Canon continues its support for PrintWeek Awards

Canon India has confirmed its support to the PrintWeek Awards with the sponsorship of two categories – Digital Printer of the Year and Digital Photo Album Printer of the Year.

13 Sep 2022 | By Noel D'Cunha

Puneet Datta: Move away from price-based competitiveness and focus more on customer experiences

Confirming the support, Puneet Datta, senior director, Canon India, said, “Our association with the PrintWeek Awards has been since the year of inception in 2009, and our support has been and will be an integral part of the awards. Creativity, innovation and sustainability are ingrained in Canon’s core offerings, and through this award, we get an opportunity to recognize businesses/organisations with a similar ethos.”

Datta added, “We have not only been passive supporters but have worked very closely with the PrintWeek team (who have been kind enough to discuss and imbibe) on various formats of the Awards night.”

Discussing the digital print scenario, Datta said that the pandemic had transformed almost all sectors globally, and the printing industry is no exception to it. “The sector experienced widespread disruptions due to lockdowns and end customer demand for printing changed. The printing shifted from offices to homes. The applications such as letterheads, visiting cards, and marketing collateral dropped significantly while labels and packaging grew due to the emergence of entrepreneurs and e-commerce.”

However, the digital adoption of hybrid and remote working, as well as e-learning, saw digital technologies being adopted that have led to shorter runs. “The commercial print industry continues to be affected while digital printing is almost back to the pre-Covid era in terms of print volumes. The label and packaging industry continues to grow in print volumes.”

The PrintWeek Jury Day will be hosted on 28 September at the Hilton Sahar in Mumbai. The quest will conclude at the Awards Night at the Grand Hyatt in Santacruz East on 2 November 2022. On the Awards Night the Prism will be away for 10 Performance, 14 Quality and five Special Covid-19 winners.

PrintWeek took the opportunity to discuss print and more with Puneet Datta, Canon India’s senior director

You’ve remained a strong supporter of the PrintWeek Awards, which celebrates excellence in print. What are the positive impacts of this association?
The PrintWeek Award is a benchmark for the finest creativity in the professional printing segment. It recognises the best quality and business performance and thus offers recognition of the highest standards. These awards give us an opportunity to network with the best in the industry and build long-standing relationships.

We have grown in FY 2022 on a year-to-date basis over FY 2019 by more than 140% in terms of units

Why do you think it is important to recognise the best works in print?
It is always important to recognise great work as it motivates the participants and the entire ecosystem to thrive for the best every single time. Platforms such as the PrintWeek Awards help in enhancing the level of recognition and benchmarking standards. Through such impactful recognition, we collectively could help the industry evolve and come up with best-in-class offerings by adopting innovative solutions and meeting the evolving needs of our customers. Thus, such Awards are required not to help a single organisation or a company grow but to allow the entire professional printing ecosystem to evolve and grow every single day.

Tough times?
There was disruption, and now rupee devaluation coupled with higher manufacturing and international logistics costs have led to a steep increase in all components utilised in printing. So, while the commercial printing segment is undergoing the pains of ever-increasing prices, on the other hand, shorter runs mean less utilisation of resources.

Has digital printing stayed afloat?
The woes of the commercial printing segment have meant that the need for digital printing will keep on growing, and printers would have to start looking for ways to avoid disruptions due to manpower availability and the need for physical presence by investing in technologies to serve their customers.

As we deep dive more into the new era, we can witness that new-age technologies are emerging as a key growth pillar for the industry. Along with this, digitalisation will remain the key growth catalyst for the printing industry. Innovative digital printing products are being adopted rapidly because of their better operational efficiencies, seamless workflows, lower printing costs, and minimal wastage. Some of the key technologies that will be prominently dominating are – IoT, 3D printing, cloud support on printers, and printing software.

How is Canon India faring?
Our business is gaining good momentum in the professional printing segment, and we have already touched the pre-pandemic levels. We continue to expand our business footprint and are focused on strengthening our connection with smaller cities by adding more partners.

In the inkjet wide-format segment, we have grown in FY 2022 on a year-to-date basis over FY 2019 by more than 150% in terms of units. As far as the digital cut-sheet products are concerned, we saw good demand for our products, including ImagePress colour and ImageRunner DX mono series.

We have grown in FY 2022 on a year-to-date basis over FY 2019 by more than 140% in terms of units. We also saw good footfall at the PrintPack India 2022 exhibition held in May 2022, helping us generate many sales leads and close multiple orders. All these positive market developments have helped us to retain our industry market share, and we aim to continue this growth trajectory.

Have you recently launched any new product or service that you’d like to mention?
We showcased some of our new and innovative product launches at the PrintPack, especially from our inkjet large-format product portfolio. Our world’s first ImagePrograf GP Series with fluorescent pink was a big attraction point during the show. Another launch was the TZ series large-format printer, the fastest inkjet production printer in its class.

Datta: Now is the time for a printer to study their customers more deeply than ever

Your outlook on the print industry segment?
The outlook of the professional printing segment seems bright, with digital printing playing a critical element in the sector's growth. Businesses will be keen on the intake of digital printing due to its efficiencies both in terms of manpower and turnaround time to print. The consumer behavioural change has led to an application change in terms of print volumes that are getting printed as well. Along with this, the segment would also witness technology playing a key role and automation in managing workflows.

Going forward? 
Going forward, we will also see more and more investments being pulled into the professional printing division and businesses becoming less dependent on the manual workforce. Tier-2 and tier-3 cities are also gaining prominence with the immense potential they hold for the growth of the professional printing sector, and we will witness more investments coming in from regional markets.

What, according to you, is the biggest risk for an Indian printer or converter today?
The biggest challenges could be the cost increase for all materials used for printing, low-capacity utilisation, and skilled manpower shortage. Also, the business models across industries are getting disrupted/evolving quite fast, and we need to keep ourselves abreast with these changes. Besides, the cash flow challenge continues to be a focus area for most printers.

Your advice to an Indian printer or converter looking to succeed?
Now is the time for a printer to study their customers more deeply than ever. Anticipate the changes that their customers are undergoing and the impact on the printing volumes and applications.

What should their energies be focussed on? 
Every printer should focus their energies on anticipating the change. I feel, the forward-looking statements from their customers would decide their future. The printers should also start seriously studying more mature countries regarding printing as that might also give a benchmark of where the industry is headed. Their investments should be decided based on these data points. One thing is for sure: in every printing segment, we will see more and more adoption of digital printing.

And finally...
A request to printers is to move away from price-based competitiveness and focus more on customer experiences and adding value to the customer business. It is time for the printing industry to consider metamorphosis and transformation.

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Kalpak Shah                                                                
Senior Executive - Awards and Events
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