UAE or the United Arab Emirates consists of seven independent city-states or emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman, and Ras-al-Khaimah. Total population of all the emirates of UAE put together is much less than that of New Delhi India at 11.42 million with only 20% Emiratis and rest are expats making it the highest percentage  of  expatriates in any country in the world. The Indian expatriate population at 28% is the largest group in UAE. It is surprising that there is a substantial number of label printing companies there with more printers joining in year after year. In the start of the new Millennium, one could count the total number of label printing companies to around 10 which has now grown to over 40. Even though leading printers speak of intense competition and depleting margins yet there is a steady news of expansions and new companies joining the bandwagon of label printers. Obviously, it is not the local demand but due the business environment, conditions and facilities, the printing companies reach out to customers not only in the Middle East but also to Africa, Europe, and USA. It is a global hub from where they produce and export. It is normal to hear label printers in the region expressing difficulties due to a small market and intense competition, in such a situation it is heartwarming to see someone who comes from a fragile financial status, jumping into label printing and starting to register smart growth. One such person is Jagannath Wagle who endeavored to take the risk of setting up from virtually nothing, his maiden label venture, Sigma Middle East Labels that has started rising from humble beginnings.

 

 

 

 

Jagannath Wagle

It is rare to find humble people these days. Humility is putting pride behind, staying grounded to reality, have faith in oneself and learning from one’s modest beginnings to continuously move ahead with firm resolve and keep evolving. That is how Jagannath Wagle talks with respect and nostalgia about his humble background and times when he was growing up. this: As if living with his parents in a one 300 square feet room flat in Mumbai’s western suburb Nala Sopara along with two brothers was not crowded enough, to help the son of a family friend in village, his mother brought the boy to Mumbai to stay with them.” Jagannath’s father, an auditor with the government of India’s audit department had to manage within the meagre means to support a family of 6 people living in one room. However still they managed to impart the right education to all the children. Jagannath’s mother was a homemaker in true spirit, managing the household and the children by taking home tuitions, he reminisces fondly about her being an excellent cook.

 

 

Jagannath Wagle studied up to class 10th in Little flower English school in Nala Sopara followed by joining father Agnel technical college in 1992. Unfortunately, due to Mumbai riots in 1992 he could not attend college, had to drop a year, and later joined an institute in Vasai to complete the secondary school education. Later he wished to join an engineering college but could not afford the capitation fee demanded by institutes those days so as an alternative he studied to graduate with B.Sc. degree in Physics from Mumbai University in 1998. Due to the financial stress, a relative in Delhi suggested for him to join the Coast Guard but his mother did not relent as she wanted him to study further. He finally went on to get a B.Sc. (tech) degree that was equivalent to an engineering degree. Thereafter he started making applications for job in various organisations and also to start with, he accepted a job with a relatively small company TechGyan at a meagre salary of Rs.4000.00 per month (Approximately 55 dollars). He had a lot of interest in computers so had acquired knowledge about them and as a business to augment his earnings he started assembling computers for customers on job work basis charging Rs. 2000.00 per computer. He had already catered to almost 50 customers. At this time, he started getting interview calls from companies like HDFC, Wipro and Reliance. He was excited that he got selected in Reliance at a salary of Rs.18000. per month to start with. It is strange and a matter of kismet as to how life leads you to your eventual Karma Bhoomi, the land where one eventually works or performs his life’s deeds, this is as expressed in Indian literature. Before Jagannath could join Reliance, his family got a call from his mother’s brother in Dubai who had been tricked by someone to invest in a label manufacturing unit, knowing nothing about labels and he needed help. He requested the family to send Jagannath to Dubai.

 

 

Ajman
Like any young man Jagannath also had aspired to work in distant lands like Europe and USA but for the Dubai offer by his uncle, he was hesitant as he knew nothing about labels, his knowledge was limited to computers and engineering. His mother impressed upon him to go to Dubai and support her brother who needed help and who else he could rely upon except family at this time.  The decision was made and on 28 January 2004 Jagannath Wagle landed in UAE which everyone impulsively refers to as Dubai due to its being recognized as the face of UAE. He started to work with his uncle in Ajman, as a salesman on a salary of 1500 Dirhams per month. Though he started as salesman, but his job profile eventually became all in one, heading the label business with a team of only 3 persons just like a startup entrepreneur. Jagannath knew that with UAE having one of the highest per capita income, it would be expensive and difficult to manage in the income promised and more difficult if he got married. To make success of his career he plunged head on into the business he had no knowledge about. Customers and suppliers became his teacher and taught him all about plates, cylinders, color management etc. he was a fast learner. A business that was 10000 Dirhams per month when he joined and his uncle was pumping in money each month to sustain expenses, became 100,000 per month  in just a year’s time, all this with just one two color small tacky boy press. Any label printer will understand the  effort that must have gone into achieving this.

 

 

 

Pooja Wagle
In 2005 Jagannath convinced his uncle that to remain in business they needed another machine. A used 1980 model 7” 3color Mark Andy 830 was acquired. In today’s time of advanced servo driven modular presses that equipment sounds irrelevant yet by 2007 he was able to reach a sale of 350,000 Dirhams per month by working 24 hours every day, the Tacky boy press became redundant. Jagannath’s salary was enhanced to 3500 and he got married to Pooja from Bohisar in Mumbai. Pooja also came from a very humble background, the father having passed away, her mother taught children of poverty-stricken people. She was working as a credit card salesperson with ICICI bank. They came in contact through a matrimonial website and the marriage was arranged by parents with the couple having never met each other. Once married the couple faced financial stress and there was need to move up in life.

 

 

 

 

Part of Sigma old factory shed
There was no scope for further expansion with the existing Mark Andy 830 press, discontent crept in, Jagannath contemplated on starting on his own or returning to India, but his wife Pooja put her foot down that there was no way she will go back to India and bring up her children there. Meanwhile Jagannath’s cousin had joined the label business and took over the management. Jagannath decided to initially start his own trading business of making non adhesive liners for cores. Having no money to start manufacturing himself he started out sourcing converting also from his uncle’s company for whom he was working. He was so respectful toward his uncle because of whom he was in Dubai and had indulged in learning the label business, that he made sure not to touch any customer who was buying from them. He even kept working simultaneously with uncle during the day and after office hours for his trading business because he wanted to let his cousin to complete his MBA before he left that business completely. Once free Jagannath decided to get full-fledged into labels but making sure he never touched his uncle’s customers. He started getting his jobs done from a company called German labels and as luck would have it sometime later the owner of that company decided to quit business and sell the machine.

 

 

 

Old factory shed
Jagannath wished to buy that press but did not have the funds, so he requested the owner to accept instalments, fortunately as he was destined, the owner agreed to handover the press with 50% down payment and 50% in 6 months. Now the 50% down payment was also not there but a determined Jagannath Wagle refused to give in. In due course of time his two brothers and the friend who lived with him in Nala Sopara had all moved to Dubai and were in good jobs. They all came to rescue and pooled in money to help him buy the Mark Andy. The trade license he took in 2009 was converted to a manufacturing license in 2010. So, in January 2010 Sigma Middle East Labels Industries LLC  started their maiden venture operating with a 250mm preowned Mark Andy 830 press in an 1100 square ft shed in Ajman with just one operator and a helper. Hard work and sheer perseverance produced good results and at this time a difficult situation cropped up. The only operator he had met with an accident and in emergency had to go to India. It was during the Eid period when business is at a peak in UAE, not being the one to be left behind, Jagannath himself operated the printing machine for the next three months. When a container of stocks arrived, he and his only helper would unload and moved goods into the shed and stack them. As at that moment he could not afford help and this incident will always keep him grounded to reality. Watching him make the gigantic offer many suppliers came forward to support him. He is extremely appreciative of Ajay Mehta of SMI Coated products for his support in supplying material on credit to his start-up venture.

 

 

 

Multitec
In 2012 when his sales from just one press reached 150,000 to 200,000 Dirhams per month, it was time for Sigma to move on to the next level and acquire another bigger press, he wished to install a European brand, but paucity of funds made him decide on an eight color all UV Multitec 330mm label press which was installed in 2013. It was his first modular press and was a big jump for Jagannath. Even though he lost some money initially as his costing was not right but soon, he took corrective steps towards growth, “This was my biggest learning curve” says Jagannath. 

 

 

Bobst at New Premises
Two years down the line in 2015 a jubilant Jagannath fulfilled his dream of acquiring a European label press, a Gidue MX370 , 8 color all UV, 1 die station, delam-relam, cold foil and lamination was installed along with and some more additional equipment, also adding more shopfloor space. The fast unplanned expansion led to problems in cash flow and in 2016 Sigma ran into financial stress and troubles. Payments to suppliers were delayed and supplies became restricted. A person having risen from grass roots and not the one to give up, Jagannath kept constant touch with his vendors assuring them safety of their investment and in the meanwhile putting in enhanced efforts to nurture his company to good health. By 2017, recovery had started. Sigma moving ahead acquired yet another Gidue like the one they had. 

 

 

Brotech Finishing
Here on, a more professional approach was put in place, targets planned and achieved, more ancillary equipment including a Chinese press 5 colors with UV and hot air in 2019 to print the liners for cores was added and the second Gidue like the one bought before was bought. Yet again mentions Jagannath that SMI was there to support him, he remains indebted to them. However, learning from past experiences, he sold the Multitec press so that he did not run into financial stress again. The one 1100 square feet shed had multiplied to become 4 sheds and continued growth had become a reality at Sigma. The first used Mark Andy 830 that he had, was given to a friend in Oman at low price to help him.

 

 

 

New office

 

 

 

 

 

In 2020 things became comfortable, Sigma moved from the four 1100 square feet sheds to a plush well planned 12000 square foot facility with well-furnished and equipped offices. 

