An exclusive interview from Mr. Mihir V Shah, Executive Director of Vipul Organics Limited.
Paper Desk : Could you let us know about Vipul Organics?
Mihir V Shah : Vipul Organics Limited (VOL) was established in 1972 and is today one of the largest manufacturers of Pigments and Dyes in India, with 4 manufacturing facilities. Our head office is in Mumbai and have sales offices in Egypt, Mexico and Ahmedabad. Today VOL exports to 45+ countries.
We produce pigment intermediates from which we produce pigments and from the pigments we produce pigment dispersions. This backward forward integration helps us consistently to provide quality and cost effective solutions to our customers. VOL caters to a wide spectrum of categories ranging from Paper, Printing ink, Coatings, Seed coating, Latex and Textiles. VOL operates with the highest level of compliance and standards applicable globally.
PD : What are your company’s mission & vision?
MS : Vision :
“Make each individual’s life on the planet colorful with our wide palatte of colors”.
“To develop and nurture long lasting business relationships with our customers by increasing the ambit and application of our colors, providing ace quality and economical coloring solutions that meet the changing needs of our global clients”.
PD : Company’s culture & values given to your employees?
MS : VOL is celebrating 50 glorious years in the colour industry. It is a rich legacy, wherein the third generation is in the leadership role in the company.
VOL has a close knit family of 350+ and we have a transparent way of working at every level in the organisation. VOL is blessed to have people join us and then grow with us professionally, with some stalwarts who have been with us for over 3 decades. This has only been possible because of strong work ethics, an inclusive culture and fundamentally strong systems and processes, which focuses on each individual’s growth with us.
PD : What are all the products you manufacture for the paper application industry?
MS : Vipul Organics Limited manufactures pigment dispersions which are sold under the brand name SunPulp®, direct dyes in both powder as well as liquid form which are sold under the brand name SunDirect®, and some Basic dyes such as Rhodamine, Methyl Violet for the paper industry.
PD : How advanced are your technical features of your manufacturing plants?
MS : Currently VOL has four manufacturing locations at Palghar, Tarapur, Ambernath and Navi Mumbai. Each unit is designed in such a way that it can complement each other by making similar products and also raw material for the other factories.
We have divided our product range based on the colors between all our manufacturing sites. This helps us maintain confidentiality of the processes also mitigates the risk to a great extent by avoiding any contamination of colors, foreign substances, etc.
Tarapur plant was the latest addition to our manufacturing units. This plant positioned VOL amongst the top manufacturing companies in India. Our plants are equipped with state of art facilities with a lot of focus on automation as well as on application of pigments which is key for success in today’s dynamic world.
Our facilities are equipped with not only the best and most cutting edge technology for the sector, but also have the highest available certifications internationally.
Since we export to 45+ countries, it is imperative for us to use the global best practices for manufacturing, and we are committed to bettering the international standards.
Until 2015, VOL had 95% revenue coming from outside of India. Today, we are focusing very aggressively in increasing our presence in India. We are continuously working towards building our distributor network in India to cater to every region and every customer. Today, in 2023, we have domestic sales constituting nearly 30% of the business. I am confident that we will equal our domestic sales to that of exports in the next 24 months.
PD : Being one of India’s largest manufacturers of pigments and dyes, how Vipul organics stands from other competitors in making quality products?
MS : VOL is known to supply quality products across the world. We are known for our quality and service. Each of our facilities is a dedicated unit produce a dedicated set of products which prevents chances of contamination and offer the right product for our customers.
Also, since we are backward-forward integrated, quality control is done at multiple level of the value chain which results in the final product being of top quality.
VOL works with the top five customers in every segment which also creates a positive pressure on us to continuously increase our benchmark of quality.
PD : May we know more about your acid dyes?
MS : Acid dyes are mainly used for wool / leather application.
PD : Do you manufacture liquid direct dyes for paper industry?
MS : Yes, we manufacture Direct dyes in both powder as well as in liquid form for the paper industry.
PD : Vipul organics dyes are eco-friendly and free from banned amines?
MS : All our products are free from Banned amines, Heavy metals, AZO/ APEO free. We operate with global regulation level such as GOTS/ OEKO-TEX, ZDHC.
PD : What about your basic dyes and its applications?
MS : We deal in basic dyes for paper such as Auramine, Rhodamine, Malachite Green and Methyl Violet, Bismark Brown.
PD : What are all the other industries you serve currently?
MS : We serve various industries with our basket of color solutions. We cater to Paint and Coatings segment, Printing Ink, Textiles, Rubber/ EVA, Seed Coloring, Cosmetics and Food industry.
PD : Do you have advanced & sophisticated is your lab and R&D facilities to assure the quality standards of your products?
MS : We sincerely believe that the success in Dyes and Pigment industry is achieved when one has a clear understanding of the application of the customers. We cater to customers across segments such as PAPER, Coatings, Printing inks, Textile, Seed colouring. We have a dedicated lab to cater to each of these applications.
We use best in class equipment for testing this application relying a lot on Global technologies. We have even made sure that we use the same brand of the equipment to test our products as are used by our customers so there is no variation in testing between our labs and customer’s test method. These labs are also headed by professionals and experts of the industry with decades of experience.
