Values have been the guiding force for this labels specialist company which recently accomplished a rare feat of setting up a full functional factory at Goa – done remotely during the Covid-19 hard times. PRESSIdeas talks with founder Anuj Bhargava on this achievement and more about Kumar Labels.
Kumar Labels is an organization guided by their values. In fact, the values not only serve as their guiding principles, but are also the first things imparted to every member of their team which in turn follows them religiously. For example, Kumar Labels builds quality into their products, moving on the philosophy that ‘a product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money; customer pays for what is of use to them and gives them value’.
The traits we commonly found at Kumar Labels include –
- Understanding of customer’s requirements and suggesting the most appropriate solution;
- Using the most appropriate inputs and processes to arrive at the desired output;
- Developing solid process knowledge to produce products that best match the customer’s requirements, most efficiently, and in least possible time;
- Hiring the best talent and imparting the best possible training to them so that they could deliver as per the customers’ need.
“We believe that ‘winning is nice if you don’t lose your integrity in the process’,” says Anuj Bhargava, Founder, Kumar Labels. He considers ‘Integrity’ as their most valued strength.
The company which works with ‘make it happen’ spirit, has been known for its performance to live up to commitments each time. “We strive to achieve even the impossible,” says Anuj.
With many accolades to their credit, Kumar Labels has achieved added another feather to its cap by setting up a full functional factory from what we can as well say ‘a bare shed’. What makes it special is the fact that the set up was done remotely and during the current pandemic period. Though it required – extreme levels of planning, continuous communication, good contractors, effective liaison agent to work with authorities and experienced in-house team to install machines etc., for Anuj it is simply – ‘the show must go on’. In his own words, “The Project was conceived past year and execution was planned to be done in March. We waited till July for the situation to improve. As they say, the show must go on, so it did and we worked remotely with contractors and got the facility set up.”
The factory has been set up remotely and there were huge challenges to face. They also realized the challenges brought by the pandemic for their customers in terms of supply availability. But, through astute planning, the challenges were ably overcome. “Workforce was in acute shortage. We had to take care of every minute development – for example, we planned food for 4 days of transit of the drivers. Similarly, we drew layouts of how material would be placed in trucks and sequence of how it would get unloaded and set in final space,” recounts Anuj.
“Besides, our in-house machine manufacturing experience helped immensely along with my personal experience of working in projects while with Corning Japan,” he adds. Kumar Labels is a part of Kumar Printers, which started in the year 1964 and is one of the leading packaging suppliers in the country today.
The ‘autonomation’ principle and key features and advantages
Not automating everything, doing what can be done consistently with simple machines and adding human touch to automation is the Toyota concept of autonomation. Kumar Labels’ concept of business is inspired by autonomation. At Kumar Labels, it means – faster job changes; staying agile and flexible is the key, especially in times when steady flow of business is impacted. “While I hear everyone talk about automation and less work force as the key take away of working during the pandemic, I also noticed that companies with intelligent investment in autonomation bounced back faster after the lockdown,” asserts Anuj.
Also, Kumar Labels has successfully achieved quick production, answering customer demands without compromising on quality. “Factors contributing to this achievement have been:- 1). Simple, agile, flexible infrastructure 2). Excessive training to the team 3). Innovating not just in product offering but also in ways of doing the same things more efficiently,” specifies Anuj.
Kumar Labels has something unique about their team – many in the team come from all walks of life with little printing background. “As a policy we do not poach resources. Our philosophy is to train & enable people to do (earn) more for themselves,” says Anuj.
The infrastructure at Goa facility constitutes a mix of old & new machines. They have a 10-colour flexo, a 2 colour screen, a camera based inspection and a variety of ancillary equipment. Besides, their in-house labelstock manufacturing facility and a diverse equipment infrastructure helps them to serve their customers with competitively priced quality products. Customers primarily constitute Alco-Bev & Pharmaceutical. They work for several leading Alco-Bev brands in India and overseas. Anuj says they aren’t looking at instant gains from the new unit. They would for now be taking time to understand the local needs and respond gradually. “We would be happy if we could maintain last year’s revenues. In general an OEE of 35-45% makes us happy,” he says.
Speaking about the recent pandemic period, he observes, “I think our print fraternity is well aware of challenges such as cash flows, order variations, workforce shortages etc. I am so proud to be a part of the Indian Print fraternity which works in most difficult conditions, with such tight margins and yet grows each year – generating revenues for the country and offering employment.”
Maintaining an honest and transparent relationship with customers, suppliers and employees has been Kumar Labels’ core strength. Years of continuous efforts have yielded trust development among the relationships which in turn have spelled a profitable growth for the values driven labels specialist – Kumar Labels.