KMPA delegates set out to Japan

Kerala Master Printer Association (KMPA) have embarked on a nine-day tour of Japan starting from 24 September.

The 20 member team will visit several Japan-based printing machinery manufacturers and also make a short stop at Sri Lanka.

Speaking exclusively to PrintWeek India, Rajesh G, honorary secretary of KMPA shared the details, objectives of the visit and the state of print in Kerala.

04 Oct 2017 | By Sriraam Selvam

20 KMPA members will travel to Japan. Which factories will you visit?
We are primarily visiting the factories of Komori, RMGT, and Horizon.

What are the expectations from the tour?
To visit the above mentioned factories. This is a very focused trip which unlike an exhibition, will also help us to get more involved in the manufacturing process of the machines itself, thereby giving more confidence for us when we make our investments. If time permits, we would also like to see some places and absorb the history and culture of Japan.

How is GST buzz in Kerala?
Lot of confusion about the tax rates for different printed products. Also, there is ambiguity about the very definition of print (as a product or as a service). It will be a few more months before clarity will be reached about these things and as a result the business sentiment in Kerala is a little bearish at present.

How's the market in Kerala these days?
The market sentiment at the moment is a little low. The impact of demonetisation and GST has resulted in a dip in business growth and hopefully in the next few months, business will pick up again. Investments in capital equipment are few and far between at the moment.

What’s the USP of KMPA according to you? In addition to the unity among the team?
KMPA is a forward looking organisation and deeply committed to the upliftment/development of the state. The association has among its members the cream of the printers of Kerala and many of the printers are knowledge hungry and capable of big ticket investments. KMPA has members from all major print centres of the state, thereby representing the interests of printers across the state.

What equipment is most popular in Kerala these days?
Investments in digital technology is getting more and more popular. Same can be said about CTP technology which is today being used by pretty much every printer worth the name. Thermal technology from Technova is extremely popular too. Komori Lithrone machines are a market favourite off late. Packaging is picking up as well and big ticket investments have been made in segments like UV printing, automatic die cutting and folder-gluers, in line with the demand for cartons in the state.

What’s been KMPA's proudest achievement in the past few years?
The ‘Print & Beyond’ events conducted would have to be KMPA’s proudest moments. The events have been theme based and centred around product creation after printing. We have had varied and enriching subjects covered in all the three editions of Print & Beyond. In addition to this, we are also proud of our very own exhibition: PrintMiracle Expo, and the various training initiatives done by KMPA. Also, we have the one and only print awards (Kerala Mudrana Puraskaram) which is approved by the Government of Kerala. Two editions of the awards have already concluded.

Where do you see the print business in Kerala in five years’ time?
Print businesses in Kerala is about to take off exponentially. There will be tremendous investments in digital printing segments, packaging and books. Out of these three segments, we feel the packaging is the segment to look out for. The recent spate of investments will raise the bar for the local carton manufacturers and we believe this will have a ripple effect with other printers also upgrading themselves. Eventually, we believe Kerala will become self-sufficient in meeting the packaging demands of the state.

What’s your favourite Japanese motto?
Kaizen: Continuous improvement.

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