Bhaiya Printers to invest in another Komori

Commercial print slows down in Indore

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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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