How did you get into printing technology?
Very interesting question which nobody has asked me so far. See, I was an average student. My SSLC marks were not that good. I could score 70%. My mathematics scores were not too good, so I did not volunteer for engineering. Hence I chose a diploma course. Among the diploma courses, I felt printing technology was the best.
Describe your Print Yatra?
After I took an early retirement from an ad agency, a Coimbatore-based manufacturer gave me a good offer because of my industry relationship. However, I preferred to go of my own.
What did you do?
After completion of the course, I joined Bengaluru-based Mytec as a print assistant. Over there, I was promoted as a print supervisor. Then I left for Delhi to join Ajanta Offset as a floor manager.
How was it at Ajanta?
I had a great experience at Ajanta. I worked for six solid years. I had to come home as my parents were forcing me to marry.
What did you do after you returned?
After returning to Bengaluru, I started a screen printing unit. Unfortunately it did not flourish. I joined an advertisement agency Adwit India as a consultant. On seeing my performance, they were pleased with my role. My Delhi experience helped me a lot.
Every job I did was a great success. At Adwit we produced the railway timetable which was a big job. The same was appreciated by everyone all over India. After doing this job for a decade, continuously, I requested my boss at Adwit to relieve me.
I thought I will start my own business.
How did you get the idea of a coating unit?
I started doing freelance printing business. It was quite successful. After one year, one of my gurus asked me, if I could join Autoprint and start a coating unit. My guru felt it will be of great use to the fraternity in Bengaluru. And so, I had a meeting with the director of Autoprint, CN Ashok. After speaking to him, I felt Autoprint was too big a company for me to partner with. Instead I requested CN Ashok that I will start a coating unit with my friends. That's how it began. And as you can see, it is going well.
That's how Glitter Printz was born?
Yes, I started my coating unit in 2009 by installing a Autoprint's Fine Coat. After 3-4 months I bought a Grafica semi-automatic screen printing machine. Later, my customers demanded speed and quality. So last year, we installed a SM 74 Heidelberg two-colour machine with a coater. Many people asked why such a costly investment for coating. Well, two reasons, top performance and fast delivery. This machine has helped me a lot for both short run and long run jobs.
So your customers are happy?
All my customers are good friends of mine. When they give me jobs, they expect smooth service and good quality.
What's your mantra?
I always tell my boys to be very careful with the printed sheets. I also mention, we should not waste sheets. That first you should be totally satisfied about the quality of the jobs, only then will the customer be happy.
Your USP is coating?
Yes, all types of coating. Be it: UV or surface coating or any kind of coating on any kind of sheet.
What are the challenges you face?
Greatest challenge is the labour problem.
To get both skilled and unskilled labour is a great task. We train them and after a few months they exit. This is after paying them a good salary and providing for other amenities.
How will you resolve this problem?
I am planning to automate my screen printing unit as it’s difficult to get good screen printers. People management is becoming tougher and tougher.
A job which you cherish?
Every job is a good memory to all of us.
Agreed. But one job that stands out?
When we bought this Heidelberg machine, we were not aware of taking to 100% utility of the machine, even though the technology existed. For three months, we did lots of R&D on it. Finally we were able to tap the machine to its fullest capability. That was the happiest moment in my professional career.
How is the Bengaluru market?
It’s good and progressing. But it is very competitive.
In what way?
The reason is, some printers are desperate to get jobs. May be they have invested a lot. Some top printers are doing well because of technology upgradation and professional staff.
You mentioned waste earlier. What sort of management process do you follow?
Nowadays because of high-end machines, the wastage is minimised. My wastage is bare minimum. I do not waste the worksheet my customer has given me. I insist they give me their make-ready sheet. Almost all my customers are quite happy with my work. I tell my boys that you must give value for paper. I never allow them to walk on the paper. If its spills on the shopfloor, I insist they dump in the waste bin.
What are your future plans?
I am planning to invest in one more Heidelberg with a coater (28 x 40in).
This is a bigger size. Why?
Once again, this is due to the customer demand. As you have seen, I do very little of commercial jobs. Most of my jobs are for the packaging sector. Bringing in a SM 74 has reduced my production time. Earlier a job which was completed in 2-3 days, is completed in eight hours. Plus I want to have a fully automatic screen printing press.
Does your son Adwaith get involved in your business?
Yes, whenever he is in Bengaluru he spends time on the shopfloor. Right now he is in Manipal, completing his third year Media Technology. He has a flair for printing technology. I never forced him to study printing technology. It was his decision.
What is your future plan for him?
I ask him what his interest is? Whether to be on the machine side or on the design side. Since both have lots of scope. Based on his choice he needs to get trained and then pursue his career.
In what way do you motivate him?
In the print industry to achieve something, you need to be committed. You need patience and you should have support.
How do you update your knowledge?
My suppliers and my customers are my strength. They give me lots of information regarding raw materials and processes. I interact a lot with my customers to improve the quality. Google is a huge help in this day and age. I visit many print exhibitions. As far as I am concerned we need to share technical information. Knowledge is the only way our industry will grow and grow.
What is your message to the younger generation?
As I told you, if the young want to do anything, they have to be committed and take up the responsibilities. Only then, will they be rewarded. Self-discipline and respect for others is a very important factor.