In a largely populated country India, the normal of growth of population itself, translates into large volume growth in demand. For label industry growth in India estimates have been made at 7-15%. Even if we assume a 10% growth, market will probably grow by 100 million square meters adding a whopping 2500 million Rupees or about 38 million US Dollars to the existing market size. One is left wondering that with demand growth in double digits, why is then the label industry, facing intense competition and stressed margins? One simple conclusion can be that in a growing economy with government encouraging new industrial investments and banks ready to finance, people start looking for areas that have stable growth over the years, labels do move into their focus. Packaging industry in an effort to offer a complete bouquet of packaging products, keeps on adding labels in their manufacturing program. The capacity seems to be growing a little faster than demand. This leads to a situation whereby to service their debt and stay afloat, printers flock toward leading brand owners who pitch sellers against one another to get lower prices. There are other reasons like increasing raw material prices, reverse auctions and short runs which bring further pressure on margins. In such a situation it becomes imperative, that to achieve a better bottom line, there is need for “creating innovations in labels”. Many label companies in India have already moved into this direction by investing to enhance capabilities to create products that do not fall into the commodity or simple label range. Even brand owners who are in a race to catch the consumer’s eye while shopping, are on the lookout for such labels that make their premium products on the shop shelves being picked up faster. They are willing to pay higher if the label has unique features escalating their brand image. Some of the printers who have moved in this direction are listed below with details of their moves to create labels that are different.
Gautham Pai lead Manipal Technologies, is a multi product and multi location company that has made substantial investments in label manufacturing. Though they have units located in India and abroad, a tour of their facilities in Manipal leaves one in awe of what they have achieved. The company has integrated backward and forward with investment in extremely diverse technologies enhancing capabilities to innovate. As for labels, they produce their own holograms, security labels, security envelopes, etc. They also produce their own self adhesive labelstocks on a Nordson hotmelt coater.
Recent developments include; Electroluminescence Label: This is an eye-catching and low power consuming optical lighting system developed in-house with strong competency on printed electronics. It works best for promotional activities with various activation options using any of the touch sensitive, pressure sensitive, motion sensitive sensors. This can be adopted for both labels as well as carton packaging.
Glow in the Dark: The Glow-in-the-dark feature will completely transform packaging by hiding messages, creating a nightclub atmosphere, or an element of surprise.
Kuldip Goel of Any Graphics Noida has repeatedly proven the need to invest time and money in creating innovations. Though he has always wanted to produce the best, stressing on aesthetics yet it was in the start of new millennium that he realized the pressing need to strengthen capabilities to produce labels that were not commodity labels done on one simple flexo press but those with added value by indulging in creativity. Anygraphics have to their credit the world label awards, Fespa awards, only Indian company to have been nominated for Global Label award for innovation, winning Printweek label printer of the year award for five consecutive years in a row, special Printweek Jury award for innovation and many LMAI label awards.
|Label created by Any Graphics
Anygraphics creates innovative labels and packaging using multiple equipment and processes for the same product employing technologies like Screen Printing, Foiling, Embossing, Doming, Narrow web Letterpress printing, Narrow web Flexo printing, Offset printing and Digital printing.
|Booklet Label by Unick-Fix-A
Hemen Vasa’s Unick Fix-A-Form was set up in 1985-1986, in rented premises with one small machine (Semi automatic model) for making Booklet/Leaflet labels in Ahmedabad. In the initial years they outsourced printing. They convinced Bayer-India to be their first customer for their Innovative leaflet labels made by using wet glue, developed for manual application on containers of agrochemical bottles. In 1992 another customer came for these labels in self adhesive format. Since pressure sensitive products were in a nascent stage that time and locally made silicone release paper was not consistent creating problem of label dispensing from applicator, Unick started import of Self Adhesive Paper. Being the only manufacturer of booklet/leaflet labels those days, their business grew profitably and they expanded by moving into own premises and installing high-end rotary label presses, booklet making equipment and offset press. Their business has expanded to the pharmaceuticals segment with a range of offerings that include Cartons, Labels, in mould labels, Shrink Sleeves, etc. They have won many awards at home and abroad. Their supremacy in innovative leaflet-booklet labels segment has been the main reason for their success and expansion!
