Iqbal Kherodwala: Offering alternatives wherever possible is a way to retain clients

As per a representation by a printer body, there’s a 25% hike in the cost of input materials. Since January 2018, the cost of US dollar has risen to Rs 68.

In conversation with Iqbal Kherodwala, director, Printline, we find out what print desires under the rising dollar

23 Jun 2018 | By Noel D'Cunha

70-80% of input material in the print process is produced using imported raw material. How will this affect your business, plus the pricing negotiations with your customers?
In the short run, this has become a nightmare, since it allows the customer to look around even when they are very much aware that the price hike is real. In the long run, it will allow all of us to rationalise our prices to acceptable levels where we will be able to recover the hike over the last couple of years which we were not allowed to ask for.

How will your company absorb this price increase? What is your strategy?
Absorbing of the price hike is impossible. However, in order to retain the clients, we have started offering alternatives wherever possible, and requesting a price increase where it is not possible to change specifications.

Will this raw material inflation temper your company’s outlook for the year? What is the percentage you are looking at?
The overall outlook is a bit grim since there is a huge flux of existing customers. We don't expect a dip, but an increase seems a tad difficult.

From an export point of view, a strong dollar will boost turnover. Your comments?
I doubt this. The international customer always tracks the movement of the dollar to the rupee and keeps on leveraging a strong dollar in the final price.

When the top-level delegation met the GoI representatives, they were asked what is the revenue the print and packaging industry contributes to the Exchequer? Can you hazard a guess?
If it's to guess, I would feel about Rs 5000 crores.

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