I recently visited India as the Shadowfax network of channel partners has been growing rapidly over the past few months. The agenda of the visit was to meet as many of them as possible. I arrived in New Delhi on 28th June. It was a tightly scheduled trip, with back to back flights and short stays in the cities that Kirti and I visited. We covered the Northern and Eastern India in 10 days.
After arriving in Delhi on the 28th of June, we caught a flight on the following day, to go further north to visit two of our ace channel partners in Chandigarh and Baddi. Returning to Delhi by road from Chandigarh was sure a thrilling experience. I must say India has almost quadrupled the vehicles on her roads since the early 1990’s.
Raj Sons Enterprises, our Indenting agent and Importer for the Northern region. Raj Sons started importing our CREST® Pressroom Chemicals just a few months ago and I am impressed by the way they have penetrated the northern Indian market. On 30th June we had a general meeting with Rahul and Nikhil Mahajan. The next day, 1st July, we visited their dealers DS India, Lens and Graphics and Star Prints, etc. Apparently there were more dealers to visit but due to a tight schedule and the heavy traffic on the roads in New Delhi we were unable to.
The next destination was Kolkata – the “City of Joy” which has retained its old world charm of the British Era. The Printing and Packaging Industry in this eastern metropolis of India has flourished over the past two decades and is competing with the Bangladesh printing market fiercely.
AK Traders, our new channel partner in Kolkata, are promoting our Pressroom Products and specialty chemicals to some of the most reputed Printers in Kolkata. We had a nice meeting and their plan to venture into the Assam, Orrisa and Bihar markets in the future was pretty impressive and I was glad to learn that they would be importing the next container directly from us. After a nice lunch of Dosa and Idli in Saltlake, we proceeded to the airport to fly to Nagpur.
Nagpur, also known as the “Orange City” is located in the heart of India. I was informed is one of the hottest cities in India and the British once thought of making Nagpur as the capital but dropped the plan – maybe due to the immense heat.
Bombay Wellprint Inks Pvt. Ltd., our sole indenting agent for the Newspaper segment in India was founded by Dr. Ravi Gandhi, a heart surgeon who now manufactures Inks. They are one of the major importers of our Founts like CREST® Daily C, CREST® Multi Fount, etc. They have been aggressively marketing our general purpose blanket and roller wash like CREST® Multi Wash and CREST® Neteja. We had a great interaction with Mr. Ayush Gandhi, Executive Director and Dr. Gandhi’s younger son who now looks after the marketing along with Mr. Vipin Kothari, their Financial Director. Paid a visit to Lokmat Newspaper at Butibori, located around 30kms from Nagpur. They have an impressive battery of Manugraph Hi-Line printing presses and a heatset Mitsubishi Lithopia. The Lokmat group itself buys almost 2 container loads comprising of our founts, washes, plate cleaners and specialty chemicals every month.
Next day after a brief meeting with Thulaseedharan Nair, our Technical Sales Executive of India Branch, Kirti and I were off to Ahmedabad. This is the city that gave Shadowfax Products the first break.
The next day I was in for a surprise when our Indenting agent for Gujarat, Mr. Parashar Bhatt of Sai Chemicals turned up with almost seven to eight people. I was introduced to them as the “Dealer of Shadowfax Pressroom Chemicals”. I was pleased to see how Mr. Parashar Bhatt has created a strong dealer network. Unfortunately, our Surat dealer, who sells a lot of our CREST® Fount Zero, could not make it to the meeting that day. Anyway, over several rounds of “Chai”, Coffee and biscuits, our meeting lasted for more than 3 hours. We parted ways with new resolutions for the business ahead.
Returning to Mumbai the next day and on our way from the airport, we had a nice lunch at an old Parsi restaurant called “Britannia” in Ballard Pier, a business area developed by the British.
We visited SDS Papers Pvt. Ltd. They import our CREST® Products for the western state of Maharashtra. Their sister concern, Shah Devji Shivji is one of the oldest paper trading firms in western India. After a brief meeting and after having planned the future plan of action, we returned to my hotel. The following day, after another round of meetings with Kirti and Seema, I left for the airport to return home.
This Concludes The India Trip
This trip was very productive and we met a lot of interesting people. It was a tiring journey but productive. Looking forward to more trips like this to India.