Kerala floods – Industry supports Kerala’s printers

Safety protocol must be followed in restoring production

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RMGT customer’s premises flooded in Kerala
RMGT customer’s premises flooded in Kerala

In the aftermath of the floods caused by incessant rains in Kerala, the Kerala Master Printers Association (KMPA) has started working on various levels to understand the extent of the disaster and plan what is to be done for printers. KMPA office bearers have visited some units in order to understand the ground reality. So far, the association has taken some measures such as speaking to major machine manufacturers and their agents to ensure speedy service intervention at damaged units so that the printers can get their machines up and running in the minimum time. However, a safety protocol must be followed in the assessment, cleaning and restoration process to avoid hazards to employees, plants and to machines and materials.

The KMPA has revised its earlier estimate of funds required to help printers with restoration from Rs. 50 crore to Rs. 100 crore. Dayakar Reddy, president of IPAMA, has said the members of the Indian printing and packaging equipment manufacturers association will assist Kerala printers. Welbound with factories in Kerala has engineers on the ground in the state and is actively helping printers clean, assess and restart production. Offset plate manufacturer TechNova has also committed to activley help printers affected by the floods.

Post-flood protocol for offset printers

Provin Technos, distributors of RMGT offset presses, is in touch with all of its customers in Kerala. Vinay Kaushal of Provin says that of its almost a dozen customers in the state; two or three customers in Thrissur and Thiruvanantapuram did not suffer damage to their machines; they were on higher levels or the presses were mounted on platforms. However, four printers in the Kochi area have been seriously affected. The work on their assessment and cleaning started on 22 August, after the insurance inspection.

Two electrical engineers are already on the ground. A post-flood protocol has been provided by RMGT Japan, which is being followed. After cleaning, the mechanical engineers will arrive in Kochi. As of 27 August 2018, the work to check and restore the functioning and testing of the machines is likely to take another two weeks more. All services have been provided free of charge. “Spare parts will be provided at a very special price,” according to Kaushal.

Komori India has also offered free of charge help to printers under service contract. Furhtermore, it has set up a helpline at its Faridabad office where printers can call Heena at 9599068152. The helpline number is in operation from this morning (27 August 2018) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Director Sangam Khanna can also be contacted at sangamk@komori.in.

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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