and shopping standards. From buying essential needs from neighborhood stores in lose condition they have been shifting buying packaged commodities and consumer goods from organized retail outlets and fancy malls offering an amount of safety mentioning manufacture and expiry dates with price and product safety information. This culture has continuously provided fillip to the growing demand of consumer goods and subsequently to demand of good labels and packaging. Unfortunately, the present situation created by the spreading Covid19 virus has put everyone in a state of worry, high alert and caution.
The virus has caused colossal loss of lives around the world besides infecting millions who are fighting to recover from the effects of this life-threatening pandemic. Originating in Wuhan China the first lesson learnt to contain this virus also came from there, to curtail the spread one must resort to complete lockdown of the city.
Once the fatal consequence of this fast spreading virus was witnessed in countries like Italy, Spain, Iran and many others, the Modi government in India took a timely decision to put the entire country in a state of lockdown initially for three weeks. This may have slowed down the spread to a great extent but since the danger loomed over the large population, the lock down was extended for another 3 weeks. The initial days of lockdown was like a vacation but when the reality of its impact on life at all levels of humanity became evident it has surfaced as a nightmare. On the 3rd of May 2020 when the extension of lockdown ends, we are left wondering if the lockdown will be lifted completely or partially and when life will return to normal. With Malls, airlines, transport, bus services, restaurants, markets, industry and business at large all closed, life has come to a standstill. The imagining of job losses, no revenues coming in, salaries and expenses payable for businesses and receivables for the salaried, not coming makes one sit up and wonder how will life move ahead like this?
The impact: Most label companies are family owned and run on the rotation of funds model with extraordinarily little funds parked anywhere for such contingencies. Now with no payments coming in due to lockdown and customers having a valid reason that they are closed in a similar situation the result is evident. It has a cascading effect on the industry.
The workforce consists of temporary, casual, permanent helpers, skilled and management staff. Most of lower and middle level workforce are migrants who have travelled long distances from their villages and live in rented accommodation on what they get each month getting their rations on credit from neighborhood stores. In the current scenario and no permanent solution in sight they are left with no option but to return to the safety of their homes in villages where they have roof on their heads and meagre agricultural incomes to feed them but without the fear of getting infected. Since Government directive says salaries and wages must be paid in full during lockdown label printers are in a dilemma, how to pay when no revenues are coming in. Production is stopped, receivables are not coming in, both fixed and recurring expenses are accumulating, bank instalment and interest adding on, maintenance is needed to restart, security personnel have to be in place, minimum electricity charges have to be paid, imports are attracting customs duty and incurring demurrages, all together the situation seems to be grim.
Consumer spending for the present is going to change completely and buying will be restricted to bare essentials. Visits to malls and markets or such public places will be restricted to avoid getting infected.
Travel by air, rail or state roadways is virtually stopped and will be immensely hit, this will also similarly impact restaurants, cinemas, shows and events. Biggest sales of garments originate from shops in malls and dedicated markets, these are likely to be impacted adversely. Label is one item that finds usage in all business segments, may it be product labels, Garment labels, Barcode labels, Baggage tags, Automotive labels, Lubricant labels, Computer labels, etc. The garment labels that account for almost one third of the total usage of labels is likely to see a big decrease in demand. Baggage tags is another area that will hugely impacted until air travels picks up to pre-Covid 19 levels or more. With all these indicators pointing towards a shrinking demand, printers are a worried lot and for this reason they have put on hold expansion plans for the time being and at least for the current financial year we do not expect any major expansion decisions coming in. Those deals made earlier may have to be honoured and installations may happen. However still the printers would like to put on hold these deals so as to wait and watch. Since the entire supply chain is affected the resources also become limited, supplier credit may reduce on the other hand customers demand for more flexible terms will arise. The industry will be looking at government support to keep afloat.
With most travel plans shelved print shows postponed or cancelled; it is evident that this downturn will have its full impact during the current financial year which for Indian companies is up to the 31st of March 2021. Hopefully by then a vaccine has been developed and life may start returning to pre-covid state.
Until then investment will remain extremely low or on hold and customer visits will also be limited, alternate business strategies will have to evolve and ways of doing business will change for good. One thing is sure that eCommerce will emerge a winner in this fight against the pandemic. People will try and order things online and receive at their doorsteps, sanitize them and use. The system may become a habit for all time and a large part of the buying will happen that way. Labels and packaging for ecommerce may also undergo change as the imperative need to tempt the buyer to pick up the product off the shelf at point of sale is not there, so embellishment that increase the price of labels and packaging can be cut for ecommerce.
