Print industry's captain from Hyderabad - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

10 March 2018

Dayaker Reddy is a printer and a print equipment manufacturer from Hyderabad, and the president of IPAMA.

There are over 1.8-lakh printers in India, and IPAMA has 368 print equipment manufacturers as its members.

Reddy is alert to the effect of economic policy changes in his region’s print sector as well as the Indian print manufacturing, the challenges, and says PrintPack India 2018 is the one to watch on print.

In this Sunday Column, Reddy discusses the tentativeness in the print industry, manufacturers adopting latest techniques and how print-manufacturing partnership will prove to be a recipe for success

dayaker-reddy Reddy: "244 exhibitors have booked their space for PrintPack 2019"

You are the president of IPAMA, a print equipment manufacturer, a printer, and hail from Hyderabad, the capital of both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. How do you manage?
Dayaker Reddy (DR): As President of IPAMA, I have multifarious duties, responsibilities and liabilities. I have to attend various government meetings, conferences, and functions at different locations.  I am also visiting a number of countries in connection with the promotion of the aims and objectives of IPAMA and Asia Print Association (being the president of Asia Print Association). Successful organisation of the forthcoming PrintPack India 2019 exhibition is on my priority list. The works become easier if you have a dedicated staff. 

And your own businesses?
DR: I manage my manufacturing business with the assistance of well experienced and qualified directors of the board of my company; dedicated managerial staff, trained workers and technical personnel.  We have to only guide them which I am doing through today’s fastest communication systems like internet and mobile.

Your Telangana connection?
DR: I have been associated with a number of technical and educational institutions in the state of Telangana and my passion towards print technology, being a qualified technologist, has driven me to enter into the field of manufacturing different types of printing machines and related equipment in my home state itself.

Hyderabad was the engine that drove the economy of Andhra Pradesh. What changes are we seeing now that it’s the capital of the two states? How has it benefited the print industry in the two states?
DR: I agree that Hyderabad was the engine that drove the economy of undivided Andhra Pradesh to new heights, particularly in the field of information technology, pharmaceuticals, electricals and electrical goods, automobiles, hospitals, textiles, aeronautics and educational institutions of high reputation.  Even after the formation of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad is still a centre place and hub for various business activities, including print industry, even though some of the units are shifting to different locations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.  However, new printing units are also coming up in both the states which is a positive indication of the progress of the print industry.  The existence of educational and related institutions has immensely benefited the print and print equipment manufacturing industry.

The CM of Andhra Pradesh is unhappy with Centre, particularly pointing out the inadequacies in budgetary allocation to his state of Andhra Pradesh…
DR: As per the media reports, the CM is demanding special economic status for Andhra Pradesh. In furtherance of this, he had visited Delhi a number of times and had meetings with the concerned ministers.  The central government has provided financial assistance to the state government for construction of the new capital of Andhra Pradesh and the establishment of state-controlled units.

According to reports, AP needs a special package?
DR: Yes, it’s for further development of the state. 

In that sense, what’s happening in print pockets like Vijayawada, Guntur and Vizag among others?
DR: As far as I know, there is not much change in the print pockets in Vijayawada, Guntur and Vizag.  Some of the units in these cities are now replacing their existing machinery with new ones based on high performance. New printing units are also coming up in and around these cities.  In the recent past, more than 100 web machines have been installed in different cities in the state of Andhra Pradesh itself.

Vijayawada has some big names like Akruti Digipress, Hitech Print System, and JC Graphics who have continued to be successful. Then we have Sri Sivarama Digital Press in Rajahmundry achieve the same kind of success. What’s the main difference between these successful print companies and those who just stay where they are?
DR: As far as Vijayawada is concerned, I agree that the companies named by you are performing well and have their own success stories.  Sri Sivarama Digital Press in Rajahmundry is also a big name in the print industry and has its own story of success.  Some of the printers from Vijayawada, Guntur, and Vishakhapatnam, who have yet to switch over to modern printing technology or have not made investments for creating new infrastructure facilities, are still managing their family business with their existing system.  However, such printers are also moving towards adoption of new technologies by making necessary investments. 

Reddy was the chief guest for the state-level symposium conducted at Arasan Ganesan Polytechnic College

As someone associated with the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh printer associations, what are some issues you feel are of significance to the printers in the two states today?
DR: The issues before the printers in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are almost the same which exist in other parts of the country.  As the new printers mushroom, competition rises, which results in low profits in spite of the fact that most of the printers are now using printing equipment, based on modern technology to remain in the race.

What are the difficulties?
DR: The major issues related to the availability of power tariff, skilled labour, technical institutions for providing qualified printing technologists or engineers to printing and print manufacturing units, the establishment of exclusive corridors/zones for printing and print manufacturing industry, easy availability of finance etc.  These are some of the issues which are significant for the betterment of the printing industry in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as also in the other Indian states.

What’s the update on PrintPack India 2019?
DR: As on date, 244 exhibitors have booked their space for participation in the forthcoming show in 2019 slated to be held in February 2019. 