 

 

 

Going Digital with Konica Minolta

 

 

 

 

 

 

They invested 5 million Dirhams adding a Konica Minolta, foiling equipment and Esko and Asahi plate making system. 

 

 

 

 

Reception of new premises

 

In early this year 2021 Jagannath decided that his company had to upgrade to latest equipment to be more efficient in production, he sold the first Gidue he had bought and replaced it with a brand new fully loaded Gidue M5. Jagannath has finally put Sigma on its road to success and bigger business, he attributes the his journey so far to the inspiration that he got from a Indian picture “Guru” based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani the founder of Reliance Industries Ltd. He still quotes the dialogue from that film, “If I am doing well why not for myself ?”. 

 

 

 

 

The credit for this amazing journey largely goes to the woman behind Jagannath, his wife Pooja who solidly supported him right through, besides bringing up their only daughter. Pooja is a partner in the company holding the purse strings as the financial controller. No business succeeds without a good team Jagannath and Pooja carefully built their team as a family and took only people from grassroot levels and trained them, two of their teammates had joined as labour/helpers and now work as business development executive bringing in half a million Dirham business each. During their struggling days, Jagannath’s brother in law Kishor Vedpathak quit his job in Mumbai to come and support him, he now looks after Sigma as admin manager. Looking back, he reminisces that his first big break was when he got a big order for 100,000 price marking rolls from Centre Point Chain retail stores. He plans to enhance capacity again later this year with yet another flexo press plus another digital press. Up from just two employees when he started on his own, he now works with 55 employees including four designers inhouse, Sigma has registered a sale of 25 million Dirhams last year growing 30% in a pandemic year!

 

 

 

Jagannath in his new office


Deep in thought and with a smile he mentions that he wishes to be if not the biggest, he will try to be one of the biggest label printers in UAE in 5years time. He is confident that he will continue to lead Sigma Middle East Labels to keep rising to higher levels.

 

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

Print magazines my reproduce the above article by giving credit to author.

At the last, Indian label industry event, “LMAI  Conference” in 2017 at Jaipur I promised to write the 2nd part of my first article titled  “History of the Indian Label Industry” which I wrote in 2006. It is available in this blog at https://harveersahni.blogspot.com/2010/08/history-of-indian-label-industry.html
I have now written the 2nd part. This is brief reporting so I plan to complete a book on the subject with a lot more expanded information in the near future. In a large country with industry spread over such a vast area and a huge population, it is difficult to chronicle all in few words. Being a long article, the part 2 of History of the Indian Label Industry will be posted on my blog in a series of four articles. The first part of series numbered  2A is as below;

The first decade of new millennium was very eventful for the Indian label industry. After 2006 a global economic recession surfaced and kept growing, affecting businesses across the world.

It even impacted many industries in India where we saw companies reducing manpower, which in turn affected spending in all segments of retail. Surprisingly while printers in India as well, were complaining of recessionary trends and difficulty in operations, yet the Indian label industry overall, continued to grow steadily. Capacity enhancement kept on being made, though it was a little reduced. The Indians became indulgent not only as label printers but also as diverse product and equipment suppliers to label printing companies. For the first time an Indian company Precise Graphics, later renamed PGI Technologies in 2005 produced a magnetic cylinder that worked on a label press. Dhiresh Ghosalia led Jesons, manufacturers of emulsion pressure sensitive adhesives for the label industry at their large factory in Daman, expanded and moved northwards in India and setup an additional manufacturing capacity at a 100,000 square feet facility in Roorkee. Kaygee Papers was promoted by Pranay Godha in 1997 to produce silicone coated release papers. In 2001 they made a Joint Venture, Kaygee Loparex Pvt. Ltd. with Loparex, a member of UPM group and world’s largest commercial Siliconiser. They continued to grow and became an important part of the Indian label industry in the first decade. In 2015 Loparex assumed 100% of the company and rechristened it as Loparex India Pvt. Ltd. In August 2007 Diehard Dies, based in Guntur Andhra Pradesh, started operations to become an indigenous manufacturer of flexible dies for the printing, packaging and label industry. By middle of 2019 Acme Rolltech a company led by 3 young entrepreneurs Parag Patel, Sandeep Sharma and Parag Koradiya started the first Indian facility manufacturing Ceramic Anilox Rolls. Sandeep, came to the partnership with 15 years of experience having worked with Avery Dennison, Kurz India and Domino Printech, Parag Patel and Parag Koradiya came from entrepreneurial background of manufacturing Gravure Cylinders. 

In 2007 the largest indigenous labelstock producer Ajay Mehta’s SMI Coated Products initiated an expansion program that would eventually place SMI as an undisputed leader in labelstock production by a wholly Indian owned company, not only in India but also in many international markets.

They procured a 6540 square meter plot in MIDC, Ambernath near Mumbai, constructed 2200 square meter shed, shifted all plant and machinery from Daman to Ambernath, added two silicon coating machines and one Acrylic Coating machine. In 2014 they increased the production area by another 3000 square meters and installed a Hot Melt coating line, following it up by installing yet another hotmelt adhesive coater later.  

In 2017 they purchased the adjoining plot admeasuring 9820 Square meters, constructed 1000 square meters to install Schaeffer moving racks for better handling of an increasing volume of goods in their expanding stores.

In 2019 they completed construction of another 3000 square meters shed and moved all coating machines to new premises along with a new emulsion adhesive coating tandem machine to do inline siliconizing and adhesive coating in a single pass, 1350 mm wide to run at a speed of 150 meters per minute, reaching an installed capacity of 19 million square meters per month. They celebrated their 25 years in grand style by hosting over 200 guests to visit their works besides take part in the celebrations. Other indigenous labelstock manufacturers also grew in their own respective regions. Stayon Papers and Sticon in Hyderabad, Million papers and NG papers in Chennai, Capri Coating Solutions in Mumbai, Shree Arihant, STP Paper, Gj Industries and many more in Delhi were some of the active and visible manufacturers. Some of the earlier leaders in the Labelstock manufacturing segment pulled back or shifted focus in view of depleting margins, intense competition and unviable credit terms.

Indian label press manufacturers transformed in this period to produce label presses that were comparable to international products and made their mark not only in India but internationally as well.

Amit Ahuja led Multitec is the front runner who had exhibited their first modular rotary flexo label press in partnership with Abhay Datta of Datta Press Delhi at the first India Label show in 2002 at Nehru Centre Mumbai. The association of Multitec with Datta came to an end around 2008. Multitec redesigned their label press as a competitive product with all basic features. After renaming the press, “Ecoflex” they relaunched it. Two year hence they launched yet another version of their label press and continued to upgrade their offerings and grow phenomenally. By the end of 2018 they had achieved outstanding success producing label presses from a quality accredited design and a fully integrated manufacturing facility spread over 26,000 square meters. At the time of writing this article their website reports having sold over 300 Label presses to over 25 countries through a team of agents spread across the world. Other Indian press manufacturers who also made their mark are mostly from Faridabad, south of Delhi, the same city as Multitec. They are Alliance Printech, Webtech Engineering, NBG Printographic Machinery Co. Pvt. Ltd., M Tech Industries, etc. Other than these, Ahmedabad based RK label machines claimed to have sold 150 rotary plus 600 flatbed label presses and Noida based Jandu Engineers had sold about 135 rotary flexo presses. Jandu is also a leading manufacturer of coating and laminating machines and has a large presence amongst local labelstock manufacturers and according to Baldev Singh Jandu, they have till date sold over 150 coaters.

The Indian label market was growing at a steady double-digit growth rate and interest of international label fraternity in India also kept on growing with it. Avery Dennison who had found success in the country had in 2007 invested in land admeasuring 22 acres at Ranjangaon near Pune for expansion.

In 2008 the facility was with a one-meter wide hotmelt coater having 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 then global CEO and President of Avery Dennison Corporation Dean Scarborough specially flew in to inaugurate the facility. In 2010 Raj Srinivasan who had established Avery’s foothold in India returned to USA handing over reigns of the Indian operations to Anil Sharma. New wave of professionalism descended in the working of Avery; more expansion followed with installation of a 1.5 meters hot melt coater in 2011 at Pune. In the same year a slitting facility was commissioned in Bangalore in 2011 to serve the southern customers effectively. To help the cause of a limited number of trained press operators in India in face of a growing label press population,  Avery Dennison Knowledge Centre was also set up in Bangalore to train people for becoming press operators, but later in 2018 the centre was moved to Pune, next to their research and development centre. In 2014 an emulsion coater of 1.5meter width was added at the Pune facility. In 2015 Anil Sharma was elevated for bigger responsibilities and handed over charge to his teammate Pankaj Bhardwaj. Amongst international Labelstocks companies UPM Raflatac had established a substantial foothold with their slitting facilities in India while Lintec, Ritrama, flexcon and a few others sold through agents or directly.

Increase in number of visitors to labelexpo Europe in Brussels was a positive indicator of a growing label market in India and the interests of printers to invest in globally acknowledged label presses. In 2005 Weldon Celloplast Ltd. was the lone Indian exhibitor and by 2011 edition of the show, the number of Indian exhibitors had swelled to fourteen, up from four in the previous show in 2009.

At Labelexpo Europe 2009 there were 338 Indian visitors and this figure had swelled to 429 in 2011. The number just went on increasing, there were more Indians then before at successive labelexpos.

In 2007 at Labelexpo Europe in Brussels Tarsus announced their acquisition of India Label show, a show that was set up by Anil Arora and his wife Neetu Arora.

