On any given day, 96-year-old S.N. Dutta, Satya Narayan Dutta, the patriarch of Dutta family of Dutta Press New Delhi, can be seen strolling on the shop floors of their printing or machine building units, interacting with workers, and imparting instructions. The man is active and an institution himself in printing. Dutta was born on 15th of August 1926, long years before the partition of India, in a family that hailed from Lahore, then a part of British ruled united India. His father was the head of accounts for Indian railways. Sometime in the 1940s as a young man, he developed an interest in printing so went to a family acquaintance, Kedar Nath Mehta, a master printer in Amritsar for a one-year training in the art of printing. They used to print on Chandler & Price platen presses and supply labels to Punjab based distilleries in Hamira and Khasa. Chandler & Price was founded in 1881 in Cleveland, Ohio and manufactured a series of hand-fed platen jobbing presses, as well as an automatic feeder for these presses.

 

Chandker and Price Machine
Love marriages were rare in those days before the partition of India, however S.N. Dutta during his training days at Kedar Nath Mehta’s facility, developed a liking for Mehta’s daughter and eventually married her. Post partition the Dutta’s moved to their Haveli, a traditional townhouse mansion in Darya Ganj Delhi. The Haveli was a heritage building that had earlier belonged to one Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, one of the Navratans of Mughal King Akbar. It was allotted to Duttas on migration from Lahore to Delhi after partition for a sum of Rupees 4000 only. In 1951 S.N. Dutta started his maiden startup venture “Dutta Press” with a Chandler and Price machine on the ground floor of their Haveli. He bought the printing press for Rupees 1200.00 and did not have the money to put an electric motor on it. So, initially the machine was foot operated with a peddle. As a memento and a reminder of their past, the machine still stands tall on a pedestal in the lobby of their Okhla factory. Thereafter from 1951-1965 Dutta was on the move continuously, he also set up his own typesetting and composing section, then added two more machines, following it up with buying a new Heidelberg GT Platen press for just four thousand Rupees, then in the mid 1970’s a Mercedes Super Cylinder Press from Printer’s House in Faridabad, Nibolo and some more letterpress cylinder machines. Customer base acquired during this period included those from segments like beer, whiskey and lubricants with main customer being Mohan Meakin. S N Dutta has two sons Rakesh and Abhay, as business had grown and the boys were now grown up, it was time to move to the next level of business. In 1980 they moved to a new factory in Okhla and imported their first Heidelberg KORD offset press and Heidelberg TP Foil stamping machine from Germany. Those were tough times of needing import license for all imports, yet firm resolve made them to move on.

 

 

Heidelberg Weisloch Factory
Abhay Datta the younger son of S.N. Dutta, born on 16th August 1961, is an Alumnus of St. Xaviers School Delhi. He was never a serious student but had other technical interests. Barely 16 years old and in school, he started experimenting with making music systems. On finishing school, he along with his friend Joseph George set up their maiden startup venture Systm India to make and sell music systems. Abhay proudly mentions that in a couple of years his company’s turnover was higher than that of Dutta Press. Young boys in business families are prompted to spend time in family production units and Abhay was no exception and whatever exposure he got was by way of his father mentoring him to have a penchant for perfection and zero tolerance in whatever he did. One fine day his father came to him and complained, “you make so much noise testing your music systems, speakers etc., neighbours are irritated . It is not a respectable business. He appealed to Abhay that they needed help in the printing business and that he should wind up this music equipment business and join him in the printing business. Obedient as he was with immense respect for his father, Abhay could not refuse his father’s request. Abhay’s elder brother Rakesh was better in finance and other marketing activities. In just a matter of minutes Abhay decided to hand over the music business to his friend Joseph and moved on to the printing business at Dutta Press. He was sent to Heidelberg training center in Germany for training in print technologies where he spent time in the Wiesloch factory understanding mechanics and engineering of offset presses. It was an eye-opening experience for him. In India we did not have CNC machines, no auto cad computers, all the planning was done manually on huge drafting boards. It was there in Germany that he gathered an eye for perfection, low tolerances, fine finishing, good appearance and machine safety norms. This was as his father had mentored him to be a zero-tolerance person.

 

 

UV Coating Machine
Once back in the Okhla factory Abhay had to begin at the lowest rung of the ladder. He was required to clean up the machines, sweep the floor, take care of staff, serve them tea and support them in small errands besides operating all the machines personally. He learnt to run all the machines like an operator, make negatives/positives and offset plates and foil stamping blocks himself. Those were days when there were no PS plates, so he learnt all the chemistries hands on. Graining offset plates, putting sand, marbles etc. in graining machines, he did all that himself. He was a total worker like any laborer in the factory doing all kinds of jobs that included printing varnishing cutting packing and dispatch. The experience has rubbed on so well on him that even today on the shop floor in hot and humid conditions with perspiration trickling down his torso he enjoys remaining amongst his workforces. He is a hardcore technical and shopfloor production-oriented person while brother Rakesh manages the white-collar part of management. With Abhay’s penchant for perfection, he proudly mentions that we made quality, such that print buyers would come looking for them. Since they were supplying to breweries and distilleries, they came across a challenge; solvent base varnishes on labels scuffed and needed to be replaced with Water based varnishes, but these would not work on existing hand fed varnishing machines produced locally due to slow drying. Abhay was given a task by his father to make a machine that could coat aqueous varnishes at high speeds. He developed an automatic machine with the help of Sanjay Gupta of Ronald Machinery and added an anilox roll with a motor and hot air dryer to do the varnish. It worked and that was when his tryst with machine building commenced. Later he started manufacturing fully automated high-speed machines to do aqueous and UV coating with anilox rollers and chamber doctor blade systems.

