Janki Publication installs Epson SureColor SC-S40670

Growing commercial print and signage in Siliguri

Dipak Gupta and Dhananjay Gupta with newly installed Epson SureColor SC-S40670

Siliguri-based Janki Publication was established in January 1997. Like many print businesses in India, it started with just a screen printing frame, a computer for designing, a couple of employees and a total investment of Rs. 1 lakh. After 22 years, the company has grown to two plants, one for commercial printing and the other for wide format signage. It now has staff strength of 35, with customers across the Northern Bengal and parts of Assam.

The owner of Janki Publication, Dhananjay Gupta along with his younger brother, Dipak Gupta, who heads the company’s wide format unit, have played a crucial role in the company’s growth. Recollecting his early days Dhananjay says, “Soon after completing college, I enrolled myself in a local newspaper company where I gained thorough knowledge of designing on a desktop computer for two years. Soon after, I was determined to open my own company.”

Printed signage on display at Sukna, Siliguri
Printed signage on display at Sukna, Siliguri

During its early days, Janki supplied screen printed stationery and then took up offset printing, subsequently adding wide format signage. The company has three Autoprint small offset presses and a cutting machine from an Amritsar-based manufacturer. For wide format signage, Janki bought a Caldron CJ 4000 inkjet printer that prints 5000 square feet per day. The company recently purchased an eco-solvent Epson SureColor SC-S40670 machine as it experienced a rise in local demand. Gupta explains, “We change our business style according to the demands by our customers. Our direct involvement with brand owners helps us understand their demands better.”

Janki is involved in designing and printing of various administrative paperwork, stickers and logbooks. Initially, the company supplied to the local market and with the rise in demand, it spread out to different corporate agencies across the neighboring states. It currently outsources 4-color offset print work jobs while the single or double color printing is done in-house.

Dhananjay says that the company is a significant print supplier to the pharmaceutical segment. It takes up advertising projects from these companies and prints various signage and display works, both outdoor and indoor. It also prints leaflets and other manuals in single and double color for its pharma customers such as Zydus Healthcare, IPCA Laboratories, Aristo Pharmaceutical, SUN Pharma, and Torrent Pharma.Janki also caters to other big names in the region, such as Indian Oil and Coca-Cola. Dhananjay says that his business has improved after the implementation of GST and made the entire process easier.

Talking about migrating to packaging, he shares, “If the demand for packaging is convincing enough, we would like to try our hands in that area too but for now we’ll stick to the design, commercial print and signage market only. We design leaflets, pouches, labels and other stationery products for smaller players in the market. On the other hand, well-established MNCs use their own in-house designs for all their print work.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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