“From the start, my father told me only one thing, that is quality. For us quality is the highest and foremost thing for our business. He said that when the customer says he doesn’t like the quality– shut the door, close the business and get out. He told me this when we started our business, Students Xerox. That is the foremost thing for us – quality. Whichever machine we select we always first look for quality,” says Sowrirajan.
Longstanding Fiery relationship
The company founded by Sowrirajan’s father Narayanasamy Arunachalam in 1986 with one manual typewriter, one old Panasonic copier and only two employees. Currently it has more than 20 branches across Chennai. Their association with Fiery began 22 years ago.
“EFI Fiery is an integral part of our colour production. I can’t think of any brand other than the EFI Fiery. It is very integral to our business. We work with many models and all of them are driven by Fiery. I think we are the largest single buyer of Fiery in India. We have bought many Fiery servers, maybe hundreds. We have always been very impressed with the quality. Both EFI and we have improved our quality quotient through the years. Plus, the customer has benefitted from the quality products from Students Xerox with the aid of EFI,” says Sowrirajan.
Speed and Fiery
Talking at length about the reasons his team and himself admire Fiery, Sowrirajan says, “One is the reliability. The most important thing with EFI is their reliability. In my experience, we have bought hundreds of Fiery servers but not even one has failed during operation. Second, is the way they have enhanced their quality through the years based on the engines and Fiery technology. Fiery Productivity is critical for the cost. If you are able to produce larger quantities in a shorter period then the productivity improves. In that sense, EFI has played a major role to get higher productivity using the machines.”
(ASX) is renowned for its ability to produce an ultra-professional thesis and project reports so much so, students from far and wide, travel to ASX to get their job done. The EFI text and graphics tool helps them to print sharp, fine details, small-font-size text and ultra-thin lines with clarity which is a key requirement for academic jobs.
“We are digital printers. We are not offset printers who handle 50,000 copies or 100,000 copies. We always handle about 250, 300, 500 or thousand copies. Sometimes, we do 2,000 copies. So, our normal volume is between one to 500 copies. All they need is quick turnaround. That is the real challenge. So, we have to give the best quality within the shortest period with all the finishing capabilities that they have asked for. This is a major challenge. As soon as we receive the file, we check the file. Then my team takes a quick decision on how it should be done and then use Fiery Impose or Fiery Compose to prepare the document,” explains Sowrirajan.
ASX’s success mantra
With the third generation entering the business, we asked Sowrirajan the secret behind the massive success story of ASX and the role Fiery has played in it.
“For the past 33 years - whatever the age and gender of the customer one thing has remained constant. Every customer wants the job, yesterday. In such a situation, reliability and ease of operation is crucial,” he says.
Elaborating further on Fiery’s role in the process, he explains, “When the operators work on the Fiery Command WorkStation, the operator should be able to work quite easily.
Even though they are experienced operators they shouldn’t get confused. Simplicity plays a major role in the Command WorkStation. Whatever are the features in the Command WorkStation, our operators are experienced to know what is to be done, simply by observing the file. That is the beauty of the Command WorkStation. The ease of use is very important for smooth operation.”
Power of one
With 28 branches, ASX is spread across the length and breadth of Chennai and have operations of various sizes. We asked him to describe how they effectively manage the complexities of such operation.
“We are spread all over Chennai city. We have 28 branches. When we are managing 28 shops remotely, we should know which job is being printed on which machine and at what time ... (Plus) what is the kind of job, which paper is being used, what is the size of the paper. This is the basic data. Along with how many copies are being printed. This vital information is in our management system,” says Sowrirajan.
“We have our own software and we tap all the information from Fiery. We use Fiery Navigator to get all sorts of updates on the dashboards. All these things are collected on a daily basis and we are able to maintain our machines without any hassles. That is the one major plus point of using the Fiery,” he added.
The company has a fleet of presses from different manufacturers and Sowrirajan stresses that Fiery is the uniting factor among all of them.
“Across all branches, we have a Fiery. Be it Ricoh, Canon, Xerox – the manufacturer does not matter. ASX has a multi-brand product in a multi-environment situation. Suppose I am training a person in one branch and if he is transferred to another branch, in normal circumstances he will find it difficult to cope. But when Fiery is connected with a Xerox, Canon or Ricoh, our operators can start to work from minute one in the new premises. It is very easy to integrate. In this manner, EFI is useful for multi-environment and multi-brand situation,” he explained.
Another important problem, according to Sowrirajan that Fiery solves effectively is the tricky issue of colour reproduction.
“As digital printers, the challenge of colour reproduction is a very demanding thing because some of the customers are designers who seek proofs. They demand the colour should be perfect. Then they take the proofs to the offset print partners and want the exact colour to be produced. For a long run, sustaining the exact colour is not a difficult task but to create a masterpiece – each time – with one single print is tough. EFI Fiery ensures hassle-free production with its colour management software. As I said, we have seen EFI’s quality improve day by day, machines have improved, machines’ print density, dot per inch has improved. The vibrancy of the colours have increased because of the toner. With all this, colour management has become much superior. At times, I feel digital is far better than offset,” he explains.
VDP and more
Sowrirajan, believes Variable Data Printing (VDP) to be a crucial feature in the Fiery platform and he thinks that differentiates them from the offset printers.
He elaborates, “The most used function by us is Fiery Impose. This is followed by VDP. We get the PDF file and we impose it. The beauty of Fiery is the Command Workstation and how it supplements the machine. We know what we are doing, we know how it would look as an output. Our business is digital print. Some of our important customers want only one copy. We have to get it right the first time. That is very important.”
“Also, the customer does not want to wait. If one set of job is wasted then they will wait for another period. So, it is imperative to get it first time perfectly. It saves us cost, waste and improves customer satisfaction,” Sowrirajan signs off with a smile.