Nutech acquires second RMGT 920ST – 4

Book printing expansion with sustained focus on quality

Ravi Shroff, the managing director of Nutech Print Services with the new RMGT 920ST 4+CD press. Photo IPP

Faridabad-based Nutech Print Services has a rich and diverse experience of five decades of printing services under its belt. Established by a civil engineer working with the GoI, the late KL Shroff, did not have any prior experience of the printing industry. Nevertheless, he went ahead with his desire to provide excellence in print services and over the years grew the business into a multi-location multi-product company, individually managed by each of his three sons.

Today, Nutech has worked for almost all the leading book publishers in India including Harper Collins, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and regular international clients in Latin America, Africa, and Europe. While Nutech works for very high-end publishers in Latin America and Europe, the African customers and product mix consist mostly of school textbook production.

The company manufactures paperbacks, hardcovers, coffee table books, Bibles on 28-30 gsm paper, and foam and board books for children. It has created a name for itself for the printing of Bibles, of which 50 to 60% are exported.

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The company recently acquired and installed its second RMGT 920ST-4+CD press. Ravi Shroff, the managing director of Nutech Print Services notes, “We have been a Mitsubishi user since the early 2000s. When we set up our dedicated book export factory, we tied up with Mitsubishi for our first presses. Over the years we have had a very good relationship with Mitsubishi and their dealer Provin. In 2015, Ryobi and Mitsubishi merged to form a company called RMGT.

Since our relations with both Mitsubishi and Provin were very strong, a few years ago when we were looking for a smaller sized press, it was natural for us to look at the RMGT option. In 2017, we opted for a used Ryobi refurbished press that was very, very successful for us. In 2019, when the time came for further expansion, we purchased a brand new RMGT 4-color looking at the strong results combined with the strong support from Provin.” 

The RMGT 920 ST installed at Nutech earlier this month is well automated including an inline coating system, two LED-UV curing units over the perfecting device and delivery sections, automated quality inspection, and printing density tracking functions, and automatic register adjustment for seamless printing. 

Shroff adds, “RMGT presses have a very small footprint – the space requirement is far less compared to the other machines. Secondly, they are very energy efficient. In today’s scenario, all input costs matter to everyone, and the plate size is much smaller. You are saving on several fronts, and these presses are also highly automated which results in extremely high productivity and quality.”

Apart from the RMGTs, Nutech has Mitsubishi multicolor presses as well as Komori and Heidelberg presses for monochrome and 2-color printing work. The bindery uses the full complement of finishing and binding machines for hardcover section sewn and paperback perfect bound volumes. It employs Kolbus binding lines for automated binding operations for perfect bound products and a casemaker for hardcover books.

A people-first firm

During the Covid-19 pandemic, most industries were halt straightaway by the first lockdown, and when the country started reopening there was a huge panic within the industry. The demand side came to a complete halt with nothing to print – initially a very tough period with no defined roadmap. Not knowing how things would shape up, many printers, including Nutech, restarted with a single shift because of permissions on staffing.

Nevertheless, two factors were crucially important for Nutech – the well-being of its employees, and maintaining their morale at a high level. It set up an in-house dormitory facility to take care of the employees and bore all the expenses. Two senior managers decided to stay in the factory with the skilled workers to keep them highly motivated. These initiatives helped Nutech to retain its best talent as almost 90% of the employees continued, while some left due to health and age concerns.

Shroff believes that it is the people who run the company. “What makes Nutech different from any other company is the people who are a part of the company. We are very proud of how we run our company, and of how people are treated.” Nutech conducts regular training with outside trainers to educate and up-skill its workforce to the nuances of the latest technology in book printing. “Every year we invest in hiring 4 to 6 trainees and groom them according to the company’s requirements as we believe that the culture change comes from the bottom.”

During the pandemic, the largest publishers were not operational, book shops and schools were not open, many people lost their jobs – there was cost-cutting all across as the supply chain came to a halt. If something had to reach the UK in the prescribed shipping time of 6 to 7 weeks earlier, now the ships were taking 10 to 12 weeks. The number of shipping vessels, as well as the number of sailings, were reduced. Similarly, paper mills at one time were not producing paper. Most of the international paper mills have started supplying paper in 3 to 4 months compared to the earlier cycle of 4 to 6 weeks of production time. So, the cascading effects led to delays,” he adds.

The third generation enters at a time of optimism

After the second Covid wave in mid-2021 when the economy started normalizing, Nutech’s export customers revived their requests for quotes, and thereon, the firm has seen a period of very strong growth. “When the economy reopened, all the buffer stocks were consumed first. If you talk about the last 6 – 9 months, the orders have been very strong on the export side, and the signals are that these would continue to improve in the coming months,” says Shroff.

In the course of the two pandemic years, the third generation of this printing family also committed to the book printing business. The pandemic turned out to be an opportune time for this transition as Shroff had the time to explain the nitty-gritty of the book printing industry to his son – and the firefighting skills needed in day-to-day operations.

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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