The brighter side: The Pandemic is not going to last forever. The one that came over a hundred years ago was at a time when science was not that advanced, to day when the technical capabilities and research is extremely advanced it will not be long before a vaccine is invented and the world is freed of this menace.
All the earlier epidemics also came and went away so we must look at things positively and wait for better days to return soon. This pandemic has brought the global opinion against China as it is believed that this was created by them, one must wait and see if there is any proof of such a thought process. Meanwhile global multinational companies have started to consider moving their international manufacturing hubs. India does look to be a preferred destination being a democratic, English speaking country with one of the largest educated and technical workforces. The Indian government needs to create conditions to make the full use of this opportunity by simplifying the entry procedures and ease of operations without unreasonable red tapism. This will attract foreign direct investment and also expand the economy and facilitate return to continued growth.
The way forward: Our label printers need to positively use this lockdown time to make strategies to revive their business, list their strength and plan to put them to effective use to grow their businesses and make it future ready. Create an entity that is resistant to external contingencies. The business must be reinvented to be system driven rather than human driven, integrated workflow automation and distant operation possibilities need to be evolved.
All segments of customer service from development, planning prepress, production planning, printing, logistics, servicing and up to point of sales support need to be brought to a unified electronic platform to make it an extremely satisfying experience for the customer reducing the human involvement to minimum once an order has been initiated. In coming time dependence on online business is going to be the future. Selling via ecommerce model, creating labels from computer to either digital print or initiating the other processes will have to become the operational way in future. Printers need to keep reviewing their planning, updating themselves with latest techniques and processes. They need to create free time to make human contact with important customers when the situation warrants that also through online meetings until things are back to normal
So that we realise and feel that we are human beings and not machines or computers; Once we are back to normal do go over to your customer for a natural desire of meeting personally and giving a warm handshake plus a big hug!!! Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi India April 2020
As the few days of staying at home in lockdown extend to weeks and now looks like it is going to be months, what appeared to be a small intermission in life has now started to appear a massive traumatic challenge to daily existence even to the upper middle class of the Indian society.
The initial days of this pause in life went like a small vacation, spending time with family, indulging in hobbies. I have detailed some of these in an earlier blogpost. Time was being spent playing with children or grand-children, reading, surfing on the net, meditating, praying, working out at home and when the thought of business at a stand still gave rise to stress many like me busted it by trying creativity in cooking. Anuj Bhargava of Kumar labels shared his singing talent on social media. My own cousin and best buddy since childhood Mohanbir Sahni, chairman and managing director of Elofic Industries Limited, India’s largest automotive filter manufacturers, in response to my twitter/LinkedIn/blog post which read, “Cooking seems to be the best stress buster during lockdown!” sent to me a WhatsApp message, “I agree cooking is the best stress buster…The cook inside me is getting active!” Sudhir Jain of Jain Transfer products is reading biographies of successful businessmen, Sanjeev Sondhi of Zircon Technologies, a devout follower of Lord Shiva spent a lot of time in prayers, meditation and cooking staying alone stuck at his manufacturing hub at Dehradun, LMAI President Kuldip Goel found time to reignite his passion for writing poetry, my school friend Rana Gurjeet Singh former minister Punjab and MLA Kapurthala spent time and money sanitizing his constituency, distributing food and supporting development of cost effective ventilators”. These are just a few examples of how people have used their time, but as we reach the end of the second part of lockdown; worries of time, money and business lost, looms large on our minds. Also worrisome is the fate of the workers and staff that face loss of jobs.
A growing number of organisations around the world have already started shedding jobs. Some of international Label industry equipment suppliers in Europe and USA have already cut down on the number of senior executives, especially those posted at foreign locations.
It would be unethical to mention any specific names in this difficult time until the companies themselves announce. Suffering is not just from infections due to covid-19 but also from its impact on jobs and lifestyles. In India, as you go down the lower rungs of society the difficulties grow exponentially. See the plight of migrant labourers who travelled hundreds of miles away from home to make an earning to feed their families and now they are without a shelter and without food. Many of them are daily wage earners who earn during the day to have money to buy food for the next 24 hours. They also have no transport to go back to their homes in villages faraway. They cannot pay the rentals and do not know what the next day has in store for them. For those who managed to reach their homes in villages are not sure if they will be accepted back at work. Even the employers will be hesitant as they are not sure who maybe carrying some infection. At this, one is tempted to wonder, “who has done it?”
The origin of Corona virus, everyone knows is Wuhan in China, then who originated it and who brought it to India? While the western world is convinced it is China’s doing and the Chinese say it is American plans to defame them.
