Saturday, 25 June, 2011

Three things I learnt last year


I am currently traveling in Germany for interpack and to the manroland open house in Offenbach for sheetfed offset printing. Although like most of the newspaper industry, I am extremely curious about what will happen at the board meeting of Kasturi and Sons in Chennai on 20 May, I will wait till that date to comment. Mint, among other papers, has carried detailed reports about the change an d no change at one of the oldest papers in the country.

In the meantime, let me relate what I have learnt from three young printers in the past year, although to some extent I may be repeating myself. But then when does one really have something new or useful to say to one’s readers? Ship it out if you want to make a profit The lesson that I learnt from Amit Tara last year while riding on a train from the NEC back to Birmingham was that there is no point in buying more presses unless you can fold, bind and trim the work, despatch it and bill. It’s terrible to have a pressroom clogged with stacks and pallets of printed sheets going nowhere. Tara has been working hard on his mission of acquiring and installing au tomated postpress and binding equipment at his Noida plant, and we hope to revisit him soon.

Profit without cutting corners
Nitin Shah is also a commercial printer, whose motto is working smart to profit — without cutting corners. He told this to me in his brand new environment friendly plant in one of the scenic and modern industrial estates on the edge of Pune. Nitin’s domain knowledge of paper, digital and offset printing and postpress is based on a good bit of experience, but he is marketing lead. He is able to combine digital with offset in a very canny way to provide leading brand owners a one-stop shop. For jobs with bigger sheet sizes than his own new Heidelberg PM74, he outsources the print but keeps the postpress under his total control in his own plant. He is also adept at ordering paper in appropriate sizes to avoid trim wastage.

Excellence and speed
Asked at a recent seminar in Delhi by Pranav Parikh about what she brought to the family business when she joined it, Priyata Raghavan said she ha d to fight for both excellence and speed when she came to work and provide next generation leadership at Sai Security. The lesson is that excellence and speed are simultaneous — slow work and less action do not add value or make for excellence in the production process. In this spirit, Priyata was a key decision maker in buying two label presses simultaneously for the Faridabad and Bengaluru plants. It was the same attitude and tone of voice when she confidently pronounced that the hardware from the old plants would be dismantled and reinstalled at the new factory in Faridabad in 30 days.
  Naresh Khanna (May 2011)

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