The next edition of India Label show 2008 in New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan was held in the aftermath of terrorist attack in Mumbai and in the middle of a huge recession, yet the show stood its ground proving the strength of growing Indian label market. In 2010 the show was rechristened as Labelexpo India. The show owners Tarsus UK made a strategic alliance with Indian Label association LMAI for the event and to have an awards night and a gala dinner organised by Tarsus at every Labelexpo India. LMAI was to conduct the LMAI label awards which became a regular feature thereafter. In 2009 under the leadership of Vivek Kapoor, the longest serving president of LMAI who completed 3 terms of 2 years each, it was also planned to hold biennial LMAI conference in alternate years, the trend has carried on till date. The first LMAI conference was held in Hotel park Hyatt Goa in 2011 and the event grew to be held again in 2013 at Grand Hyatt Goa and at Hotel Jaypee Palace in Agra in 2017. 

In 2010 leading global associations came together under the aegis of FINAT and formed the federation of global associations called L8. Later with one more association joining it was renamed L9, the confederation of nine leading international label associations.

The alliance consisted of LMAI (India), JFLP (Japan), FINAT (Europe), TLMI (North America, LATMA (Australia), PEIAC (China), AMETIQ (Mexico), ABIEA (Brazil) and SALMA (New Zealand). Sandeep Zaveri of Total Prints took over the presidentship of LMAI in 2015 and handed over the charge to Kuldip Goel of Any Graphics in 2017.  At the 2017 conference in Agra 550 delegates attended making it the largest gathering of label printers at a single conference. A proud moment for me at the Agra conference in 2017 came when I was announced as the first and only recipient till then of a lifetime award for support to the Indian Label industry.  

In 2016 Labelexpo was moved to the Expo Mart in Greater Noida outside Delhi, a part of Delhi NCR (National Capital Region) due to non-availability of dates at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan.

In 2018 also it was held at the Expo Mart as the venue, Pragati Maidan in Delhi, was under redevelopment. In 2018 for the first time LMAI hosted a very successful L9 meet in India on the sidelines of Labelexpo India.

The evolution of label industry in India has been a continuous process, from the earliest days of screen-printed labels in sheeted format in the 1970s to roll form labels to be converted on very narrow width flatbed Japanese presses and then over to rotary flexographic printing label presses in the early 1990s.

Until the end of 1990s the flexo printing process used water-based inks with hot air drying.

The polymer plate making technology was also evolving. The process was evolving but it had shortcomings. It was faster than the flat bed machines but lacked consistency due to drying and viscosity changing issues. Better prepress and improvements in platemaking technologies brought flexo printing to almost at par in quality to offset printing. This led the rapid growth in flexographic label printing. As demand escalated, investments in equipment also witnessed increase with printers demanding wider presses for increased productivity and reduced wastages. By end of the last century UV curable inks became available and changed the way flexo printing grew. Originally, UV technology was introduced to the world in the 1960s. The drying effect for water-based inks is brought about by evaporation of volatile components. The required energy is supplied via IR-radiation and/or hot air. A loss in the dried coating thickness will appear depending on the amount of the evaporated components. The volatile components must be removed by an extraction. However, in case of the UV inks, the drying effect is due to polymerization, i.e. on cross-linking of long molecular chains. The energy required for cross-linking is supplied via UV radiation. For 100 % solid body systems the thickness of the dry coating corresponds to the thickness of the wet coating. There are no losses due to evaporation. By 2010 new UV inks came with enhanced ink transfer properties as well as faster reactivity to UV curing, meaning speeds over 200 meters/min. were achievable. Towards end of 2009 the conventional UV started to evolve to low power consuming LED UV with longer life lamps that had surfaced internationally, though the system had yet to be widely accepted in India due to non-availability of parts and inks, but it was being investigated and expected to grow substantially in demand or replaced on existing presses.  Some of the international equipment manufacturers had already introduced alternatives such as LED UV and even Electron Beam curing technology as an alternative. From the middle of first decade of 21st century onwards there grew a demand for high end hybrid presses with increased features like automatic registration, multiple printing processes for combination printing and decoration capabilities. As sustainability and environmental concerns became an imperative; waste reduction, and waste management became a necessity when an investment in equipment was being made.End of Part 2A, To be continued…
The remaining parts will be posted in gaps of 7-10 days 
Note: No one is authorised to reproduce, copy or reprint this article until permitted by the author in writing. 
Written by Harveer Sahni Managing Director Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi July 2019

Ashok Jaipuria
Ashok Jaipuria led Cosmo Films Limited, headquartered in New Delhi, is one of the largest manufacturers of BOPP (Biaxially Oriented Poly Propylene) films in the world. According to Wikipedia they are in fact the largest manufacturer of thermal lamination films in the world. Ashok Jaipuria is prided with his lineage from an elite Marwari family (people from the Marwar region of Rajasthan).   Ashok is the only son of his father Late Sri Sitaram Jaipuria, who was an Industrialist and Promoter of Swadeshi Polytex Limited,  Swadeshi Cotton Mills Limited and was a member of the Upper House of the Parliament of India. Ashok started his own firm Cosmo Films in 1976 with an objective to manufacture and market BOPP films. He qualified in Business Administration and Marketing Science in the year 1973. BOPP film was a licensed item those days, visualizing growth and opportunity in this nascent area; he applied for and acquired the license to manufacture it. He setup and commissioned his first BOPP production line in 1981 at Chikalthana, Aurangabad. Being one of the first entrants to produce BOPP in India, the initial years were very tough, more so because customer awareness did not exist and educating them on the product was a challenge. Print lamination and self adhesive packaging tapes were the first target segments for this product. Once settled, there was no looking back, they commissioned their second production line at Waluj, Aurangabad in 1988 and third line also at Waluj in 1996.
 
Entering the new millennium, Cosmo Films was steadily growing, so was the market for 
Cosmo Films Vadodara Unit
BOPP and also the market share of Cosmo for BOPP films. With a positive situation prevailing, they became bullish and registered unprecedented growth in this decade.  In 2001 they commissioned their fourth line and a year later in 2002 they acquired Gujarat Propack Limited, the Karjan Vadodara based BOPP manufacturer which became their fifth BOPP line. In 2003 the sixth line was commissioned and in the very next year in 2004 they decided to go for specialties in BOPP by adding a metalizer, an extrusion coating plant and yet another BOPP line taking their total count to seven. Expanding on coated products, they commissioned their second extrusion coating line in 2005. Encouraged by the success, Cosmo added five more extrusion coating lines. Two were added in 2006, one in 2007 and two more in 2008. Extending their footprint globally, in 2009 they acquired USA headquartered GBC’s Print Finishing Business from Acco Brands Corporation USA. Also in 2009 they enhanced their BOPP production capacity with yet another line at Vadodara, taking the total to 8 lines. 
 
 
Cosmo Films Hagerstown USA
They wrapped up the decade by installing their 2nd metalizer at Karjan, Vadodara. In the second decade of the millennium Cosmo continued on their growth path. Pankaj Poddar also of Marwari descent, a qualified Chartered Accountant, took charge as the CEO of Cosmo Films in 2011. In the ensuing years a new plant was commissioned with their existing eighth extrusion thermal coating line in South Korea. Two more BOPP lines in Aurangabad SEZ and Karjan Baroda were added in subsequent years taking the total BOPP production lines to ten. In addition, they have five coating lines, three metalizers and one CPP (Cast Polypropylene) line. When the first line was commissioned Cosmo’s capacity was only 850 tons per annum, which now has reached 2,00,000 tons from five different locations that include three in India, one in Korea and one in USA, the biggest facility being the one in Vadodara. The production in India spreads over 100 acres of land with 850 permanent employees. Even though volume growth of BOPP was coming from packaging and lamination yet the business had sometime along the way started to get competitive. To maintain their leadership and profitability, they had in the 1990s, shifted focus to specialties in films and label films for wrap around labels, IML (that had started evolving) along with limited presence in self adhesive labels.  Out of their initial endeavours, white film for Parle and production of synthetic paper was vital in their rapid growth. 
 
With Pankaj Poddar at helm, the company became more aggressive especially in the label segment. The label segment comprising of self-adhesive labels, wrap around labels and IML is continuously growing in volumes. They supply these films worldwide with some sales also in China. Today leading Indian Labelstock and other label producers use Cosmo’s products for labels. Label films continue to become a substantial part of the company’s product offerings these are now around 15% of their total production. Cosmo has invested in creating the right products to facilitate top of the line decorative packaging. Their offerings include films that are white opaque pearlised, transparent, solid white, gloss/matt metalized, etc. Their films have a clean surface, have excellent gloss, high clarity and can be printed by different print technologies that include printing by using Water based inks, UV inks, Gravure inks, Thermal transfer ribbon printing and some Digital print processes. According to Pankaj, while the domestic BOPP market is growing at around 10 % per annum, the growth is slightly more in self adhesive labels and IML, yet Cosmo is registering a growth rate above this due to their increasing exports. They are committed to diversify more and more into the specialty segments due to depressed margins of commodity products in a competitive scenario. They will soon be launching direct thermal printable film and paper. Being firmly committed to maintain their leadership, for them delivery of quality and innovative products is a priority. They have invested more than 1.50 Million US$ in their new Research and Development/Innovation centre. The centre has capability to analyse the entire film’s chemistry viz. surface, polymer and chemical analysis.  The centre is also capable of testing all properties of the film right from its concept stage way upto its end applications.  Centre can also conduct in house  printing tests with diverse processes like Screen, UV flexo, Gravure printing, Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer Printing.
 
Pankaj is emphatic that BOPP consumption will continue to grow at a fast pace, but he wishes to see Cosmo diversify more into specialty segments. They will also be adding a Cast Poly Propylene film (CPP) and metalized CPP film line in 2018; they will also be installing a PET film line. Both product lines will be packaging and label centric. PET will be majorly offered as label face or later for release liner applications. PET liners can reduce the adverse impact of liner waste on the environment by bringing down the tonnage of liners using thinner liners. While most of the present paper siliconised liners go to landfills, PET liners can be recycled. Capacity enhancement for synthetic paper is also on cards. Their biggest competition at global level comes from Jindal Poly films subsequent to their acquisition of Exxon Mobil’s BOPP films division and from Innovia films. However still, Pankaj says, “We will be enhancing capacities. As for specialties, we have no real competition”. Pensively and hesitantly he does agree that digital printing direct on product that will eliminate the substrate maybe a challenge but he is confident it will not affect Cosmo’s growth plans.
 