Only time may tell the truth if it ever surfaces. Meanwhile it is obvious that the travelers are the ones who spread it inadvertently. In India it is either the foreigners travelling in or the outbound Indians returning home. Almost 3 million Indians travel out of India every month and the arrivals into India are less than a million every month making it a total of 4 million per month. If we take the total arrivals into India from January to march in 3months it should be around 12 million or 1.2 Crore people. Now is it not strange that less than 1% number has put 135 Crore Indians into problem. On the flip side, even just one percent of these travelers if infected, could have spelt havoc for the country. But then no one carries the infection intentionally. Who passed it on is not in the know of the unsuspecting traveler, one cannot really blame them? However, the timely lockdown by prime Minister Modi seems to have stemmed the fast spread to a great extent.
While the industry is still to realise the actual impact of this unprecedented occurrence, the very thought of the time ahead sends a shiver down the spine. India has been adversely impacted due to continuous changes which may have been brought about with good intentions, Demonetization, GST introduction, Slowdown and now the Lockdown due to Corona Virus.
Except for essentials for survival, all spending has been on hold, trade and industry is at standstill, expenses of businesses have ticked on while earnings have vanished. Even when the lockdown is lifted it will be a very slow process and may take many months to return to normalcy. Lack of demand for fmcg and other non-essential consumer goods will impact the industry negatively. The travel trade, organized retail and restaurants will face a crisis as it will be long before people gain confidence to travel or venture out in public places. Schools are not likely to open for a few months, unemployment is likely to rise. Life must go over a complete change. However, as they say there is light at the end of the tunnel. India may appear to become the preferred manufacturing hub for the world and when things improve (may be next year) the economy may bounce back to greater heights. It would be pertinent to mention here that in view of the imperative need for social distancing ecommerce is likely to grow immensely. Instead of crowding in shops and malls, home delivered shopping with safety measures will be opted for. On a brighter note; the pollution is down, the cities are cleaner, the rivers are clean, the sky is clearer, the birds are back and chirping and the world is united in its stance against this pandemic.
Coming back to those who lose jobs and homes (due to non-affordability of rentals), life may put forward many difficult parameters. The daily wage earners or those companies who are forced to shut shop due to being unviable will be asking themselves why this happened to us for no fault of ours? Who has done it?
The government has been putting some small amounts of cash in their accounts that does not cover all and moreover the amount is not enough to feed families of 4 or 5 persons. They are not sure how many will be able to return to their erstwhile jobs and whether they will be taken back or not and what precautions they have to take and whether life in cities will remain affordable here on. The poor and the worst effected will be left wondering the meaning of residual part of life, they will for sure be looking towards government for help. The constitution of India provides for a right to life. Article 21 of the constitution reads as: “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.” Elaborating on this the Supreme Court of India has put forth that, “The right to live includes the right to live with human dignity and all that goes along with it, viz., the bare necessities of life such as adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter over the head and facilities for reading writing and expressing oneself in diverse forms, freely moving about and mixing and mingling with fellow human beings and must include the right to basic necessities, the basic necessities of life and also the right to carry on functions and activities as constitute the bare minimum expression of human self.”So, it is an imperative for the government to come to the rescue of the affected citizens. The lockdown is not the brainchild or imposition of business owners or the trade. It is a result of a pandemic over which neither the workers nor the business owners have any control. At this time the government needs to come to the rescue of their citizens to exercise their right to life. Each time one tries to ponder over the impact of this virus and its deadly nature that has affected millions around the world, the question that is beyond a common man’s comprehension keeps cropping up, “Who has done it?” Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited April 2020 Print Magazines are free to reproduce this article by giving credit to the author.
One wonders if social media were not there how we could have spent these days of lockdown. WhatsApp, Facebook, Zoom, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. have kept the public bonded globally sharing news, jokes, experiences, hobbies and so on.
With nothing else to do, businesses shut all over and an eerie silence on roads coupled with the underlying fear of an escalating spread of the deadly corona virus, time has brought the strongest economies of the world to their knees. The fear of contracting the infection that has no known vaccine has put the global population on a defensive and protective mode fearing the impact on their near and dear ones. Spending the unending days within the confines of one’s home has weighed down quite heavily on the minds and life of people. The label industry globally trying to put a brave front, stays bonded with industry peers through telephony and social media platforms. The worrying impact of this lockdown stirring at the back of their minds, they do discuss the pressures building up and that they will have to face the reality of a huge setback when they eventually open, yet trying to relax and bide their time they have taken up hobbies like cooking, singing, meditating, praying etc. Social media is packed up with pictures and posts of their creativity in the kitchen from those who probably never even boiled an egg or made a cup of tea. Anyway, it is good that they are still in the innovating mode which will help them in their mindset when back to business. Indian label industry is mostly family owned and largely MSMEs. Most of the entrepreneurs started their label businesses as first-generation entrepreneurs at very modest scales and have gradually scaled up. These printers have a hands-on approach in running their businesses. For them it is a day to day way of reviewing and deciding on ways of operating business effectively. Many of the entrepreneurs have experience of having worked in other label companies as employees before deciding to venture out on their own and set up label manufacturing entities. They have limited resources but as mentioned due to the hands-on approach they decided on the money rotation model to work and grow. All financial outflow is dependent on their inflows each month. They have hardly any parked resources. A lockdown like the one we are experiencing could not have ever been imagined when suppliers, printers and customers were all shut and not allowed to move out of homes but the operating expenses, salaries, interest, repayment, rent and statutory dues would keep ticking on and remain payable, also attracting interest. The issues when dwelled upon stir up a storm within and then the colleagues in the industry start calling each other and association leaders in hope that they will be able to communicate with powers that be, to get financial relief to the industry. The worries are a plenty but since Label printers are locked in at home, they have been able to put their worries at rest at some point of time and then find ways to relax and make the best of their time.
