Drishti plans new flexo packaging unit

Bhopal commercial printer looks at packaging

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Ashok Gupta, managing director of Drishti Offset
Ashok Gupta, managing director of Drishti Offset

Drishti Offset was established in 1993 by Ashok Gupta, a print technology graduate who was initially trained at Thomson Press in Faridabad. He worked for Saraswati Offset in Delhi before coming back to Bhopal to start his print business Drishti with a single-color offset press.

After a few years, Gupta bought a Solna 4-color sheetfed offset press. Currently, Drishti has three Heidelberg 4-color refurbished presses. These include a Heidelberg Speedmaster and two Heidelberg MOVs; one of the MOVs has a coater. The company is planning its migration to flexible packaging and labels. A new flexo plant is on the drawing board.

Heidelberg Speedmaster installed at Drishti Offset in Bhopal
Heidelberg Speedmaster installed at Drishti Offset in Bhopal

Drishti looks to set up a new flexo unit

Keen to enter packaging, the company is ambitious. “We have always focussed on investing in good quality, high performance machines, the reason why we have been able to stand out in the market. It is pretty evident that commercial printing is no longer a profitable segment. Hence, we have decided to diversify. We aim to become the single-largest packaging supplier in Central India and are also looking for equipment suppliers who can help us with our plan and provide the required equipment for setting up a new plant,” says Gupta, adding that the company will target the FMCG segment.

Though Gupta is keen to supply two types of packaging materials, his company is currently evaluating the market for both segments to decide on which one of the three segments can be developed as its mainstay. “Every business has to begin with a proper plan. The planning phase is extremely important. We don’t want to rush through this phase and at the same time are looking for suppliers who can guide us through this period and help us understand the needs for a dedicated flexo setup better,” says Gupta.

There aren’t any supporting units in and around Bhopal to supply the raw materials and hence we have to plan accordingly. We plan to buy machines for film and laminate production as well. Also, observing the trend, we’re keen on investing in CI flexo presses. We are not planning packaging as just another revenue stream and want to enter the business in a serious way, not simply as an additional revenue stream. Our company is able to generate enough revenue from its printing and real estate verticals. Thus, packaging is going to be an important venture for us,” Gupta explains.

Drishti’s textbook production business

Drishti produces and supplies textbooks for the MP government’s curriculum. It receives the textbook orders through government tenders. For its textbook production, it uses four web offset presses with 4-Hi towers and one double color web offset at its Govindpura unit in Bhopal. These include presses from TPH, NBG and Radiant Machineries.

We produce and supply textbooks for classes 1 to 12. After printing and binding, we send these to the government depots. We print these textbooks in lakhs consuming 1,500 tons of book printing paper during the peak season, which is from October to April. In Madhya Pradesh textbook printing is still better compared to other commercial print work. The demand is seasonal but we do not face any difficulty in that segment,” says Gupta.

Heidelberg MOV installed at Drishti Offset in Bhopal
Heidelberg MOV installed at Drishti Offset in Bhopal

Falling commercial print demand

Drishti supplies print to telecom companies in the country such as Vodafone, Airtel and Reliance. “Though our commercial print segment has been profitable, the print volume has come down. In about 1.5 or 2 years from now, we are planning to set up a packaging unit that has the potential to produce the best quality pouches and labels. In fact, when I last visited drupa in 2016, I was in talks with Insight to purchase a brand new Komori press but we backed out later as we felt there wasn’t much demand in commercial print,” Gupta shares. In 2018, the company witnessed a growth of 20%. In addition to the packaging diversification at scale, the company is determined to continue to improve its commercial printing business.

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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1 COMMENT

  1. Congratulations to Sh. Ashok Gupta for venturing into the ever-shinning Flexible Packaging Industry.
    If needed,I can offer my services to the Managing Director of Drishti Offset Sh.Ashok Gupta.
    Having over Fifty years work experience in Flexible Packaging,with India’s foremost multinational company-and now as a Senior Consultant in Flexible Packaging Technology& Management..would be happy to offer my assistance & service to Sh.Ashok Gupta ji.

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