President Ravi Joshi’s five-point agenda for the AIFMP - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

AIFMP’s president Ravi Joshi, is a quintessential Puneri. He adorns the AIFMP turban with pride. He says, “AIFMP’s greatest virtue is in it being a pre-eminent organisation within India for engaging national, regional and global print specialists.

AIFMP has improved the condition of the Indian print industry and developed cooperation for matters of mutual interest.”

Over the next 12 months he hopes to do a lot more. He shares his grand vision with Noel D’cunha.

09 Nov 2018 | By Noel D'Cunha

AIFMP’s five-point agenda
My AIFMP team and I hope to achieve many things for our industry. Our main five-point agenda can be very helpful for all the printer friends in this country while setting the tone for change ahead.

First, there is spreading the reach and inclusions. The main aim is to take forward Kamal Chopra’s novel concept – of spreading the reach and including many more firms. The plan is to increase interactions of vice presidents (VP) with the affiliated regional print organisations within their zones in order to understand the progress and address the grassroot problems. Plus, we hope to organise roundtables titled “What’s Next in Print” conferences throughout India. These are subjects like how to adapt and be ready for new trends in the press, pre-press, post-press, digital printing, labels, packaging, and value additions.

Second is to boost the print community. This means identifying and having interactive sessions with successful print providers in order to understand the success mantras and ways to do business differently for better profitability. In addition, Romancing Print, a flagship programme invented, designed and implemented by AIFMP’s past president, Manoj Mehta in 2011 will be organised in every zone, every year. Also, we hope to arrange print exhibitions to introduce the latest technological developments and motivate the print community. In addition, we propose to strengthen our relations with Indian Printing, Packaging and Allied Machinery Manufacturers’ Association (IPAMA) and other like-minded organisations in the industry.

Third is cost competitiveness. We shall arrange open houses by Crisil and activate the use of Crisil, and deploy software for the betterment of SME and MSME print businesses. This will be complemented by the creation of a knowledge pool through collaborative efforts to support technological challenges and technical training for cost control.

Fourth is industry and educational institute interaction. This will provide trained and employable manpower for handling high-tech print and finishing equipment, more efficiently.

And finally, liaisoning with the government. For this, the AIFMP also proposes to play a vital role by being a link between printers and Government purchase committees to streamline the eligibility conditions set by government organisations while floating the printing tenders, while assisting government to decide the eligibility criteria according to the work requirement. Also, the AIFMP aims to liaison and follow up with officials for following schemes for MSME units for the benefits of printers and bringing in next gen into business. These include: Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme; Performance & Credit Rating Scheme for Small Industries; Credit Guarantee Trust Fund for Micro and Small Enterprises; Financial Support to MSMEs in Zed Certification Scheme; and Micro & Small Enterprises Cluster Development.

Ravi Joshi’s message
Print will continue its surge ahead and marching onwards in spite of tough market conditions.

In India, like any other industry, the printing industry is evolving and gearing up for a massive change both in terms of technology of placing ink on paper and building up the capacities for catering to the requirements of high quality, faster turn-around time and at affordable pricing. The technologies for putting ink on paper are also merging, giving birth to hybrid technologies for supporting the requirements of “on the fly variable data printing” in the form of barcodes, and images and texts.

Being a trendsetter in the Pune print industry, numerous jobs which are printed for corporate and industry houses by my fellow printer brothers and advertising agencies, canvassers in and around Pune are being produced at our plant and are being delivered meticulously. Ssssshhhh. Let’s not reveal the names. It’s a secret and we wish to keep it secret at all the times. It’s a win-win situation for all. Isn’t it?

But jokes apart, in my opinion, printing is going to grow and evolve. I think it will be presented suiting the technology requirements encompassing future trends in the market such as Industry 4.0 / Print 4.0, augmented reality etc. I am sure, going forward, the printer community with their next generation will build technologies around the print to help print excel more and more through value addition.     

Going forward we will continue with our efforts to simplify the processes, streamline and rationalise classifications for addressing products and service categories. This is also posed as a major challenge to our printer community those who are in book printing business as there is no import duty of IGST on printed books which are imported from China. We will continue to follow up the case and make sure the classification is simplified and uniform rate of taxation is applied while making sure that the imports of books from China has also been curbed.