Pankaj Poddar
Pankaj Poddar is an alumnus of Delhi’s Shri Ram College of commerce (SRCC). After finishing his B.Com at SRCC, he completed his articles to be a qualified CA and then completed his degree in MBA from IMT Ghaziabad. He worked with Ernst and Young for 7 years, for automotive parts company Delphi for 5 years two years each with Reckitt Benckiser and Avon Beauty Products. He comes from a traditional Marwari business family, his father dealt with heavy earthmoving machinery spare parts, brother traded in air-dryers and chilling plants and sister’s husband supplies alloy metal to auto parts companies. Moving away from the tradition Pankaj preferred to be a professional executive. His wife is a dietician and they are blessed with two school going children, a son and a daughter. When he joined Cosmo, the turnover of the company was Rupees 850 Crores (130Million USD) and it has now reached Rupees 1900 Crores (300 Million USD). He was awarded as “Indian CEO of the year” by ABCI, Association of Business Communicators of India at their “Brand India Summit” in 2016.  When Pankaj took charge, Cosmo Film’s share was trading at Rs.80-90 and now it has reached Rs.350-400.
 
Cosmo Films is an environmentally conscious company and continues to make strides in implementing eco friendly measures.  All coatings on their films are water based and they support water based ink printing for conversion of their films. They are an ISO: 14001 certified company. The waste water in all their plants, after effluent treatment, is used for gardening. All plant sites have water harvesting. Natural lighting is used wherever possible. They plan to initiate a solar power plant at their Vadodara site as a first experiment and if found successful, they will replicate in other sites as well. Every employee in their organization has to undergo training. As a part of their corporate social responsibility, they work on supplementing basic education provided to young children in government schools in and around their plants through various sustainable programs like Computer Literacy, basic English Learning, basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills. They have trained about 150 rural youth as qualified teachers to be able to execute this and till date more than 25000 students have benefitted from these programs.
 
Pankaj feels in 5 years Cosmo’s turnover will more than double up from the present 300 million US Dollars to 600-700 US Dollars. This he states will be just from the ongoing organic growth. However if they install more projects and happen to acquire some businesses, the turnover may reach USD 1 billion. The present share of specialty films in the company portfolio is around 40%, he hopes and wishes to increase this share to 60% so as to keep adding value to its bottom line.

 

 

 

Written for Packaging South Asia magazine by Harveer Sahni Chairman, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi, December 2017.
 
Print Publications wanting to reproduce may do so by giving credit to the author Harveer Sahni and by mentioning that it is published in arrangement with "Packaging South Asia"
 
 
 
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

Converting process:

 

Designing a label is a designer’s job, passion and creative indulgence, but converting it into a label that will deliver the envisaged results of communicating with the consumer, is the job of a label converter.  If, as I mentioned in the earlier two parts of this series, the designer has taken care of the converters capabilities and challenges, the result is close to being as desired. However, if at the designing stage the eventual converting process is not revisited, converting may become a nightmare and may call for more time and involvement to make changes in design. Let us consider a label that is not one of the regular shapes like a square, a rectangle or a circle. If it is a like a star or an odd shape with sharp corners, it will be a challenge to die cut the labels slowing down label conversion, bringing up the cost of label. In such a situation label dispensing may also become erratic. Such label presses are now available with many label printers that die-cut and remove waste matrix of  complex shaped labels while converting but then these options are not available with all venders. The designers need to consider ease of conversion and dispensing. Sometimes designers tend to create labels in the shape of objects like a flower, a dumbbell, a butterfly, a bird or even like a falling drop. These shapes will either be difficult to die cut and will substantially slow down the label press during conversion. I am not suggesting that such shapes should not be indulged in, but on the contrary if the product and its marketing warrant’s it so and can support a higher conversion cost, it may even become a necessity to create such complex labels. At times when it is an innovation being created to reach out to a specific customer segment, the challenges in conversion and speed must take a back seat. Die-cutting in label conversion in-itself is a very exhaustive topic and an intricate technology which is beyond the purview of this article as we are dealing with the life of a label from concept, design, and conversion to its final resting on the product and its performance there from.

 

Brand Promotion:

 

Any brand from inception onwards, in its journey to success keeps gaining value as it reaches out to the product’s targeted audience. Label is one part of the package that contributes towards the brand promotion from the word go! The aesthetics and the decoration part have been dwelled upon earlier in this series, yet a very important part of the label is brand promotion. While the aesthetics and decoration of the label tempts the consumer, to impulsively lift the product off the shop shelf but it is the brand promotion in-built into the label that will bring the customers back to make a repeat purchase. A product may have been created with lot of skill and effort to be the best buy for the discerning consumer. Its commercial success will depend not only on repeated purchase by the impulsively indulgent buyer but by his spreading the message by word-of-mouth to others about the product. The information on the label should communicate the strength and reliability of the manufacturer. The label should deliver a message that the brand is “value for money” bringing appreciation from the judicious buyer who inadvertently becomes the brand’s ambassador. It is easy to mimic successful brands, but one must realize that the learned and well-informed consumer is quick to recognize a copy. I refer to this issue of duplication later in this article. The label needs to communicate the research and effort being put into creating the product to meet the emotional and aspirational requirements of the users. The label and eventually the product itself must communicate that it will add to the stature of the user. The message on label in the shortest form, given the limited space, is required to be conveyed emphatically and should be very strong and bold in branding! The content on the label is necessarily required to create an aura promoting brand recall. One must be mindful of the preferences and sensitivities of the target audience that could be children, young people, males, females or the elderly. The brand promotion capabilities of the label will create a communication link between the product and its consumer thereby establishing a channel for successful sale of the product on an ongoing basis. Often sales promotion is also incorporated in the label like free extra quantity or freebies with each purchase but here a word of caution is to be remembered, one should not confuse brand promotion with sales promotion. Brand promotion is a priority for building stature and value of a brand in the customers mind while sales promotion is a temporary step to give intermittent boost to sales. While brand promotion brings long term gains, sales promotion gives shorter gain.

 

Brand Protection:

 

As brands attain popularity and grow driving-in more revenue, another set of people wanting to make quick money by cashing in on the value of these brands, start to create look-alikes, duplicates and counterfeits. The innocent user falls prey to such unscrupulous elements by buying these non-standard products. They are exposed to dangers of being harmed by usage of such spurious products. Consumer is unable to judge whether the product is duplicate or the original product sold by the brand owner is of inferior quality. The brand is likely to suffer in value and reliability for no fault of theirs. The menace of counterfeits has attained gigantic proportions. According to a report by “The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)”, Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods has risen steadily in the last few years – even as overall trade volumes stagnated – and now stands at 3.3% of global trade, according to a new report by the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office. Trends in Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods puts the value of imported fake goods worldwide based on 2016 customs seizure data at USD 509 billion, up from USD 461 billion in 2013 (2.5% of world trade). 

 

 

It has become an imperative to incorporate security features in labels and packages, as a part of brand protection keeping in mind that all brand protection features need to facilitate brand authentication as well. What good is a security feature if the user cannot verify its authenticity?  Holograms have been used for quite some time and they have a high level of security in them but in recent time holographic labels without security features but resembling the original holograms have made it difficult for the consumers to differentiate between the original and fakes. The topic of security is large and needs to be dwelled upon separately, however still I emphasize that security features need to be considered while designing labels for leading brands. These may be tamper-evident labels, labels with micro texting, thermo chromic inks, invisible inks, holograms and labels with special printing effects that help in brand protection. Building-in security or anti-counterfeiting features in labels and the packages is an exercise that needs to be revisited by brand owners and by label designers from time to time. If the label security features have not been reviewed for long, it is possible that the counterfeiters will develop something resembling it. It is a known fact when referring duplicators, “If someone can make it, there is someone who can fake it”

 

Innovation:

Consumer is the king! It is a famous quote, I would modify it a little and say, Consumer is the king maker!” If consumers approve of a product, it could deliver fortunes to the brand owners. So, to reach out to these king makers, the brand owner must innovate both in the package and label design. One sometimes wonders what innovation one can create in a label. A small patch of label that carries the brand and its information, can be decorated as mentioned earlier in this series with foiling, embossing, varnishing, lamination and die-cutting in various shape. However, in an effort to catch the consumers fancy, labels must have innovations as per the label segment they cater to. A food product label is created with a natural effect where you can see and feel the texture of the label. Portraying freshness, a leaf or a flower may be created to exhibit water droplets that one can touch and feel. These are accomplished by using diverse printing and processing technologies on their combination presses. Development of such labels is the outcome of creative capabilities of innovative label printing companies. I quote some of the innovations that I have seen in recent times;

 


Consider a wine label; Wine enthusiasts like to know about the wine before indulging in it. They wish to know the quality of grapes used for making that wine, the region and the terrain where the grapes came from. The label is made like a book to be read! One cannot put all this information on a single label, so labels are produced like a small booklet affixed to the wine bottle.

 

 

 

The hazards of using infected syringes, has been highlighted for long to curtail the spread of infection. There is an imperative need to dispose-off the used needles safely. I visited the Schreiner facility in Munich Germany, some time ago and was shown labels where after use the needle is broken on to a plastic trap which forms a part of the label on disposable syringe. These traps are then sent for safe treatment and disposal.