LMAI president Kuldip Goel revisited his passion for writing poetry and posted his work on WhatsApp groups and Facebook to receive immense appreciation from friends. Rakesh Mahajan Joint Managing Director and the man behind all the production at the fast-growing Prakash Labels Noida was learning how to bake a cake when I called him last.
India’s largest indigenous Labelstock producer Ajay Mehta Managing Director SMI Coated Products Mumbai has now an ardent fan his 4months old grandson Ivaan for whom he is required to sing to, otherwise too he has a busy schedule as follows:Morning Yoga 45 minutes.Then breakfast 20 minutesTime with Grandson. 2 hours.Attend to emails and WhatsApp for 3 hours.20 minutes meditation before lunch5.00 pm Gayatri mantra chanting with friends online for 25 minutes.6.00 workout under guidance of daughter Nikitaa7.00 to 8.30 Grandson time.Dinner and some Netflix.
Sanjeev Sondhi of Dehradun headquartered Zircon Technologies got stuck at Dehradun while his family got caught in Delhi Lockdown on the day, they were to travel to join him. A firm disciple of Lord Shiva and deeply religious, he spent the first 9 days in prayers due the auspicious period of Navratri. Now since most of his senior staff are on leave due to lockdown, he spends some time managing a few things for the limited functioning of his factories and then he says besides trying his skills at cooking, he prays and does introspection of what life should be beyond labels. Until now all his time was consumed by his growing the label business. Lockdown has made him sit back and think of life in another perspective.
Ajay Agarwal of Syndicate labels Delhi says, “Meditation, Online courses, Cooking, Netflix and long hours of sleeping. Most importantly staying positive has been the hallmark of the lockdown for me”.
Manish Desai past President of LMAI and heading Mudrika Labels Mumbai says, “It is a very difficult time for all of us and for the entire economy of the world but still we have to deal with it.” He further adds, “There are mainly the following ways that I am spending my time;
1) I am giving good time to my family by playing cards/watching movies, playing games as per wishes of my parents and children. 2) I am trying to learn typing on laptop keyboard more efficiently by using both hands as one used to type on traditional typewriters, normally I type with my single finger. 3) I am very week in making PPT presentations, my daughter is teaching me how to make presentations on the laptop. 4) I have given task to my marketing people to think of new products that we can develop for the industry. 5) lastly, I am also doing physical workout for 1 hour daily.
Anuj Bhargava heading Greater Noida based Kumar Labels is spending his time enjoy leafing through old albums refreshing memories, enjoying the pollution free air, playing with children, chatting with school friends on Zoom, Cooking and Singing. Surprisingly, he shared a link where he is singing in tune without musical instruments to aid!
Mahendra Shah of Renault Paper part of Manohar Packaging Group is also staying at home and in constant touch with his factory which is catering to labels for essential supplies. He says his wife is happy that he is helping in household chores besides working out and strategizing for future of his business. Sudhir Jain of Jain Transfer Products Noida has subscribed to online channels for meditation and has now time to spare so he has been reading extensively, presently he has been reading biographies of many successful people. Rajesh Nema of Pragati Global Indore says, “No business talks these days!” he interestingly elaborates his schedule further, “After morning rituals, go for walk, cycling and pranayama (Yoga). Then watch TV serials of epics Ramayana and Mahabharat. In between and during the day I help my wife in household work like “BJP: Bartan, Jhadu, Ponchha” (Doing dishes, sweeping and mopping)! In the evening again walk, cycling and pranayama. After dinner sit with family members for some games like Tambola, Antakshari, Quiz etc.
