VK Global Publications brings Rave Scans back to life

Leading textbook publisher takes on commercial and packaging print

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Text books published and printed by VK Global Publications
Text books published and printed by VK Global Publications

We recently spoke with Rohit Jain of VK Global Publications, one of the country’s leading textbook publishers based in Faridabad. The publishing group was founded by Rohit Jain’s elder brother, Rahul Jain, and father Late Professor TR Jain, a well-known teacher of economics and author. Professor Jain’s economics texts, including Macroeconomics, Indian Economic Development, and several titles in economics have, over the years, become amongst the most prevalent and widespread textbooks on the subject. They are prescribed in CBSE schools, college and university courses throughout the country, as are many of the other books co-authored by TR Jain and specialist co-authors in microeconomics, analytical techniques, and statistics.

Since 1979, VK Global has published some of the most widely used economics and commerce textbooks at the school, college, and university level in the country. Becoming a large, modern, and forward-looking publisher, in 1999, it launched a children’s book offshoot called Future Kids Publications. An exhibitor at the Frankfurt Book Fair since 2006, it is heartening to see that the textbook publisher acknowledges its authors and publicly praises them as its greatest resource.

In our brief interaction with Rohit Jain, we could see that the company is forward-looking, flexible, and ready to diversify to grow the business. The company also comes across as straightforward and business-like – direct and keen to develop. In this process and keeping in mind that another generation was entering the family-owned business, VK Global acquired Rave Scans in October 2018, in the Company Law Tribunal resolution proceedings. Some of our readers may remember that Rave Scans was the first case referred to the newly established Company Law Tribunal to help with the restructuring of insolvent companies.

Nikhil and Namit Jain of VK Global and Rave Scans with the Heidelberg 6-color plus coater
Nikhil and Namit Jain of VK Global and Rave Scans with the Heidelberg 6-color plus coater

Rave Scans was a somewhat high-flying and fast-growing commercial offset printer that began in 1993 as a prepress house in the Naraina industrial area in West Delhi. After a decade, it rapidly became a commercial printer acquiring several brand new multicolor Heidelberg presses almost every year and bookbinding equipment from Muller Martini.
Subsequently, it expanded to packaging and set up a plant in large premises in Manesar just beyond Gurugram, adding a new Heidelberg 6-color coater full UV press with cold foil unit. It also installed a full-sheet X-Y scanner for quality control and brand new converting equipment from Bobst and other suppliers. At the same time, it entered the rigid box segment with equipment from Italian supplier Emmeci. Alas, this time, the rapid expansion caught up with the over-leveraged promoters, and Rave Scans was declared insolvent by its creditors and referred to the newly formed National Company Law Tribunal.

The successful revival of Rave Scans

VK Global Publications has successfully brought Rave Scans back to life and into profitable production with the prospect of structured and systematic growth in the coming years. It has shut the premises in Naraina in West Delhi for the time being and brought all the prepress, printing presses, and binding equipment from there to the much larger Manesar plant. It uses as many as seven of the multicolor presses and the binding capacity for its publications and other publishers and commercial work.

The new Bobst Ambition 106 A2 folder-gluer at the Rave Scans Manesar plant
The new Bobst Ambition 106 A2 folder-gluer at the Rave Scans Manesar plant

Meanwhile, the packaging diversification has also gained traction with the VK Global Group’s timely financial and managerial inputs. Notably, the next generation of the Jain family i.e., Nikhil and Namit run the Rave Scans plant in Manesar and have built a respectable clientele of FMCG and pharmaceutical brand owners. It has entered other niche areas in packaging by creating optically active surfaces using holographic films and Fresnel lenses, developing unique registered patterns tailored to customer needs. This is a project that VK Global started in 2014 and has been catering to the international market since. In fact, recently they have been jointly awarded the India Star 2020 National Award for Excellence in Packaging.

The luxury hard-box making equipment has been consolidated in the Manesar premises and produces gift boxes for the well-known confectionery and sweets manufacturers.

Making good assets productive

Rave Scans always had good technology in the prepress, pressroom, and binding, finishing and converting sections. The new owners have successfully diversified to both commercial and packaging printing with the large battery of Heidelberg presses, including the B2 6-color plus coater UV press that they acquired. The Bobst Novacut die-cutter and Bobst Vision folder have worked productively in the converting section. The company has also added the recently launched Bobst Ambition 106 A2 folder-gluer to the converting section in October itself.

The Rave Scans prepress is driven by Kodak’s Prinergy Evo refine and output RIP, Batch for packaging trapping, and Preps for step and repeat. The company uses Prinergy’s Printlink for sending CIP3/4 data to the press console for quick makereadies, Dotshop for security printing, and Staccato 25 for FM screening applications. All the prepress solutions drive the Kodak Trendsetter CtP. The company uses Kodak’s AEM plates and chemistry for commercial and publishing printing, which it bakes. For packaging, it uses the environmentally friendly Sonora X process free plates without baking. The Sonora X negative working plates have been delivering excellent print lengths for packaging with both conventional and UV inks.

Despite the pandemic hugely affecting their textbook publishing business, the new owners have great commercial depth and business acumen. They believe in strong supplier relationships wherever possible. They have maintained a steady course during the last year thanks to their successful takeover of Rave Scans and turning it into a viable commercial, packaging, printing and converting business.

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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