 

 

 

 


Another interesting example is a label created for the Heinz tomato ketchup pack. On one side if you open the pack, ketchup can be squeezed out like it is done from a regular bottle. However, if there is need to use the ketchup as dip, one can peel off the entire label by pulling the tab on another end to expose the ketchup and get a feel as if it was in a bowl.

 

 


Other innovations are like a safety temperature indicating label on cooking gas cylinders that would change colours to indicate safe temperatures or Braille labels on wine bottles for the physically challenged blind who also like normal people enjoy their wine and will like to read the information as wine lovers.

 

Summary

Label printing and converting technologies continue to evolve and I have written about the different processes on my blog where a lot of information is available. The printing that initially surfaced as letter press, moved over to flexographic printing followed by stand alone or hybrid presses incorporating combination of flexo, digital, screen, offset Rotogravure printing and diverse embellishing process like hot-foil, cold-foil, UV varnish, embossing, debossing, front and back printing all done in a single pass. The packaging development specialists now need to be well versed with all the technologies and processes. In this three-part series, one can see the journey of the label from concept to its life on the product after application. It goes through a technical life cycle interacting with diverse technologies from design, to printing, conversion, dispensing and life thereafter. Each of the technologies that the label encounters in its life cycle including the chemical, mechanical and physical properties is a science it itself. Before concluding we must keep in mind the end-of-life waste management while creating a label or package. The whole chain of persons who contribute to the life of a label are a team who eventually rejoice in the success of a product that adorns a label they created.

The complete 3 part series are accessible at the following links;

https://harveersahni.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-life-of-label-i.html

http://harveersahni.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-life-of-label-ii.html

https://harveersahni.blogspot.com/2022/02/life-of-label-iii.html

 

Written by Harveer Sahni, Chairman, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 India, January 2015 and updated in February 2022

Dhiresh Gosalia
As a young boy in school I had heard my school principal speaking about the American people. He had spent long time in the United States before returning to India to become the principal of our school. He said, the Americans when talking about their country, business or otherwise would like to hear, tell and experience words like Largest, Biggest, Tallest, Deepest, Longest, Costliest and so on. The habit was promptly adopted by the north Indian Punjabis, and with time, people across India have adopted the habit. They love it and wish to hear, tell and try hard to achieve this benchmark. Dhiresh Gosalia is one such achiever. He is the undisputed largest manufacturer of pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA) in India. His company Jesons Industries Limited commands over 70% of the market share for these products. It is a unique feat that few people aspire and achieve in their life time. Dhiresh Gosalia Managing Director of Jesons, is an approachable, realistic and straightforward individual. A dreamer and achiever packed in one. I remember once some 10 years ago when I approached him for a supply problem (He has been a star supplier for my label stock manufacturing company), his reply was clear cut and straightforward, “I have always wanted my company to be system driven and not person driven” he further added, “if there is an anomaly, I need to correct it. Else the customers need to understand the system we have”. Dhiresh has built a strong company on sheer hard work, commitment and delegation. He firmly believes in the mantra, “Think big and be innovative”.
 
Self Adhesive Stickers/Labels

Shashikant Gosalia, a Mumbai based trader in textile chemicals saw future in industry and manufacturing. In 1981, he setup his startup enterprise, Jesons Corporation to manufacture wood adhesive and binders. By 1985 he saw potential in the growing self adhesive label and tape market and started producing pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA’s). The initial plant consisted of two reaction vessels, one of 1 ton capacity and the second of 500 KG. The total installed production capacity was 300 tons per annum. Those days they were producing just 5 tons per month. In 1992 Shashikant saw growth in the market and decided to move his manufacturing to a bigger 3000 square feet factory in Palghar near Mumbai. Unfortunately that year he passed away due to a lung ailment, leaving the reigns of his startup venture in the hands of his son Dhiresh, who had been in the business with him for four years. Dhiresh was used to the fact that his father was the boss and handling the company but when responsibility came to rest on him due to this tragedy, he took hold of himself and indulged in the right earnest. He took stock of the situation and reviewed the ground realities prevailing at that point of time. The size of operations in his company was rather small for a huge debt of Rs. 85 lakhs. This did not deter his determination to think big. He was a dreamer, which he still is, as he self confesses. A dreamer who works hard to make his dreams a reality. He saw a whole lot of future in the PSA industry. He fondly remembers the day in 1985 when they produced and sold the “Sticker adhesive” to their first customer, Gunvantbhai of Excel inks, a trader of screen printing materials. He carried the 100kg lot in his car to deliver it. Dhiresh decided to indulge vigorously in this product segment and studied the business very intricately. He came to a decision that they were using a wrong chemistry for the PSA segment in which they wanted to excel. He immediately decided to switch over from VAM (Vinyl acetate Monomer) based chemistry to Acrylate based chemistry. It was a tough call but he took it boldly and emphatically, proving his resolve to lead the company to success.
PSA Tapes
As a young boy Dhiresh had dreamt of meeting the challenge of excelling against the multinational giants like Rohm & Haas and BASF who are world leaders in PSA’s. The task was gigantic yet the resolve was firm. He sold his Mumbai factory, home and office to raise working capital for his manufacturing. It was time to shift gears and move his business to a higher level. The process thereafter has been historical. In 1994 the second unit at Palghar was commissioned to produce Polyurethane based adhesive for flexible packaging and PSA’s. In 1996 when incentives and tax benefits were offered, they shifted to a small 2000 square feet unit in Daman. A year later the facility at Daman had swelled to be a 20,000 square feet manufacturing unit. Another year down the line in 1998, Dhiresh bought a 60,000 square feet plot opposite the existing factory at Daman and built a 45000 square feet plant creating additional capacity.  At this time Jesons collaborated with Anchor adhesive to produce Polygrip brand rubber resin based adhesives. This Polygrip part of business was later in 2010 sold along with brand to Atul Ltd.

 
Jesons Daman Factory
Dhiresh’s resolve to think big, lead him to plan manufacturing globally at locations outside India. In 2003 he setup a 120,000 square feet factory in China and in 2004 a 60,000 square feet unit in Nepal to produce PSA’s and Paint emulsions. Unfortunately both these units had to be closed. The China unit was sold off in 2011 as it was not sustainable due to language problems and difficult work culture. The Nepal unit had to be closed in 2009 due to Maoist terrorist problems. Two of their security guards were shot dead. However now, the process for restarting the Nepal unit has been initiated. Production is expected to commence soon. In 2008, Jesons moved northwards in India and setup and additional manufacturing capacity at a 100,000 square feet facility in Roorkee to produce PSA, Paint emulsion, Construction chemicals and Leather chemicals. This year in 2012, Jesons has taken a very futuristic step by setting up a 5000 square feet state of art technology centre at Navi Mumbai, with an over Rupees 3.00 Crore investment in testing instruments. The centre is headed by a senior scientist specializing in polymer chemistry. With an overwhelming 70% marketshare in the self adhesive label and tape market, Dhiresh is confident there is scope for more. He, in his stride has taken on, on established players in the trade like Pidilite and Jubilant and has left them far behind in the number game, when we talk of PSA’s. He however laments that the pressure sensitive adhesive products industry lacks visionaries and companies who can take on multinational competitors like Avery and Raflatac. He feels, if he has succeeded in presence of world leaders like Rohm & Haas and BASF, others can also do it. All it needs is the ability to think big and innovate. Labels and tapes is a highly fragmented segment of the industry. It took 15 years for our coaters to achieve a speed of 50 meters per minute, there may be hardly one unit coating at 100 meters per minute. Big investment in state of art coating equipment is needed, he reiterates the need is to think big and innovate! Money is available for those who Endeavour.

Dhiresh is an avid reader and finds books as ideal motivators while his parents have been the teachers, the teachers who are the influence on every person’s persona. Being the only son, he joined his father’s business after graduating from Jai Hind College Mumbai. His only sister is married to a gold medalist eye surgeon now settled in Mumbai. Extremely interesting; In between his busy schedule and intense involvement in business, he found time to complete a three year executive Management programm from Harvard Business School!
Jesons Parel Office
His company Jesons Industries Limited is headquartered in an impressive 6500 square feet 9th floor corporate office in prestigious Peninsula Towers in Lower Parel, Mumbai. Jesons’ manufacturing emanates out of a total working space of over 1,85,000 square feet. 250 employees work tirelessly to produce 60000 tons per annum out of the installed capacity of 86000 tons per annum. It really is an achievement considering the initial installed capacity of 300 tons per annum. More or less close to what the capacity that was per year is now per day! PSA’s are 55-60% of their business with sales in 23 countries. Sale in last year was Rupees 450 Crores and is targeted at 550 Crores in the current financial year. 5 years hence Dhiresh feels they will be over Rs.1200 Crores. While talking about these figures he still remembers his first big break in the PSA industry when he sold a fifty thousand Rupees consignment to Hindustan Adhesives Limited, considered the most important PSA user at that time. It was a morale booster. The most difficult time came not long ago when in 2008, the Indian Rupee started to depreciate continuously. Raw material prices were falling and customers were expecting and getting lower prices. The buying was expensive while sales were being made at lower prices. First time in his life, Dhiresh made a massive loss! Jesons was not able to service their loans. Firm resolve, power to think and hard work is what it is all about, Dhiresh drove-in, the highest profit for Jesons in the year that followed.