The Coverage would be a little wanting if despite being a part of the Indian Label industry for over 40 years I, the author of this article, do not mention my own time spent in these days of lockdown. Well I have stuck to my regime of walking 10,000 to 13000 steps each day(Now in the drive of my house), cooking also being a passion I imagine recipes and try them out to share with friends and family over Facebook and WhatsApp, the additional time that I have I am using to compile my book on “History of Indian Label Industry” and the best and most lovable part is to spend the maximum time playing with my two and half year old grandson!
Obviously Cooking seems to have been the universal stress buster and a hobby that provides opportunity to the colourful label manufacturing industry to experiment creativity of another kind. A type that delivers taste, colour and presentable plating drawing some parallel to the wonderful labels they create. They have been able to push away for the time being, the worries of how the lockdown will impact their business or future by bringing quality and constructive thoughts to their mind finding a new meaning to family bonding. Industry in India has been facing a difficult situation in the past few years. First it was the demonetization then the switchover to GST and followed by a general slowdown, despite the issues India’s label industry maintained a double-digit growth rate which may have oscillated a few digits up and down. India is a young country having more than 45% of its population in the age group of 20-35 years of age with the median age at 27-29 years and literacy rate at over 74%. The youth is knowledgeable, well informed, resilient and has attributes with energy to put past behind and move on to recover from adversity. It is estimated that in coming years over 70% of the consumer spending will be coming from the bulging middle class that is almost 45% of the total population of 1.35 billion. Moreover, it is now gradually becoming clear that given the global need for a more democratic industrial and IT hub to produce cost effectively, India may well become the preferred destination. This is so because the availability of a huge technical and educated manpower available. The “Make in India” process will surely get a boost once we overcome the pandemic and need for materials and equipment starts picking up. The western world already appears to be looking at India for creating an alternative hub where resources, materials and technical manpower is available in abundance, additionally with an English-speaking population. It is a good sign that despite the national lockdown the mood is still not negative and God willing India will emerge strong and successful not only in fight against the Covid-19 pandemic but even turn the adverse situation to become diverse, offering opportunities to create new success stories.
Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi April 2020
Label industry constituents around the world are invited to send their comments, relevant comments will be uploaded every day. As a prelude to the comments coming in, I am also uploading the efforts being made by the label and packaging industry so that essential supplies do not stop.
Saddened and distressed by the news of how the pandemic Covid-19 is hitting people all over the planet, Raul Silvestre of Lartec Flexible dies in Spain says, “Worst is still to come.” Several million people may die, and alone. It is sad but I hope this will change our mind, economy and priorities in our lives.
We were happy couple of weeks ago, and we didn’t know… sad.! People must be responsible and follow the directives for safety. It is the most important thing.
Business is not important now. As our part of responsibility, we have designed a die line and a die for cutting nonwoven material and produce masks for people in our village, hospitals workers and all people that will require.
These are being converted (cut) in our associate label company. We have started this production last Monday. We are also looking for plastic in rolls to produce face masks. We’ll cut and distribute for free. We must put our technology and knowhow to the service of the society. It is our responsibility. We are not thinking on profits.
Lakshminarayanan Parthasarthy, Business Unit Head – Signode India ( Wintek flexo Prints) Bengaluru, Karnataka, India says “We Salute our SIgnode India – Rudrapur unit employees who are serving for the cause during the lock down – Converting hand sanitizer labels to serve our customer and Country to fight against Covid – 19 . Kudos to Team Signode.”
Christopher J Ellison Owner at OPM (labels & Packaging) Group Limited and FINAT President: OPM are here, working as a team, on site and remotely through these uncertain times. All of our products are produced to ISO 9001:2008, BRC/IoP Global Standard Food Packaging standards Grade AA and PS9000:2011. We will continue to ensure that our clients are supported with their label and packaging needs. TAKE CARE, STAY SAFE !
Manish Hansoti, Director, S. Kumar Multi Products Pvt. Ltd. Ahmedabad India: We at S. Kumar have started partial manufacturing of printed labels that can be supplied for priority and emergency requirements to service urgent orders. We are giving priority to our life saving injectable labels and sanitizer label orders. It is our initiative to serve the community in this critical time.
We are mostly dealing with Pharma and edible oil labels, so we must keep open our plant so that essential supplies do not suffer. We are working at 20% capacity with minimum manpower and following stringent norms of keeping distance of 2 meters between workers.
It is not for any earning but to satisfy the requirement of labels for edible oils, IV fluids, Critical Pharma injectable labels. We got permission from collector’s office who visit us frequently to check all disinfected parameters followed by us. I am personally monitoring this entire operation that we are doing for service to humanity.
ESSEL PROPACK LIMITED, MUMBAI:
As the market leader in laminated tube packaging, Essel Propack is pleased to offer tube packaging, perfect for packaging germicidal hand sanitisers in times of #CoronaVirus Pandemic. We are here to support.
