Desai: Our strategy for next five years is to focus on export of specialty labels

In a recent feature in PrintWeek India, we called Mudrika Labels a jewel in India’s label crown, and the company deserves the moniker as the Special Jury Award proves it. Manish Desai reveals what makes Mudrika a player to watch out for.

12 Jun 2017 | By PrintWeek India

Q: Mudrika Labels under the tutelage of you and your brothers showcases how a small family-founded business can be taken to the next level…
Manish Desai (MD): Sandip, Vipul and I, began our labels business way back in 1976 with a screen printing facility.Besides Mudrika Labels, which we established in 1996 in Mumbai, we own and operate an offset-based corrugation unit in Daman and Bhillad; a packaging plant in Vasai; a label-stock material plant; and a joint venture with a South Korean partner for manufacturing heat transfer films, decals, and in-mould labels. In 2015, we started the process of consolidating our scattered units of narrow-web and gravure printing under one roof. With the newly inaugurated plant, it has brought all our label businesses under one roof.

Q: What is the installed capacity of the new plant?
MD: Mudrika’s plant in Vasai, has an installed capacity of 50,000 sq/mts per day, a combined space of over one-lakh sq/ft and an employee strength of over 350.

Q: It’s one thing to expand, and another to make success in the face of rising competition. How does Mudrika manage that?
MD: There are two kinds of competition we are facing today. One is the price war; the second comes from multi-location plants. We manage price by buying bulk of raw materials where we get good discounts on every material we buy and also utilising the label stock we manufacture.

Q: You won the PrintWeek India Special Jury Award in the Label Printer of the Year 2016 category. What keeps you ahead of your competitors?
MD: We believe that through investment in infrastructure and machinery, Mudrika brings advanced printing technology to the playing field by which it can offer an on-time delivery and services that our customers require. And by taking the route of honing our services through differentiation, we have put ourself in a position of gaining compelling yield. For example, take the development of Fresnel lens label on pre-registered holographic film; it has been a prestigious project for us and achieved success after almost a year of tests.

Q: You recently invested in Vinsak’s slitter and rewinder and an EyeC inspection machine…
MD: Yes, the machines were booked during the Labelexpo 2016 and were aimed at boosting production and ensuring that the labels that get printed are of the highest quality standard. The machines offer high speed and better accuracy. It enables 100% quality check and helps us to upgrade ourselves and provide quality labels to our customer.

Q: How has the performance been?
MD: The machine’s performance has been good, though there were initial hiccups. The EyeC inspection system has proven to be an advance detection system and we are happy with its overall performance.

Q: Do you intend to invest or expand in the near future?
MD: Yes. This year we are planning to invest on three fronts. We have already booked an eleven-colour gravure machine and a metalising plant. In addition, this year we are planning to invest in narrow-web flexo with necessary finishing equipment. And finally, we plan to invest in finishing equipment for our offset printing division. Our strategy over the next five years will be to focus more on exports with specialty labels and to take Mudrika Labels to the next level and be a corporate firm.

Q: What are the trends you observe in labels for FMCG/pharma?
MD: One clear trend that we have observed is that the FMCG is shifting from cut labels and shrink sleeves to the self-adhesive and in-mould labels.

Q: When do you expect an overall revival in the economy and what would drive growth?
MD: The initial two months post demonetisation were difficult, however, there has been a growth since January. The economy seems to be on a path of growth and we are optimistic about it under the current government. Also, we have high hopes with GST as we do not have multiple locations.

Q: One thing our industry can do to cater to the new opportunities and the new market sectors?
MD: One should focus on strengthening infrastructure with machines from time to time. Experimentations and innovations play a key role too. Innovative jobs help our customers grow and with them we grow too.

Q: What’s keeping you busy at Mudrika Labels these days?
MD: Various foreign companies are importing special kind of labels. We at Mudrika Labels are constantly focusing on developing these products in India, in order to provide cost benefits to our customers and eventually exporting them too.

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