Madhavi, Dhiresh’s wife is a masters in philosophy. Intelligent, smart, business woman and yet a home maker! She has been supporting Dhiresh by being at his side throughout. In the last two decades that I have known them I have seen Madhavi coming to office each morning after sending children to school and returning home in the afternoons to be with them. She has provided the perfect support. Her influence on this business is evident, just look around in the Jesons corporate office and you will see women manning all the important desks! Dhiresh has to agree women deliver! Honestly, even I believe. After seeing Jesons’ progress, I confirm, YES they do. Dhiresh and Madhavi have two wonderful daughters, Jhelum and Raveena. Jhelum has completed her BBA from London and followed it up with Masters in Theater production also from London. She is now in Mumbai and from earlier in June 2012 (Last month) she has started to work in Jesons. The reigns in her hand appear to be not far away. Raveena is still studying for graduation at Jaihind College, Mumbai.
In three years Dhiresh plans to completely professionalise the company, step down as CEO and hand over charge to a professional CEO. He will perhaps have more time for himself and his hobbies that include reading, walking and playing tennis. He is not sure what he will do after handing over charge of Jesons. He will still be working and that is sure.  “It could be a foray into entertainment, another venture or a completely different enterprise.” However still the mantra will remain, “Think big and innovate”.
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 1st July, 2012.
When Shakespeare said, “Frailty, thy name is woman” he probably did not realize the strength that women generate when in a seat of power, cannot be matched by men. The level of mental endurance women have has made many a strong men in an otherwise male dominated society, lean on their feminine and delicate shoulders in hours of distress. Women have risen from being mere homemakers to world leaders. Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi lead their countries and made the world realize that women can lead from the front with an iron hand. Over the ages women around the world have been given lesser opportunities to literacy and technical education as compared to men. It is a fact that countries that have invested in educating their women and have promoted their empowerment have seen their economies and rate of development grow faster. Across the world more and more women are now acquiring expertise and capabilities similar to their men folk. They strive hard to excel in their selected areas of work. We are seeing that change happening in India as well. A society that insisted on restricting their women to household chores is gradually transforming. With government spending heavily in bringing public awareness on the need to also educate the girl child and empower women, the results are evident. Walk into any big company’s office and you see a lot of young and bright women carrying on their work with confidence and crisp efficiency. Women are now more educated and capable of involving themselves in more and more arenas that were earlier the mainstay of men only. Whether it is police or army, flying aircrafts or travelling into space, heading businesses or governments, they are not restricting themselves. Our Indian label industry did not have active business women managers till not very long ago. All that is changing now, Indian women are acquiring technical and management skills to lead high levels of investments in the label industry that is in a growth path. It is thus that I felt it is time to recognize the contribution of these women.
 
Honey Vazirani
In 1989 my friend Sushil Bhatia, who used to work for Avery Dennison before he started his own business, introduced me to a young and vibrant Honey Vazirani, working at Paper Products Limited, Thane. That was almost the beginning of this wonderful girls’ journey into the world of labels. From being a management trainee in1989, she rose to be the head of the labeling division of this 700 Crore company which is heavily into flexible packaging. It is truly a decorative and colorful travel. Ever since then Honey has been at the forefront of PPL’s foray into production of labels which began in 1991. Her job involved client servicing, marketing, product development and leading the labels team at PPL. She has handled key customers who are a virtual who is who of the fmcg sector. Servicing demanding customers like HUL and Dabur and bringing to them the most premium and modern labeling technologies has been a passion for her. In words of Torsten Jung Lenz, who in those days worked for Jacstadt Germany, “Honey is married to labels!” Her ambition is to excel in everything she does. Having spent 21 years in the industry she took a sabbatical in 2009. She spent a whole year consolidating herself by travelling, reading, spending time with friends and relatives and enjoying good food. Yes, she is a self confessed foodie! In 2010 she returned to PPL, which has four plants and 1500 employees, to head the company’s HR department. While she is contented and enjoying her new role in HR, yet you can see the twinkle in her eyes when you ask about her future in the labels industry. Her advice to others in the label printing and packaging industry is that it is a pity that for most in the industry, “Good enough is enough” She motivates people in her company by her mantra, “ Good enough is not enough”.
In the late eighties, I had the chance to meet a very talented screen printer Kartar Singh Dunglay of Goodwork Co. which had started to print in 1955. He is one of the elders in our industry from an era and class of people who were in love with their work as the youngsters are today with their girlfriends. They would think work and dream work. It was during that time I met his dynamic wife Kusum Dunglay. Kusum is an MBA from London University and lead Goodwork's entry into label printing. She first bought a Mark Andy press and followed it up with a fully loaded Gallus for specialized and decorative labels. She now heads sister concern Reydunn Label Printing Pvt. Ltd. With a work force of 80, she is handling clients like ITC, L’Oreal and other leading FMCG groups in India. Given the experience and innovative heritage that her husband mentored, she was one of the earliest ones to invest in a combination press. Kusum Dunglay is quite excited at the prospects of tapping the growth emanating out of the Indian indulgences in retail marketing. In 2002 at one of the roadshows at New Delhi for promoting the India Label Show, in my presentation, I talked about the two women who were heading successful label printing companies at that time. Both are like sisters to me. One is of course is Kusum Dunglay, while the other is Amila Singhvi. Amila Singhvi heads the large IPP at Noida. Since her print packaging business is growing multifold at a fast pace, she has decided to gradually exit from the label business and concentrate in the packaging business.
 
Soft spoken gentleman of the label industry Bharat Mehta is both, the history and present of the Indian label industry. He is one of the first label printers in India. I could sit with him and chat for hours about our time spent in this industry which has evolved like a family for him and me. Bharat Mehta’s Super Labels is one of the leading and respected label printing companies in Mumbai. His two sons have joined business in recent times after completing their management studies. Silently but emphatically, providing vital inputs and support is Bharat Mehta’s wife Meena Mehta, a B.Sc in Chemistry. For over 20 years she has been driving the organization through motivation, enthusiasm and participating in all decision making.
Renuka Raj, an MBA from IIFT Delhi, spent the first three years of her career in a paints company. Later she moved on to promote and run a pharmaceuticals business. A friend proposed for them to join in starting a label printing business, Renuka found it interesting as it was a backward integration for her pharmaceuticals business. That was the beginning for her labels venture Ra Labels at Hyderabad. She has been heading that business for the last 10 years. According to Renuka it was the first flexographic label printing company in Andhra Pradesh. Renuka has ambition to increase investment and grow in this industry to become leaders in Andhra Pradesh.
Divya Keshav
 Delhi based Shaikher Kaishiv of Krishna Halftone Pvt. Ltd. Is also one of the earliest entrants into the label industry in the decade of 1980’s. In recent times he has handed over the reigns of this company to his daughter Divya Keshav, the present Managing Director. Divya works hard in this male dominated industry to carry forward the good work done by her father. She is post graduate in marketing and an alumnus of the India School of business, Hyderabad. She is recipient of “Rising Talent 2010” award given to 25 women entrepreneurs below the age of 40 across the globe by the “Women Forum for Economy & Society” France. Her company operates from two locations in New Delhi and Noida with multiple label presses.  There are other women entrepreneurs who I am aware of but have not responded to my emails requesting information to cover them in this article. Shweta Sheth, an alumnus of Amherst, Massachusetts USA, is actively involved in the working of Primark labels as a director. Primark is a part of the General Metallisers Group.  Anjali Deshpande, wife of LMAI General Secretary, Ramesh Deshpande has been the driving force behind the success of Renu Prints, Aurangabad. She has been honored for her work by the ministry of MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises). Then there is the enterprising Ramesh at S K Labels in Chennai, who has also put his daughter in command.
 
 
 
Priyata Raghavan
After completing her post graduation course from IIM Lucknow, Priyata Raghavan joined the FMCG division of ITC Limited, before moving over to Sai Security Printers, a company owned by her father, Vijay Raghavan. Sai had invested in an imported press for producing scratch lotteries but a sudden ban on lotteries made them to sit up and rethink. The growing label segment presented the opportunity and they decided to enter this field. At that point of time Priyata took over the complete operations of the company in North India. The company has another unit in Bangalore. Priyata has lead the company’s label printing operations to profitability and an emphatic presence in the high quality label segment. Sai security printers surprised all at the last Labelexpo in New Delhi by announcing purchase of two Gallus Label Presses, one for their unit at Faridabad and the second one for Bangalore. Priyata sees tremendous scope in the growing label industry. She says, “There is a lot of scope for well managed vendors of high-end labels and packagings”. She is leading Sai Security Printers to be a leader, by offering well defined levels of services and technical competence.
 
 

 

 

Sandhya Shetty and Santosh Shetty
At the end of an industry meeting called by Roger Pellow, Managing Director of the UK based Labelexpo group in early 2008, to promote the next India Label Show, as I came down to the lobby of Hotel Grand Hyatt in Mumbai, I saw Manish Kapoor of Nilpeter in a serious discussion with a young man whom I did not recognize. Manish introduced him as Santosh Shetty Managing Director of Surface Graphics, a company founded by his father H G Shetty and involved in manufacture of cartons. Santosh was considering purchase of a Nilpeter press to expand into the label production. The venture was to be headed by his sister Sandhya Shetty. Sandhya is a graduate in Chemistry and Masters in management Studies (Marketing). On completing studies she had spent 8 years in the field of business research and analysis. She worked on projects involving Government contracts, Defence sector in the US and in the hospitality sector in India. When her brother Santosh brought the idea of producing labels to Sandhya, her feminine instincts went to work. The yearning to create products that would be decorative, add to aesthetics, have scope of innovation in design came to the fore. She called it a day for her research and analysis job and decided to be a “labels girl” from day one. Labelexpo 2008 was held in very traumatic times. Mumbai had suffered a dastardly terror attack and the global economies were in crisis mode and nose-diving. Sandhya’s new Nilpeter was being showcased at the show in New Delhi’s Exhibition Center Pragati Maidan. A confident brother sister team of Santosh and Sandhya were at the Nilpeter stand all the time meeting fellow printers, prospective suppliers, and other colleagues in the label industry. The industry found an instant friend in the ever smiling Sandhya. Despite the difficult economic scenario, she was determined to do justice to the MD’s chair that she was occupying in her company, Synergy Packaging Pvt. Ltd. and lead the company to its vision of success. In just two years of starting, Sandhya and her team produced their first award winning label. She aspires to take her company to global standards and global presence.