OMET Srl Italy Never give up! OMET evolves to overcome the emergency and accepts the new challenge, ready to guarantee full operation for any request or new project even in this period. We adopted smart working and new ways of work, offering reliability and safety to all our partners, employees and clients.
All offices are on smart working mode. Factory is open on 50% workforce running 2 shifts to prevent people mixing. Please follow us on LinkedIn and you will get all updates
Comments from the label industry about the Pandemic
It is a trying time for the global population, a single crisis that worries the world and unites it for finding safety solutions to stem the expanding reach of this deadly Pandemic Covid-19 or Corona Virus endangering human race across the planet. In absence of a proven and certified medical remedy, nations are resorting to lockdowns in vast geographical clusters to curtail the infection from spreading to larger parts of diverse communities. Trade and industry with fixed expenses going on, are in a dilemma as losses are mounting with sales and production on hold.
The label industry has its own challenges in times when raw material prices are on the rise, increased competition is prevalent and evolving printing and decorating technologies call for more diversification. Comments of Label industry constituents have been invited to share with the rest of the fraternity. The comments vary from worry about the well being of their kin, for employees to remain positive in these trying times, expressing the difficulties that will be faced due to the lockdown and then there are other trying to contribute to save their brethren in the community and industry. One of the best comments came from Raul Silvestre of Lartec Spain who is using his capabilities in service of society and says, “It is our responsibility. Not thinking of profits.” The responses received are listed in a sequence as they were received, and it is proposed to add all those comments that keep coming in. All members of the label community across the world are welcome to keep sending their comments to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Ellison President FINAT and Owner OPM Group, Leeds UK: The highly mobile and reactive nature of the Self-adhesive label industry means it well positioned to support the challenges our global supply chain is currently experiencing.Ajay Mehta Managing Director SMI Coated products Mumbai India: We must continue to serve mankind by providing material and labels for essential things, team has decided to continue operations as far as possible to serve essential requirements, while they themselves take all possible precautions.Manish Kapoor National Sales Head of Nilpeter in India: Labels will stick tomorrow as well, let’s not let Covid-19 stick around. Cheers and god bless all!Aditya Patwardhan, Director Manohar Packaging Pvt. Ltd. India: It would be of pertinence to shut things down for a while barring those servicing essential commodities. Beyond that…this too shall pass.Dinesh Mahajan, Director Prakash Labels Pvt Ltd. Noida India: Impacting the work force in the industry because of panic and hence affecting production, deliveries and paymentsSandeep Zaveri Managing Director Total Print Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai India: Our Mother Earth really couldn’t take any more pressure, so corona virus had to come to make the world disciplined with people disciplined. We strongly must believe and not pollute our Mother Earth 🌎 and know it’s high time we realise the discipline to follow and slowdown in our life. Today with “janta bandh” (Public Curfew announced by Indian Prime Minister) we could feel the birds chirping with the sky so clear, this is what is required in India. I do understand all the pressure we are undergoing, with closing of our financial year many challenges are there to face but believe in God, all is going to happen for the good for our generations to come. This also shows the true spirits and true unity we could show and follow, let us all as label printers show the true unity and courage in saving our Mother Earth and our industry by pricing it correct, following ethics and discipline to encourage the next generation and give them oxygen to inhale.Rajesh Chadha, Managing Director Update Prints Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi India: Indefinite lockdown and painful economic reality coming ahead.Anuj Bhargava CEO Kumar Labels Noida India: Lockdown is a must, though it comes with huge financial losses for the industry. In such a situation, ensuring basic amenities by government (food delivery, medicines etc.) to Factory workers is a must. We are also planning our own steps to do so. Keeping one safe and sane is also important during lockdowns. Next round of social media should guide people on how not to go crazy sitting at home. We are planning a WhatsApp training session to many workers on theory of Flexo printing. Larger corporates and brand owners must support print suppliers by paying them in time, despite office closures. This will ensure timely payments to worker class. Using Covid-19 excuses to delay payments is possibly one worry we all must have. Making payments to small suppliers of ours’ is also critical so that they survive and pay their teams. Industry leaders like Avery and others should extend a helping hand to print shops in every way possible. Frequent discussions amongst print fraternity is also needed to keep sharing things for everyone’s good.Narendra Paruchuri CEO/Owner Pragati Offset Pvt. Ltd. Hyderabad: Unprecedented times. Sad part with this downturn is that we do not know where the bottom is nor as to when we will turn around. None of us have seen or been in such situations. We hope for the best and keep going. As of now, we only wish that our planet must come out of this Corona mess ASAP. Business we will do as soon as we can. Till then we pray. Lockdown time could also be used to plan next year’s strategy, and other work which couldn’t be done due to paucity of time…!! Let’s look at doing whatever best we can during these tough times for humanity.
