The quality of paper and packaging boards made in India has improved hugely over the past couple of decades.
Established in 1962, Pragati Offset Pvt. Ltd. encompasses a wide array of products including paperboards, corrugated cartons, blister packs, labels, and rigid boxes. It is a one-stop destination that manages a range of quality print needs beginning from structural design to production up to distribution. The company serves the full gamut of print needs – from company profiles to brochures and catalogues, coffee-table books to calendars, folding cartons and labels to luxury rigid cartons as well as point-of-sale material.
In an interview with Paper Mart, Mr. Harsha Paruchuri, Director, Pragati Offset Pvt. Ltd. talks about the capabilities of the company, the market outlook for the future, and the defining market trends of the printing and packaging segment.
Paper Mart: Tell us about your company and manufacturing capabilities — monthly paper converting capacity and the key technologies you have in-house.
Harsha Paruchuri: We are into both packaging as well as commercial printing segments. In packaging, our range of products includes paperboards, corrugated cartons, blister packs, labels, rigid boxes, and inserts/outserts. In the commercial print segment, we have a collection of products such as brochures, catalogues, leaflets and folders, calendars, etc.
Apart from having the entire process chain, i.e. pre-press, press, and post-press in-house, we specialise in adding value. This could be through finishing technologies such as foiling, embossing, holographic UV, pearl and metallic effects applied through gravure, through pre-press and print (such as our extended gamut process using 7 colours), or through anti-counterfeiting technologies, etc.
Home delivery services for products like food, grocery, etc. are also necessitating the use of competent packaging for products that did not use branded packaging before.
PM: What challenges do you face with regard to the quality of paper & paperboard? Please share some of your key expectations from the paper mills?
HP: The quality of paper and packaging boards made in India has improved hugely over the past couple of decades and we are quite happy with the offerings available in the market. If there are any expectations, it would be with regards to some occasional issues such as variance in the shade, coat weight, de-lamination of board layers, etc. That being said, these are some issues that we encounter very occasionally.
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PM: With the ‘New Normal’ imposed due to the pandemic, what is the current market situation and what are your projections for the future?
HP: Increased buying from online marketplaces has enhanced the demand for the packaging of many items. Many companies have come up in personal care, electronic accessories, etc. who have performed well in the market since an existing physical distribution network is no longer essential to achieve success. Similarly, home delivery services for products like food, grocery, etc. are also necessitating the use of competent packaging for products that did not use branded packaging before, for example, eggs, which were usually bought from local grocers in generic egg crates, are now being branded and home-delivered. We expect the demand for good-quality packaging as well as anti-counterfeiting measures to increase in the future.
The commercial print sector has seen a drop in many of the brochures and catalogues, but certain niche segments are still doing reasonably well (these would include catalogues where the products need to be visually communicated – such as sarees and dresses, wall paints, decor, etc.). We expect the general demand to go back up in commercial printing, though there will be segments where the drop in demand may remain permanent, for instance, areas such as transactional printing and the printing of annual reports, and manuals have been declining and the pandemic has further decreased the trend.
Another major trend is the customers’ growing demand for eco-friendliness – reusability, recyclability, conveying the sustainability of the product and the packaging – will play a huge role.
PM: Please share your views on the market trends and the demand drivers
HP: Consumers have become used to various conveniences during the pandemic, and these will not completely go back to the old normal, such as flexible work hours, work from home, online shopping/delivery services, virtual meetings, and reduced travel for work, etc. These entire set of factors have had a measurable impact on the kind of packaging needed, and how branding is to be done, and so on. Another major trend is the customers’ growing demand for eco-friendliness – reusability, recyclability, conveying the sustainability of the product and the packaging – will play a huge role.
The final trend is the demand for customisation — multiple variants or even individually customised products will become greater. Subsequently, this leads to many more SKUs for the same volume which is something that the packaging companies have been witnessing already and this trend might also transform the way packaging is conceptualised.