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Janus Packaging: Creating Value with Heidelberg

Considering the success of Janus Packaging in the packaging segment, especially in recent years, it comes as a surprise that its founder, Mr Munish Aggarwal, is not from a printing background. “I started this business almost accidentally,” he says. Mr Aggarwal, Executive Director at Janus, completed his Bachelor of Arts from Chandigarh, and after two years at a job, he began working as a freelancer outsourcing print jobs. Often, these jobs were urgent and critical for customers. To be better placed to meet the needs of his customers, Mr Aggarwal procured a single-color press and bought a small industrial plot in 1999 in Baddi, which is a large industrial area in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The company was then known as Janus Communications and supplied to small pharmaceutical companies.

Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 102 at Janus Packaging

Mr. Munish Aggarwal (extreme left) with Janus employees and the Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 102 press in the backdrop.

With time, the management of Janus began to realize that it was not possible to supply high quality cartons to customers without having good printing presses. “We started working out how we could afford the more expensive presses, buy more land, and construct a factory,” says Mr Aggarwal.

Adding New Capabilities

Janus Communications became Janus Packaging in 2005 and also purchased the land where its factory is presently located. Janus came in touch with Heidelberg India at an exhibition where the latter was showcasing the Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 74 press. “We met their Sales Manager and he presented to us the benefits of buying a UV press,” says Mr Aggarwal. The company settled on the Heidelberg Speemaster CD 74 six-color UV press in 2008.

After the Speemaster CD 74, it was a natural progression for Janus to buy the Speedmaster CD 102 and so did they in 2012 by installing a Speedmaster CD 102 six-color UV press. In fact, they did not even call for a quotation from any other brand. According to Mr Aggarwal, Janus has been supported very ably by Heidelberg. “We have seen Heidelberg press working for the last four years. Heidelberg machines are very stable and reliable. All machines have breakdowns, but the difference lies in how quickly such issues are addressed. Heidelbergs’ after sales service is very strong, well planned and well placed. This fact faciliated our decision to go for Speedmaster CD 102,” he says.

The highly automated Speedmaster CD 102 comes equipped with the Preset Plus Feeder, which helps Janus achieve uninterrupted production even across a wide variety of substrates. The Alcolor inking and dampening system with Vario function ensures excellent color quality, time and again. Prinect Press Center Compact, with the Intellistart process-oriented operator guidance system, allows extremely easy and user-friendly operation. The press can print up to 15,000 sheets per hour, and handles sheet thickness between 0.03 mm and 1.00 mm.

Besides the two Heidelberg presses, Janus also has a POLAR Cutting machine, which was bought in 2009. “It’s a very efficient and reliable cutting machine. POLAR cuts perfectly and Heidelberg provides excellent service for it as well,” says Mr Aggarwal. According to him, after sales service is the key factor while considering purchase of equipments. “You can buy a great machine, but if you don’t get the right after sales service to support it, then it is not worth your investment,” he says.

A Class Apart

But using excellent equipment alone is not what distinguishes Janus from its competitors. When asked about what it is that sets Janus apart in the market today, he says, “Perhaps it is the fact that we understand packaging very well. We don’t compare our quality with any other printer, but we can say that we manufacture aesthetically beautiful cartons. In that sense, our work is of good quality.”

In the packaging segment, Janus primarily caters to pharmaceutical, perfume and FMCG industries in India. Besides packaging, Janus also offers commercial printing services to its customers, covering magazines, catalogues, brochures, greeting cards, posters, paper bags and so on.

The company has grown very quickly in the last few years. Mr Aggarwal says, “We worked with our hearts. We didn’t think that we were working for growth-we were just dedicated to our work, and the growth happened as a result.”

The motto of Janus is ‘value creation’-not only for its customers, but also for its employees, and everyone involved in the service chain. “We try to maintain a balance between our customers’ needs and our employees’ needs,” says Mr Aggarwal. When asked how he achieves this, he replies, “With less self interest and comittment to share the fruit of success with all deserving employees. Similarly, our customers should not feel that they are getting anything less than the best quality. All of this is possible only if we are less focused on ourselves. We believe in working towards everyones’ satisfaction, not just our own.” A remarkable vision indeed!

Overcoming Challenges

But it hasn’t always been easy. Making the leap from single-color to six-color in 2008 was an especially difficult transition, because it required a rethink of the entire business. Recalling that period, Mr. Aggarwal says, “For the first couple of years, our entire system took a hit. Our whole business was based on single-color, and all our customers were from that segment.” So in some sense, the company was starting afresh, realigning its marketing activities with its new set of offerings, and acquiring new customers. “The first 2-3 years were very tough for us. Unlike a shift from, say, four-color to six-color, where some things would remain predictable, we had no way to plan for or foresee some of the changes that happened,” adds Mr Aggarwal. But with the dedication and effort of the entire team, Janus pulled through the rough patch, and went on to become India’s first Ugra certified company, and today, is capable of printing according to ISO 12647-2 standards.This gives its customers the assurance that the company can produce consistent quality jobs.

Towards the future

When asked about the future of the printing industry, Mr Aggarwal says that as a result of the impact of the global printing industry on the Indian market, printers in India will soon have to abandon conventional ways of working and adopt a more professional approach. Printers following traditional methods of working will face problems in the years to come, unless they are willing to move forward.

A word of caution he offers to printers in general: “Printers should avoid commoditization of their products. Big companies know how to pressurize them into reducing their prices, and usually succeed,” he says. “Just on the basis of volume, or worrying that their machines will not be in production, they agree to reduce their prices and then end up reducing them more and more. But printers caught in this trap will not survive.” According to Mr Aggarwal, ” To address this effectively, printers should work out their costings well, and refuse to sell the product below the right price. This is better than working at a loss and causing wear and tear to the machine too.”

When asked about his own plans for the next 5-10 years, Mr Aggarwal smiles and says he doesn’t plan that far ahead. “Our only goal is to create value in the organization for everybody involved, whether they be employees or customers.” And that is something Janus is certainly managing to do.


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