Marco Calcagni Sales Director Omet Srl. Lecco Italy: The corona virus is a big problem for all the sectors including label. The most critical point is the time. If this problem does not resolve in a few weeks the economy will be changed in the world. Our market is connected to food, pharma and cleaning products, in theory we may be suffering less than some other sectors but now it is very hard for all the managers to take a decision.Sanjeev Sondhi Director Zircon Technologies Ltd. Noida India: The impact is huge as production is suspended till 31st March if situation doesn’t improve. It is difficult time as label industry is already in a sad state due to many other reasons.Jakob Landberg Sales Director Nilpeter A/S Copenhagen Denmark: Our Production has put in an extra shift – same staff. Same output – but less feet on the floor at same time.Raul Silvestre Owner Lartec Flexible dies Alicante Spain: Business is not important now. We have designed a die line and a die for cutting nonwoven material and produce masks for people in our village, hospitals workers and all people that will require. These will be converted (cut) in the label company. We hope to start this Monday with production. Also looking for plastic in rolls to produce face masks. We’ll cut and distribute for free. We must put our technology and know-how to the service of the society. It is our responsibility. Not thinking of profits.Vinod Vazhapulli Managing Director Skanem India Mumbai: Safety and well being of our employees and their families is of paramount importance for us. Business follows thereafter. Necessary precautions and mandates issued by the Government need to be followed to ensure earliest possible stoppage of the Covid-19 situation faced by the whole country. Impact is being felt across all Industries, Label Industry being one of them, should be more prepared to ensure that once the situation is back to normalcy, industry is back on track with the pace that has slackened due to this Viral pandemic.Suresh Valecha Country Manager-Sales, south of Asia, UPM Raflatac Mumbai India: This pandemic has hit the industry at the slowest time of the decade. At good, India can gain recovery with respect to economy slowdown but due to COVID -19 supplies of raw material can have serious impact on the Industry in near future!!Himanshu Kapur Director J K Fine Prints Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai India: The entire economic situation was either way heading for a day like today, Covid-19 only made us reach here faster. Senguttuvan R Chief Executive – Packaging & Printing Division, ITC Ltd & Managing Director – Wimco Ltd.: Corona virus is already impacting the label industry very severely. As more lock downs are planned, the impact will multiply like all other industries
Pawandeep Sahni Managing Director Omet India Pvt. Ltd. Gurgaon India: Because of COVID-19 we see many of our customers deciding to postpone all expansion decisions till at least June 2020. As far as service is concerned, we at OMET, are doing whatever it takes to make sure there is a continued and streamlined operations for all our customers in India and globally. An action team is already in place who is attending to all customers as and when they need support!
Isidore Leiser, owner Stratus Packaging Belgium: Our 6 production sites are in production. Thanks to our wonderful team we are still supplying our customers in a very difficult time. Aditya Chadha Director Update Prints Pvt. Ltd. Gurgaon India: Covid-19 poses a dire threat to the growth of the label industry. We still don’t know how steep this impact would be, but we are in for testing times ahead. Further we don’t know how the markets dynamics, consumer preferences and demand patterns would change post recovery from this crisis. There might be a spike in demand of sanitizers, hygiene products and who knows whether luxury products would continue to attract the customers as usual. But as they say there is always an “Opportunity in Adversity”. Hence, we all may need to rethink our business models and strategies to leverage from the opportunity the world will offer in the times to come. Let’s pray and hope for the best.Aditya Kashyap Director Marks Emballage Chandigarh India: Even under very conservative assumptions, I think the answer is clear, “This is not a permanent state. It is a moment in time,” Yes, there is a big impact to all whether individuals or companies globally, but we need to use this time to review and reflect on our lives and businesses and come out of it more stronger, wiser, leaner and more alive than ever before. I firmly believe that after the storm there’s always a brighter day. My heartfelt wishes to all our industry friends in Europe, China & other countries who are facing a terrible situation. We in India, let’s try and keep it from getting worse. We all must ensure safety of ourselves, our family, our employees and all the people around us. The business can wait! Stay safe. Stay Strong!Manish Hansoti Owner S Kumar Multi Products Pvt. Ltd. Ahmedabad: We appreciate the efforts to invite to share our view for label industry facing the crisis due to Covid 19 virus spread globally. Being a label manufacturer and label machinery dealer, we are passing thru major crisis due to lock down of major cities huge stock is held up at factory, payments are not getting timely, fixed expenditure like bank interest , worker salary, rent etc. are to be paid without production. It is a beginning and what will happen in coming days, seems scary for all. Abhay Datta Director UV Graphic Technologies Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi India: These are unprecedented times, we must resort as a community to understand, and see ourselves through these tough times. As you would have already gathered from a variety of media and other sources the we must collectively fight this Virus. A significant measure needs to be undertaken by each one of us. With corporate responsibility, ensuring the wellbeing of all our staff and employees, we have decided for a complete shutdown of our company for the next 7 days to begin with. Stay Safe!
