KC Printing & Allied Works – textbook suppliers to several state-government institutions

The Thriving Printing Hub of Mathura

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Founded by KC Agarwal, Mathura-based KC Printing and Allied Works, entered the printing business in 1979. Over the past 49 years, KC Printing has served to its diverse portfolio of customers through the length and breadth of the country. Currently, the company majorly prints textbooks for private publishers as well as for government institutions.

The company prints and supplies textbooks for the states of Tripura, Bihar, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. Apart from text books, the company also prints answer booklets for state board schools and universities. It prints and supplies answer scripts for the Board of Secondary Education, Jharkhand Academic Council, Bihar School Education Board and Punjab Secondary Education Board.

KC Printing signed a deal with the Rajasthan state government for printing and supplying text books and answer scripts for the next academic year, i.e. 2019-20 recently. Last year, the company was serving to schools and colleges in 28 out of the 32 districts in Rajasthan whereas, this time, the company has bagged orders for printing and supplying to all the 32 districts of the state.

“The problem lies in delivery. With state government contracts, you need to supply the text books and answer scripts to every school and college located in the state. If we consider the total number of schools in Rajasthan, the count exceeds 5500. So, printing text books and answer scripts in such huge numbers and then sending them across to different locations puts us in turmoil. The overall process becomes tedious. State government contracts do not pay us in advance. We are left with no other option but to bear the costs of shipments including all the consumables,” says Mahesh Chand Agrawal, proprietor of KC Printing & Allied Works. Similarly, the company provides text books and printed answer scripts to state government schools of Bihar and Jharkhand.

KC bought its first printing press, a Solna in 1992. Ever since then, the demand kept increasing and the company kept adding machines to its unit. Currently, the company has a total of 6 web offset printing machines, all from Prakash Offset – an Indian web-offset press manufacturer from Faridabad. Of the six presses owned by KC Printing, four are 4-color web offset presses and two are 2 X 2 web offset presses. It even owns a Line-O-Matic BOLT RB104, a fully automatic exercise book printing machine.

“The printing scenario in Mathura is quite good. There is a lot of scope for established printers to grow their business. The main reason is that we get demand from all parts of the country. Mathura is known to be a major supplier of academic books to most of the government run institutions across the country. Another factor responsible for this is the labor cost. Labor cost in Mathura is very cheap. Most of the family run businesses in the city do not believe in hiring people for positions in the top management. We believe we’re potent enough to handle our business on our own. We cut costs there, these little cost-cuttings reap dividends in the long run,” Agrawal concludes.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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