NPES Print Business Conference 2013 Day one - session one

Ralph Nappi, president, NPES followed-up Viren Chhabria’s keynote with a rousing and interesting introduction to the seminar whose theme is “Mission Possible: How to Profit from New Technology”.

25 Feb 2013 | By Mihir Joshi

Nappi stayed true to the theme and said, “Technological developments can be of two types: threats or opportunities. In the information age the marketplace is very dynamic and the old-school diktat of treating printing as a form of art can spell doom for an organisation. A printer should never forget that at the end of the day he/she is running a business.”

He also addressed the growing concern about the future of print with the rise of digital media and the increasing migration to online, he said, “The common perception is that print and digital media are foes and that print is competing with digital. But research has shown that the best results are achieved when print and digital are amalgamated.”

He also called for increased proactive approach in vanquishing the myth that printing as an industry is not environment friendly industry. He said, “There is a popular perception that since printing requires paper and paper is made by cutting down trees, printing as an industry is contributing to global warming which is simply not true, There are more trees in the US right now than in the early 70’s.”

Nappi concluded by saying that the growth stories of print in emerging markets like India fill him with optimism, considering the stagnant print markets of more mature economies like North America and Europe.

Pat Cassidy, a representative from the US commercial services came on behalf of the department of commerce, he offered the support of the American government to NPES and the Indian print industry.

Cassidy said, “We at commercial services try to facilitate better understanding and trade between American and other international companies through organisations like NPES,” he added, “Department of Commerce and NPES have been working together for a long time to promote print and other allied industries.”

“We have teamed up with NPES for various trade shows across the globe and would like to invite you to Chicago later this year for Print 2013 where we have ensured various match-making sessions to promote print,” Cassidy concluded.

Jim Hamilton, group director, InfoTrends moderated a panel which was made up of some of the big-wigs of the Indian and international digital printing industry, who discussed in detail the future of digital printing. The panel consisted of Raju Iyyer, Konica Minolta, A Appadurai, Hewlett Packard, Tim Mercy, managing director, Goss International and Vic Stalam, senior vice-president sales and marketing, X-rite Pantone.

Hamilton opened the discussion comparing digital printing to offset printing technology, he said, “Digital printing’s share is still fairly small when compared to offset. It’s still an evolving technology. Digital is best suited for short run jobs with quick turnaround and offers high level of personalisation which is not possible with an offset machine.” Though he conceded that running cost has to be drastically reduced for it to be viable for long-run jobs.

Raju Iyyer of Konica Minolta seconded Hamilton’s points and said, “Digital printing requires fewer consumables and helps in waste elimination and reducing labour costs. It is also a great tool to undertake variable printing. In the last five years digital printing industry has grown by approximately 21.6% and over the next five years it is expected to expand by 23.6%. We at Konica Minolta are an example of this growth, when we started our Indian operations in 2008, we started with around 16 employees and in the last five years, our growth warranted a 100 odd workforce that we have now.”

A Appadurai, Hewlett Packard talked of the complementary relation that can be forged between the two different printing technologies, digital and offset. According to him every printer at some point or other works on short run jobs which are not viable on an offset press, but they do it anyways in order maintain good relations with their customers and incurring a loss. But, with the addition of a digital press, a printer can shift those short-run jobs to the digital press, thus freeing up their offset presses for long-run jobs and increasing its productivity. Quoting some leading research organisations he said, “34% of the total global print share will be done on digital presses by as early as 2018.”

Tim Mercy, managing director, Goss International talked up the hybrid press, a marriage of offset and digital technology, with the example of an Australian printer. He said, “We forecast slow growth till 2015, after which we expect things to pick-up. Apart from India, China, Latin America and other developing markets, none of the mature markets have recorded any growth. Demand for newspaper presses has plummeted by 50%. Developing countries and commercial web markets are the only segments, which will show substantial growth in the near future for us.” Mercy showed the audience some of the samples printed on a hybrid press and explained the process.

Vic Stalam, senior vice-president sales and marketing, X-rite Pantone talked about the technological and creative innovations that his company have undertaken, with special focus on providing printers with solutions to maintain colour uniformity which is important to brand owners, but difficult to produce.

The pre-lunch session ended with a video of X-rite Pantone’s latest colour testing solutions.