SM Ramprasad: Each stakeholder has a role to play in these unique times

As the industry tackles the impact of Covid-19, PrintWeek asks SM Ramprasad, head, graphic arts business, Fujifilm India, about the company’s approaches to business during the pandemic.

01 May 2020 | By PrintWeek Team

SM Ramprasad, head, graphic arts business, Fujifilm India

What has been the impact of Covid-19 on your business thus far?

The Coronavirus is not only a global health emergency but also an unprecedented global financial crisis. It has already started impacting business across categories, though it is early to fully measure the impact on our businesses. However, we believe that industries such as the packaging industries and the pharmaceutical industries will continue to grow with a diverse mix of processes, products, and ancillary services for their customers. These are unique times and individually each stakeholder has a role to play for the industry to keep growing. While it may take some time for the industry to bounce back after the current scenario, we are confident and hopeful that this kind of disturbance will lead to newer and different opportunities for us.

In the short term, how are you assessing the risks and planning for the possible impact?

As India grapples with a new way of life and the crisis of Covid-19 peaks, most industries are suffering, leading to brands bearing the brunt of this pandemic. While the crisis has disrupted the economy and the consumption patterns, the consumers/ partners for every sector will remain the same. However, the patterns of consumption, for the product and effort, will change. And that's where the strategy and planning needs to evolve.

We believe the pandemic has caused everyone to pause, re-think, reboot and revive in order to create a more engaging experience for our businesses. At Fujifilm, we believe customer insights will continue to play a dominant role, as the fundamental ingredient of any risk assessing strategy. And post-Covid, these insights will become more critical. The product or the service will be required to be more relevant and contextual to today's ecosystem. We, at our core, will remain a technology-driven company, and will look into creating more innovative and relevant technologies in order to enhance the lives of our customers.

Some businesses have acted, asking staff to work from home, doing daily temperature checks, distributing critical tasks across offices, and restricting travel. What steps have you undertaken? 

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on companies, industries and businesses. In view of the situation across the globe, both the public and private sectors will play an important role in keeping their employees during the pandemic both mentally and physically safe. We, at Fujifilm India, follow our philosophy to boost quality of life around the world. The health and security of our workers has always been our highest priority.

In such vulnerable times, when people are locked in their own homes with panic in the air, anxiety and unwanted stress are natural to occur. We have taken a range of steps to ensure their wellbeing, such as bringing people together virtually and spread a little joy and laughter to help revive the energies through some virtually engaging initiatives.

Not only this, but to keep photo enthusiasts and our customers engerised, we have also launched numerous online workshops to help our customers make the most of their time in the quarantine and enable a new skill.

How is your company staying in touch with your partners / customers?

Keeping in constant touch with our partner during these critical times is really essential. To uplift the morale of our customers, we have been participating in webinars and virtual conference calls, etc. to assess the situation of the industry. We have been in touch with our dealers and partners through eMails, specific social media groups and have kept the communication channel open and interactive. We also have been taking measures to support our customers with the maintenance and care of high cost graphic arts equipment’s by sharing some tips and tricks.  

Confluence of creativity and technology will be the key to crafting a successful future in print. One creative print project which can make a difference you?

Fujifilm has gained the trust of graphics professionals all over the world by taking the lead in delivering effective and easy solutions that improve efficiency and quality. We are growing rapidly in the graphic arts field. In the last fiscal year, we were at the forefront of UV printing technology and own one of the largest patterns for UV technology in the wide-format printing range.

In our graphic art segment, we offer computerised printing plates, image scanners and other digital printing and publishing equipment and materials. We even provide advanced solutions for multiple stages of the printing process — from scanning and prepress to plate-making and proofing.

At Fujifilm, we maintain direct contact with consumers through our sales network in India and are open to working with new partners to reach out to various consumer segments. We have even set up demo centres as a part of our aggressive expansion plan in India, as the graphics arts segment is one of the key growth drivers. We’re hopeful to open more such demo centres in the coming times to gain maximum visibility for this sector.

One suggestion for the government?

The world, and India, is going through an unprecedented and difficult time amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic. While the government and the related agencies are doing their bit, many businesses, large enterprises and start-ups are also extending their support in this hour of need. As MSME constitutes be a major part of the print industry, we look forward to getting government’s support in helping them in every possible way, especially on liquidity, including soft loans and relaxation on taxes for a considerable time for them to bounce back. We, at Fujifilm, recommend everyone to come together as a nation and one connected globe to resolve and see ourselves through these tough times.