Pragati Pack (India) Pvt. Ltd., being one of the most awarded printers in the country is hesitant to share their work and endeavours in creating innovations. However still, Hemanth Paruchuri says, they try to bring innovation in labels by investing in the right equipment and pushing the limits of that equipment. Their knowledge and experience gained in the carton, commercial printing areas aids their efforts. The aim is to create innovations that are unique and have a high shelf appeal.
U K Gupta, Managing Director of India’s largest Hologram manufacturing company and specialty label manufacturer Holostik India Ltd. says, “Innovation is the key to drive any industry in the ever-changing dynamic world, anything that does not keep changing, ultimately loses track and is out of the race.” He has mentored his team to understand that ‘Change is the only constant’ and therefore they have to innovate with their products. Extraordinary labels, that are not just visually appealing but also render security to the product are now a necessity in view of the fact that security feature of labels cannot be ignored due to the tremendous growth of the counterfeiting business. Holostik has on an ongoing basis been making significant investments to enhance their capabilities.
Anil Namugade at Trigon Digital Solutions says, “Innovation is a continuous process.” They are passionate, entrepreneurial, collaborative and creative to always deliver on their commitments. Trigon Digital established in 2007 has production facilities in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Dubai and an office in Singapore offering services in Pre-press, Print Packaging, Color management and serving over 350 brands including 20 out of top 100 global brands in 12 countries. They provide packaging mockups on actual substrates with finishes like foiling, embossing, varnishing, lamination etc. for cartons pouches, shrink sleeves, lamitubes and labels. They specialize in Print on Demand, small and medium quantities for shrinks sleeves and Labels with personalization and variable data printing. With an ongoing innovation developing vision they aspire to be the best in the innovative label and packaging business.
Anuj Bhargava of Kumar Labels belonging to an extended family of label printers, is excited that his company has been recipient of many label awards in recent times including Printweek label printer of year award 2017. His team is trained to look at the product, its target audience, its selling price bracket and the brand’s desired perception that it wants to create amongst its customers, before proposing a label solution. For them innovation is not just increasing price of a label or adding shots of foil or screen inks. Different brands need different innovations. A mass market brand needs a re-engineered cost effective label stock with which it can reduce its decoration costs. A brand from the same customer, which may be targeted for the upper market segment, may need multiple foils and textured stocks. So no one formula works for all. By utilizing their expertise in print process, machine manufacturing and label stock making, Kumar Labels is able to offer different innovations. They produce their own specialized labelstocks that include textured and unique substrates normally not available.
It is evident that to drive in better margins, capabilities in print and decoration need to be substantially enhanced by making the correct and timely investments. Earlier only a reasonably designed and printed label was enough. Now with growing, knowledgeable, and well informed consumers one needs to study the demand perception and design the label to appeal and communicate with the end consumer in a short while that he or she is in front of the shop shelf. Pre-press is extremely important process to draw out the creativity that the design tends to deliver. Selecting the right substrate, the adhesive and shape of the label is another imperative. The label has to last the life of the consumer product as it remains visible until all of its lifespan and keeps delivering value to the brand by its aesthetic appearance. Finally it is the Press that will not only do full justice to the print but also decorate, inspect and finish the label with speed; ease of use and with least waste generation. Productivity and managing production waste are other imperatives that affect the profitability. Brand owners attempt buying at the lowest prices for their established products, however the fact still remains that to stay ahead of competition in getting the consumer attention, they need to dress up their products well. With numerous options available in an already crowded shelf space, brand owners will only consider higher prices if a label promotes their sales. To reach a win-win situation for suppliers and brand owners, printers need to invest in “Creating Innovations in Labels”!
Written exclusively for Narrow Web Tech, Germany by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Ltd. New Delhi India December 2017.
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