Pune-based Ugar Labels, a division of commercial print firm Vikram Printers, has achieved spectacular growth in its business since its inception in mid-2020. Ugar Labels prints self-adhesive labels and shrink sleeves mainly for customers in the food and beverages industry. It produces these for the liquor, cosmetics, healthcare, agrochemicals, and automotive product segments.
“Through Vikram Printers, we have been in the book and commercial print segment for decades, and I am the second generation in the business. The commercial print segment was on a structural decline even before the Covid-19 pandemic. The idea to venture into label printing was to make sure we continue to grow as a business. We decided to get into label printing in 2019 and booked a label press then. The operations were supposed to kick off at Ugar Labels in early 2020. But due to the Covid outbreak and the lockdown delays, we started in the middle of 2020. We have seen robust growth in the past two years with nearly 150 customers. We are extremely satisfied with the way Ugar Labels is growing,” says Abhijit Ugar, director of Ugar Labels.
Ugar Labels operates an 8-color UltraFlex UFO narrow web flexo label press supplied by Noida-based UV Graphics. The press has a width of 450 mm. The company has all the ancillary equipment such as plate mounter, shrink sleeve cutting, gluing and rewinding machine, and die-cutting, foiling, and sheeting machines. Ugar recently installed an inspection system by Deco Systems. The plant itself is in the Parvati Industrial Estate on the Pune-Satara Road.
A great learning curve
Ugar says that running the label printing business has been a great learning curve for someone who comes from a commercial print background. The beginning was tough, but the journey so far has been exciting, he adds.
“The journey of the last two years has been very exciting. There is nothing common between commercial printing and label printing, except for maybe just the word ‘printing.’ You need a different mindset and approach for these two segments. For us, the initial few months were just dedicated to learning as we were making mistakes and learning from them. We stabilized the business in six to eight months. Ugar Labels now processes a variety of work, of which around 10-15% are long-run labels, and the rest are short-run jobs. By short run, I mean less than 10,000 labels. We are producing several shrink sleeve label jobs. The split between labels and shrink sleeves printing is 50:50,” Ugar says.
Eyeing further growth and investment
Ugar Labels is now looking at entering into new areas of label printing. It is also planning to move to a new facility where it will establish a pouch-making division.
“In label printing, we are looking at acquiring customers in the pharmaceutical industry since we now have an inspection system. That would be a completely new area for us. We are excited about that. We have bought a parcel of land where we will build a new facility by 2024. Once the new unit is ready, we will then look at setting up a pouch-making division. We are very bullish about the medium and long-term growth prospects in the label industry and the Indian packaging industry as a whole,” Ugar concludes.