 

 

Abhay Datta on Shop Floor
 

 

After that there was no looking back in machine developments. Abhay was young, success encouraged him to research, experiment and develop more from a shed in the driveway of their Okhla factory, it has been a long journey with lot of hurdles. He then started converting hot stamping machine for own use and sales. Since in earlier days they had bought a Heidelberg hot stamping machine, from experience gained, Abhay could convert die cutting machines and the Chandler and Price machines into hot stamping machines. When stamping foil suppliers became aware of his capabilities to make hot stamping machines, he became an accredited suppliers to many companies who indulged in hot stamping. In 1992 he successfully started making UV coaters and till 2016 they have supplied over 250 offline UV coating machines in India and Abroad.

 

 

During his 1995 visit to Drupa, he was fascinated by an Aquaflex label press printing Smirnoff Vodka labels. Unlike the sheet fed converting, the press was unwinding, printing, embellishing, laminating, die-cutting and delivering finished labels at the end of line in a single pass. Abhay was convinced that this is the future. Those days there was no WhatsApp where he could take videos and upload to inform his family about the equipment. Wanting his father and brother to also look at the machine before deciding, he made a trunk call, described the machine and requested them to come and see. Three days later both his father and brother flew into Germany, they saw and fell in love with the machine. They became friends with the founder of Aquaflex, signed the deal to buy a press and also became the sole selling agents in India. They opted for an eight colour press with rotary hot foil stamping. It was a bold decision as rotary tooling for hot foiling was very expensive, cold foil was not there that time and most of their production for liquor labels needed foiling. In their factory they already had 20 Heidelberg hot foil machines running, they used to buy used Heidelberg platen machines and convert them into hot foil stamping machines by retrofitting, all done by Abhay himself. The Aquaflex ordered by them was displayed at Labelexpo Singapore in 1996 and then shipped to India for Dutta Press to start printing labels on a narrow web press. Till the end of the millennium 1999 they were only printing wet glue labels on this machine. Pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) labels production commenced only in the new millennium in 2000, they kept adding Aquaflex presses in regularity.

 

 

Ultraflex Label Press
Between 1996 and 2003 as agents, they sold nine machines to customers like PPL, ITC, Modi Federal, Sai Packaging and others. They added four more press at Dutta Press. In 2001 Aqua flex got sold to Chromos USA . At this time when he was under pressure to offer a press to his customers, he met a software engineer who suggested the name of Shanti Pal Ahuja of Multitec and once the two met, they instantly decided to get together to build label presses. Abhay invited Ahuja to his facility and have a look at the Aquaflex label presses and to do reverse engineering of the press. A complete unit was removed from the Aquaflex and sent to Multitec facility in Faridabad. It was completely meticulously redrawn and the first Ultraflex machine was developed and sold to Nishi Labels in Ahmedabad and the second machine was exhibited at Nehru Centre in the first “India Labels show” which later became Labelexpo India. That machine got sold on the very first day of the show to Khosro Moradi, of Farah Banfash Manufacturing Company, Iran. Few years down, having sold over a dozen presses, their partnership fell apart and Multitec renamed their press as Ecoflex and Abhay Datta retained the name Ultraflex that he would build himself one day. Until such time for their own label manufacturing they invested in Bobst label presses

 

 

CNC Machines at UV Graphics
Passionate about making machinery himself, in 2017 after they bought their 3rd Bobst M5 press, Abhay visited Florence and was inspired to build his own flexo press. On return from Florence in September 2017, he dug deep into the Flexo Machines and studied other equipment that would enable him to build a narrow web label press. Keeping cost down and not compromising in automation he started planning a machine with zero waste and instant make ready. He launched his first Ultra flex made in his company UV Graphics. 

 

 

 

 

Ultraflex Plate Mounter
He insists that for a perfect and quick make ready, “a communication between the plate mounter and the machine is imperative.” Abhay also started making plate mounters. He asserts that with plates mounted on his plate mounters, the first meter of print which rolls out will be 99% in true register. This is his creativity. His machines and plate mounters are designed as perfectly complementary and compatible equipment  so as to make life easy for the machine operator. He claims that in 3-4 minutes you can perfectly mount an eight colour job on his plate mounter and have the machine running in full register within 3-5 meters. That says Abhay is our USP. Ultraflex machines offered by him are of international quality, fully servo driven with auto register control, it is value for money and affordable. Ever since, Abhay has already installed thirty-eight presses in India and abroad with the latest ten color machine being shipped to a prestigious customer in USA. This will be his first installation in North America and fifth machine being sold overseas.

 

 

 

Abhay has two sons Anuj and Akshay and a daughter Aallia. Both sons run the PSA labels division of Dutta Press while brother Rakesh manages the wet glue label business from Okhla. All family members are in business together as a joint family. UV Graphics and Dutta Press operate out of 66000 square feet factory in Noida and an 18000 square feet facility in Okhla with seven flexo presses in Okhla and six flexo presses in Noida. With a total of 280 employees, Abhay aspires that if God and Kismet helps UV Graphic will be a leading global supplier of diverse label equipment in 5 years. He proudly says, “we produce from nail to the hammer. In UV graphics we produce our own UV Systems, Plate mounters, Core cutting machines, Label presses, Slitter Rewinders, Semi Rotary Digital Finishing, Print Cylinders, Magnet Cylinder, Sheeting Cylinders, Hot Foiling Stamping Equipment, Screen Printing and almost everything that is needed for flexographic label printing and converting. We also make wide format Roll to Roll Hot Foil Stamping Machines for the tobacco industry.

