Aaditya Kashyap makes a Mark with business growth - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

By 05 May 2019

Print is in flux? There is steady (but slow) growth in the market, and the competition is tough, plus the cost of producing print is rising. The world is not what it was.

Can print grow? Aaditya Kashyap, managing director of Marks Group seems to think so.

In this Sunday Column, the Chandigarh-based Kashyap shares his views

Kashyap: "We need to ensure accountability within the organisation for the achievement of strategic and tactical goals"

Ensuring the right sales and sales management strategies

In any organisation, the sales and marketing strategy plays a pivotal role in the success of the business. Often, printing companies start with manufacturing investments decisions rather than understanding the needs of the market. Moreover, this has been leading to too many printers in the market without any unique differentiation in the product, business models or service driving to only the last available resort of entering price wars to survive. This is not only killing the business but the whole industry.

As stated by Seth Godin, the sales and marketing genius - “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” This should be the mantra for our print industry to follow and develop unique product and service offerings and build it into a sales management strategy.

Once the marketing and product strategy is well defined, the sales management strategy will make all the difference to convert leads into business by having an informed sales force, clear sales territories and targets, periodic sales data analysis, and regular sales training. To reach here, all printers must invest in right technology tools like CRM and Business Intelligence systems which can track every prospect, opportunity and also give insight into the market needs.

The perfect winning sales management strategy is all about the right product, well-defined sales processes, personal connect, patience and perseverance.

Putting in the time and effort to create and execute actionable business plans

I believe that “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” Without a plan, even the most brilliant business can get lost. We need to have goals, create milestones and have a strategy in place to be successful. A well-written business plan primarily focuses on keeping the business on the proper track. From managing required funds to hiring employees to make strategies for future growth, an actionable business plan acts as a strong foundation for achieving these goals.

The way I see it is that an actionable business plan is like a GPS on the road to reach the business destination. We need to start by defining and selecting the best route. When we use a GPS, we have the added confidence that we will not lose our way and that we will get to our destination as planned with few or no surprises. It only makes sense that we should expect as carefully for our businesses so that we can be sure if we are moving in the right direction. A well-documented and actionable business plan helps us map out the journey to take our company from where it is today to where we want it to go.

We need to ensure accountability within the organisation for the achievement of strategic and tactical goals

We understand that accountability can help businesses achieve strategic plans and hence put much effort to build and boost accountability throughout the organisation.

We try to set clear expectations and let employees take ownership of their work areas. We believe ownership fosters responsibility. Which is followed up with regular reviews where the achievers are appreciated for the good and coached for shortfall in performance.

It is apparent that employee accountability won’t happen overnight. However, with steady measures, it can be imbibed in the work culture.

The role of mergers and acquisitions

Leave aside a few large players in the Indian print business, a majority of the printers fall under the MSME segment. For these printers, the big challenge is access to capital. We do not see any significant backing of print or packaging companies by venture capital or private equity firms in India like in the West. Moreover, because of the small sizes of businesses, the ability to raise money is minimal plus the cost of capital is high.

Thus, survival and growth of small-scale business in the print industry would be challenging where the buyers are continually looking for higher efficiencies and lower costs and faster turnaround time only possible with significant capital investments.

Therefore the only viable solution in today’s scenario is mergers and acquisitions.

We feel the industry is ready for this consolidation in the next few years and we should see many new alignments in the industry.

At Marks, we are evaluating some investments and acquisitions in print companies which complement our strengths in geographical reach, technical knowledge, customer base, specialised workforce, infrastructure, and capital.

Disruptive innovation using digital technologies

A common misconception of the printing industry is that it is in decline and that the need to print will decrease as technology continues to develop. The reality is quite the contrary. Through innovation and the shift to focus on services, the print industry has continued to grow. The print is larger than the online advertising industry, music industry and video game industry — combined.

The timing is right for the print industry to explore and adopt a new wave of innovations and develop new avenues of business. Digital print platforms are opening up a whole world of possibilities for boosting emotional engagement with a consumer, and creating new revenue streams, which allow brands, design agencies and retailers to become more creative. Some of these companies are launching innovative campaigns to engage with consumers; while other businesses across the value chain can evolve new, lucrative business models.

Whether it is commercial printing or packaging, printers have to consider building more technical skills and develop complementing service offerings like web to print, print on demand, creative services, fulfillment services, logistical services,  data analytics, offline to online customer engagement promotions by investing in technical backend services and bundling print along with these other value additions.

There is a growing demand for brand security using track and trace systems. We also see newer developments in printed electronics that is expected to bring some innovative use cases. All these are multi-billion opportunities that need innovative services and solutions.

Overall, I feel that it is a great time and opportunity for the print industry to embrace the new technology and bring disruptive innovative ideas to life.

The upcoming Marks plant in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh

MARKS at Marks

M for Modern Manufacturing –

At Marks, we have invested in best in class technology from the global leaders in this industry having made a decision to go with two Gallus label master units at one go, Pantec print decoration unit, a Prati label finishing lines and AVT inline inspection systems. This has given us an edge in creating a modern label factory that can produce unique products

A for Amazing Customer Xperience (CX) –

At Marks we feel CX shall be the biggest differentiator for us in the industry. We are achieving this through the implementation of ERP and CRM systems to support our service levels

R for Right Quality, Right Time and Right Price –

We believe in providing the highest quality suitable to the final end use of the label, consistent from one run to the next. We always strive to provide a quick turnaround time at a fair price and maximum value to customers, no matter how large or small the job may be.

K for Killer Product Innovation –

We live and breathe product innovation. We are working on some of the cutting-edge technology to labels. We have partnered with technology leaders to introduce attractive embellishment and strong brand security solutions using registered hologram and lens insertion, software solutions with track and trace features using blockchain and promotional tools like AR/VR for brand engagement

S for Supporting Print Education –

We are passionate about backing up the cause of promoting print education in India. What we do today will affect our long-term future, therefore by paying attention to the print education, we contribute to the harmonious development of the entire print industry as part of our CSR



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