Gen-Next at AIFMP
This certainly calls for a support from current generation entrepreneurs. We must encourage next gen to take the lead and suggest changes. We must empower them with signing authority on the cheques they are paying out while discussing the good business practices and cautioning them on negativities only if required. This will not only boost their confidence but will also allow them to shoulder the responsibility with authority making them accountable for their decisions. This can be made possible by encouraging them to visit factory premises, understand the processes, interact and build an association with key people in the organisation and select customers. The main aim is to help them understand the scope for business expansion by involving them in discussions during new investment and chalk out expansion plans and ensure they visit exhibitions. The list is endless. 

I feel the next gen should be made aware of the fact that industry is growing and next gen needs to be encouraged and pursuaded to adopt new technology. Plus they should be taught the virtue of patience so that they can savour the fruits of success.

AIFMP is responsible for attracting the next generation to be a part of the technologically changing print industry. Today’s print tycoon needs to have knowledge about processes, technology, and inventory management, to be successful. This calls for an energetic 24/7 drive. It is the only way to attract the next generation going forward.
While taking forward this initiative of engaging a new generation, AIFMP will specifically be spearheading a drive for deep-diving into government schemes for new startups, subsidies, MSME and also NSD - National Skill Development competitions. This should encourage next gen to be a part of a high growth print industry and bring in new technological advancements.

The main thing is, the print is no longer about putting ink on paper but it’s driven by technology, processes and manpower. You need to remember that print is a service industry and will evolve to cater the industry requirements which are growing exponentially. It’s not a buzzword now to have “all services under one roof”, but it has become mandatory to win contracts for the supply of printing material.

Similarly, it has become mandatory to provide JIT service even for submitting quotes for printing material and has not confined only for deliveries for highly competitive winning print contracts. The journey does not end there, it further gets challenging when orders get punched in the system, followed with an immediate phone call for informing tight delivery schedule at varied destinations and with different artworks/designs. This calls for to have all systems at your disposal and must keep guns firing all the time. Therefore, my advice to all young (and senior) printers is to evolve and evaluate systems and checks in place at each and every stage and also build this practice if not in place. This will help retain our small margins. These small margins will only help all of us for reinvestments in next generation equipment and hiring of skilled manpower for reducing turn-around time. In short, the days have changed and printing press owners need to be well-versed with processes, IT infra, logistics, and operations.
After all, money saved is money earned. 

AIFMP’s expectations from the Union Budget in 2019

  • Simplification of GST classification and rates with treating printing activity as “supply of goods” under GST
  • Rationalisation of customs duties on paper, types of machinery, printed material and non-corrugated boxes to be more competitive in global as well as domestic markets
  • Subsidies on taxes/tax holidays for new investments and capacity expansion programs
  • Simplification of processes for making the availability of funds and making funds available at a good rate of interest

Ravi Joshi’s Scodix mantra
My company United Multicolour Printers has invested in a Scodix. The recent research from InfoTrends has found that 1.8 trillion colour pages digitally printed on an annual basis feature some sort of embellishment or enhancement. The point is, the digital journey of pre-press and printing has benefitted all adopters. It has opened new streams of revenue besides bringing efficiencies in the processes. Post-press has been a difficult subject for conversion into digital because of many variables which need to be controlled.

However, technology has taken a leap to put print enhancement on a digital platform. Scodix has been a pioneer in this field. It has made efforts to bring digital print enhancement into the mainstream post-press process. There are a learning and an adoption curve for any new technology but thanks to the exquisite quality of embossing and foiling besides the ability to do almost impossible kind of print enhancements using Scodix technology, it has been noticed and appreciated by printers and print buyers.

Differentiation is the key to succeed in today’s competitive market space and being a digital process, it opens enormous opportunities of creativity for printers. Customer tastes are changing quickly and they need dynamic print communication. The embellishment market is booming at the moment. From spot UV coating through to hot foiling, more and more printers and trade finishers are looking to invest in embellishment technology driven by a growing demand from their customers for something different. The thing is, Scodix allows printers to fulfil this need of the customers. Scodix technology and its adopters have a great future by being pioneers to give digital experience in print enhancement to customers.