Focus on technology, business models and innovation at Print & Beyond seminar

By 20 Mar 2019

The fifth edition of Print & Beyond seminar organised by Kerala Master Printers Association transpired at Holiday Inn in Kochi on 16 March.

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G Venugopal, chairman, Print & Beyond welcomed the delegates and kick-started the full-day seminar, which saw more than 240 delegates from across India in attendance.

In his keynote address, Manipal Technologies' Gautham Pai emphasised the new sense of entrepreneurship. Pai observed that per capita income in India is growing from USD 1000 to USD 2500, discretionary income is driving spends. “Uber and Ola are disrupting the taxi business. But transport model remains. The catalyst has been the digitisation of maps and payment systems,” Pai said.

He added, "Predicting the future is easy, getting it right is hard.”

Talking about the importance of human resources, Pai said, he spends more time in the people he hires. He underscored that we must not undermine the assets we have.

HP’s Ashok Pahwa stressed on how a print firm needs to rethink and reinvent the business and explained how shortening product life cycles make time-to-market critical. Pahwa spoke about ITC’s project of classmateshop.com that permits a personalised set of photo notebooks. He also presented packaging case-studies where personalisation and customisation in packaging played a critical role in product execution. “Mars chocolates along with Mosaic permitted personalised gifting which allows printing a photo on the wrapper and delivers in a couple of days. Piramal's OTC antacid product Polycrol deployed 1.1-lakh labels and engaged with 4,000+ customers during Durga Puja,” said Pahwa.

B Prasad, managing director of Printech Digital Imaging introduced the OOH industry to the print firms in the audience.

Prasad said, “The telecom industry drove the OOH industry in the nineties. The wide gamut of OOH is visible in 32 different segments from in-store graphics to building wraps and POP display.”

Quoting Pitch Madison survey, Prasad said the OOH is Rs 4500-crore industry. However, he felt the actual numbers are much more since the survey does not include the shop front and retail.

According to Prasad, 1999 has been the best year for OOH industry. “In the new millennium, the market shifted to tier two and tier three cities saw the influx of more than 50-lakh Chinese equipment who are serving 70% of the Indian market,” he said.

Explaining the changing dynamics of the OOH industry, Prasad said, "Time period for an OOH branding was one year at the airport and metros. Now it is one week which includes erection and dismantling."

Printech has amalgamated a group of the Chinese products to set up 5,000 OOHs in Jharkhand and J&K. Prasad also spoke about Printech's bouquet of special works including three-layer white ink technology, camouflage, and reverse printing among others.

Prasad predicted that offset-printed movie posters may see a return due to the plastic ban on flex. He also felt digital LED will be a disruptive technology but it will remain dominant only in Tier One cities. “Today brands are investing 70% in Tier Two and Tier Three cities," he added.

Prakash Shetty, director of partner growth team at Bizongo spoke about the extra dimension that packaging brings. Bizongo is a start-up that has grown up by 350% serving 350+ brands in India. Shetty spoke about trends in print and the complexities in the management of artworks.

“The sheer number of artworks has grown more than the industry growth due to consumer product launches. This demands seamless communication for B2B supplier engagements,” added Shetty.

Shetty spoke about the B2B market maturing and encouraging innovation from their suppliers. This, according to Shetty, is a huge opportunity for print converters.

Shetty explained how brands are focusing on supply chain traceability, stock monitoring and user feedback and enabling this with wireless technology on PS labels that could allow for customer data, interaction and anti-counterfeiting.

Shetty also emphasised that the gift packaging industry is poised to grow from USD 65 bn to USD 85 bn in 2024.

Shetty stressed on the need for collaborative technology development and how Bizongo offers a one-stop platform for packaging design, development and procurement. Bizongo offers a platform which offers strong data and analytics.

Shetty said, "As a company, we focus on three things experience, efficiency and innovation.”

Bizongo has a 100-member team which interface with senior members from brands to ensure enhanced market access. It helps partners drive operational efficiency and expertise in design development as most print partners have limited marketing clout

"Many companies are frittering energy on the follow up of the packaging goods. So Bizongo ensures upstream manufacturing features in B2B space," added Shetty.

The highlight of the seminar was a 90-minute technology conversation between Gautham Pai of Manipal Technologies, Prakash Shetty of Bizongo and B Prasad of Printech Digital Imaging, moderated by Ramu Ramanathan of PrintWeek India.


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