Drishti plans new flexo packaging unit

Bhopal commercial printer looks at packaging

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Ashok Gupta, managing director of Drishti Offset
Ashok Gupta, managing director of Drishti Offset

Drishti Offset was established in 1993 by Ashok Gupta, a print technology graduate who was initially trained at Thomson Press in Faridabad. He worked for Saraswati Offset in Delhi before coming back to Bhopal to start his print business Drishti with a single-color offset press.

After a few years Gupta bought a Solna 4-color sheetfed offset press. Currently, Drishti has three Heidelberg 4-color refurbished presses. These include a Heidelberg Speedmaster and two Heidelberg MOVs; one of the MOVs has a coater. The company is planning its migration to flexible packaging and labels. A new flexo plant is on the drawing board.

Heidelberg Speedmaster installed at Drishti Offset in Bhopal
Heidelberg Speedmaster installed at Drishti Offset in Bhopal

Drishti looks to set up a new flexo unit

Keen to enter packaging, the company is ambitious. “We have always focussed on investing in good quality, high performance machines, the reason why we have been able to stand out in the market. It is pretty evident that commercial printing is no longer a profitable segment. Hence, we have decided to diversify. We aim to become the single-largest packaging supplier in Central India and are also looking for equipment suppliers who can help us with our plan and provide the required equipment for setting up a new plant,” says Gupta, adding that the company will target the FMCG segment.

Though Gupta is keen to supply both types of packaging materials, his company is currently evaluating the market for all these segments to decide on which one of the three segments can be developed as its mainstay. “Every business has to begin with a proper plan. The planning phase is extremely important. We don’t want to rush through this phase and at the same time are looking for suppliers who can guide us through this period and help us understand the needs for a dedicated flexo setup better,” says Gupta.

There aren’t any supporting units in and around Bhopal to supply the raw materials and hence we have to plan accordingly. We plan to buy machines for film and laminate production as well. Also, observing the trend, we’re keen on investing in CI flexo presses. We are not planning packaging as just another revenue stream and want to enter the business in a serious way, not simply as an additional revenue stream. Our company is able to generate enough revenue from its printing and real estate verticals. Thus, packaging is going to be an important venture for us,” Gupta explains.

Heidelberg MOV installed at Drishti Offset in Bhopal
Heidelberg MOV installed at Drishti Offset in Bhopal

Drishti’s textbook production business

Drishti produces and supplies textbooks for the MP government’s curriculum. It receives the textbook orders through government tenders. For its textbook production, it uses four web offset presses with 4-Hi towers and one double color web offset at its Govindpura unit in Bhopal. These include presses from TPH, NBG and Radiant Machineries.

We produce and supply textbooks for classes 1 to 12. After printing and binding, we send these to the government depots. We print these textbooks in lakhs consuming 1,500 tons of book printing paper during the peak season, which is from October to April. In Madhya Pradesh textbook printing is still better compared to other commercial print work. The demand is seasonal but we do not face any difficulty in that segment,” says Gupta.

Falling commercial print demand

Drishti supplies print to telecom companies in the country such as Vodafone, Airtel and Reliance. “Though our commercial print segment has been profitable, the print volume has come down. In about 1.5 or 2 years from now, we are planning to set up a packaging unit that has the potential to produce the best quality pouches and labels. In fact, when I last visited drupa in 2016, I was in talks with Insight to purchase a brand new Komori press but we backed out later as we felt there wasn’t much demand in commercial print,” Gupta shares. In 2018, the company witnessed a growth of 20%. In addition to the packaging diversification at scale, the company is determined to continue to improve its commercial printing business.