 

The way Abhay Dutta is moving it will not be long before he achieves what he aspires.

Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Ltd. New Delhi August 2021

 
 

 

Thirty-one years after joining Huhtamaki-PPL (formerly Paper Products Limited or PPL), Suresh Gupta retired as its Executive Chairman. He joined the company in 1987 at a difficult time for the company, as business had slowed down since 1980 and they had to sell off their paper mill. When Suresh became a part of PPL the turnover of the company was just Rs.24 Crore and with a large workforce of 700 employees. He led the company until his retirement with sales reaching almost 100 times to Rupees 2300 Crores and the number of people working rose to 3500! Huhtamaki-PPL is now the largest producer of printed and finished flexible packaging materials in India. Under his leadership, the company, led not only PPL’s but also India’s foray into diverse label technologies as well. They were the very first entrant into shrink sleeve labels in association with Fuji Seal of Japan. Today Huhtamaki-PPL is the largest player in label manufacturing segment in India with their label sales touching 400 Crores which includes Pressure sensitive labels, Shrink Sleeves, Wrap arounds, In-moulds and other label forms. They are vendors to the virtual “who is who” in the Indian branded consumer goods and pharmaceutical industries. In pressure sensitive adhesive labels alone also, they are the largest at 200 Crores after taking over Webtech Labels, Ajanta Packaging and Positive Packaging.
Suresh Gupta
Being an army man’s son Suresh’s childhood was spent at various locations within India. His father who is now 92 years of age, was a paratrooper with artillery from the well-known 17 parafeild regiment of Indian army and retired as Director of Military intelligence. After retirement he was assigned as Director SSB (Special Security Bureau) by the cabinet secretariat. Retiring from SSB he was taken by the Himachal Government to be the chairman of Himachal State Electricity Board. Suresh has a brother who is 9 years younger than him and followed his father’s footsteps to join the army, has primarily headed combat formations, served in the UN Peace Corps and is currently a Major General. Typical of army families, Suresh’s schooling took place at various schools across the country, the last two being St. Georges School, Agra, and St Xavier’s School Delhi where he was in the boarding and finished in 1967 with excellent marks.  Being underage, he could not apply for admission into the IIT or Delhi University colleges, so at the age of 15 years he did a year of pre-engineering at Government college for Men Chandigarh, where the youth in him got the better of him in not attending any classes other than chemistry. He did poorly, much to the disappointment of his father who was posted in Ambala at that time. His mother gave him 200 Rupees and sent him to Delhi to his grandmother. Admissions had closed for most good courses but a good school marksheet helped him get admission for BA economics honours in the prestigious Hindu College Delhi University. He studied hard and in the very first year he got a first division and ranked in the University to win back his father’s confidence. After graduating from Delhi University Suresh went to the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management studies Bombay, which then was considered amongst the best two in the country.



Finishing his MBA, he was motivated and impressed upon by the head of HR department of Jamnalal Bajaj Institute who was also the vice president of Corning Borosil to join Corning Borosil, which he eventually did as a management trainee in 1974. 




 
Suresh and wife Kumi




The following year in 1975 he got promoted and got married to Kum Kum Talwar fondly called Kumi. Kumi graduated from the prestigious Lady Shriram College in Psychology honours and did her Masters in Social Work when she topped her class in Delhi University, and has been Suresh’s close confidante. At a young age of 23 he was posted in Madras as Regional Manager South for Corning Borosil who manufactured custom designed glass reactors for specialised industrial chemical processes, laboratory glassware and consumer ware under brand names Corning, Borosil and Pyrex. Surprisingly his immediate colleague working under him, the Head of Sales and Service was 52 years old. 






 
With daughters Ratna(L) and Shivani(R)
He enjoyed his stint in Madras as it was great learning time there and in 1979 his elder daughter Ratna was born. Post Emergency when the Janta government came to power the then minister George Fernandes came down heavily on US companies. While Coca Cola left the country, Corning was asked to dilute their equity to less than 40%. Suresh Gupta was at this time transferred to Delhi as Regional Manager North with additional responsibility of interacting with government and convincing them to excuse Corning from this equity reduction as a special case. Being a high technology company also supplying critical materials to defence, they were not allowed by USA government to setup ventures where they did not have full control. It was tremendous experience for Suresh, one side interacting with government and other side selling to large industries, government laboratories and finally setting up channel sales for their consumer products. Once it was clear that government of India would not relent regarding equity dilution, the company stopped further capital investment into the country. Now that it was evident that there would be no growth in the company, Suresh decided it was time to move on in life.
He shared his thoughts with a friend at Usha International, who instantly arranged for Suresh to meet Lala Charat Ram of Shriram group. He was taken on board and became Divisional Manager of the Lucknow Division of Usha International, stationed at Lucknow when he was 28 years old with almost 200 people working under him. Usha was selling sewing machines, electric fans and agricultural pumps. This was a challenging job as the market was extremely competitive and majority of the employees i.e. the mechanics, belonged to a militant union and were unionised. The area of operation for him was interesting as criminals and bad elements roamed free there. There are interesting and scary stories of his time spent in those areas. Due to his frequent tours his family at home had to be provided armed security guards due to threats.
Sardari Lal Talwar Founder Paper Products






During this period there was pressure from his wife Kumi’s family to join Paper Products Ltd. the company founded by her father Sardari Lal Talwar.











