Rupesh Pradeep Sawant: The modern press should be a combi with screen, offset and digital

Rupesh Pradeep Sawant of Superlekha attended the Power Lunch at the MMS Roundtable (third edition). He belonged to the group, digital print – value addition. Sawant spoke to the PrintWeek India team about innovation.

04 Mar 2019 | By PrintWeek India

Rupesh Pradeep Sawant of Superlekha

Are we moving too slowly - as compared to the other industries?
No. I guess we are the fastest movers in terms of technology upgrades.

Why so?
This is because of the simple fact, if I don't do it, the competition will do it first.

What should a modern press look like in terms of innovation on the shopfloor?
I guess the modern press should be a combi press which has a screen, offset and digital all in one go. Speeds should be below 5000sph.

Do you have to be much more innovative than your counterparts of a similar scale?
I guess if I know my core, I just need to be better and better at my core business with every job. That's what competition lacks, or else they would be industry leaders.

How do you cope with that, constantly learning new innovations?
Mindset for excellence and the system to produce a clean job, for example, wedding cards.

It's a mindset. We say that every card should leave our premise as if it was our own wedding invitations. Every card is checked and cross-checked. We ask ourselves, would I accept this as my own wedding card? Sometimes innovation is needed to trigger the mind, but producing good jobs should be a habit.

In terms of creating innovation, do you invest in R&D in your organisation?
We invest a lot in R&D. Almost a lakh of rupees per month. 

What drives innovation? Is it a necessity or technology?

Almost all print companies have diversified into new markets or applications – what is the key to that? How are you spotting opportunities?
With common sense. I guess every day I keep an eye on consumer-related problems.

I see. And then?
We come up with a solution to that problem and then it’s bingo! The opportunity comes hand in hand.

How do you measure creative success within your organisation?
Every time the clients say wow in a loud voice. That is our index. And we make sure the person who is responsible for that job hears the good news, directly from the client.

What about automation? Is automation an area that manufacturers can help in?
I'm a pure, blue-blooded offset man.

Okay. Even offset needs a fillip.
Fully automatic plate change at an economic price will be a great help. It will boost our production by nearly 40 percent. This will give us more teeth to fight the digital onslaught. 

What are the key challenges facing your vertical in the industry?
Skilled staff. I feel, our industry has to put in a lot of effort at the school level to train people for the future. Or at least have a good internship program in-sync with knowledge-rich faculties. I don't think price and costs are an issue. Nobody works as seva for their client. It's a myth.

The culture of print businesses 20 years ago is very different from what it is now. How do we make print more attractive?
Make print flamboyant! I can see it in the eyes of the client when they see a beautifully printed job.

How do we make the industry flamboyant?
For that, we need to train the owners. If you observe, all the top players are classy, some are chic. Very small numbers are simple and effective printers.

One innovation in our industry you hope to see in 2030?
Some invention that will help re-use of printed paper at the factory level. Maybe some kind of varnish or coating which will make the printed paper white again.