How Urvashi Pulp & Paper Mills is going global with its new venture UPPM Kraft

From a small paper mill in 1983, to recycling 84 million kgs of paper waste every year to make kraft paper, Urvashi Pulp & Paper Mills’ vision is to expand globally through exports
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Someone once rightly said, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” At the very crux of the proverb is the need to optimize the finite amount of resources available to mankind to create a better tomorrow. Urvashi Pulp & Paper Mills Pvt Ltd (Urvashi), a third-generation family business, decided to act on this promise 38 years ago. As one of the largest producers of kraft board pan India, the company has a combined annual production capacity of over 100,000 metric tonnes with two manufacturing units — two at GIDC Industrial Estate, Ankleshwar, Gujarat (Kraft Board) and the other at MIDC Kurkumbh, Maharashtra (Kraft Paper).

Little money, big dreams

When Mahendrabhai P Shah moved to Gujarat in 1983 with a dollar and a dream, he purchased a tiny, distressed paper mill with no knowledge of how to operate it. For most of its formative years, the company was trying to stand on its feet like any other business. The real growth spurt came during India’s industrial boom and coincidently the same period when the reins of the company were handed over to Mahendrabhai’s son, Sundeep Shah.

Inheriting a struggling business with a monthly production of 250 metric tonnes, Sundeep scaled the business to new heights.

His prediction of a trickle-down effect on the paper packaging industry with the growth of e-commerce and environmental awareness, couldn’t have been more accurate. Today, with an 8 percent annual growth rate, the industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors and at the heart of it is sustainable waste management.

Behind the scenes

With a 120-member team, Urvashi recycles over 84 million kgs of paper waste yearly from all around the world to produce kraft paper.

The waste paper is used as raw material, goes through a capital-intensive process and is converted into kraft boards which are used as packaging material in various industries. These are used for the production of POY and FDY tubes for textile yarn, cotton yarn corns, core pipes which are used for packaging tapes/tissues/foil, and high-strength core pipes used to package flexible packaging like plastic film. These paper tubes, depending on their characteristics, are used to wind POY, FDY and DTY yarn, stretch plastic film, tapes, tissues, industrial films, and even paper cores for the paper that Urvashi produces.

The latest feather in the hat

The company recently launched UPPM Kraft Papers Pvt Ltd, adds a suite of vertically integrated solutions to Urvashi’s portfolio of products. A subsidiary of Urvashi Pulp & Paper Mills Pvt Ltd, this new venture will now be offering packaging products such as textile tubes, corrugated boxes, flexible packaging tubes, to name a few. The major customers for this venture would be other manufacturers with requirements for tubes to wind and package their products.

“A vertical integration into the product line opens up a new market and we are very keen to explore this opportunity for India & the rest of the world,” says Sundeep.

In addition, Urvashi plans to set up another unit in the next few years to increase its suite of products to all grades of paper (both packaging and tube).

Growth powered by the Kaizen mindset

Since its inception, Urvashi Paper has adopted a 100 percent paper recycling strategy that aims to minimize deforestation or the use of wood pulp to produce paper. Keeping in mind the government’s initiative for using renewable sources and recycling materials, Urvashi has developed a greenfield project.

The Japanese Kaizen mindset of continuous improvement is the secret to the company’s strong belief in consistent growth. Since paper production is a capital-intensive industry, Urvashi is always investing in new capital, and constantly upgrading machines and processes.

Sundeep says, “We always strive to grow. You’re either growing or dying. For us, the utmost contributing factor is discipline and ensuring that we're able to supply consistent quality of kraft boards in India and all over the world.”

He adds, “Our company motto is 'Sustainable Growth through Quality' and we strive to maintain the same standards every day, month and year. We believe in relationships and stand by our customers 24/7 for 365 days."

Creating a new era for a global family business

Fast forward to today, third-generation entrant Krish Shah is striving to establish an international presence for the company. After earning a degree in Industrial Engineering from Penn State University, he is now pursuing an MBA at Babson College, Massachusetts.

His focus has since been to put Urvashi on the global map by way of exports. With this vision and the passion for investing in new technology and processes, The company has been able to further groom its products to match international standards. Although its client base initially spanned across western India, today it is making inroads in 15+ Indian states. Over the last three years, its export division has penetrated 15+ global markets diving into the Asian, African and South American continents.

Krish sees the world as his playground and is positive about expansion due to the immense potential of the industry and the ease of operations today. “I believe diversification and globalization are two keys to unlock the future. Our goal over the next decade is to integrate vertically into paper conversion, expand our suite of products to produce paper bags, cartons and tissues, making Urvashi a truly global name and an end-to-end solution for our customers," says Krish.


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