How to build a packaging company in Rajasthan

Jaipur’s Shuban Prints has grown manifold, thanks to its diversified portfolio. Pharma packaging is just an aspect of it. Bharat Gupta of Shuban Prints tells Rahul Kumar

17 Aug 2020 | By PrintWeek Team

Gupta: “We plan to establish a HDPE bottle plant with a capacity of producing 30-lakh bottles

When you talk about the printpackaging ecosystem in Jaipur, pharma packaging is not the first thing that comes to your mind. However, Shuban Prints, under the leadership of young Bharat Gupta, seems to be changing the landscape.

Growing in packaging Shuban started its packaging business in 2011 with the manufacturing of sweets boxes, rigid boxes, fancy packaging, gift printing, and paper bags. In the last ten years, the company has established three plants in Jaipur.

Shuban came to pharma packaging thanks to its association with Mumbai-based pharma company Lupin, which continues to be its biggest customer. Now, the company wants to establish itself as a complete solution provider for pharma packaging, as it works towards the joint venture and collaboration with local printers.

Gupta says, “We are currently experimenting. We can always sell water bottles to the existing vendors of the local printers. Thus, we are planning to establish a highdensity polyethylene (HDPE) bottle plant with a capacity of 30-lakh bottles.” He said right now very few players can offer the complete portfolio for pharma packaging in the state.

Different companies are offering different solutions mono cartons, mono cartons with literature, labels, HDPE and other materials, but no single company has the complete solutions under one roof.

Gupta says the company will be able to offer complete pharma packaging portfolio soon, but for now, “we are not targeting a big volume. We are simply focussing right now on a particular volume that we can achieve.”

Shuban specialises in producing mono cartons, e-flute cartons, rigid boxes, laminates roll forms, gift wrapping rolls, corporate gifting, and fancy packaging for pharma, FMCG, apparel, footwear, and confectionery segments. The company has a raft of sheetfed offset and rotogravure printing machines (see box - factfile).

“In our first year of operation, we earned Rs four-crore. In the last nine years, we are doing business of Rs 50-crore per annum. Overall, the industry is growing fast,” he says.”

Diversified portfolio
“We have the most diversified portfolio in the state. We have Mother Dairy in the food industry, and we have Lupin, Jublient Drugs & Pharmaceuticals and others in pharma. We also have a strong presence in the shoe industry,” Gupta explains.

At Shuban, Gupta’s father, Ramesh Gupta, looks after administration and finance, Gupta takes care of business and product development and capital equipment investment. At the same time, his wife, Amisha, is responsible for the carry bags exports business. She has started a business with Dollar General and Dollar Tree, especially for paper bags manufacturing. For this, the company has launched a separate division of paper bags and gift-wrapping rolls.

But how does Gupta manage such a significant portfolio? “I have a strong and young team. The maximum age is 37. Almost the entire team’s age ranges from 30 to 37 years, and so we can work at a similar pace. Everyone works on the development, so it is easy for us to develop new things quickly,” Gupta explains.

In the last three years, the company has invested around Rs 35-crore on land (5,000- sqm), building, and machines. “Now, we are planning to multi-locational, but we plan to do it through collaboration,” he adds. The first move will be to Maharashtra.

“We are supplying to the state with the collaboration of a small company, but now we are looking for a better facility for good manufacturing processes (GMP) where we can follow SOPs properly with no quality issues.

Quality audit is a big aspect nowadays. By collaboration, we can increase our business fast as we are adding into our existing strength not starting something new,” he adds.

As of now, the company’s rotogravure unit is the most growing segment, where the company offers semi-finished and finished products. “We are producing mono, two and three layers materials,” Gupta says.

New products
The focus is on new product development. “Regular products get new ideas but now we are considering what new can we do for the industry. For example, we invested in an eight-colour press so that we can offer cold foiling jobs. Cold foiling is a great way to differentiate a product in the market,” he says.

“The use of MetPET will come down in the future due to its environmental impact, but the metallised effect is here to stay. This brings us to cold foil.

There is no hot foil stamping machine that can match the speed of the printing press, and thus, it leads to a bottleneck. Cold foil machines can match this conversion speed. So conversion will be easy and possible at the speed of the printing press.”

The difference between the speed of the press and finishing increases your investment, Gupta says, adding, “In-line cold foiling has a good future. For example, Fair & Lovely cartons are cold foiled in-line. If you have long runs, then foil stamping is an issue, and delivery suffers. Inline cold foiling saves cost on manpower and production.”

He adds that print beautification is in demand, especially UV and foiling. “No one has this combination in the state, and it will be an edge for us,” he says. 

Quality control
One of the significant aspects of the packaging-printing business is quality control. Hence, running the plant roundthe- clock does not become feasible. Gupta says, “Whatever you produce should be as per the quality requirements of the clients. So, except pharma literature, die-cutting and rotogravure printing, we don’t run critical operations round the clock.”

Another challenge for Shuban is mono cartons, especially when it comes to the price of the box. “If you are entertaining a client with an unstable business habit or setup, he will shift to another printer even for a very little price difference. At the same time big players in mono cartons have established their production on such a level with advanced machines and faster delivery facilities that printers like us can’t compete with them,” he adds.

The Shuban way
With three plants running in the city, Shuban has a centralised designing facility, and it has developed its ERP to connect all workflow at all its three locations. Now, the company is planning to provide live reporting facility to its clients. There will be a tab on every machine. “Live reporting of production is one of the biggest challenges of our industry, but this will bring transparency. This live reporting will increase the confidence of our client in us,” Gupta says.

Towards this, the company has coordinated its errors and put the entire process in place and developed its customised software. “Often, the production receives jobs and is not aware of what to do with it. Now, we put PDF in this software so that everything is visible clearly. The operator can easily check the job with the artwork.

The benefit is: our machine operator is also working like our customer supervisor and we wouldn’t be able to tell a lie to our customers,” he explains. “Also, machine operators will be not able to overpass jobs. The entire production can remotely control the production site in case someone is unavailable. We will be able to reduce workforce and manual intervention.”

He says the company put its every machine on the system so that it can calculate the production wastage loss and how to regain it. “Nowadays, short-run jobs are more and when we talk about short-run jobs, our makeready increases. In the second phase, we will work on how to reduce makeready. We will be able to track our losses,” he says, adding, “All the loopholes that we encountered in the past nine years have been included in the ERP.

There is no shortage of business and volume. Quality production and delivery on time are the two keys. We are continuously working on quality checks to improve our GMP standards.”

Focused on pharma
Specifically, in pharma, industries are coming to Rajasthan, and a pharma zone is going to establish in Udaipur. Zydus and Mankind are reported to be setting up plant there. Delhi is nearby, and this hasn’t led to any added advantage for the company because it has most of the things in-house. On the challenges, Gupta says that the US FDA is a powerful body in pharma, and thus, the rejection rate is very high.

“Recently, we supplied boxes to one of our customers, and somehow three rejected cartons were delivered to the customer, and he rejected 9,000 cartons because of these three. We are working to make the system stronger,” he says.

Looking ahead
Now, Shuban is working on new ways to reduce its price of production. “We are using daylight in our green plant. Ours is the first green printing plant in Rajasthan. We are putting solar energy plants in all three plants. The total power production of the solar power is 120 KW. We think that we will be saving around 10-15% saving from this initiative.

Now, we are working to make this plant dust-free. We are working on AHU system. Life of our machines will increase, and breakdown time will decrease by making plant dust-free. Again it will be a great cost-saving to us,” he says