 

 

It was extremely difficult for me to write on so many women in one go. When I decided to do this article, I assumed that it would be a relatively simple job for me, given the knowledge and experience in the industry. Once I started to gather more and more information on these women and their capabilities, I was confused. I was wondering how short sighted Shakespeare may have been while calling women as frail. Well, that was his personal opinion and may have been true at that point of time. These are intelligent women with amazing capabilities and their craving to excel is unique. They are all educated and technically capable to talk the language their customers and their team will understand. Silently and efficiently they have worked their way to a position of strength. I wonder if I have done justice to their work. I could have written a separate article on each one of them and their achievements. These women are homemakers, mothers, sisters, and friends besides being the successful business persons they are. The more I tried to discover the more there was to learn. Maybe another time I will try to write on them separately but at this time it was necessary for me to write on them collectively, because it is my tribute to these women in the label industry, “The women who endeavored!”
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 6th March, 2011.

The following article was written in 2006, The second part written in July 2019 is published in a series of four parts. the first part 2A is available at http://bit.ly/2xOxY1P

Years ago in 1981, I came across a book on the house of Tata’s. The book written by Russi Lala was named, “Creation Of Wealth” and it chronicled the events that led to Tata’s becoming the biggest Industrial group in India at that time.

After reading the book I was overwhelmed and wished that some day I will write something like this. Maybe track the roots of my own large extended family. Somehow I never got down to seriously working on this. I guess the opportunity came around again when I was invited by Roger Pellow of Tarsus to make two presentations at the first India Label Summit in 2006. I decided that in the first presentation where we take an overview of the India Label Market, I will chronicle the events that led to the establishment of the narrow web label printing industry in India. I am sure that this topic is of prime interest to all the label printers in India. Though it is extremely difficult to put all those interesting historical happenings, bottlenecks or interesting landmarks into this presentation yet I have tried to put together in whatever best way I could. I feel less then writing a book, there cannot be proper justice done to the subject. Maybe one day if I can find time, I will attempt it. Meanwhile getting data on this has been a very interesting job and I thank my senior colleagues in the Industry, without whose inputs and help, I could not have put together this presentation.

The very beginning

The credit of bringing self adhesive labels, in their present form, to India goes to a US multi national, Johnson and Johnson. It was in the turbulent post independence time in 1947 that Johnson & Johnson came to India.

In 1957 they established Johnson & Johnson India Ltd. A couple of years later they started the permacell division to make self adhesive tapes. It was around 1965 that they entered into the manufacture of self adhesive labels. They installed a rotary label press. They sold only converted labels and did not offer any labelstock to others in the market. So there was no real scope at that time for others to setup label presses or any other sticker manufacturing facility.

The Decade of sixties.

The first self adhesive label produced by an Indian printer also started around the same time in 1965, almost thirty years after Stanton Avery produced the first self adhesive label in Los Angeles, California.

Manohar Lal Bhatia, a screen printer, producing water transfers in his company, Sharat Industries, did pioneering work and produced what was the first self adhesive sticker in India. Using a PVC face stock with pressure sensitive adhesive supplied by Calico and a Polyethylene sheet as a release liner they manufactured their stickers. The reason they did not use paper as face material is that silicon release liners were not available and Polyethylene provided for a very tight release due to which the paper would tear off. Manohar Das Bhatia was later joined by his two sons Shyam and Rattan. They worked hard to make self adhesive stickers under their brand “Sharastick” popular in those days. While Manohar Bhatia is no more, my efforts to trace his son Shyam who probably still produces labels have been futile. I tried to reconfirm if Manohar Bhatia really was the first and got the reply from Badal Hasija, a screen printer with over 45 years of experience. “101 %, he was the first” says Badal and added “I even remember the first label he made was for Gabriel shock absorbers and it left me wondering for days, what Manohar Bhatia had produced”.

Jagdish Zaveri of Preeti Arts has also been one of the earliest of screen printers who produced self adhesive stickers and started around the same time. Other prominent screen printers who did pioneering work in stickers include, Hamid Vasi of Triace, Dinesh Gogari of Diamond Stickers, Vasu Rawal of Prachi Graphics and the list goes on. Their contributions however were more in the early seventies.

As the decade of sixties was coming to an end, a young Suresh Doshi from a family of textile merchants, who had drifted into distribution of PVC and decorative laminates, decided to try his hands at manufacturing of self adhesive Wall Papers. In 1969 he traveled to Germany to visit various machinery producing companies and he finally settled to buy a Kroenert coater for his new venture.

This machine had the capabilities to siliconise and produce self adhesive labelstocks. Little did Suresh Doshi realize that this plant would be the mother equipment for the Indian narrow web label industry.

The Decade of Seventies.

In 1971 the Kroenert coater/ laminator landed in Mumbai. The company Shanti Lal Doshi & Co, the maiden manufacturing venture of the Doshi family was in place to take off. This was a landmark year and I see it as a step that would lead to the birth of the self adhesive label in roll form, made by Indians. In a couple of year’s time the Doshi’s were ready to try producing labelsocks. Metroark Ltd. , which is now Wacker Metroark, was already there to provide the silicone release coatings for making release papers. Solvent based adhesive was provided by BASF and it was time to produce the first labelstock made in India by Indians.

In 1972-73 the commercial production of Labelstock had started.Around the same time that Suresh Doshi left for Germany in 1969, another young man, Jeetubhai Shah, visited the offices of Standard type foundry in Himalaya house in South Mumbai. He was surprised to see a die cut paper label that did not need to be remoistened to make it tacky. It would stick to glass with slight pressure. It was sticky to touch and would remain so even after having touched and peeled off from the hand many times. He kept playing with it for a while. Sticking the label to his hand and removing it. He was so fascinated with the label  that he started to make further enquiries. He also got from Standard Type foundry, a catalogue of Iwasaki machine that would make these die cut labels. A few trips later he came to know that Suresh Doshi was about to produce material for this machine. Jeetubhai decided do buy this machine. He joined hands with his income tax consultant and friend P P Bhagat to form a Company called International Trading Company at Kalyandas Industrial Estate in Worli. They applied for grant of an import license, and in those days of difficult foreign exchange regime, getting an import license was a nightmare. With a lot of effort they did manage the license and imported the machine. 
Jeetubhai fondly remembers that Japan had floated their currency that year and due to this, his machine became cheaper by at least 15%.. The timing of installing the machine was perfect. By the time it was installed, Shantilal Doshi & Co. was ready with labelstocks. There were numerous hurdles that these pioneers faced when they endeavoured on these path breaking efforts, like a whole night he spent at a workshop in the middle of Mumbai’s red light area to get his first Flat bed Die made. With deep sense of nostalgia he remembers the full page advertisement they gave in news papers, “First time in India Self Adhesive Labels, die-cut in any shape.” This was their USP over Johnson and Johnson, who were using expensive rotary dies whereas International Trading Co. had perfected their indigenous flat bed die making process. This advertisement brought in the first big label customer for them, which was Siemens.  International Trading company and later along with their sister co. Global graphics were the first roll form customers for Shantilal Doshi and Co., while Sharat Industries was their first sheet form customers. International Trading Co. still exists and is run by Kishore Parekh. The original partners had left the company. Jeetubhai later started a label company called Finearts.

I had asked Suresh Doshi to cite any interesting incident of those days and spontaneously he cited one. Sharat  Industries had made full die-cut labels for J K Helene Curtis from their stock and supplied. The users came up with a strange complaint.

The stickers were sticking well during the day but would fall off during the production at night. Not being able to find an answer to this one Mr. Doshi suggested that they use the labels during the day only. The production people at J K Helen Curtis did not agree as they had to run the night shift also. So Suresh Doshi was compelled to visit them during the night. He was shocked to see that the workers were not removing the release paper and thinking these to be remoistenable labels were using only water to stick the labels to the bottles. No wonder the labels were falling off !

The label industry was extended to other parts of India by the shear sincere efforts of the Doshi’s. By 1976, they had already suggested, encouraged and convinced close relatives Bharat Mehta and his brother to setup a label press.

Bharat Mehta bought his first Siki Label press from Ahmedabad where it was being used to produce unsupported wet glue labels. Shifting over from a business in agricultural pumps at the age of 26, Bharat Mehta, settled down perfectly in to his label printing business. He and his company Super Labels is one of the most respected label printers. From a single siki he went on to add  a fully loaded Gallus, an EM 280 8 colours, EM 280 6 colours, and an Acquaflex. In the earlier part of  the decade of 2000-2010 he lost heavily in a major fire but firm resolve brought him right back in what he liked best,  “Producing self adhesive labels”. Other early entrants into the industry in the west  during the seventies were, Vidya Mehta of Pressure Tags, The Kapoors of R K Papers, etc.

By end of the decade, the Doshi’s went southwards and encourage yet another relative, Dilip Sutaria to become a label printer. He setup Better Labels to lead the march of self adhesive labels in the south. In North, the Doshi’s appointed an ex-partner of  Dilip Sutaria, Mr. P D Khanna and his son Vinod Khanna as their agents in New Delhi. Around the same time in late seventies, Vinayak Sood of Liddles had installed a Norprint from UK and went on to add the first Mark Andy in 1983. The year 1979 saw Narula of Rikki Sales start his label printing operations.

In East the Doshi’s found their first customer in the former national  tennis champion and a celebrated player, Premjit Lal. The Doshi’s had completed their reach all over the country and by end of the decade self adhesive label industry was an established fact. According to Suresh Doshi, the biggest boost to the self adhesive label industry was in the year 1975. Starting with the controversial Rae Bareily election of Indira Gandhi, when congress introduced their self adhesive bindis, to the imposition of the law to make minimum retail price marking on consumer packages, compulsory, these decision brought a surge in demand for self adhesive labels . By 1975 another young Gujarati entrepreneur Pravin Patel had setup a polytype coater in Ahmedabad to produce silicone papers and labelstocks. 1978 saw Hari Gupta start his H P Lablette in Delhi with his Japanese coater, and towards the end of the decade PCI in Kolkata, IPW, Veekay papers and Geva in Mumbai and Weldon in Delhi had either started or were about to begin commercial siliconizing operations.

