Game-changing plan for newspaper and textbook printing in four cities

Founded 22 years ago, Impressions caters to the print requirements of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. Noel D'cunha meets its proprietor

14 Jun 2010 | By Noel D'Cunha

Impressions' managing director Ashok Dhond is excited about the new plant he is setting up in Belgaum. Besides  machine investment, Dhond is focussing on energy efficient technology. "Environment has always been on top-of-the-mind for us," he says.

Dhond is backed by 30 years of experience. This includes,  hands-on training at The Printers House in Delhi and Doshan in Mumbai. "Training helps applying the learned techniques to other areas in the organisation," he says.

High on the Impressions' agenda is working towards a strategy for bottom-line improvement that is based on prosperity, environmental safeguards and social responsibility. "We are setting out to reduce energy cost and wastage," he says.

Impressions was founded in 1987. But Dhond established a foothold in print after his paternal uncle and owner of Tarun Bharat group, asked him to join the establishment in 1980.

From 1980 to 2005, Dhond worked with his uncle in producing Tarun Bharat, making it the largest selling daily newspaper in Belgaum and expanding its activities in Goa and Maharashtra. He assisted in installing Belgaum's first single-colour web offset press in 1980 and in 1987 its first four-colour web offset press, the Orient Super. Later in 2000, he went on to add a Manugraph NewsLine 20 in Belgaum and in Kolhapur; and in 2002 a Manugraph StarLine machine in Goa for Tarun Bharat.

Four print sites
In the initial days, Dhond established Impressions as a DTP bureau. This enabled Tarun Bharat to increase the number of pages and print runs. While working full-time for the Tarun Bharat group, Dhond propelled Impressions into the print business. He installed a single-colour Mudrika in 1989.

In 1993, the Karnataka government started the process of privatising printing of textbooks. "We applied and secured orders for printing of 40-lakh books," says Dhond. Impressions  had to expand and it did by adding an Orient Super four-colour web press, an HMT single-colour press for printing covers and a Dominant two-colour press.

Dhond recalls: "Since those days, Impression has been known as a printer with mass printing capabilities."

In 2005, Dhond parted ways - amicably - with the Tarun Bharat group. In the past five years, the company has grown - and added print sites for newspaper and book printing facility in three new cities. These are: Goa, where it began operating as Elegant Offset Printers, with two printing facilities in the Thivim Industrial Estate. Plus it has a plant each in Hubli and Gulbarga in Karnataka. Dhond is assisted by Shashank Deshpande, a close relative who helps in running the business.

Staying ahead
Over the years, Impressions has invested across the board at all the four sites, while launching new editions of local and national newspapers like Indian Express and Times of India in Belgaum, Goa, Hubli and Gulbarga; and catering to the textbook printing requirements of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.

To facilitate this, it added sheetfed presses and a brand new Kodak Trendsetter. This is in addition to its fleet of five web presses at its plant in Belgaum; plus web presses and post-press kit at Goa, Hubli and Gulburga. The plant in Goa has two ECRM CTPs which caters to plate requirements of local printers.

"I am a firm believer in the value of entrepreneurship. I always have one machine on stand-by for jobs. Be prepared - has been the mantra of our success," says Dhond. "That way I am in a position to service many more clients."

The Rs 12-crore firm has 205 employees across the four plants. Since a majority of its work pertains to newspaper printing, the firm has virtually no slack period, which makes it important for the employees to function at their peak productivity. Regular training sessions are conducted to update the printing skills of it's employees. "In Goa, I have to keep them in fine fettle. I arrange for discourses on good health and also have a small sports room," says Dhond.  

Keeping a watch on future
As for the future, Dhond is busy implementing a smooth workflow, which he says, is the foundation on which an eco-friendly business should operate.

He is eyeing the digital print sector and grooming his son, Saeesh, who is presently studying management in finance. Saeesh is often seen accompanying his dad to the various plants. "It's a process which hopefully will teach responsibility and how to run a prosperous business," concludes Dhond.


Founded 1987
Specialty Newspaper, textbook and commercial printing
Location Belgaum, Hubli and Gulbarga in Karnataka; and Goa
Equipment Seven Orient  Super web offset; two Heidelberg four colour MOV and a SORDZ; an HMT offset printing machine (double demy); a Dominant single-colour and a two-colour, a Newsline 30 and Newsline 20 web offset; a Dolev 450 imagesetter; Agfa Avantra 30 imagesetter; two ECRM violet CTP; a Kodak Trendsetter CTP; Superfold - automatic paper folding machine; computerised cutting machine; six-clamp binding machine and single-clamp gluer
Turnover Rs 12-crore
Staff 205