In the meantime, a close friend of Suresh Gupta from Middle East came visiting him in Lucknow out
of the blue with a first-class open ticket and a proposal to join the Doha headquartered Almana Group whose Chairman wanted an executive director who he could trust to join his Board as there seemed many issues with his existing team. Suresh took the trip to evaluate what was being offered, finding it very exciting he accepted the offer and joined them in late 1982. In due course, various businesses were put under him some of which he started, and seven companies including an IBM agency reported to him. He then was designated as Executive Director-International, he started businesses or had oversight of investments in Saudi, Dubai, Turkey, UK and US. After joining he recruited 16 Indian Managers in his team and parted company with four other Managers already in the company. He spent the next five years in Doha and reminisces of them as fascinating years, as a time of immense learning, travelling all over the world for 15-20 days each month. His younger daughter Shivani was born there. In the beginning of 1987 Suresh and Kumi were reviewing their career and lifestyle. Their eight-year-old elder daughter who was going to British school could not speak a word of Hindi, their mother tongue. They wondered if they should continue to live in the Middle East. The Almana Chairman understanding their dilemma offered to station Suresh in another country of his choice. At this time Suresh was also toying with the idea of taking up an assignment with United Nations but Kumi’s family was persistent and he decided to return to India and join Paper Products. 
Rare picture of Suresh Gupta and father in law Sardari Talwar
In October 1987 Suresh Gupta and family returned to India to join Paper Products as a promoter and he acquired a minority shareholding. As mentioned earlier even though being a legendary company it had problems, the paper mill they had in Roha was sold. Kumi was the youngest child of Sardari Lal Talwar her two brothers were ageing and not keeping well and have since passed away.
Paper Products Limited was founded by Sardari Lal Talwar in 1935 in Lahore, that time in undivided India. Sardari Lal was running one of the four largest departmental stores of India of that time called Moolchand of Lahore with a customer base of Indian royal families and Britishers. The store stocked goods like a modern-day multi product retail and was founded by his Grandfather Moolchand and Uncle Khairati Ram who were also very charitable persons. They were running Hospitals, Schools, Temples and Dharamshalas (subsidised dwelling for travellers). Moolchand Dharamshala in Lahore was just opposite the Lahore Railway Station. The founders passed away at an early age and leaving the business to a young 15-year-old Sardari Lal. Moolchand store was importing milk bottle caps made of paperboard and paper crimped cups for the army till one day a British army officer in charge of the Dairy came to him and suggested that he import the paper and make the caps and pastry crimp cups in India. It would save the army some amounts enabling them to extend their budget. Sardari on advice of his international friends got the hand presses developed in India, imported some dies and punches and started to make the caps and cups in Lahore in 1935. 
To start this maiden manufacturing venture, he emptied one of the Moolchand store warehouses and commenced production with the signboard outside reading, “PAPER PRODUCTS”. He later imported machinery from Windmoller and Holscher Germany in 1939 to start manufacturing paper bags. This was the inception of what is today Huhtamaki-PPL.
Moolchand Hospital Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi
Then came the partition of India, all was lost and left behind in Lahore when the family migrated to Delhi. For all the charitable work that the family did in what was left behind in Pakistan, Sardari Lal was given land in Lajpat Nagar as compensation. He had an emotional need to carry the philanthropic ideals of his parents, so before doing anything else he established the “Moolchand Kharaitiram Hospital” in Lajpat Nagar, South Delhi. He also started making packaging products that he was already doing before. Immediately after world war II in 1948 the Germans were holding the first Drupa, Sardari Lal, travelled by ship to attend where he met and struck friendship with some of the leading packaging people in Europe. Owing to his good reputation, Windmoller and Holscher gave him five Bag making machines with printing, on open credit. He returned to start a factory in Faridabad in 1949 followed by one in Ghatkopar Mumbai. Paper Products started to grow steadily and Sardari Talwar took his company public in 1951 retaining 51% with himself. Paper Products started to grow steadily and Sardari Talwar took his company public in 1951 retaining 51% with himself. 
Thana Factory
Billy Heller owner of Milprint (now a part of Bemis Company, Inc.), then the world’s leading flexible packaging company based in Milwaukee, USA became a dear friend of Sardari Lal. Billy was also a philanthropist wanting to share his knowledge with the world, had set up an organisation called Milprint International Club with global leaders including Paper Products as members. With Milprint’s technical help he built the Thana factory in 1960 to the then world class standards. At this time his elder son Dr. K K Talwar who had done his doctorate in USA at the institute of Paper Chemistry returned to India. A little later his younger son Suresh Talwar completing his master’s in economics from USA, also returned to India. Dr KK Talwar was amongst India’s foremost scientists in chemical technology and paper making, he drove the company’s technology leadership. Suresh Talwar was the dynamic operational business head of the company. Business grew after Thana factory was commissioned, and many small factories were constructed across the country at Madras, Calcutta, Nagpur, Hyderabad and a paper mill in Roha.
Around 1980 things slowed down due to various reasons, the paper mill in Roha got sold, it was a difficult period. In 1987 the family had convinced their son-in-law Suresh Gupta to return to India and join the company. Suresh joined in October 1987 and spent a whole year working hard, travelled extensively in India and around the world to learn the technology and business as also meeting all the major customers and suppliers of PPL to understand the intricacies of their business. By 1989 Suresh was ready with his business plan that included induction of new latest technologies, while very slowly shutting down all factories except Thane. Due to the humane angle they did not abruptly sack people but informed transparently that in 10 years’ time this would happen. This with intention to let ageing employees retire and not add any new ones. However, expansion in Thane factory was kept going on, old machines were phased out and replaced by new ones and the staff from shop floor workers to upwards were given in-house training in latest technologies. Meantime a new cadre of craftsmen trainees, diploma trainees, graduate engineer trainees and management trainees was started with inductions of freshers from ITIs, diploma schools, engineering colleges and management institutes. An elaborate program of in-house training was put in place. The program was designed by Suresh and his colleagues to suit their specific needs may they be technology, customer or people handling. They were transforming the company to project their acumen in offering the latest in packaging. They went digital way ahead of time in 1989 when they started digital scanning and digital engraving of cylinders. They also started to computerise the company ahead of time. A start up consultancy company was recruited to put-in a modern computer hardware and software system (one of the first ERP’s) to replace the old card punch system. While modernising operations in Thana factory he shut down the old printing and wax coating converting lines and installed modern gravure printing and lamination lines making Thana a state of art unit once again. The first metalliser capable of producing certified barrier coatings was commissioned in 1994. There were many things done for the first time in India.
With Amar Chhajed
Suresh continued to add new products and expand his footprints into the world of packaging and in one of his frequent travels in 1990 he saw shrink labels in Japan. He established contact with the Fuji Seal Chairman Masaki Fujio, the global inventor of shrink sleeve and became the only licensee of Fuji Seal for shrink sleeve manufacturing in 1991. At around the same time he was discussing Therimage label technology with Dennison, later merged with Avery to become Avery Dennison. This technology enabled labels to be printed on a coated film and transfer the images on to the bottles eliminating the need for release liners. PPL installed the Therimage label production facility in Thana. Therimage was a challenge for Avery’s core business of pressure Sensitive adhesive products, so they bought Dennison and killed the Therimage business. Suresh saw the future of Therimage with Avery was not bright, so he shifted focus to pressure sensitive labels where the growth looked inevitable. PPL invested in an Aquaflex Label press and they were into manufacturing PSA labels at the Thana factory in 1994. In later years wanting to grow in labels business, since he was not finding enough of the right people and expertise to expand, he decided to buy expertise. For this reason, he bought Amar Chhajed led Webtech Labels, the leader in pharma labels in India. Then, Suresh extended his reach in fmcg by buying Chandan Khanna led Ajanta Packaging as well. In between he had acquired Positive Packaging which though large in flexibles had also taken over the labels business of SGRE in Bangalore. Therefore, now they have pressure sensitive label production in Mahape, Baddi, Rudrapur, Thana, Daman, Hyderabad and Bangalore.  


