Lovely Offset Printers: growing together with Muller Martini
-with India’s First Diamant MC 35 Bookline specializing in producing diaries An Indian printing company that has successfully adapted and grown in a new market segment within a short span of time is Sivakasi-based Lovely Offset Printers Pvt Ltd who primarily produces diaries on the Muller Martini Diamant MC 35 Bookline (the first of that model in India), apart from making books with print runs of millions on two Ventura book sewing machines and the Acoro A5 perfect binder. Founded in 1961, Lovely Offset Printers grew by producing wedding invitation cards; and employing a staff of 400 individuals, the family-run business is still reckoned with the top producers of wedding invitations in India. However, that has not been the company’s core business for several years. Ably run by K Selvakumar (financial director), K Vijayakumar (technical director) and K Senthilkumar (marketing director), the three sons of the founder C Kadarkarai of the company, Lovely Offset began softcover and hardcover production in 2000, in order to place the company on a broader footing and enter new areas of business.
“Twelve years ago, we took a great step in the history of our company and now reaping the advantages,” convey the trio of brothers. “There is an even larger market for books than for wedding invitations,” laughs Senthilkumar.
Relying on Muller Martini
From the beginning, the company has relied on solutions from Muller Martini. After the first Bookline 500 (pre-owned and overhauled by Muller Martini) was purchased in 2004, several brand-new machines followed, including: a Ventura book sewing machine with a BDM Compact case maker in 2005; a second Ventura in 2006; an Acoro A5 perfect binder in 2007, which was later extended with conveyors and Merit-S in 2009; a Diamant MC 35 Bookline (the first of that model in India) as a replacement for the BL 500 in 2009; and a VPN/PUR nozzle for the Acoro A5 (likewise an Indian premiere) and a Prima saddle stitcher overhauled by Muller Martini in 2011.
“Over the course of the years we have become real partners with Muller Martini. We have such great confidence in our suppliers that we didn’t even see a single machine before our investment, neither in any demo center, nor at the premises of any user. We explain what we need and Muller Martini India works out the configuration of the equipment for us. That method has always rewarded and we are very satisfied with all of our machines,” says K Selvakumar.
Setting the Benchmark
According to the three brothers leading the company, two factors are always to the fore, “First, we need industrial and highly automated solutions because we work around the clock during the high season. Second, with every new investment we aim for marked quality improvements. Earlier we could keep up in terms of quality. Today, we are setting the benchmark.” The retrofitting of the Acoro A5 with a VPN nozzle for PUR production for example enabled Lovely Offset to gain numerous new customers within a few months due to the quick quality increase, meaning additional volumes of roughly two million books.
While the wedding invitations are sold solely in India, 70 percent of the softcover and hardcover products go to other countries, predominantly to Africa and the European Union. Lovely Offset also produces hardcover books on the Diamant MC 35, but its core business is diaries, which are often ordered by companies. The print runs fluctuate between 5,000 and 2,00,000 copies, with an average of 10,000 per job.
On the other hand, in softcover books produced are solely for publishing companies, such as textbooks, children’s books, colouring books and puzzle books. “The print runs are sometimes in the millions,” says Vijayakumar. “However we also have books with a print run of 500 copies, so the quick job changeover time of the Acoro perfect binder is of great benefit to us.”
Being equipped with the modern machine line-up, Lovely Offset can look to the future with greater confidence. “Surly, we shall continue to grow. However, in the future we would concentrate somewhat more on the booming domestic Indian market apart from untapped overseas markets,” adds Selvakumar.