Vinod Gulati of Saurabh Printers is a book production man, having been around publishers and book printing all his adult life. For many years, he helped one of the leading North Indian publishers by looking after the binding department of its printing business. Ultimately, the binding business became his own in 1991, and over the last 30 years, it has grown and evolved into a comprehensive book production business.
Like many print businesses, Gulati’s story is one of migration from small used single color presses to multicolor presses and an extensive range of bookbinding and finishing equipment. His offset pressroom now contains two web offset presses and seven second-hand sheetfed machines in three different formats. The newest addition is the brand new RMGT 4-color 920 ST4 in the 92-centimeter size that has become very successful with Indian book printers. About 90 new RMGT 920s are running across the country.
There is a simultaneous expansion on the digital side of the pressroom at Saurabh Printers. Containing five Xerox digital presses, of which three are monochrome, and two are full-color production presses, it has now added a high resolution webfed monochrome inkjet press from Monotech Systems.
The binding and finishing department is understandably comprehensive, given Gulati’s beginnings in the business. It contains five folding machines and five stitching machines and four perfect binders, of which two are multi-clamp machines. In 30 years, the company has outgrown several premises in Delhi and Noida, and now it occupies 70,000 square foot premises of its own on an even larger plot of land with room to grow.
In 2005, Gulati’s son Vikrant purchased a printing business in Australia – Westman Printers in Sydney. Saurabh Printers is also a book printing exporter, and over the years in close cooperation with the Westland print business in Sydney, its largest export market has become Australia. To some extent, Westman Printers can pass on some of its long-run book printing to the family print business in Noida.
Vinod Gulati prints books for established publishers such as HarperCollins, Lexis-Nexis, Walters, Scholastic, Pearson, WIP, and KOPS. He tells us that the book production business is seasonal. While textbooks are printed and bound from October to March each year, trade books provide the work from April to September.
Full service across the book supply chain
Saurabh Printers can be called a full-service provider to publishers wherein it provides both prepress work and digitalization of books into ePub and other eBook formats. As far as the printed books, it provides both logistics and warehousing to its publisher customers.
Saurabh Printer’s investments and the services it provides have been comprehensive, looking at the production of books in digital and print formats and for short, medium, and long runs in monochrome and color. Partnering its publisher customers for the entire book supply chain has compelled it to make strategic investments in the latest technology for both digital and offset production.
Projections for FY 2020-21 revised back to earlier targets
The latest investments of the new RMGT 4-color and the high-resolution web-fed monochrome Monotech inkjet press were made, keeping in mind both a new level of business and overall efficiencies in production and service. While both machines were expected to be installed by the end of March, the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown intervened.
The RMGT offset press was installed and production started only in May while the Monotech inkjet started up only in June. Gulati says, “We had to revise our production targets for the 20-21 financial year, and with the loss more than two months production, we revised our targets down to what we had achieved in 2018-19. However, the work and production have now picked up a sufficient pace so that we can revise our targets upwards. We now hope to achieve our original targets of 2020-21 with the two new presses in place.”
A slight correction to this article in the name of the printing business in Australia was made by the author on 9 July 2020.