Rahul Kumar: 2015 will be a breakthrough year for print

It’s been more than six years since I entered the industry. Those days, the installation of a new equipment, especially printing presses, used to be a big thing. It still is, but some of the fizz has diminished. Many printers are still opting for new printing presses, and in the last calendar year (January to December, 2014) more than 50 new printing presses were ordered/commissioned/installed across the country, from the five major manufacturers – Manroland Sheetfed, KBA (represente

12 Jan 2015 | By Rahul Kumar

On the other hand, if we take a look at pre-owned printing presses, the number must be hundreds of printing presses. Since, the ratio between brand new and pre-owned is less than 15 and more than 85 as per guess-estimation.

For this special on pre-owned equipment, we talked to 12 machine suppliers. All of them are bullish and are supplying machines to their existing and new customers. The suppliers deal in offset and digital printing presses, post-press equipment and others machinery.

Furthermore, we visited three plants – S Chand at Sahibabad, Screen Art Enterprises at Mumbai and Wings Marketing Communications at Delhi, to find the reasons why printers are opting for pre-owned equipment rather than brand new ones. We found that availability of hands-on trained manpower, locally available parts, familiarisation of printer and staff with the machine, no fear of debts, as some of the reasons.

Harish Mishra, senior general manager (operation) at S Chand, says the level of investment for a volume like S Chand is huge on brand new equipment. He says he did not find it wise to get output from an expensive process when one can get it in a more prudent and cost-effective way.

Sagheer of Wings, on the other hand, has a slightly different view on investment on brand new equipment. He says pre-owned equipment is great to start a business and to learn the trick of the trade. But ultimately a new kit is the key to build a viable, successful business. Since, nowadays, print buyers are smart and educated. They want quality production with speed

Suresh Lodh of Screen Art Enterprises, who mastered the art of printing through hands-on experience since his childhood, believes that if you have the knowledge and experience, it doesn’t matter what kind of machine you are using, whether it is new or pre-owned. With skill, he reiterates, you can get excellent results from pre-owned equipment as well. His mantra, maximise the value of your inventory.

So, the above three have divergent views, but one thing is certain: There is a lot of work being done at both ends of the spectrum — the growing sophistication of small startups in their approach to being businesses (and not being confined to commercial printing) and the strengthening coalition of major publishing companies. It reflects lessons learned by the early news entrepreneurs who try to create a loyal customer and then realised they needed to build sustainable revenue model.  

The main aim of the print game as Hemanshu Gupta of S Chand seems to suggest in his interview is leverage the strengths and reach your profit from the result.

Wish you a great year ahead.