Population continues to grow at an enormous pace in the metropolitan cities of India and infrastructure, despite the rapid growth, remains under intense pressure. The migration of rural population to urban areas has made life in big metros extremely demanding and difficult. Government of India, for many years has been making efforts to stem this shift from rural to urban areas. The effects are now evident. Mobile telecommunications, television, internet, better road, employment guarantee scheme and rail connectivity have largely been successful in bridging the gap and stemming the pace of migration. As a result, the smaller towns have in recent years experienced a spurt in demand for consumer goods.
All the respondents agree that it is time to take stock of the situation, shift focus and innovate. They have similar answers to my querry on their “Mantra for growth”. Mahendra Shah of Manohar Packaging, “Higher volumes have not paid off to any one and I guess we label printers have gone beyond lower limit, so best would be to divert on to innovations and get into more technical products”. Himanshu Kapur of J K Fine Prints Mumbai states, “Higher volumes and lower margins is a wrong growth trend , so we prefer technically innovative products”. Dinesh Mahajan Prakash Labels, Noida; “It has to be a mix of high volume and innovations.”
Ahmedabad based Mahrishi Labels, had forayed into offset printing and they did not find comfort with their decision. As per Jigesh Dani, “Having entered into sheet fed business we have realised that it's not just simply printing but a different ballgame. In my opinion it may be easier for sheet fed offset printers to enter inline converting but difficult other way”. With the advent of combination presses going wider and able to handle a wide array of substrates and thickness, the possibility to produce folding cartons inline also has become a reality. Many label printers feel this is the time to move in the direction.
Raveendran of Seljegat feels it is time for combination printing and says, “Yes we need to invest on the production of functional packaging”. Gururaj Ballarwad of Wintek Bangalore which is a part of Signode India Group feels not many label printers will move into packaging yet he says, “Investment in combination printing is necessary to sustain, maintain & enhance the capabilities.”
Digital printing in India still remains a taboo with Indian label printers due to high cost of operation and consumables. However as a slight change in their thought process the higher end printers say it is time to consider digital printing as a complimentary part in a combination press. So while they invest in a press that has offset, flexo, gravure and screen printing capabilities, they will probably also opt for a digital printing station as well that will add to their capabilities. This will also help them in proofing, as also to cater to increasing number of short run customers.
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