Bahubali Digiglam puts new MGI Jetvarnish to use

Gearing up for the wedding season

Akshat Jain, director of Bahubali Digiglam alongside MGI JetVarnish that the company purchased last year. Photo IPP

New Delhi based Bahubali Digiglam bought a brand new MGI Jetvarnish 3DS & iFoil S in June last year. It was the first digital production investment by the company. Bahubali specializes in the production and supply of wedding cards and decorative wedding boxes. “MGI has over the last year helped us to bring this digital decoration and enhancement technology to the masses. With the MGI, we’re also trying to explore the commercial printing market by providing value-added printing options in visiting cards,” says Akshat Jain, director of Bahubali Digiglam.

“The visiting card segment is a good one to experiment since it doesn’t have large quantities. People are ready to explore new possibilities with visiting cards and are willing to pay a little more cost for the great value achieved with the help of MGI technology,” Jain adds. The MGI press helps Bahubali offer cold-foiling options along with textured UV effects change to hot foiling options with various textured UV effects. The company is working to ensure that the technology reaches the masses at rates that aren’t exorbitant. Jain says that the results are incredibly fascinating, and his customers are willing to pay for the difference.

Envelopes printed on the MGI machine
Envelopes printed on the MGI machine

“This press is ideal for creating a luxurious feel with print. It comes with various embellishment options and is the best fit for the value-added print market. Apart from short runs, we have also tapped into the commercial market with this press. As mainstream printing is becoming obsolete, customers are now looking for something new and eye-catching. Apart from visiting cards, we are also enhancing printed brochures and catalogs on our MGI press,” Jain explains.

Greater emphasis on R&D and sampling

Bahubali has tried to service the photobook market with the new MGI. Jain says, “We have also tried the photobook market where the acceptability is higher. MGI is a kind of technology that is not yet common in the photobook industry, and hence, there is a huge potential for us. But I believe that it will be a boon in the future.”

According to him, the last year has been full of ups and downs for the company. Nevertheless, he says that the journey has been an eye-opener and has helped him learn about the various possibilities of the MGI. “It was a great learning opportunity. Frankly, we didn’t know the uses and applications of this technology. We spent the initial few months on R&D and sampling. We did sampling for various industries including photobooks, visiting cards and catalogs, and brochures for wire companies,” Jain shares. He believes that the MGI technology is not known to many in various potential customer verticals that his company is still exploring.

Wedding boxes on display at Bahubali's shelf at its digital printing plant in New Delhi. Photo IPP
Wedding boxes on display at Bahubali’s shelf at its digital printing plant in New Delhi. Photo IPP

KM – A friend in need

Jain says that the support he received from the Konica Minolta team has instilled trust in his team’s mind. “Konica Minolta has been a friend to us in all our difficult times over the last year. The company has helped us learn the various possibilities with the MGI. The engineers were always with us. I must say that we never encountered any problem. They’ve been by our side and have always helped us with any assistance that we require,” Jain explains.

Right from the start, to September this year, Jain believes that his company has grown 30%-40%. Now that it is almost done with new user experience on MGI, it is aiming to increase productivity. The new unit will house digital as well as offset presses. Bahubali plans to first strengthen its production capability to at least 60% on the existing MGI.

Market slowdown and technology utilization

“The market is not up to the mark. There is a slowdown. It is the sampling time for wedding cards, but I’m pretty hopeful as the season is about to arrive. With that being said, dry patches are always there in every business. At some or the other point of time in every business, there is a slowdown. Just like anyone else, we’re bound to go through them, and we face those days where there’s no business. ROI on an investment is a very tricky topic. One can achieve the ROI only when one makes the best use of technology, but technology is not easy to learn. It comes to you with time and with numerous experiments. We’re almost through that phase, and now we’ll utilize the capabilities of the MGI to raise our profits,” Jain asserts.

Bahubali’s main agenda is to supply to the wedding card industry as much as possible and to make up for the dry patches that the company encountered due to seasonal demand and the R&D and sampling work. “Later this year, we’re planning to go online with our eCommerce platform for listing the various options and products which is ready. We will make sure that the back-end work is taken care of very soon. As of now, fresh content is not being updated. I also plan to introduce the concept of paintings and home furnishing on our eCommerce platform,” Jain concludes.

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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