We take pride in the fact that VOL has one of the best technical teams with us across every application whose experience has resulted in many new products and continuous innovation. Currently we have three R&D labs situated in Tarapur, Palghar and Ambernath. Each lab is working on projects which is going to drive growth for the organisation by catering to the future requirements of our global customers.
PD : Industry barriers you face in Indian Market & what kind of support you expect from authorities?
MS : The major area of focus from the government in order to encourage the chemical industry, should be to provide an adequate infrastructure which can take care of the effluent load of our industry in the right and sustainable way. This should be done by setting industry parks with economical land banks, common effluent treatment systems and PLI schemes.
This will really boost the morale of the industry in India and in true sense we can then have the scale and size and achieve economies of scale against China who is still dominating various manufacturing verticals due to their infrastructure support.
Once this hurdle is cleared, entrepreneurs would start focussing on higher investment in technology and focus on achieving higher market share for the country. Currently a lot of time and energy is wasted in activities which involves bureaucracy and hampers ease of doing business.
PD : What is your goal & focus in the Industry?
MS : We are focussing on creating a more robust backward—forward integration of our products. We are going to manufacture close to 70% of our raw material in scale, in order to be more cost effective and create a strong value chain for the organisation. This will also make us more self sustainable and reduce dependency on imported raw material.
We are also working on creating one of the largest facilities for pigment dispersion in India which is a forward integration of our products. This backward and forward integration mega projects would create a unique complex for the company, wherein we would be manufacturing everything from the basic material to a technology backed product for our customers. This will increase our foothold in various application and also create a healthy bottom line for the company.
PD : Four facilities and more than 50 years in the industry and how does it feel?
MS : It feels great to have a rich legacy of over 50 years. I feel privileged to work with a few team members who joined the organization during my grandfather’s time and now I am working with them. With this legacy there is a strong responsibility towards the society, stake holders and our valued customers.
The brand ‘Vipul Organics’ is now present in over 45 countries. The 50 year journey has been incredible, and we have the confidence and experience of growing exponentially in the next phase. We are geared up to moving to multiple newer orbits both organically and inorganically.
PD : How do you see the growth of Indian paper industry in near future?
MS : I believe that the Indian paper industry is going to see an exciting time in the near future. Currently per capita use of paper in India is only 13 kgs, whereas globally, in developed countries, the average is 57 kgs. We will have tremendous growth in paper industry as the consumption increases. India is seeing a massive growth in the flexible packing, food packing, E commerce, etc., which is going to contribute to this growth.
PD : What is your idea about sustainability of paper industry?
MS : I see that there is a lot of work being done in the area of adopting sustainable operations in paper industry. Shift in mindset is seen right from using recycled pulp to recycling water. We are witnessing a number of paper industry players shifting from using Dyes to more of Pigments in their processes, since it has a lot of advantages and cost savings in the long run.
We have also started encouraging the use of Pigments for the industry. Pigments are water insoluble hence it can easily be treated and processed in the effluent treatment plant. Dyes are water soluble and water requirement increases a lot during processing of dyes. VOL offers pigments in liquid form so the mill can use it directly to coat paper, without having to process the pigments. Pigments also offers much higher light fastness and require much less dosage as compared to dyes. When these costs are accounted for, one would shift to using pigments immediately which is extremely sustainable even for the environment.
PD : How does your company contribute to the society?
MS : At management level, we are engaged in multiple activities for the society. This is not done as a part of our CSR initiative, but it is done a part of our routine life. We are involved in activities such as Education of underprivileged boys and girls and provision of free meals / grains and daily needs to hundreds, We also operate dialysis centre in Mumbai wherein the underprivileged pay less than 100 Rupees, and in most cases we treat them for free.
We have an animal care centre/ “Gaushala” near Nasik in Maharashtra, where thousands of animals such as cows, buffaloes, goats are rescued from slaughter houses and are taken care of, for their daily and medical needs.
The most recent initiative we have undertaken is in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh wherein we are setting up a medical Diagnostic centre for the underprivileged, which will have the latest Radiology, Pathology, OPD consults at an extremely low pricing. We also have a family trust which contributes to these causes.
PD : Has you company awarded for any achievements?
MS : We have been presented the Best Exporter Award multiple times by the Chemicals and Dyes council of India: Chemexcil. We have been now awarded: ISO 45001 and ISO 14001 for our initiative for recycling nearly 95% of water used in our process. This system also makes us one of the largest ZERO LIQUID DISCHARGE (ZLD) plant operator in the field of Dyes and Pigments.
PD : Any other news do you want to share with us for our readers?:
MS : I would like to highlight an interesting fact about the colours used in paper industry. The highest level of pigments used in the paper industry are in the writing and printing paper/ white paper followed by the coloured paper/craft paper and then duplex board. This space was dominated by multinationals for decades who were operating at a very very high margin while supplying pigments and dyes to the paper industry.
In India, VOL entered the paper industry only 2 years ago, with lot of backed work and upgradation of technology in the quality of products available in the market. Today, we take pride in the fact that we are working with the biggest mills in the country and have replaced the multinationals in most of the pockets, by providing better quality of material at a much better value for money prices.
I really feel happy that VOL is playing a vital role in helping the paper industry reduce their cost and improve their margins by using superior quality of colouring products.