 
Silvasa Factory
Being a first-time entrant into some of the evolving technologies he had to develop global suppliers and was instrumental in their eventually coming India. By 1994 Suresh was wanting to build another world class factory, despite resistance coming from the family which still held 51%, he went ahead with his plans for building it in Silvasa. PPL made a rights issue to raise the money to build the factory and enhance the working capital for growth. Construction began in the 12 acres property in 1995 and in one year the unit was in production for mainly flexible packaging including shrink sleeves. They made profit in the first year itself. Paper Products Ltd was growing at breakneck speed ranging between 20-30% per annum.
In 1998 Suresh bought the Hyderabad unit of Gautam Thapar, Ballarpur Industries which had been 
Hyderabad Factory
setup as a joint venture with A and R, a leading European flexibles company. The unit was completely refurbished and new capacity was added. Hyderabad became the centre for wrap around labels. Meanwhile the company had made another rights issue to fund growth and the family’s holdings reduced to 32% as some members did not exercise their options. To fund the continued growth and expansion Suresh wanted to do yet another rights issue and wanted the family to increase their holding. But the younger generation were pursuing other professions, so it was decided to bring in an outside investor in synergy with PPL’s business. Van Leer and Huhtamaki combination which eventually merged to be one entity became the major investor chosen from amongst many options. Rather than the family selling its shares, PPL’s share base was doubled and the foreign partner directly invested into the company through preferential allotment of shares equivalent to 51% of the enhanced equity on 16 July 1999.
The company now with Huhtamaki as the new majority shareholder continued to aggressively pursue growth. Huhtamaki worldwide as a Euro 3 billion consumer packaging major had almost 100 companies across the globe. In 2001 and again in 2005, the Huhtamaki Board awarded PPL with the most exclusive and prestigious award of “Best Company of the Year”. PPL also received the “Most Innovative Company of the Year” award. Meanwhile Suresh was awarded the globally best “Manager of the Year” award, a unique honour.
Consequent to new fiscal incentives being announced by Government for Uttarakhand, a huge factory was built yet again on a 12-acre plot and commissioned at Rudrapur which again made a profit in the first year of production, and PPL continued with growth.
Huhtamaki wanted Suresh Gupta to head Huhtamaki’s global flexible business which he was hesitant to accept as he had no interest in moving out of Mumbai. However, he accepted to take the responsibility for Asia Oceania, operating from his base in Mumbai for three years. Finally, Huhtamaki removed his objection to running the group’s global flexible packaging business by telling him he could run it from his Bombay office. He had to accept the responsibility and ran the global business as an EVP and member of the Executive Board for Huhtamaki for six years. Thereafter he reverted to be the Executive Chairman for PPL but stepped down from his role as a promoter and simultaneously as per Huhtamaki’s desire he sold his shareholding to Huhtamaki.




Meantime industry peers honoured him with a Lifetime Achievement Award and Print Week, based on a readership vote. ranked him number 1 in the top 100 ranking of individuals in the industry. In Feb 2018, Suresh handed over day to day running of HPPL to the new Managing Director while he focused on tying up Board issues.
 






On 31st December 2018, Suresh Gupta retired and left the company that he so fondly nurtured.
 

