“Glo’s mantra: you snooze, you lose,” says Gamyanth Ramanan

Coimbatore’s Glo Digital has put into service India’s second HP Indigo 10000. The print firm aspires to be a powerful online print service provider by 2015, reveals the executive officer Gamyanth Shren Ramanan in conversation with PrintWeek India’s Ramu Ramanathan.

31 Dec 2013 | By Ramu Ramanathan

Ramu Ramanathan (RR): A Chelsea supporter, with two super qualified doctor-sisters, how and why did you get into the print industry?
Gamyanth Shren Ramanan (GSR): Printing has always been an inevitable part of my everyday life. My siblings and I spent a considerable amount of time building fortresses out of empty film rolls, making fans out of photo paper scraps and playing hide and seek in the dark developing rooms. Even though there was an early influence it is the special lure of the industry that made me stay. It is one of those rare fields where creativity is just as important as the technology; where two days are never the same and each day comes with new challenges. I do not imagine myself being anywhere other than the printing industry.

RR: Your talk at DScoop in China was heralded by many; since you were perhaps the youngest CEO at 21, to have addressed the gathering. Your view about that moment and your presentation. 
GSR: It was a humbling experience to meet great minds at Dscoop but to voice my opinion in front of a crowd of such a high calibre was a different ballgame altogether.

RR: What are the three big lessons you learnt since your time in the industry?
GSR: Everyday is a learning experience at Glo. But the three most valuable lessons I have learnt would be: punctuality, to be prepared and readiness to adapt. One of the major advantages of digital presses is the short turnaround times so it is essential that we stay on time, every time. Every print job at Glo has different requirements hence it is vital to stay equipped to cater any kind of job. And lastly, the printing industry is very uncertain and competitive; the ability to adapt as early as possible to seize the opportunity is fundamental.

RR: How different would you say is your way of doing business from that of your father, T S Ramanan?
GSR: The printing industry has seen some major changes since the time Glo was incorporated 33 years ago. There is a difference of opinion every other day at the office but the major difference would be that Mr Ramanan concentrates on increasing volumes whereas I’m more inclined towards increasing the value of prints. We feel such difference in opinion is the key to the overall growth of the company.

RR: You discussed some online / social media strategies for Glo which you hope to role out soon. How has internet changed the way of doing print business?
GSR: For a firm that acquires 90% of its workload from walk-in B2B customers, internet has not been a major factor in our business till now. However, we have serious plans to widen our market reach to direct consumers where we feel the internet will be the key factor in tapping this market segment as well as provide more convenience to the existing customers. In 2015, we see Glo as a powerful online print service provider for businesses as well as become a consumer friendly printer.

RR: What kind of pressures are you facing from the wedding market in terms of customer demands?
GSR: In this specific market segment the customers are not willing to spend for the additional services provided by the printer. For instance, our commitment towards quality has led us to incorporate four levels of colour correction for each and every photo we print, which most of our competitors do not offer, but our customers still expect us to provide them the most competitive pricing in the market.

RR: What according to you is the biggest mistake made by "traditional" printers, when opting for digital technology?
GSR: Underestimating the potential of digital machines, according to me, is the biggest mistake that print firms commit. Digital presses especially the HP Indigo series machines are very flexible and are able to handle a wide nature of jobs. Playing it safe and sticking to what you know will stagnate the firm and collectively the industry. For instance, the magic blend of Glo has been to cater to both the photo and the general commercial printing segment. For a company which relied 90% on photo this was a drastic change.

RR: When we met your team was busy doing R&D on new products which you will showcase at Photo Fair. How does Glo work on new products or ideas?
GSR: At Glo, innovation is the keyword. A considerable amount of our resources are invested in the research and development. We work on developing new products throughout the year depending on the feedback, requirements and change in preference of our customers.  Even though internal ideas play a huge role consumer satisfaction is the prime motive and all new products are centred on it.

RR: What is the best thing about the print industry in your city. 
GSR: The best thing would be the diversity of customers. Coimbatore being an industrial city, our workload consists of anything between photobooks to personalised packaging.

RR: And the worst thing?

GSR: The worst thing I would say is the price driven market where we have to compromise on a lot of factors that would have made the end-product much better.

RR: What will be the next big thing in print technology?
GSR: While Augmented Reality and variable data add a substantial amount of value to the prints, I personally feel 3D printing would not only change the print industry but several other industries associated with it as well.

RR: How do you keep yourself updated with technological developments?
GSR: I make it a point that I visit almost every print related exhibition. Besides this, I am an active member on Dscoop and an avid reader of PrintWeek India.

RR: Glo hosts workshops for professional photographers and B2B clients. What is the module and what do you share in these sessions?
GSR: The primary motive of these interactive workshops is exchange of knowledge where we talk about changes in the industry, how our customers can increase not only their profits but also their market shares and in turn we learn the requirements of the end consumer which influence the development of the next line of products.

RR: The Glo mantra?
GSR: You snooze, you lose. This mantra helps us stay on our toes. To be aware of the changes in trend, drive efficient production processes, and most importantly finding ways to stay ahead of the competition. We believe this is the sole reason for us being one of the biggest digital printing companies in India.

RR: If Gutenberg visited the Glo premise, what do you think he would say?
GSR: I certainly know he would be ecstatic over the fact that his invention has not only come this far but has also evolved to a great extent. I hope he says what almost every visitor has been saying, that Glo is the ultimate destination for short-runs.