Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Anuj Bhargava, Kumar Labels: Destiny drove him to labels!



While still in school Anuj Bhargava loved good music and the quality of sound stirred up emotions within him such that he wished to make it better. He was in class six of New Delhi’s prominent Delhi Public School, when he developed an amplifier and sold it to a friend. Encouraged by the deal he went on to make almost 50 more such equipment and sold to friends and relatives at that young age. The interest in electronics lead him join YCCE College of engineering and pursue further studies leading to BE (Bachelor of Engineering) in electronics.  Thereafter he went to USA to do MS in electronics. As luck would have it, after the first semester he had a change of heart and switched to study industrial engineering. He worked to support his education while studying in America. On completing his masters in Industrial Engineering, Anuj took up employment in the central engineering department of Corning Glass for display technology. His job required him to coordinate with all Corning plants in various countries like Japan, Taiwan, Korea, etc. In 2002 itself he got posted to their plant in Japan. As luck would have it, before he arrived the company’s packaging development engineer had left job and Anuj was asked to replace him. Anuj whose family was in printing and packaging, had advised him to avoid printing and packaging as a career but that is kismet! Fate had destined him elsewhere he wished one day to be in electronics, another day he wanted to be in the furniture business but had to give up due to the huge investment needed, finally landed up with a job in a global company in their packaging department for large sized glassware.

In 2006 Anuj resigned from his job and returned back home. His father S K Bhargava was
planning to visit Ipex exhibition in Birmingham, Anuj decided to accompany him to visit the premier show in printing and packaging. While in college he was greatly influenced by a professor who was an expert and consultant to aerospace industry on lean management. Lean management was a subject Anuj always felt would be an asset to manufacturing which he would eventually indulge in. Digital printing appealed to him and implementation of lean manufacturing principles in the process seemed to be in synergy. Moreover digital printing appealed to him because of instant creativity and delivering possibilities that it offered. All through at Ipex show he kept studying digital printing but yet again fate had other plans for him. By end of Ipex he realized PSA labels were talk of the time. The growth that it was offering and the possibility of success on indulgence made him decide to seriously contemplate labels as his business. Strange as it is, destiny drove him to labels.

M K Bhargava, Chairman Kumar Printers
Anuj is from the second generation of the Bhargava family who scaled immense success in the printing industry in North. His uncle M K Bhagava who has been a mentor to Anuj, is the eldest of the three brothers, initiated his career in printing as a freelancer. He would seek orders from customers and outsource printing form other printing companies like Delhi Press, Zodiac Printers etc. In 1964 M K Bhargava started his maiden venture Kumar Printers with a leased single colour Dominant press, from a 200-300 square foot factory in Doriwalan in Karol Bagh Delhi. The second brother N C Bhargava and Anuj’s father; the youngest of the siblings, S K Bharagava who was pursuing studies at Allahabad Print College, joined Kumar Printers soon after. In 1970 all three brothers joined in Kumar Printers to take the business forward. M K Bhargava had gained knowledge from having worked with established printers during his stint as a freelance printer and it helped them establish and grow their maiden venture. With deep commitment to human values, quality, integrity and hard work, the family grew their business. Their mantra for themselves as also to their generation next was that each one had to work his way up in life and nothing would come to them served on a platter. They encouraged their second generation to set up their own ventures. M K Bhargava ‘s son Sandeep is an alumni of IIT Chennai, Sanjeev son of N C Bhargava is an MBA and Anuj has been described in the opening paragraph of this article. Sandeep inherited the reigns of Kumar Printers while his father still continues to be with him at work at an age of 83 years, Sanjeev set up his venture Premier Paper Packaging and S K Bhargava‘s only son Anuj set up his maiden venture Kumar labels. Interesting to note that the elder Bhargava brothers continue to be together as directors at Kumar Printers while their second generation, have set up new businesses separately. All three ventures are successful and continue to grow. The family businesses do not compete amongst themselves.