In recent years, as a hobby, Suresh has been a supporter of socially beneficial enterprises from start-up stage and of businesses with purpose. He is also deeply interested in Art. He plans to intensify his work here and run a packaging industry advisory from his new office in Bandra. He would be happy to be of help to industry colleagues. He also plans to continue his active role in the “Indian Flexibles and Folding Cartons Association of India (IFCA)”. He leaves behind for his successors in HPPL his philosophy for success: “Sound fundamentals are enshrined in Good values; being Good compassionate people, knowing knowledge is power to be used with integrity, ever improving quality and service and continuous innovation makes for happy customers. Be the flag bearer of standard in your industry”.

Suresh Gupta can be reached at his email: suresh.gupta20@gmail.com

Print Publications are free to reproduce this article by compulsorily giving credit to author and mentioning blog address http://harveersahni.blogspot.com 
 

Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Ltd. January 2019
 
 
 
Add caption
Labelexpo Europe 2017 at Brussels has been the biggest ever edition in the event's history so far. The show that is primarily dedicated to self adhesive labels industry has now evolved to  different segments of labels and into the larger world of print packaging. Evidently the show will continue to become bigger in the years that follow. As per information from Tarsus, the show occupied nine exhibition halls to be 12 percent bigger than the previous edition in 2015. It hosted 679 exhibitors, including 198 new participants. There was 25 percent more working machinery demonstrated at the show, including a number of product launches. Labelexpo Europe attracted large delegations from Brazil, China, India and Japan, the show reported 37,724 visitors; an increase of 5.6 percent on 35,739 visitors to Labelexpo Europe 2015. There were a number of sales recorded on the show floor.

I reproduce here images from my pictorial walk through this amazing show and the events organised on the sides and attended by me.

 





 
The Omet Agents Dinner one day prior to Labelexpo






 




Harveer Sahni and Amit Sheth as Judges at World Label Awards





Judging in progress for World Label awards













Chinese Press Manufacturers Weigang, stand








With Mike Russel International Sales Director Mark Andy











 
Mark Andy/Rotoflex Stand  




 
With Dirk Schroder, Sales Manager E+L displaying their intelligent inspection system






 






 
With Pankaj Bhardwaj Vice President and General Manager, South Asia Pacific and Sub Saharan Africa of Avery Dennison, India at their stand.







 






 
At the The Label Industry Global Awards Night and Gala Dinner, Tony White announcing the "Best of the Best" in World Label awards heldon the sidelines of Labelexpo Europe!







 






 
LMAI (India's label association) President Kuldip Goel and Vice President Rajesh Nema with Labelexpo Managing Director Lisa Milburn.







 







Professor Tan Junqiao receiving the receiving the Stanton Avery Lifetime achievement award from Georges Gravanis, President, Label and Graphic Materials, Avery Dennison and Mike Fairley





 
With Douglas Emslie, Tarsus Group Managing Director  


 







With FINAT President Chris Ellison, FINAT events and communication manager Jakovina and LMAI Vice President Rajesh Nema





 





With Jules Lejuene, Managing Director FINAT







 






FINAT President in meeting with Mike Fairley at the "Label Academy" Stand

 








Networking at Dinner hosted by Lisa Milburn for Industry friends and colleagues around the world

 








Jakob Landsberg Sales Director of Nilpeter with Niklas Olsson Global Brand Manager of Flintgroup








 
With Lisa and Mike Fairley at the dinner        
SMI Team at their Stand



















 
 
Amit Ahuja Multitec            














 
 





 
The Gallus Stand
 
With Lars and Peter Eriksen of Nilpeter
 
Kocher + Beck Stand
 
Karan Reddy of SticOn papers Hyderabad
 
Tapan Patel of BST Eltromat















 
 
 
 
 
John of Orthotec  
Bobst Stand  


















 
Gavin Rittmeyer of Martin Automatic
MPS Stand


















 
Kapil Anand of Cosmo Films
Marco Calcagni of OMET


















 
 
Spilker Team














 
The Sahnis with Paolo Grasso, Omet













 






