Manu Choudhury: A modern printing press is where the material is flowing

Manu Choudhury of CDC Printers attended the Power Lunch at the MMS Roundtable (third edition). He belonged to the group, Luxury Packaging - innovative. Choudhury spoke to the PrintWeek India team about innovation.

06 Mar 2019 | By PrintWeek India

Are we moving too slowly - as compared to the other industries?
In terms of innovation in products produced, the print industry is quite superior. They have always taken pride of being very creative. They have also considered themselves as artists rather than operators. In fact, that is probably the reason why we have concentrated so much on innovation in our products that most of us have overlooked innovation in the process (production process) and innovation in our customer offerings.

Yes. This is something which the upcoming so-called start-ups are capitalising on)

What should a modern press look like? 
A modern printing press should look like an environment where the material is flowing from the initial process to dispatch rapidly, passing through one machine/resource to others without having to wait considerably.

... In this sense, one innovation on your shopfloor?
The WIP between two consecutive operations should be minimised and sustainable efforts to be put to continuously further reduce inventory between two processes.

Do you have to be much more innovative than your counterparts of a similar scale?
Innovation can be of a) product b) process c) offering.

How do you cope with that, constantly learning new innovations?
Not being a very creative person myself, I would rather try to bring about innovations in our production/business processes and our offerings. And because historically we have been dedicated towards bringing in innovations to our products there is a sea of improvement that can be achieved towards the other two.

What is the most innovative skillset you’ve had to develop in your team? Print or business and management?
In business and management: The idea of flow. We don’t start any job unless we have everything that we need to complete the job. Moreover, the idea to break a large job into multiple smaller lots so that our lead time is shorter and there is no large waiting period for WIP. The idea that breaking a job into multiple lots thereby increasing changeovers multiple times does not necessarily mean higher cost of production.

In terms of creating innovation, do you invest in R&D in your organisation or you follow industry trends?
Regarding innovation in product, we follow industry trends / customer requirements. We would invest in the time to do multiple sampling with various effects to ensure the customer is satisfied and knows what to expect. (This cannot be classified as R&D though).

What drives innovation? Is it necessity or technology?
I think it is a necessity which drives innovation and technology helps us in achieving the same.

Almost all print companies have diversified into new markets or applications – what is the key to that?
All companies want sustainable growth. All of us were happy with the growth we were having in our domain.