Tirthraj Joshi, the owner of Shrikrishna Arts in Pune said, "Quite frankly, the Covid situation didn't affect our print status much. My print firm has been struggling for survival since the past 24 to 36 months. However the sudden lockdown affected the industry."
Joshi added, "We are not talking about packaging. The lockdown had a dire impact on the commercial print market. School, college, hospitality, tourism, travel and many industries were closed due to lockdown. These are the traditional print spenders."
Vinay Ratnakar Kalaskar, partner of Avishkaar Industries in Pune concurs. He said, "Printing is a highly competitive business to begin with. The margins are slim. The pandemic stopped even the limited work I was getting." Kalaskar added, "Not only was my business financially affected, I had to also deal with the mental and emotional fallout." In spite of which, Kalaskar made sure that all of the Avishkaar employees were taken care of monetarily during "these tough times".
According to a PrintWeek survey many companies have had to find a way to manage their increasing workload in a physically different manner and often with a smaller team than before.
When we asked print firm CEOs if the pandemic has accelerated your use of automation?; almost 50% answered yes, with 19% saying it has even though they were already highly automated and a further 29% saying that they are now seriously looking at automation. Only 17% said automation was not crucial to their business, while 35% reported no change in their use of automation since the start of the pandemic.
Dhruv Chokshi, the director at Bpack Industries in Ahmedabad concurs with his counterparts in Pune. He said, "We need to be better prepared.: He added, "The coronavirus crisis has led to some of the sharpest declines in recent times. We have seen a sharp dip in demand for the domestic market that caters to textile and garment segments. However it has accelerated growth for packaging for e-commerce, essential goods shipments that are emerging as lifelines during this Covid era."
Joshi agreed that packaging has seen an upward tick. However, he added, "There is a reduced demand for printing." Joshi explained how in the past four-five months people have cut down expenses, especially overheads which have directly or indirectly affected our business."
But Joshi agreed that "this not the end". Joshi felt, "Printing is of vital importance in our day to day life. The people believe in printed products rather than digitisation."
Vinay Ratnakar Kalaskar said, "Since schools, colleges and commercial printing which was our majority of clientele were shut down, I realised it was pertinent to work even harder on the recurring and regular print jobs." Kalaskar, along with his staff, are looking at 2021 as an opportunity to reboot the business afresh. He said, "We plan to work just as hard as we did 28 years ago."
Choksi has a similar view. He stated, "It is a privilege to work for an industry which has been recognised as essential during the Covid-19 crisis. As industry leaders we should be proud of being able to provide vital goods to serve the community."
Choksi added, "This year we are committed to responding to the new challenges ahead by providing better infrastructure and meeting the demand in the given timeline." One thing which is of vital importance for Bpack Industries is, "to increase awareness around the sustainability of material, to build its circularity and to promote its many benefits for logistics, product protection and brand recognition."
Joshi sums up, "During the Covid period, my thought process has changed totally. In early 2020, I believed that the quality work clients will be there forever. But that is not the case." And so, Shrikrishna Arts has a strong marketing team to support its production activity. Josji added, "As printers we need to interact with customers all the way. We have to adopt new working styles and technology and become more efficient."
The coronavirus pandemic has motivated Joshi, Kalaskar and Choksi into becoming really efficient. It has made them scrutinise everything, and realise that there’s always room for improvement. This has been the lesson for the trio during the Covid-period.
Long live print.
If you want to share your experiences on Printers’ Day about how your company coped with the Covid situation. Also one process in which your company has become really efficient, please eMail me at firstname.lastname@example.org