"As long as the mistake is new it is okay," says Faheem Agboatwala

Faheem Agboatwala, of Mumbai-based Hi-tech Printing Services, gives Ramu Ramanathan of PrintWeek India a lowdown of his press, his successes, his favourites and much more during the second edition of the Masterclass session at SIES GST

06 Mar 2014 | By Ramu Ramanathan

What does the name of your press signify?
Hi-Tech is the name of my company and it signifies using the latest print technology.  

What is the longest lasting kit on your press?
The longest lasting kit is HMT, which we commissioned in 1988. It’s been with us for 25 years and is still running like when we boought it. It’s probably the best maintained and the most productive single-colour HMT.

And the newest machine in your company?
It’s the new GUK-Vijuk folding line that produces pharmaceutical inserts and outserts.

What is the first image you printed on your press?
I think we have first printed Siddhivinayak Ganpati on all the presses.

Who is the one worker you admire in your press?
Sanjay Jadhav, he is one of my oldest employees. He came to us as a person who opens the bundles of paper before the cutting. In India we have five people to do one task unfortunately, so he was one of the five who actually just opened the bundles. Today he is the supervisor at my press. He is extremely dedicated. He is the backbone of our company.

I know lot of printers, who talk about your success, fantastic jobs in quick turnaround and happy customers but tell me one job in terms of failure and was a learning curve for you?
There had been several jobs in terms of failure. Wrong quantities printed, wrong paper chosen, many errors. I think we learn from the mistake. As long as the mistake is new I don’t mind.

One quality measure that you follow, you mentioned a few earlier but one sort of critical?
I think it is density values. It is measuring the thickness of the ink film and it is purely for consistency, because we have a lot of repeat jobs, if I print today and I print one month later and if I maintain the densities more or less I will be there.

One print job that you produced and which surprised everyone, your competitors?
I think it’s the greeting card, which we print every year. The first time when we printed it our clients were surprised. We gave 10 blank greeting cards to everybody which had photographs shot by me during a vacation. We told them in this digital age people have stopped writing greeting cards and this is for you to get back into that habit. Everybody loved the concept.

The best definition of print you have come across
I don’t think this world would have been there where it is today without printing technology. We all would have been fools without printing. It’s a single biggest source of education. If you look at education for religious or any kind of education we wouldn’t have the printed bible which we have.

Your favourite brand of paper
Well we don’t use any fancy papers because we are into pharmaceutical printing but we had once used a paper called Neenah. It is a splendid uncoated paper, and we had sent printed books to US which were really appreciated.

And the brand of inks
It is Seigwerk as it has got all the European certifications.

One big trend in the print industry here.
I feel that lot of printers are realising that digital is catching up and you need to have a complement to your business. So I think a lot of people are adding a digital kit to their shopfloor.

For you what is the future of print?
I think it’s very bright because retail is still to happen in India. Packaging will continue to grow. I think for us being very optimistic about the future, next couple of years are difficult as far as margins, as far as the competiton levels are concerned, but every business follows the same lifecycle and the problems come and go but print is here to stay.

A song you would like to play in your printing press?
I think it’s the song from Lagaan Chale Chalo because I believe that in a press the printer feels he is different, the feeder feels he is different, but I want everybody to be one.

A celebrity you would like to invite in your press.
I would invite P Narendra of Pragati Offset. He is an unbelievable human being and has made India proud by the printing that he does.

And when you dream is it in RGB, CMYK or Black & White or have little sort of UV varnish on it?
I think it would be hybrid.

An author, painter, designer, photographer, a film star whose work you would like to produce?
I think it would be Pininfarina, the Italian designing firm of cars. He makes beautiful designs of cars. I would love to print a book for him.

To the next generation, what does print stand for?
I think there was a time when mediocrity was tolerated, I think that time has gone. We need to be unique, we need to be different and we need to be excellent at whatever we do. We don’t need to do everything but the little we do should be excellent.