Labellers need to take a stand on price war

By 16 Nov 2016

Labelexpo India 2016 opens its doors 17 November, and if you are associated with label printing or if you are planning to venture into the segment, you cannot afford to miss this biennial show. Everything label is here.

Rahul Kumar, associate editor, PrintWeek India

If you look at estimates, the label printing market in India is on the growth path for a while now and the trend is set to continue. According to an estimate, there are around 700 new imported narrow-web flexo printing presses running in India. At the Labelexpo, you will have the opportunity to look at different label printing presses; both established and new players are showcasing their latest innovations.

While flexography continues to be the mainstay in label printing, digital press manufacturers are also entering the market. At the show this year, Konica Minolta will have the India launch of its new label press Bizhub Press C71cf. Xeikon will display 3030 and HP its Indigo WS 6800.

Technology aside, for a converter, investment in a new press is a tricky affair. First, it involves huge investment. Second and most important is the business plan, how the converter is getting his ROI. So, hype about the technology aside, a converter must consider what he wants to achieve with a new press and then go about looking for a machine suitable for his purpose.

Any Graphics, who recently won the PrintWeek India Label Printer of the Year for the fifth time in a row, installed a ten-colour Omet narrow-web flexo press. The company had booked the press during Labelexpo Brussels 2015. Naveen Goel of Any Graphics says that sometimes brand does matter as it helps get business. At the same time, he is also concerned about the ROI of such overseas presses.

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If investment is a concern, there are local players to help. For example, when Noida-based Prakash Labels entered into product labels business, the company needed a big narrow-web flexo press. “We studied the overseas machines, but as we were new to the market, we were not ready to invest heavily and instead opted for Multitec. The investment was half of the imported presses, and hence a window for experimentation,” says Rakesh Mahajan of Prakash Labels.

Anuj Bhargava of Kumar Labels, who has installed a Gallus last year, says the company needed high-speed and advanced machine, and Gallus fitted the bill. “This is the first time when we bought a machine from Europe. We have country-made machines and machines from Taiwan,” he says.

Shalinder Kapoor of Hora Art Centre has bought a HP Indigo, his first digital printing press. He operates with narrow-web flexo printing presses. “We found that there is a market for short-run labels and a digital machine was required to tap the future,” he says.

Zircon Technologies invested in its third Omet and also in a Mark Andy. Sanjeev Sondhi of Zircon believes that a company should have the capacity and capability to deliver quality products before attempting to add more customers. “The new Omet and Mark Andy not only strengthened that belief of ours but the features in the new machines also ensure that we get a faster return on investment,” he says.

S Anand Packaging, a sister concern of Noida-based Jain Transfers, has installed a Mark Andy P5 series press. The venture, headed by Parshav Jain, has four Mark Andy printing presses.

It’s an exciting market, with both competition and opportunities. Many existing players are upgrading themselves by opting for new technologies, equipment and applications. Many are adding flexo to their existing set-up and few are opting for digital to cater to the specific demands of print buyers.

There is, of course, the price war. Dinesh Mahajan of Prakash Labels, explains, “Price war is everywhere and it is natural for every business. When there is demand in a particular market, more and more players enter the segment. More players mean more competition. When installed capacity surpasses demand, price war begins.”

Sanjeev Sondhi of Zircon says the time for high profit margins is over. Now, a label printer should have to learn how to work on lower margins.


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