Bhaiya Printers to invest in another Komori

Commercial print slows down in Indore

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Manoj Bhaiya with the Komori press at Bhaiya Printers facility in Indore. Photo. IPP
Manoj Bhaiya with the Komori press at Bhaiya Printers facility in Indore. Photo. IPP

Indore-based supplier and manufacturer of paper pouches, ledgers, books, magazines, duplex cartons, stickers and labels, Bhaiya Printers started in the late 70s. Begun with treadle letterpress printing, the company took its time to graduate to offset. Its first offset press, 4-color Solna was installed in 1993.

After a couple of years, Bhaiya bought another offset, a 4-color Heidelberg 25 x 36 inch press. Then again after a long gap of 15 years, the company invested in a 4-color Komori Sprint. Soon after buying the Komori, it shifted to its own plant in the industrial area of Indore. “We were planning to shift our facility while we were in talks for buying the Komori press. That was the time when commercial printing in Indore was witnessing a boom. We were experiencing a lot of demand and it was getting difficult for us to serve our customers with the Solna and Heidelberg machines,” says Manoj Bhaiya, proprietor of Bhaiya Printers. The company is now planning to invest in another used but more modern Komori Lithrone with semi-automated plate loading.

“Investing in Komori proved beneficial for us. The press delivers superior print quality and helped us gain a number of new customers. We were getting good business till 2015, after which, I think, the demand fell sharply. Right now, commercial printing in Indore is not as profitable as it used to be. Another major concern for us is the lack of availability of good quality paper in the market. The rates are increasing by the day. The situation will subside only when we become self-sufficient in paper,” Bhaiya adds.

“The market for commercial printers in Indore has become very competitive. A number of machines have been installed in Indore and several new players have come up recently. They’re offering jobs at cheaper rates in order to increase their clientele but that has taken a toll on our business. However, there’s still some light at the end of the tunnel. One has to invest in new technology and offer customers a wider variety of options to add value to print. As I can see it, the old tricks won’t work anymore,” Bhaiya suggests.

Moreover, Bhaiya thinks that the demand has become seasonal especially for textbooks and printing academic books, which has been his forte for the past ten years. Manoj Bhaiya also owns a retail book shop and all the exercise note-books and other local books that are available at his retail outlet are printed by own press.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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