KMPA president Saji S Nair spoke to PrintWeek India on the eve of the occasion along with the KMPA committee members.
PWI: What should visitors expect from Print Miracle which opens in 96 hours?
KMPA: There are more than 100 exhibitors at the show. There will be lots of small manufacturers who will showcase their machines. Not all print firm CEOs in South India can participate in events like Pamex or PrintPack. Therefore Print Miracle in Kochi is their preferred destination.
PWI: The previous edition was a busy show ...
KMPA: The digital print component, during the last Print Miracle Expo was exciting. There was an HP and Xerox launch. These players look at this market as a very fertile growth segment. There would be a lot more digital at Print Miracle due to the impact of the PrintPack India show. Secondly, all the major companies will be present. Focus areas are: digital print, post-press and ERP plus other solution providers.
PWI: What are the expectation for the KMPA Awards which are being hosted along side the Expo?
KMPA: We expect entries from more than hundred presses. The customer's demand has not increased but we the print industry in Kerala have pampered the customers. That pampering has happened because of the Awards. Thanks to the Awards, all of us have started producing better works. The customers have a feel-good factor and that has set the standard. Also, after the Awards, we find younger secondhand machines being installed in Kerala. Or brand new kit. Kerala print industry has become conscious about product quality and consistency. This year at the National Awards of Excellence in Print hosted by the All India Federation of Master Printers there were ten award-winners from Kerala. Nine print firms plus Malayala Manorama.
PWI: One feather in your cap is: KMPA’s Print Yatra in Kerala. What is the thought process behind the Print Yatra and what have you achieved?
KMPA: I, Saji S Nair am a newcomer in the Association. I feel if I interact with my friends, I can make a difference. For this, I need to know my fellow members. We don’t have any data about what the machines they own, converting capacities, employees and overheads. When we approach the government, we have no industry data. This is because we don’t have much of interactions. In the past, less than 15 members are regular to the KMPA meetings. The remaining printers are outside of the KMPA space. That’s how we started visiting printers in other cities. We have covered Thrissur, Calicut and Kottayam. In all we have covered 14 districts. We have mapped almost 90 percent of the state, except Trivandrum since it is the concluding city.
PWI: What were the discoveries and findings?
KMPA: In Kottayam, the entire printing fraternity accompanied the KMPA core team during the visit to all the factories. This feeling of brotherhood and being recognised is nice. The metaphor with Print Yatra, can be related to Mahatma Gandhi arriving on the shores of India and daring to learn more about India. He travelled across the length and breadth of the country. KMPA is trying to achieve the same goals in a Kerala since the past few months. The context is the same but the scale is lower.
PWI: What about the famous KMPA Monday meeting?
KMPA: We have seen the bonding between the members being increased. Earlier, we used to host Monday meetings, too. But very few members use to participate in it. Now we have 35 members participating in a meet every Monday. The members have started attending and the bonding has grown multifold. Every chairman has an individual role plus the organisation structure has changed.
PWI: You discuss issues and grievances?
KMPA: Yes. We have a chairman with individual portfolios like machinery, paper chairman and others. So each chairman has an individual portfolio.
If there were queries from a SME or MSME printer about a specific taxation issue, then the chairman is answerable. As a result, lots of specific issues are discussed and there is a lot of knowledge-sharing. Earlier, the printer did not communicate but now his mindset has changed.
The inauguration of the three-day show and conference of Print Miracle
PWI: What is update from Kerala?
KMPA: We are literate, the GDP and per capita income is robust. If you look at the per capita wealth, it is the highest in Kerala. Every third person owns a vehicle and every sixth person owns a home. This will not happen in any other part of India. There are people who have stopped investments in the Middle East. Now they are investing in Kerala since it is much more lucrative and attractive and “safe”. For example, during the Print Miracle show the deals and orders were the highest among the boutique shows in the country. Most of the digital and post-press machines were sold out.
PWI: You speak of digital, but sheetfed is not lagging behind either. Right?
KMPA: The big machines are landing on our shores. From August, an average of three machines would be installed in Kerala along with four plus one configuration.
PWI: What about training and education?
KMPA: We have contributed Rs 1 lakh in terms of a monetary part, plus regular training programs. We get a lot of good students and we recruit from the 15 institutions including private institutions. PrintWeek India must understand, today, the biggest problem with the print industry is, there is no respect in this industry. We are collaborating with the government institutes to promote our industry. We started this activity about four years ago. The project was initiated by the government of Kerala, who can give the training to the students. The government will give training to 12- plus students. The aim is they need to posses the expertise after two years of studies and then they can opt for a specialised subject. We have prepared the syllabus for the students. KMPA creates the curriculum and the practical training activities. Once they pass out, we absorb them into our industry.
PWI: The Print and Beyond seminar in 2017 was a huge success. What is the plan for the next edition?
Person: We are looking at a lot more participation from outside of Kerala. This time, a huge segment from Tamil Nadu and students from Manipal wanted to attend. Next time we will double the number of delegates.
Print and Beyond 2017 attendees
Print Miracle Expo 2017
Organised by Kerala Master Printers Association
Co-organised by Showcase
7-9 April 2017
CIAL Trade & Exhibition Centre