 
No Labelexpo at Brussels is complete without having spent a casual fun evening at the Grand Place!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Compiled By Harveer Sahni, Chairman, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi October 2017
www.averydennison.com
Living in a rented chicken co-operative, a young American poverty stricken man in his early 20s worked as a night clerk to fund his education. He stopped school and went to live for a year in China, where he gained experience working with a printing press. He returned to USA after the year, graduated and desperately tried his hands at various business options, he even sold smoked bananas! He then took on a morning job at a flower shop and later in the day started to experiment on various small things in a 100 square foot place nearby. He came up with the idea of making self sticking labels. With the printing press experience behind him he saw the vision to start his new venture. With no money of his own, he borrowed 100$ from his fiancée, Dorothy Durfee, who later became his wife, to invest in his startup business. Using a washing machine motor, parts of a sewing machine and a saber saw, he developed the world’s first self adhesive label cutting machine. In 1935 he started his maiden venture Kum-Kleen Adhesive Products Co which would be the mother enterprise of the world’s largest labelstock company Avery Dennison Corporation and this poor man was"Ray Stanton Avery!"
In the first balance sheet of the company on 31st December 1935, the total assets stood at 958.82$ and Stan Avery’s capital at 488.77$.
The company was later renamed Avery Products Corp. based in Pasadena USA. In 1990 it was merged with Dennison Manufacturing of Framingham, Massachusetts, a firm that made and marketed adhesive label products as well as glue sticks, felt markers and other office supplies through such chains as Home Depot and Staples. It came to be known as Avery Dennison Corporation. The business so acquired from Dennison Manufacturing, became the Office and Consumer Products Division. This business along with their “Designed and Engineered Solutions” business was later sold to their largest customer CCL Industries Inc. for 500 Million USD.
R Stanton Avery
R Stanton Avery died in 1997 at the age of 90 years. At that time the company had 16,000 employees and annual sales of $3.2 billion. As of 2016, Avery Dennison’s sales were 6.09 Billion Dollars with manufacturing and distribution presence in over 50 countries, product sales in 90 countries and 25000 employees worldwide. They are ranked 427 in the list of Fortune 500 companies.
Raj Gopal Srinivasan
As western markets started showing signs of saturation and slowing growth rates, Avery Dennison took a strategic decision to invest in emerging markets.Chinaand India being home to over 37% of the world population became the obvious destinations to invest into. The China investment happened in 1994-95 and investments into India followed soon after. Indian pressure sensitive labels market was still in a nascent stage and the potential of this technology had neither been fully unraveled or exploited. Wet glue labels were largely prevalent. Manual labeling or wet glue applicators were in use with most brand owners. An Avery Dennison team, led by Ron, set up its base in India. Raj Gopal Srinivasan was appointed the first General Manager to build and to lead a motivated team. Under his dynamic leadership the first team of 25-30 employees gave shape to the project and in March 1997Avery Dennison India Private Limitedcommenced operations as a part of Asia Pacific Division of Avery Dennison Corporation.
The initial operations were started in a leased facility at Narsinghpur Industrial Area, Gurgaon with a single slitter to slit and distribute material imported from their units outside India. Given the size of the country and the label industry spread in small numbers across all regions, it was gigantic task with a limited team to achieve levels of business that would do justice to their stature as a multinational. Raj and his team did an excellent job by building personal rapport and relationship that extended bonding not only to the company managements but also to the families of owners. It was relationship selling at its best. A setup that was based entirely on imports was difficult to sustain as custom duties were high, foreign exchange fluctuated and rules were stringent. The input cost variations made stable selling prices a challenge.The management at Avery Dennison soon realized the imperative need to produce locally. A one meter wide hotmelt adhesive coater was installed in January 1998 to produce stocks with imported raw materials. The initial staff had a perfect team spirit instilled in them and motivated to achieve more with less resources.
Mahesh Pathak
A few of those initial team members of Raj Srinivasan are still working with Avery Dennison.Mahesh Pathak, joined in 1997 asone responsible for entire process and quality of plants. He was instrumental in setting up the entire department from scratch and commercialized all products locally with success. He was responsible for the organization to be the first certified Six-Sigma BB in whole of Asia-pacific region. He is also responsible for having lead the expansion and setting up of all plants. He has risen to be theSenior Operations Director – South Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa (SAP and SSA).Umesh Agrawal, joined in 1997 as materials manager and over the years took up different responsibilities in the organization. Heading the operations from 2001-2003, Head of business and product development 2003-2006, Director-Supply Chain and Product Development 2006-2012, Director Supply Chain 2012-2014 South Asia and South Africa and now Director Supply Chain, Asia Pacific.Muralie KS, a Chartered accountant joined the team later in 2008, he is the Finance Director of the company.Sailesh Kapur joined Avery’s team in January 2008, he built up a strong connect with customers and also shaped up the present structure of their sales organization. Other members of Raj Srinivasan’s team who also contributed to making a strong foundation for the project but later left the organization includeDhiraj KapurandKapil Anand.
Once local production started, business did begin to settle down, however high duties and political uncertainty in country drove the company to start innovating and develop products based on local inputs manufactured to their stringent specifications and quality control systems. In 2001, Avery Dennison started to siliconize their own release liners and started to produce adhesive locally. This exercise of localizing and reducing dependence on imports along with lean manufacturing to economies of scale helped the company to offer products at affordable prices. Avery Dennison also took upon themselves to educate brand owners about the benefits of usingPressure Sensitive Adhesives(PSA) labels and about the consistency of the quality from Avery Dennison products. This not only brought additional business to them but helped to grow the market size in the country. Once the business situation settled down, by 2004 Avery Denison India was on a steady rate of double digit growth. It was time to make significant investments in technology and people as also to contribute to the expansion of PS market in India. It was also time to expand.
Avery Dennison Plant in Pune
In 2007 land admeasuring 22 acres was acquired at Ranjangaon near Pune for expansion. In 2008 the facility was ready to go into production with a one meter hotmelt coater, with capability to run at 500 meters per minute with inline silicon coating, this compared to the first one meter coater at Gurgaon that could run at 250 meters per minute. The facility was inaugurated by Dean Scarborough, the previous global CEO and President of Avery Dennison Corporation. An interesting story of his visit is that Dean flew into Mumbai on company’s private jet from where he came to Pune in a helicopter. The pilot of the helicopter lost way and landed in fields nearby and Dean had to be brought in by a private car. In 2010 having paved the path for stable growth and leaving behind a legacy of service to the customers as a primary focus, Raj Srinivasan left for USA. He had inculcated in a culture at Avery Dennison India of going to any extent to honour commitments and deliver top-notch service. It is his legacy that 95% of genuine requirements are serviced within 36 hours. The legacy has been carried on and improved upon by the teams that have succeeded him. Good planning, in-time supplies, exact sizes and good forecasting specially with imported materials, has become a way of life for the supply chain teams now. “97% of these targets are met and we are assessed and rated as per the 36 hour target” says Vivek Kumar, who is heading the Supply Chain at Avery Dennison. He further adds, “Stringent quality control and consistent quality makes us deliver to happy customers!” With the depart of Raj Srinivasan to the USA,Anil Sharmawas appointed to head the Indian operations.
Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma brought in a new wave of professionalism. Building the foundation and establishing the fundamentals from a startup, needs a lot of personal human intervention, which was well delivered by Raj and his team. The company under Anil Sharma gradually started to move from being men driven to systems driven and building up to the next level of expansion and growth. Implementing the systems for order registration, timely delivery, payments collection and addressing customer concerns. All these processes started to become systemized while still maintaining the personal connect. 2011 was an eventful year for Avery Dennison in India. Another 1.5 meter hotmelt adhesive coater was installed at the Pune facility to enhance production capacity. Since they already had a production facility in North in Gurgaon and also in the West at Pune, a need was felt for having a stock point South India to make just-in-time supplies to customers in the south, adhering to the legacy of excellent customer service delivery. A slitting facility was also commissioned in Bangalore in 2011.
Inauguration of Innovation and Knowledge center PUNE
In the same yearAvery Dennison Knowledge centerwas set up in Bangalore. It was largely felt by Anil Sharma and his team that there was a dire need of training in the Indian label industry. There is also an acute shortage of trained manpower in the industry that was steadily growing with increasing population. High numbers of educated young people are coming out of universities getting employment and in turn creating a huge market for retail and eventually labels. According toJitesh MehtaDirector Product development, “This knowledge centre was created to be a brand neutral platform, purely to impart knowledge to converters and to their employees”. In recent times Avery Dennison has helped trained many young boys in collaboration with the Indian label association,LMAIhas also helped some of them with placement in label manufacturing companies. This centre aims to impart skills and not to do any brand promotion.The knowledge center has recently been shifted to Pune because they already had their Research and Development center there. It was synergy to have the Research and Development center and knowledge center at the same place.

