Raj Incorporated, formerly known as Dilip Plastics, is a leading manufacturer, exporter, supplier, distributor, wholesaler, trader, retailer and importer of Snap Fasteners, Runner and Zipper, Teslin, HDPE Films & Sheets and many more. It now has a growing presence in signage industry as well, and to understand more about the company’s plans in this segment, we met Karan Shah, Director, Raj Incorporated. Here are the excerpts of the interview.
Please give us an overview of Raj Incorporated.
Raj Incorporated was earlier known as Dilip Plastics and it was established in 1978 by my father. 1970s was actually the turning point in India’s history in terms of plastics because at that time plastic as a product was introduced to India. Till then, paper and wood were the preferred materials. At that time, the economy was also not open and only Indian manufacturers managed to sell their products in India.
We entered PVC in 1978 and after the economy opened up in 1990s, we started catering to files and folders, which were made from PVCs as PP was not introduced in India. Today, we are catering to smart card industry like credit cards, debit cards etc., while the second most important segment for us is the signage industry. In this, we offer solutions for advertising display, POP display, danglers etc.
What is the share of signage and POP in your overall business?
It is about 30% currently. We have solutions for printers, POP displays, photo frame manufacturers, dangler manufacturers and temporary display boards, as well as advertising boards, which are normally used for sale offers or other promotional purposes. So, our clients basically are printers, vinyl and flex manufacturers and POP display manufacturers.
With the industry and even the government propagating the use of eco-friendly materials, aren’t you wary that your business will get affected in coming times?
I don’t think so. In fact, I am happy that everybody is concerned about nature because I am actually replacing wood with plastic. Thousands of trees are cut every year for various purposes in India. Moreover, this is not a one time use plastic but lasts lifelong. Even after using it for 15-20 years, one can recycle it. After using the recycled material, it can be further broken down and laid out on roads. So, in general, it is a 100-200 year product and it promotes environment-friendliness.
What does your product portfolio comprise?
We provide a whole range of products including PVC foamboard that we sell by brand name sunboard, PP corrugated sheets, transparent PVC, opaque PVC, HIPS sheets, PET films and sheets, WPC, amongst others. We aim to deliver entire qualitative range of PVC films and sheets to our clients. We quality test our products on well defined parameters and our strict quality checking has given us thousands of satisfied clients and a huge turnover.
According to you, how rapidly is POP market expanding in India right now?
It is growing very fast! If we calculate our own turnover, signage was just 10% of our business till four years back. But today, it is 33% of our business; it has more than doubled. If we see the total size, the ratio has increased by three times but the turnover has doubled. The market has definitely grown more than six times in last five years. It has become a really big market in India and is growing phenomenally.
With the growth of e-commerce, do you think there is going to be a fall in the demand for POP displays?
I feel each segment is affecting other segments. Technology will disrupt the market temporarily but it doesn’t stop people. Nothing can be replaced completely and it takes a lot of time. I am catering to one particular segment; the same way e-commerce is catering to another segment. Tier 2&3 cities have not accepted e-commerce yet and those cities are our major markets.
How vast is your presence in India? Tell us about your dealer network?
We have offices in Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai and Kolkata, while we also deal in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and south Delhi. As far as dealers are concerned, we have a 500+ dealer network, with over 300 in Kerala, 50 in Maharashtra, 10-15 in Gujarat and rest in some other states.
Your presence is mainly concentrated in southern and western India? Any special reason for that?
Frankly, i am very happy with the business in south. Because of high literacy rates and awareness, they are always ready to accept new products faster than people in other states. This is especially true for Kerala.
From where do you source raw materials and how much of it is made in India?
Everything we need is imported from China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and US. Our production activities are undertaken in ultra-modern infrastructure spread over a large area. It comprises sub-functional units such as designing, manufacturing, quality testing, warehousing and packaging. The infrastructure of our company ensures that we produce only the best quality products.
Don’t you have any plans to set up a manufacturing unit here?
As of now, we have no plans. There isn’t enough support from Government and infrastructure in India is still lagging behind other countries. We still have power shortage, which is unheard of in China and western world. We have shortage of water and lack of good roads, so we are still a developing country even after so many years of independence. We want to compete with China, which was as poor as India, but look where they are today! They are atleast 30 years ahead of us in terms of infrastructure, technology, formulation, and they have a global market. They are able to manufacture products suitable for European markets but Indians can’t do that. We are still focused on local market. As far as export is concerned, we are 1/20th of what China is. What I feel is that the government should focus purely on infrastructure.
What else do you think government should work on?
I feel that our government, especially the state governments, take the easy way out. If you don’t like something, just ban it. Same happened with flex. They should spend some more money on developing technology to recycle plastic. We can easily find the solution but we are not focusing on that. Banning is not the solution. They should first focus on recycling rather than banning stuff.