Autoprint attracts huge visitors to its stand at Pamex 2020

Commercial printing in crossroads

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CN Ashok, managing director of Autoprint at Pamex 2020. Photo IPP
CN Ashok, managing director of Autoprint at Pamex 2020. Photo IPP

CN Ashok, managing director of Autoprint, was happy with the footfall his stand received at Pamex 2020. Autoprint is a 25-year-old company. In its first 15 to 20 years, the company was focussing on consolidating its operations mainly in the West in Gujarat and Maharashtra and some parts of Madhya Pradesh. The company has over the years installed close to 3,000 machines in the market. In the postpress section for packaging, the company has a substantial installed base of inspection machines in Maharashtra.

“Due to the disruptive IT or digital media revolution of Whatsapp and Facebook, commercial printing is facing a testing time. Commercial printers are now in crossroads. There are only two choices they have; one is to become efficient, add value, and then consolidate the business through digital offerings or diversify to packaging either into corrugation, monocartons or labels. One cannot be a conventional commercial printer anymore and expect the business to bloom. One has to either be a commercial printer more inclined to digital by offering value-added services or a commercial printer more inclined to packaging,” says Ashok.

Autoprint stand at Pamex 2020. Photo IPP
Autoprint stand at Pamex 2020. Photo IPP

 

The first three quarters of FY 19-20 haven’t been good for Autoprint, according to him. “We won’t be able to grow, but we will maintain the same position as last year. We also export mainly to the Southeast Asian region and are very strong in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. We didn’t get enough export demand as well this time around,” Ashok shares.

At Pamex 2020, Autoprint displayed its inspection machine Checkmate 25, a 22 x 32 inch drip off machine, a die-punching machine, and a single-color press. “We will be happy if we sustain last year’s numbers. In the upcoming financial year, we expect business to flow in from monocarton packaging, and the machines that we will lay extra emphasis on will be die punching, drip off and inspection. Product-wise, we expect more business from monocartons segment, and geography-wise we will target exports. We expect the market to bounce back in 2021,” Ashok 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.

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– Naresh Khanna

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