In the last few years there has been a clear trend of commercial printers diversifying into the world of packaging printing. Many have taken the plunge as they were not able to sustain growth in their traditional business while some have made the move to add further meat to their successful commercial printing operations. With robust growth projections being made for the Indian packaging industry, more and more commercial printers are getting attracted to the packaging printing space. A gathering of such commercial printers took place at Bobst India’s Pune plant on 22 April. ‘Packaging for Sustainable Growth’ was the slogan for the Open House, which was attended by about 20 printing companies from around the country with most of them being commercial printers or book printers.
The objective of the Bobst Open House was to invite commercial printers who are looking or aspiring to get into packaging or who have the potential to step into the folding carton business.
A lot of commercial printers are meeting the demands of many buyers or end users for their commercial or brand promotion needs as well as the requirements of packaging buyers. So sometimes as a strategy packaging printing could help them to fulfil the business needs of their end customers. Guests were able to watch different kinds of jobs being executed on a Novacut 106E diecutter and an Expertfold 80 A2 folder-gluer.
Although a commercial printing background comes in handy if one wants to make a switch, a complete change in mindset is needed to succeed in the packaging industry. A greater understanding about the functioning of different branches is necessary. Bobst organized a panel discussion to enable guests gain a better understanding of the industry perspective. The panel made up of Ramesh Kejriwal of Parksons Packaging, Soma Roy of Marico, Yogesh Bhambal of Mondelez, Tarakeshwar Bhattacharya of Nivea India and Yasser Siddiqui of ITC discussed a variety of issues ranging from environment to substrates to technology to operations to design. Kejriwal narrated Parksons Packaging’s journey from a successful commercial to a highly successful packaging player. He told the audience about how the packaging journey started in the early 1990s with a Bobst machine and that association continues till this day.
His advice to the audience was that printing on the packaging side was a totally different ball game where color balance was very important. Another very pertinent point he raised was that of giving due importance to the converting aspect of packaging. “Do not ignore the converting side of packaging operations. Unfortunately, many do tend to focus more on the printing side and hardly pay any attention to converting. My advice would be that you invest in a quantity converting equipment,” Kejriwal said.
Another very important topic he raised was that of inventories. There is not much inventory in commercial printing post the printing process but in packaging that is not the case. In packaging there are a lot of processes involved after printing so there will be inventory post printing and post diecutting. “It requires a lot of space. This needs to be kept in mind,” he said. He concluded by saying that although the Indian packaging space is highly competitive there is still a lot of room for lot many players to operate given that they carve out their niche. “It is a competitive market so focus on one aspect, one niche and be good at it.”
Subhasis Roy and Venugopal Menon of Bobst India also spoke to the audience. Roy talked about various nuances in the process of converting. He also reiterated the fact that change in mindset is needed to make the switch from commercial printing to packaging printing. “Entry cost for the packaging segment factors-in change in mindset. That cost is not just investment in converting equipment like a diecutter or a folder-gluer.” Menon spoke about the current and future trends in packaging, both in India and globally.
Packaging South Asia is the cooperating media partner for drupa 2016 which is scheduled to be held from 31 May to 10 June at Dusseldorf, Germany.