With substantial investment made in 2010-11 they had surplus capacity and capabilities in their hands. Avery started to invest in the South Africa and other African markets to expand the sale of their products in these countries. Marketing team was hired locally in these countries while finance and back-end support is handled in India. It is interesting to note that they were the first among the organized global labelstock manufacturing companies who invested in these markets. Avery Dennison has in recent times also endeavored successfully to expand their reach to countries around India selling their products to Srilanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal as well.
In 2014 to expand further and augment its range of products offered, Avery Dennison India installed another coater at Pune. This time, it was an emulsion adhesive coater of 1.50 meter width. With increased manufacturing capacity and capabilities a bigger range of products is now being offered to their customer base. According to Vivek, who heads the supply chain management in South Asia, Avery Dennison’s bulk of the production i.e., about 350-400 SKUs comes out of the Pune facility. Gurgaon plant now complements the total production most of which is rolled out from the Pune plant. Solvent based adhesive products are still imported and sold wherever required. 95% of all products sold by Avery Dennison in India are made in India complying with the Prime Minister’s call to “Make in India”. 20 years ago they were largely reliant on imports and now only 8-10% material is imported, rest is all manufactured in India.
Pankaj Bhardwaj
In 2015 Anil Sharma was elevated to take up larger responsibilities as Vice President and General Manager, South Asia Pacific and Sub Saharan Africa. His team-matePankaj Bhardwaj, became his successor as Commercial Director-South Asia, Labels and Packaging Materials. Later this year in 2017 Pankaj was entrusted with a larger role as Senior Director & General Manager-South Asia at Avery Dennison India Pvt Ltd. Pankaj became a perfect combination of Raj’s legacy of relationship building and Anil’s professionalism. While maintaining close co-operation with converters, most of whom are running family owned businesses, he leads his team to interact with brand owners advising them on decoration, value addition on labels to keeping them updated on the latest trends. Avery Dennison continues to invest in technologies and new business areas likeRFID, specialty tapes, reflective products and sustainable manufacturing. They are also investing time and money in advising printers on new decoration and converting techniques as also helping expansion of the PSA label markets to smaller towns of India.
Pankaj feels that it is good that more labelstock manufacturers are coming into the market. It maybe challenging in view of depleting margins but if that makes the market size to grow, it is welcome. Avery Dennsion looks at India as one of the fastest growing markets and they are willing to continuously invest here. Proof of their commitment is evident from setting up of R&D center, Knowledge Centre, support to LMAI, support to technical workshops and label awards, etc. Adjacent technologies do present a challenge; Shrink sleeves growing at the same rate as PSA labels, IML is a niche not very wide spread and Digital is to be watched. Indulgence in digitally printed label segment is fast becoming an imperative. Despite the market dynamics Avery Dennison India in the last 5-7 years is achieving a CAGR (Compound aggregate growth rate) of double digits.


Recyclability and waste management are industry challenges. As an environmentally consciouslyCorporation, Avery Dennison has published its global sustainability goals. Avery Dennison India is making steady progress to support these goals by having all Indian sites FSC certified and more than 50% paper sourced from FSC certified sources. Also, all Indian sites are more than 99% landfill free.

Company is continually redesigning its products to reduce carbon footprint and promoting 25 mic PET liners given thatpaper liners are largely 60-62 gsm substance and are extremely difficult to recycle. PET is recyclable thereby reducing the impact on environment.

Corporate social responsibility is getting increasing focus for Avery DennisonIndia. Company has multiple programs in the areas of women empowerment, children health and education. Among other programs, Avery Dennison Foundation runs a program by the name of 'Avery Dennison Spirit Of Inventions' in collaboration with six universities by recognizing and rewarding innovative ideas from students in the field of science, engineering and technology.




Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi August 2017
Printing magazines and publications may reproduce this article giving credit to author.
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