U K Gupta Chairman and Managing Director Holostik Group Noida India: At this point of time, we should forget business and work together to save the existence of human beings on this planet.OM SHANTI OM.🙏🕉 Kapil Vaidya Partner Sonic Labels, Vasai Distt. Palghar Maharashtra India: It is time when we need to stand up for each other! This epidemic might stretch for months and effect businesses overall, but our Label Industry is and always will be healthy in terms of business demand and bottom line profits. Once things settle down, slow and steady growth will be witnessed by the end of year 2020 and 2021 should help bounce back. God bless us all and give strength and safety to our employees, friends and family. Rajeev Chhatwal Managing Director Kwality Offset Printers Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi: Business can wait, let’s support the government order of a lockdown. It is important to ensure safety of all our employees and workers. We should have a long term perspective rather than looking at short term gains. Let’s prey for safety and good health for everyone. Stay home stay safe, Break the chain! Sachin Arya General Manager Ajanta Packaging FZE Sharjah UAE: This is stressful time for world. Wish and believe, soon world would be Corona free. Really appreciate the initiative and efforts by Government & health care workers. Looking at positive side, world would be much better place post this pandemic is over, people will be more disciplined. All should realize that discipline and hygiene are more important than fight for religion or territory. God Bless us all.
Vinesh Bhimani Managing Director Kimoha Entrepreneurs FZCO Jebel Ali Dubai UAE: This difficult time has thrown up multiple challenges with health concerns and possible exposure of our team to the situation, clubbed with supply chain uncertainties and the increased labelling need for food packaging and personal hygiene applications. As a part of supply chain for the essential goods and services, Team Kimoha is fully geared up to support our customers and the society by keeping the label supply intact for urgent needs of essential products like Milk, Laban, Juice, food products, frozen goods, hand wash and sanitisers, and all other label requirements, while taking utmost care of health and wellbeing of all our family members. We are confident, this situation will pass quickly, and the world, as one family, will emerge stronger soon! Gourav Roy Managing Director Flexo Image Graphics New Delhi India and Dubai UAE: Stuck in home and no possibility to go out, it is like house arrest. However, this is an important measure to break the chain of infection and for the security for all of us and our stake holders. We in FIG are all working from our homes and support engineers are ready for troubleshooting over phone, apps and emails. Mark Andy still maintains full production and sticking with us to meet commitments made to South Asian and Middle Eastern customers. If this continues FIG might go through cash flow pressure unless our customers start paying overdue amounts. God bless us all and stay safe.
Arun Gandhi Partner/Director at Capital Graphic Supplies/ A.S Print Aids (P) Ltd. New Delhi: These are unprecedented times, we have to resort as a community to understand, and see ourselves through these tough times. We must collectively fight this Virus. Our commitment towards our customers, community and associates remains as strong as before. Level of our service and accessibility will be undeterred and we will serve you to the best of our ability. We are remotely available from March 23-31st March 2020. We are all in this together. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will follow guidance from public health officials and government agencies, so we can continue to support our customers and communities as needed. Stay Safe
Shakti Jain Managing Director , Great Eastern IDTech Pvt. Ltd. Gurgaon India: Right now, No.1 priority must be to stay at home, flatten the curve & save lives. Won’t be easy on the other side but we can re-build once we get there. Perhaps a better, more efficient version will evolve out of this.
Anand Jha Sales Manager UPM Raflatac Mumbai India: With the current situation we can see how industry segments like pharma/food are so essential in these times. We all in a way are trying to extend our support. Labels are essential always
Keval Karani Partner Dee Dee Label, Bhiwandi, India: COVID-19 has affected all over the world and we don’t know the real outcome yet. It is better to keep our production at halt for some time to fight the situation, because if it goes out of hand we might have to shut for months. Safety of our employees comes first. We can cover-up all the losses later but if situation goes out of control it would be difficult to cover the losses. It is better that we keep our employees safe. We will fight against COVID-19 together and overcome this situation soon.
Vivek Kapoor CEO and Director Creative Labels and former President of LMAI: We are concerned about wellbeing of humanity rather than it being hurting us economically.
Written edited and collated by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Ltd. New Delhi India March 2020