You have aligned with few other associations as well? 
DR: We have also signed MOUs with the Indian Paper Corrugated & Packaging Machinery Manufacturers’ Association (ICPMA); Screen Printers’ Association of India (SPAI); Association of Label Printers & Suppliers (ALPS) and Bangladesh Mudran Shilp Samiti, for promotion and participation of their members in the exhibition.  Many Associations are in the pipeline with whom MOUs will also be signed very soon.  We have also entered into barter agreements with the publishers of magazines and bulletins for the promotion of this mega event.  

You held several roadshows in the run-up to the previous edition. What’s on the card this time around?
DR: IPAMA has already organised two roadshows, one in Mumbai on the eve of Pamex 2017 and the other one in Amritsar. We will organise more roadshows in different cities in the coming months. 

In the past, IPAMA had participated in a number of national and international exhibitions for the promotion of the 2017 edition.  For PrintPack India 2019, I can assure you that the promotional activities will be much bigger in comparison to the previous editions of the show.

You’ve been in the print industry since 2003, seen great times, difficult times, and of late two major shocks. What's your assessment of the state of the Indian print equipment industry right now?
DR: I have been in the print industry much before 2003. In fact, I was associated with the industry since 1995.  Since then I have seen a number of ups and downs in the industry.  As per my assessment, the print industry is now on the right track with a bright future.  The latest changes made in the policies of the central government will give a further boost to the print manufacturing industry. 

I fully understand the ‘two shocks’ you are referring to, but the latest media reports show that in spite of the two major decisions taken by the central government in the past, the Indian GDP has recovered fast and gone up significantly high.  It has also surpassed the GDPs of some of the most developed countries.

What are some issues you feel are of significance to the Indian print equipment manufacturers today? What we see today is that more and more print equipment manufacturers, barring a couple, are taking up agencies of international companies, rather than focusing on manufacturing. Is that the right way to go?
DR: IPAMA had raised a number of issues with the government agencies requesting them to impose restrictions on the import of junk/very old machinery from selected countries which had adversely affected the manufacturing print industry in India in the past. 

What has been the response?
DR: The central government has already taken steps to boost the manufacturing industry in the country by taking appropriate steps as far as the import of machinery is concerned. My views slightly differ with you on manufacturers taking up agencies of international companies.

DR: The printing and packaging manufacturing industry in India is now absorbing latest technology and is also open for foreign direct investment and for collaboration with foreign partners for setting up of manufacturing units in India under the “Make in India” policy. 

What else?
DR: The exporters of printing machinery and allied products should get export incentive from the Government of India.  This will be a morale booster for the print and print manufacturing industry. 

IPAMA has also requested the Government of India for providing necessary assistance to the manufacturing units in setting up of research and development units which will improve the quality of their products in accordance with the requirements of international standards.

There is also a need that educational institutions, associations and printers work in tandem with each other for the development of the next generation so that qualified manpower is available for absorption in the printing and print manufacturing industry.

In your opinion, what can IPAMA and its members do to advance some of the causes that are important to the industry and help ensure the long-term success of print equipment manufacturing?
DR: IPAMA has already taken a number of initiatives to help the print manufacturing units with a view to ensuring long-term success.   

What are the initiatives?
DR: IPAMA is also providing financial assistance from its own funds to its member to promote their machine at overseas market. IPAMA had also taken up various issues with the government agencies for addressing the same in pursuance to which the Government of India has already taken a number of steps to improve the functioning of the print manufacturing industry.  As stated in one of your questions, the print equipment manufacturing units are now adopting latest technology and are also setting up their own research and development units for further improvement in the quality of the products in accordance with the international standards. 

I am of the firm view that the print manufacturing industry in India is on the right track.  It has already made a significant contribution to Indian GDP.

And finally, the printers in India are balancing quite a few tasks and priorities these days. Not only are they meeting new challenges like short-runs, quick delivery and consistency in print and converting, they are also trying to reduce costs in their operations. In turn, are the print equipment manufacturers doing enough to help the printers balance it out?
DR: The print equipment manufacturers are now supplying machinery and other equipment to the Indian print industry based on high performance and latest technology in comparison to earlier days.  The manufacturing industry in India is also comparable to the best in most of the developed countries.  Indian manufacturers of print equipment are exporting their products to different countries even though there is still a wide gap in imports and exports. 

Reddy (second from left) during the launch of PrintPack India 2019

Fun questions

How did you get into printing?
I was fascinated by printing since I was in standard six, and inspired by A Prabhu Kumar, who is now in JNTU, Hyderabad.

What is your favourite film?

Who or what do you hate the most?
Selfishness and corruption

What is your favourite saying as IPAMA president?
Our unity is our strength, march together with confidence for a better tomorrow.

What is the unique association meeting you’ve ever attended?
It was the Sri Lanka Printers’ Association Awards ceremony, which was very impressive.

Which c-tier town you visited – impressed you the most?
Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu

What’s your worst fashion disaster?
When I tried my Pancha kattu (dhoti) at my cousin’s wedding.

What is the worst kind of print?
The perceived creativity of a printer who prints every sheet in different colour variation.

What was the best business deal that you’ve pulled off?
I sold six cutting machines in Ellams Products in Nairobi, Kenya, while I was expecting Ellams would buy only one.

PP 19 will be …?
PrintPack India 2019 will be an umbrella exhibition for all segments of the graphic arts industry. It is going to be a unique event in the world.

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