Scaling productivity with Komori’s KP Connect

Interview – Sangam Khanna

Sangam Khanna of Komori India

In order to strengthen its business in India, Komori bought a major stake in the Insight Group – its sole dealer in the country before the acquisition. Ever since the joint operations began in April 2018, significant strategic organization has been taking place, according to Sangam Khanna, the deputy managing director of Komori in India.

From the market share point of view of new press units being purchased, we are currently placed at 48% and previously we were somewhere near 50%. There has been a slight drop in our market share this year. I don’t think a drop of around a percent or two here and there really matters much. The main reason is that some projects get deferred, but if one has a look at my order book, I’m pretty confident. We are walking into FY 2019-20 with substantial orders in our pocket.

Need for understanding technology and your own processes

The Indian printing industry is transforming. More printers are now talking about digital, H-UV systems, productivity, processes and various other factors, but we need to realize that its not enough to talk, one has to walk the talk as well and that will help the industry grow. We must keep in mind that one cannot buy every new technology that comes into the market. Printers must invest in a technology only after careful evaluation of the requirements. If you want to make the best use of the product that you are buying, you have to be very selective. But again, you should also keep in mind that just because ‘A’ has bought it or implemented a certain technology and is reaping benefits, it doesn’t mean it will work the same way for you. You have to have a deep insight into your processes and requirements and you must invest smartly,” says Khanna.

Khanna says that most of the press owners are tightening their belts for improving profitability. This, according to him brings up the fight on reducing profit margins, as most printers are dropping their prices in pursuit to deliver more. “It has to be measured on a numeric scale. Who’s going to do that? I visit a lot of printers throughout the year and this is one question I ask most of them. I ask them if their production is quantified on a numeric scale.”

KP Connect
As a solution to this problem, Komori came up with KP Connect which will be displayed at its stand at Printpack 2019. Komori’s KP Connect, helps measure productivity by quantifying production as well as wastage. Usually, prolonged wastage is ignored and is considered a part of the production process. In the long run, this wastage accounts for the maximum loss that a company incurs. Through this product, Komori aims to offer a correct diagnosis of the wastage on a daily basis which builds up to a significant amount in the long run.

Compared to the likes of IGAS, Drupa and China Print, I have not witnessed major changes in terms of new technology in events such as Printpack. The little changes witnessed here are mainly cosmetic or related to productivity. Quality enhancements and digital segment spectrum are definitely growing. Offset on the other hand has matured a lot in terms of new technologies. Hence, people are now talking about productivity and cost efficiency. That will be the trend for years to come,” Khanna explains.

Komori is extremely serious about its post-sales services and has deployed 54 engineers throughout the country at various locations. Ever since Komori India was created in April 2018, its first initiative was to pump-in factory level support and deploy an engineer from Japan to train its workforce.

Tracking down all customers and service contracts

Then the company took up a ‘I want to know my Komori’ campaign wherein it requested customers throughout the country to register their machines on the portal. This step helped to locate all the Komori users including used machine customers in the country. “Presuming, we have a scattered installation base of 3,500 presses all kinds throughout the country, it is not possible to provide after sales support in a matter of days. Nevertheless, if a press is under our service contract, we provide services within 48 hours. For us, the service contract is very important. In case a customer is not under our service contract, he can take an appointment and we will make sure we provide them the support they require,” Khanna shares.

The only issue affecting the printing industry is the lack of investment in new technology, according to Khanna, “There are so many old presses out there. The customers are happy doing only three or four make readys a day. Nobody can do anything about it. They buy junk, they pay for it which is just not worth it and I’m clueless as to why they do it. In order to compete, one has to have new technology. The junk will never help. The moment we try and initiate a change in our print fraternity, there is a resistance because for any change there is a cost involved and people are reluctant to pay it,” Khanna concludes.

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.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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