The decade of Eighties

With the start of a new decade more developments came into the self adhesive label industry. Shantilal Doshi had started operations with solvent based adhesive but environment friendly Acrylic emulsion adhesive were now in use for labelstock production. In 1982 Kilaru Prasad of Prasad Accumeter had brought in hotmelt coater from Accumeter in the US where he worked as a Sales Director. Ananth Rao of Stayon paper followed suit with another accumeter coater and Interlabels now perhaps the largest Indian printer also installed their accumeter hot melt coater to support their entry into the label printing industry around that time.

The decade of 80’s saw label printing companies being set up at various places in India. The eastern sector growth was extremely slow due to the lack of industrial infrastructure there. According to Bharat Mehta, the biggest boost to the industry this decade came in 1987 when many pharma companies started their shift rom wet glue labels to automatically dispensed self adhesive labels. This step helped establish a constant growth mode for this industry.

The Decade of NinetiesThe decade of nineties was perhaps the most eventful one. For me personally it was a memorable  one as during this time we took the landmark decision to switch over from being a mere commercial siliconizer to a prominent labelstock manufacturer. However for the industry, the biggest event I rate as the entry of the multinational Co, whom I refer to as our big brothers in the industry. Avery Dennison had setup production facilities in India. I have always felt their entry has changed the way people look at this industry. From being a mere sticker maker, the narrow web label printer became a specialty label producer. In the same decade we saw printers grow in stature and capabilities. Seljagat, Wintek, S K Labels in south. Interlabels, Webtech, R K Papers, Mudrika, Icon, Tayabi, etc in the west. Update, Syndicate, Jain transfer, Great Eastern, Prakash Labels, etc in the North. The three brothers at Prakash Labels worked hard in the price marking labels  segment to drive in volumes that were unheard of in the industry. Syndicate Printers went Global with operations in The UAE.The new millennium, the first decade of a new centuryAs we crossed the middle of this decade and the world’s eyes were on us. The label summit in early 2006 was a proof. The big time presses started coming in all over the country. You name them they were here, Gallus, Nilpeter, Iwasaki, Gidue, Mark Andy, Rotatek, Focus, Orthotec, the list is endless. The local press manufacturers have also reasons to be proud of. Multiflex, Jandu, RK Machine, webtech and a host of others  are reporting installations constantly. The two dyanamic ladies in our industry also emerged as highly successful narrow web label printers in this decade. Amila Singhvi at IPP and Kusum Dunglay at Goodwork. Goodwork took a legendary step by signing up a joint venture with Reynders. Unfortunately they parted ways the following year in 2008. Reyenders continued their operations as an individual entity. Our Industry Leaders Interlabels setup a unit in Africa on one hand and adding more state of art presses at a new and bigger facility. Webtech also expanding with new machines moved to bigger premises. In the earlier part of this decade, over thirty years after making a historical start the Kroenert coater of Shanti Lal Doshi and Company was sold to Gloss Holdings.A proud event for us at Weldon was being the first Indian Labelstock manufacturer ever to have exhibited at Labelexpo Brussels. We are happy to report our exports to Iran, UAE, Ukraine, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Bahrain, UK, France, Italy, Germany, New Caledonia, New Zealand, etc. Another feather in our cap was that my presentation on the Indian market, became a part of the International Cham Symposium at St. Moritz, Switzerland in the year 2003.The India Label show in 2002 opened to a resounding success and repeating the success in 2004 in cooperation with Tarsus at New Delhi. It was also in 2002 that we saw another historic step, the formation of LMAI. This happened due to sincere efforts of Amit Sheth and Industry stalwarts like Surinder Kapoor of R K Papers, Bhavin Kothari of Interlabels,  Rajesh Chadha of Update Prints, Kuldeep Goel of Any Graphics, Vivek Kapoor of Creative Prints( At that time he was with Icon Prints), etc.Halfway through the decade we were expecting many more exciting things to happen. More International Companies were waiting to enter, looking for oppurtune time or the right partners. The Industry was on a definite growth path and it was just a matter of time when it became a major market in labels in this part of the world. The years afterThe preceding part of this article I wrote in early 2006 and  towards the end of the year I looked back and saw changes coming in  rapidly. I would start by adding here that immediately after having made the above presentation at the label summit organised by Tarsus, the owners of Labelexpo,  I had a pleasant surprise. Shyam Bhatia, the son of the first label printer was standing in front of me at our stand during the summit. I had tried to trace him without success. I was excited, I gave him a chair, since he had missed the presentation, I gave it to him and asked him to read it and tell me if there was any thing wrong in what I wrote. As he finished reading his eyes were moist and shining, he just kept saying, “it is so true…it is so true” and then he was gone…
Rapid developments and changes are happening in the Indian market. More international companies have become extremely active. The Indians are also investing across the country. At least dozens of Chinese hot melt coater laminators have been installed. Label stock manufacturing is going wider, there are a few 1.5 meters coater laminators that have been installed or are in the process of being installed. A whole new set of Offset printers are investing in high-end label presses, indicating a firm shift from wet glue to self adhesive labels. Narrow web label printers are coming up in smaller cities and towns rather then being restricted only to metros. Installations have been reported at Nagpur, Pune, Indore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Baddi, Uttranchal etc.
A host of international label Co.s like CCL, Brady’s, etc are already in the process of setting up shop in India. The successful Finat and LMAI sponsored, Euro-India label exchange, held on the sidelines of India Label Show 2006, indicated to setting up of a whole new set of joint ventures in the field of narrow web labels. It surely was interesting to see more and more of European companies registering on the show website. If registrations on the India Label Show website were any indication then surely India is the happening destination for the narrow web label industry. As per my information visitors from over 35 countries had registered. The 2006 India label show happened and it was a great success. So much so that by September 2007 it was taken over by Tarsus. The announcement of India Label show having become a part of the global labelexpo group came at the Labelexpo 2007 at Brussels. The two years following the 2006 show have seen unprecedented growth. The flock of marketing agents of most of the international press manufacturers, had shifted gears and were in an aggressive selling mode. The credit of expanding this market goes to the likes of Gaurav Roy selling all those Mark Andy’s, Ranesh Bajaj selling Rotateks, Lintec, Omega, etc. Amit Sheth selling Focus and Orthotec, Heidelberg selling Gallus machine, Vijay Pareekh offering MPS, Autoprint offering Omet, Riefenhauser selling Gidue and the list could go on. The biggest surprise came from the industry leader worldwide, Nilpeter. In 7 preceeding years they sold just one press and in the last two years they not only sold four new presses but also announced setting up of facility to produce Nilpeter presses in Chennai, India. The credit goes to the forward thinking of Dilip Shah and hard working of Manish Kapoor. The Indian press manufacturers also have made their mark, with R K Machines of Ahmedabad reporting 150 installations and Jandu reporting 26 installations in 2-3 years. There are a whole lot others but the list would become too exhaustive.Two very important happenings that took place in these two years after 2006 were first, the entry of Raflatac with setting up of their slitting facility near Mumbai and second, the expansion of Avery Dennison, with them setting up another coating laminating facilty near Pune. The competition in the labelstock segment became extremely intense. Many local stock producers suffered due to to erosion of margins and unviable credit terms. With raw material prices climbing and wafer thin profits, the time for shakeout and restructuring had arrived. Many have started looking out towards global markets or venturing into new and profitable products with synergy. During these two last years a multitude of presses have arrived in India. The likes of young Chandan Khanna, who diversified from being a sheetfed offset printer to a narrow web label printer has surprised many. In just a few years from his first one waterless offset Iwasaki press, it became three presses and then at the Labelexpo 2006 he surprised all by announcing that he had bought a Nilpeter and an MPS in one go. Prakash labels also reported unprecedented growth with their multi location manufacturing and stock facility in the UAE. Interlabels, the market leader continued to grow not only in India but also in their international operations. In south Gururaj of Wintek in Bangalore and Raveendran of Seljegat in Sivakasi were on a roll reporting fresh investments in the label business.  As the inflationary pressure came to hit USA and found its way also to India, label printers who have made huge capital investments in state of art Label presses started to feel the pinch of competition coming from not only international printers but also from their local counterparts, with their relatively cheaper investments in Chinese Label presses.
This period also becomes significant because of recognition of Indians in the label industry on a global scale. It was a matter of pride for me for having been chosen as the only Asian to be a member of the Finat committees. At the Finat congress 2008 in Paris, it was heartening to see many Indian faces and creditable that Bharat Mehta of Superlabels of Mumbai and Kamlesh Shah of Letragrafix were recipients of Finat awards for excellence in printing. With LMAI now becoming more active and interactive they are once again parternering Finat for yet another Indo European label exchange hopefully along with the next India Label Show 2008. LMAI is also in the advance stages of conducting a fare and competitive label awards competition, professionally. It is heartwarming that printers from surrounding countries have become or have expressed the desire to be a part of LMAI. As a young India continues to grow at a fast pace, more and more young Indians earn more and spend more, giving a big fillip to the retail industry. As the retail grows, so does the requirement of labels. There may be bad patch or a small pause but for a long time this industry has still to grow, set many landmarks and create history.

The second part written in July 2019 is published in a series of four parts. the first part 2A is available at http://bit.ly/2xOxY1P
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi, leading manufacturers and exporters of self Adhesive Labelstocks. (first written in November-2006 and last updated in September 2008)  http://www.weldoncelloplast.com/