When destiny appeared to have lead him to labels, AnujBhargava on return from the Ipex trip in 2006 decided to evaluate a life in labels. In the process he did a feasibility study, met prospective customers and wrote a business plan. He spoke to many label printers and was surprised that most people suggested that he invest in a Mark Andy rotary flexo press, a very popular brand those days. Anuj was not impulsively indulgent, the as he researched, he came to the conclusion that major end user customers had now started to demand short runs on a regular basis. He saw the gap in that segment and decided to go for an intermittent Letterpress label machine instead of a rotary press that was suited for larger volumes as he saw a demand for short runs growing and smaller run supplies from rotary flexo printers coming hesitantly. Before investing in a press, he ordered a plate making machine. With negatives and plates he left for Korea and Taiwan. Using the same plates he got samples printed on various presses that included Iwasaki, Shiki, Bangsung, STR, Dolphin, Mida and Orthotec to do a decision analysis. While in Corning glass, he had learnt about Kepener Tregoe problem solving and decision making tool. This tool is used by all aerospace companies. Since he had been trained to use this tool he used it to make comparison and evaluation of the printed samples. On completion of analysis, Bangsung won with the highest numbers and the decision was made. The order was finally placed with Bangsung. As luck would have Anuj got a nod from PNB for machine loan based on which he placed order for the machine. However at the very last moment PNB declined and within 15 days Anuj obtained funding from SIDBI (Small Industries Bank of India).

It all started in 2007 with the arrival of his first label press, an intermittent Bangsung at a
The die cutting machine developed by Anuj
1740 square feet rented factory in Okhla Industrial Area, New Delhi. Two years later in 2009, Anuj bought another identical Bangsung press and the shop floor space in Okhla fell short. In 2011 he shifted his factory to an 18000 square feet rented factory in Sector 83 NOIDA, on the outskirts of Delhi. He also added an inspection machine and a screen printing equipment. With space at his disposal and business growing, the outgoing entrepreneur in Anuj became unstoppable. In 2012 he added two Multitecflexo rotary label presses. One was installed in January 2012 and another in June 2012. In the same year Anuj started his own captive machine division to build semi rotary intermittent registered die cutting machine. He showcased this equipment initially at Labelexpo India 2012 and later at Labelexpo Europe in Brussels in 2013 and 2015. Till date he has sold 16 machines and all are working well. He is proud to say repeat orders came from export markets of Poland and Korea. In 2013 Anuj decided to integrate backwards and started to produce silicon release papers and self adhesive labelstocks for his captive consumption. 

The Gallus at Kumar Labels
By this time in 2013 not only was the space in the factory getting crowded but the lease was expiring and the landlord also was not willing to renew. Anuj, took the bold step of buying a plot of land admeasuring 1750 square Meters in Greater Noida. In 2014 he started construction, finished it in a record time of 48 days due to pressure of vacating the previous premises and moved into the new 25000 square foot factory in September 2014. Once operational in their owned new factory, Anuj bought another screen printing machine, a Gallus label press, and many ancillary equipment. For his label sock manufacturing he added equipment to produce label materials with special effects and textures. In the same year he filed two patents. A year on in 2015 Anuj bought the adjacent 1800 square Meters of land for further expansion.

Kumar labels is Anuj Bhargava ‘s sole proprietorship company, reminiscing his earliest days
Anuj Bhargava with Harveer Sahni
when he started printing labels he mentions his first customer that was his big  break, was Bausch & Laumb. They gave him a complicated label with a very tight registration to print. However much they tried they were not getting it right. That night he himself stood on the machine and kept on trying and finally got it right at 3am in the morning. He took the materials in his car and supplied to the customer some 80 Kms away and returned home at 5.30 am. Anuj has active support from his wife Somya, a Bangalore girl he married after his first year in labels. They have two children a daughter aged 6 and a son aged 4. Somya is an engineer with MBA and looks after Finance, procurement and HR and comes to work Mondays to Fridays. Kumar labels, is presently working with 9 label presses, 105 employees and a shop floor 25000 square feet in size. They have additional land next door for expansion. Anuj believes in continuously training employees so that they are not left stranded when some employees quit. He proudly states that he has trained over 300 persons in label conversion but is not comfortable with the fact that in this industry skilled employee retention is a problem. This so, at a time when competition is getting to be intense and reverse auctions making life very uneasy. He plans to shortly start a special technical training program under the aegis of Government of India SkillDevelopment Program.

As for future Anuj wishes to concentrate on art of print and create innovations in labels. He wishes his enterprise to be a front runner in decoration of labels for leading brands where quality and innovation will matter and not just volumes. He wants and is committed to make his business grow 15% per annum not just in top line but in the bottom lines so that with added profitability he can invest more in creativity. Digital printing does catch his interest and the indulgence may happen soon when his plans and ideas for it fall into place. He is also in the process of developing a process to reduce waste in self adhesive labels by almost 50% but for that he says, “I will divulge later when ready”.

Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director,Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi India May 2017

The article was first printed in Printweek India.

No comments:

Post a Comment