Noel D'cunha (ND): Do share with me what triggered the idea of hosting the Vision Conclave? How will the Vision Conclave help the Indian print industry set the stage for sustainable and inclusive growth?
Faheem Agboatwala (FA): At the BMPA, we are constantly seeking ways of engaging with the industry. This year, since we couldn’t host the Print Summit at the NCPA, we decided to do a different and a super premium event. Once we had support from Koenig and Bauer, Toyo Ink and Ample Graphics, we planned this Conclave. The Conclave in Goa differentiates itself from the rest of the knowledge sessions in the past two years. We decided to include the top visionaries in the area of print converting from all parts of the country.
ND: It’s a two-day Conclave. Can you share what are the knowledge sessions, the profile of the experts and key discussion points?
FA: Day One will focus on the world and Indian economy. The deliberations will be about where we are going as a country and its trickle-down effect on print and packaging.
ND: What about Day Two?
FA: Day Two is about disruptions and expected changes, crystal ball gazing and finding avenues for our industry. On both days we will have external speakers but the focus is on discussions among the delegates. I am happy to share that industry visionary Benny Landa is going to address the delegates via a video message. He will share his thoughts about the future.
ND: Experts talk about successful business outcomes, leveraging technology that goes beyond cost, efficiency and agility, and such. Will we see the Vision Conclave experts share examples of how they implemented business changes or their recipe for success?
FA: Oh yes, this is a different kind of gathering, no monologues here, it’s all about sharing. The team members have curated thought provoking questions, and our moderators will ensure that delegates are engaged. We hope they will share their personal experiences.
ND: You will be tabling a Black Book during the Vision Conclave. It has interesting data. What’s the purpose of the Black Book? How was it put together, made and printed?
FA: PrintWeek has helped us in curating the Black Book. The purpose is three-fold, to act as an introductory, networking and collaborative tool. We want the delegates to have discussions based on what they read about each other. And so, we have ensured that we keep ample networking time. The Black Book team has worked tirelessly and I am pretty happy that both the content as well as the production is world class. I would like to mention here that this book is for internal circulation, and only those who have been invited to attend the Conclave will get a personalised copy.
PW: One of the issues we have come across while discussing with the print CEOs, is the lack of initiative by print associations to chalk out a strategy on pricing. Has BMPA done anything about it? Can the Vision Conclave script a way of disrupting the market with a new pricing model?
FA: This is a critical and much-ignored discussion. I feel, it should be taken up at a suitable time. However the BMPA Conclave is all about the future. We will take feedback from the delegates. We will include what they feel is relevant in future editions.
ND: The BMPA’s Vision Conclave has lined up an esteemed group of visionaries who will provide input on future trends and the steps needed to meet the future challenges. How would those not at the Vision Conclave get the message?
FA: Post the conclave, PrintWeek along with the BMPA team, will publish a white-paper which will cover the discussions held in Goa. Then, after taking relevant permissions from the visionaries, we will share the relevant information with the industry as well the BMPA members.
ND: While proofreading and copy-edting the Black Book, I noticed one of the apprehensions; the lack of government’s intervention to support the Indian print industry. How will the Vision Conclave address this?
FA: We have stalwarts from the AIFMP attending the conclave. After the white paper is published, we will take their help in addressing national issues where government intervention will be required.
ND: Is the Vision Conclave a bigger and rebooted version of Share-to-benefit (STB). That is, an exclusive elite group of A-Listers. My point is, how will it benefit the 25,000 firms across the sub-continent?
FA: The Vision Conclave is meant to chart a course for the industry. I am hoping leaders across the country will share their thoughts which shall then percolate across the industry. We intend to make this a regular event which can be hosted in various centres of the country.
ND: What will happen during Phase II of the Vision Conclave?
FA: Both the Print Summit and the STB have evolved over a period of time. We hope the Vision Conclave will have a huge fan following; and in the years to come will be the go-to industry platform for India.
ND: Ahead of the BMPA Vision Conclave, I want to ask you: you are a print service provider, and also the chairman of the BMPA Vision Conclave, what has been your biggest challenge? What changes would you want to see so as to work better?
FA: Pretty difficult times for the past two years and unfortunately they continue. Work has picked up but at the cost of dropping margins. This along with the global slowdown, is a cause for worry. In this atmosphere of uncertainty we have to come together and collectively find solutions.
ND: What changes would you want to see so as to work better?
FA: We must accept that print on paper is going through a metamorphosis and we must address it. The BMPA will continue to examine these issues and look forward to feedback from the fraternity. This is our duty.
ND: What do you personally want for the industry? Your vision of where our industry should be?
FA: Personally I want us all to be respected by the print buyers. I would like the world to understand that print changed the course of history. With the invention of the press, it democratised knowledge. Printing companies contribute to both brand building and sales immensely –the brand owners need to realise our importance and role.
ND: Final thoughts ...
FA: I would really like to see more cooperation and coordination among the industry. My vision for print is that it’s going to be a game changer in the future. When most things will be virtual and people will long for smell, touch and feel – that’s when the golden age of print will return.