Spending the lockdown wisely, with webinars

Kamal Chopra, the former president of the All-India Federation of Master Printers (AIFMP) and the general secretary of Offset Printers Association (OPA), on behalf of OPA, hosted 24 webinars from 11 April till date. Chopra shares his experience.

05 Jun 2020 | By PrintWeek Team

Kamal Chopra

‘Printing industry after Covid-19’, 11 April 2020

It was my first attempt while there were eminent international speakers to guide us. The prime object of the webinar was to turn the time available due to lockdown from idle to ideal, to discuss elaborately about the impact of Covid-19 on the industry and how to deal with the threat once the market is operational again. Apart from India, the webinar was attended by printers from Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Indonesia. Initially, the webinar was planned only to notice the expected changes in the technology and social system after the pandemic. But, taking into consideration the huge demand, the scope of the webinar is divided into four parts — i) how to remain empowered in current situation; ii) technological and operational changes after lockdown is over; iii) silver lining from Covid-19 and iv) safety of machinery and equipment during lockdown.

‘Digital will grow more due to Covid-19?’ 17 April 2020

Just to educate the printers about latest technologies and techniques guidance of digital media when it was noticed that news websites and apps have registered a spike both in time spent on the site/ app and the number of users visiting the sites to track the latest updates since the Coronavirus outbreak in India. According to a joint study by Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) and Nielsen India, there has been a 41% increase in time spent on news apps. Users spent around 40 minutes per week tracking news on their smartphones in the week of 28 March to 3 April, up from 27 minutes in the pre-Covid sample period (13 January-2 February). Overall, the news franchise on smartphones has grown 34%, the report revealed. With this, print volumes are likely to reduce post-lockdown. Under these circumstances, what will be the scenario of growth of short-run digital printing?

‘Financial management and MSME schemes during and after lockdown’, 24 April 2020

Financial management remains a crucial issue during this period of lockdown everywhere — how to manage the funds and if there is any scope for government support to the MSME sector during these days of no production but to pay salary, electricity bills, taxes, EMI, etc. The webinar was very informative, taking into consideration that we had to repeat everything in Hindi.

‘Printing press of tomorrow’ (role of TG in productivity and sustainability of printing industry)’, 26 April 2020  

It was a special webinar with the presence of top printers of India to share their views about the system and style of working of printing presses of tomorrow. Trainee Graduate (TG) work for the engineering profession and initially assist engineers. They are responsible for collecting data on running production lines and may take care of preliminary data analysis to put the facts and figures from the various production systems. During the webinar, top printers discussed and submitted their views about the quality of TG they require for the printing press of tomorrow.

‘How to be ready for overseas printing jobs’, 29 April 2020  

As per indications available, many countries have decided to shift production from China, post Covid-19. May be some of these companies are looking at India as their next destination, but are we ready for that is a big question. A large percentage (above 85%) of our printers are micro or small, who are yet to begin automation, digitisation, quality control, and be communicative on global standards. Due to lockdown, 2020-21 is going to be the year of survival. During this webinar important information on the requirements and obligations for the export of printing was discussed in detail. What type of preparations is required to be done by our printer community to be ready for taking up overseas job was discussed.

‘Newgen printers pursuing success’, 30 April 2020

The subject was very close to my heart. I always appreciate young printers. During this webinar, young printers from across the country shared their views on how they are planning to face the challenges after lockdown and during 2020-21, the year of survival. It was great to note the confidence of the young generation in print who are capitalising on their talents, efforts and time, to pursue success.

‘Women entrepreneurs and post-lockdown challenges’, 1 May 2020

Though the subject was similar, this time there were ladies in print to answer it. It was interesting to know the perspective of women printers, and what awaits them post-lockdown.

‘Leadership challenges during and after lockdown’, 2 May 2020

It was the time when discussions were going on throughout the country, what and how to pay the salaries of the staff, how to manage the factories due to new guidelines issued by the government, etc. In terms of business and the economy, things are changing on a daily and an hourly basis. Realities are different now than they were earlier, because of ‘new normal’ to be followed by the people and the industry. In this scenario, there are going to be difficult choices that leaders will have to make and yet remain flexible and adaptable. Leaders need to treat the coming situation as a defining moment for themselves and for their organisation, broaden and build positive emotions such as trust, confidence, and inspiration in teams to become open-minded, resilient and motivated when they return or even whilst they are at home. So how the leaders are engaging in the ‘best case scenario’ for their business? Are they staying a step ahead of the pandemic?

‘Innovation is the key for the survival post-lockdown’, 3 May 2020

It is estimated that the commercial printing, which is already affected due to digitisation, will further going to shrink post Covid-19. There can be visible shift in printing jobs. The printers engaged in printing of newspapers, magazines and books, etc may start commercial jobs, because the circulation of print media which is already shrinking is likely to suffer badly due to lack of advertisements. One has to innovate and that is the only option left, especially to the micro and small business setups, for the survival. Survival of fittest through innovation is the success mantra, and one should be prepared the same, post lockdown scenario.

‘Digital marketing, eCommerce and social media’, 16 May 2020

By this time some factories started their operations, it was visible that without diversification, it may not be possible for the small or micro printer to survive. To further improve the system of business it may be necessary for the printer to know and understand digital marketing and eCommerce. The print industry has entered Print 4.0 era and several printers have adopted digital technology in their businesses and in the operations. However, the scenario of the SMEs is different; they are yet to board the digital era bandwagon. In India, the SMEs form 80% of the printing fraternity and their state post Covid-19 lockdown is highly challenging. This important webinar threw lights on what is the spectrum of services in the digital world; why should printers go online; what if not online; how to get started, and many more.

‘Know your cost of production’, 17 May 2020

Printing is a manufacturing service industry and therefore, the cost of production varies from company to company. It is necessary to understand your cost of production before indulging the market rates. To calculate hourly rates of your company (except machine hours) just go on writing each and every type of expenditures, even the minor ones. Repeat this habit at least for three to six months, only then you can get the average hourly rates irrespective to the machine rates and overhead, etc. The actual machine hours can be calculated on the basis of the running time and expenditure on machine man and helpers, etc. The most important is to add at least 50% as overhead to get the actual hourly expenditure of your company. Use the available skills and your talent to reduce production cost to increase the profitability, but not to sell at lower prices than your cost.

‘Opportunities for 3D printing business in India’, 19 May 2020

With 548 registrations, the webinar on 3D printing was the most-attended. The purpose of the webinar was to educate the printers for diversification, because it is estimated that micro and small printers are going to face the stiff challenge/competition. Because the commercial printing, which is already affected due to digitisation, will further going to shrink Post-Covid. Printers engaged in printing of newspapers, magazines and books, etc may start commercial jobs, because the circulation of print media, which is already shrinking, is likely to suffer badly due to lack of advertisements.

The real crisis for the printers, especially the micro and small printers will start when they will start running their units fully once lockdown is completely lifted. Diversification is the only key for survival for these printers. Therefore, 3D printing can be one of the options. 3D printers are emerging as a key growing printing technology in the global landscape in India, the market for 3D printers is at its nascent stage. However, it offers huge growth opportunities in the coming years.

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