Kaira makes repeat investments in Konica Minolta presses

Digital print margins squeezed in Bhopal

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NK Sitlani, owner of Kaira Color Print. Photos IPP

NK Sitlani, a printer for 40 years, set up Kaira Color Print 22 years ago. Initially Sitlani joined his father’s printing business. Right from the start Kaira Color Print was a digital print business which Sitlani decided to expand in 2009, with a Konica Minolta c252 digital production press. He also purchased inkjet printers from HP and Oce. Subsequently, he purchased Konica Minolta c6501, c6000, c1085 and c2070 digital presses, by sequentially replacing the older model with the newly available one. Kaira currently uses three Konica Minolta digital presses – the c3080, c1085 and c458 digital production presses.

Konica Minolta AccurioPress c3080 at Kaira Color Print in Bhopal.
Konica Minolta AccurioPress c3080 at Kaira Color Print in Bhopal.

“The demand is fine but the margins have decreased. Printing is slowly turning into a cost-sensitive market. Printers in Bhopal are reducing the margins by a rupee or two per print to attract more customers. Some of these printers in the market have completely disrupted the market and shattered the hopes of many others by offering services at extremely cheap rates,” says Sitlani. Moreover, he adds that the last financial year wasn’t very profitable for the company and they will focus on growing business in FY 2019-20.
“We do have a positive reputation in the market and are associated with many of our customers for many years who believe in the quality we supply. We are knowledgable and that helps us gain an edge over the others. Many of our trusted customers do not worry much about a marginal difference in price and are pretty happy to pay more for good quality work,” says Sitlani.

The company doesn’t take up any value addition for its digital print. Sitlani asserts that Bhopal is not yet a mature market for value-added printing. Not many people are aware or know about the possibilities and hence have few requirements for it. On the postpress and finishing side, Kaira has a thermal laminator, while the cutting machine is being replaced with a new one. “I have not installed much postpress equipment because I don’t want to employ more people for this job. Postpress is laborious. However, in the future, I will try to look into the postpress side a bit more,” says Sitlani.

Explaining his repeated and serial investments in Konica Minolta digital presses, Sitlani says, “I have had a good experience with the KM team. Most of the other brands haven’t stationed their engineers locally, which is a big problem for us printers. KM’s service engineers reach in hours and the fault in the press is generally quickly taken care of. Moreover, the Konica Minolta print quality is unmatched. That is the reason why they have a major market share.” He adds that all the presses purchased from KM are under fasma contracts.

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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