Mr. Manoj Agarwal, Managing Director, Matchwell Décor Pvt Ltd has completed his 25 years journey in India’s Decorative Paper Industry. He has lots of good memories, experiences in changing market demand, growth story of laminate industry etc. During an interaction with The Ply Reporter, he talked about the past and present of the décor paper industry and his plan to expand his business growth in the coming year.
Brief on your 25 years of journey in the décor Paper industry?
We started in 1997 by installing one machine and now we are going to start our second plant in continuation. The current plant is under Matchwell Décor Pvt Ltd. In this plant we have been installing six high speed printing lines this year and as of now we have started our commercial production with one line and another 3 Lines are under commissioning. I wish, the fleet of our associates of laminate and particle board industries continue to grow.
How do you co-relate your journey of growth in 25 years with the growth of the industry? Are there any emotional moments you like to talk about?
I would like to mention that with whom I had started working 25 years before, are still associated with us and we are continuously working for them. With their support we have flourished satisfactorily and hope that in future we will grow at the same pace. So, our relationship never saw a gray line. We maintained our valuable relationship and we are very thankful to them who had shown us the path to venture into this industry. Govind Ji of Jai Door was among the first who motivated us to install machines and supported them with orders. Another incredible person was Mr Pradeep Agarwal of Lahri Laminate that we will never forget.
What changes do you observe in quality made that time and today?
See, that time the industry was at the initial stage and no good designs were being made. Whenever we wish to offer good design we have to look towards Europe. That time also we had imported three four trends from Europe that established our brand name Matchwell. That time we were importing print base from Germany and printed in India. Later on we moved on with China, when we got to know that China also has such an offering.
Slowly we improved our quality and also got a considerable change in our machines. For better quality we went through several technological upgrades with time. We improved a lot and now you can see a considerable change in quality. Today we are giving competition to China in terms of quality. Now it is up to the people and their mindset when they will divert to the Indian manufactured products. But, being a printing business, it is a challenging job as it is very technical. One has to have technology up gradation now on a daily basis.
Was it the first printing unit in India or few others were already in existence at that time?
You can say that two more units were at that time, but we were the one that stated it professionally. Today there are nearly 25 units but major players are three to four.
In these 25 years at which level the industry has become self dependent, like Cylinder, Paper quality or print quality, etc?
For printing in this industry we are not self dependent as we still have to look abroad for cylinders, designs and paper. We need to look towards Germany, China, Taiwan, Japan, etc for cylinders and for papers ITC is the only company in India who offer quality papers. But their capacity is much less because they only feed 30 to 35% of the market demand. For the rest 60% consumption the industry players have to look towards overseas. We have to be dependent majorly on China.
It is said that Indian Printers just copy designs, what is your take?
We don’t copy as such. Actually we get the design and choose from them and ask for that. We don’t know whose designs are that. Although the design comes under copyright, it is sold in Europe very expensively
We improved a lot and now you can see a considerable change in quality. Today we are giving competition to China in terms of quality. Now it is up to the people and their mindset when they will divert to the Indian manufactured products. But, being a printing business, it is a challenging job as it is very technical. One has to have technology up gradation now on a daily basis.
Is the print quality being produced in India equivalent to Chinese print?
Till now we are at par with the Chinese prints. The matching is time consuming and also requires money due to wastage of paper and involvement in the process. You can see the print base paper in Europe is cheaper than ours and they sell it at five times higher cost. They charge the cost of wastage and efforts made to find the end result. In India no one wishes to pay that amount. People's mindset is also not there to do like that.
After 10 years, how do you see the future of the décor paper printing industry in India?
If we see our progress, in the coming ten years we are sure to leave China behind in this regard, only thing required is the trust from the industry fraternity and our product realization that we can do it. For printing there is a lot of wastage and that also costs that ultimately have to be borne by the industry and the industry needs to understand that. If we print one kg paper today, approx. 70 kg paper goes into wastage. And if you go for the fine mold at least 100 to 125 kg goes into wastage. It doesn’t matter if the volume of the final paper is one kg or one tone the wastage always be at least 100 kg to 125 kg for a fine mold.
What is the infrastructure under the current company namely Matchwell Décor Pvt Ltd?
We built entirely new premises for it to spread in an area of 2700 sq ft in which one high speed line has been started and the other five to six lines will be installed by Diwali this year. The second and third will be installed by April and May respectively. In the old premises we have 10 running lines.
What is the installed capacity of the existing plant and this new plant as well?
We have the installed capacity of 600 tones but at present we use to print up to 500 tones. And with this new plant we are going with an expansion of 500 tones. We have more plans for expansion by shifting the go-down at different places and installing more lines if the need to do so.
We are working wholeheartedly for the growth of the industry. Earlier whatever things are required for making HPL only two or three were available in India out of 27 necessary items, rest all were being imported from overseas. Now things are getting easier in which printed paper comes first.
What message would you like to give to the industry on the occasion of completion of 25 years of journey?
My message to the industry is to continue to extend their support to us as they have given till date. We are working wholeheartedly for the growth of the industry. Earlier whatever things are required for making HPL only two or three were available in India out of 27 necessary items, rest all were being imported from overseas. Now things are getting easier in which printed paper comes first. This is the most vital material and is very easily available in India. This is because we are doing it well. Earlier acquiring the printed paper was a tough task. These all have been developed after 1997 to 2000.
When a new laminate manufacturer comes into the market and goes for papers selection what things should be noted?
First of all, what are they making? Which types of material are they willing to use for which types of products? If they are making a 0.8mm folder, first of all they should research the criteria in the market. Where would be your product acceptance like making quality of textures, designs etc that are acceptable in that market? then choose a printer and ask for the paper then select the best paper available to them.
Today a number of small printers are there in the market along with a few big players, so for your laminate sink what is the cost of paper and how much paper contributes to that. How much percent cost you are able to put in papers and what margin you are going to get. For the design selection the printers play an important role and it should be according to the requirement of the market.
Pre-lam board industry is evolving; what is your offering for them and how seriously are you looking towards them?
Currently our focus is 50:50 among HPL and Prelam particle boards. I think the particle board segment will slowly become regional. In pre-lam particle boards, there is no print quality parameter as of now. In the future people may set their norms for the print quality for prelam particle boards also with rising interests to work with good printers.