Padmashree Digital adds MGI JetVarnish 3DS iFoil S

MGI helps to increase profits

BN Ramamurthy, owner of Padmashree Digital with the new MGI JetVarnish 3DS with iFoil S at Bengaluru

Bengaluru-based Padmashree Digital installed an MGI JetVarnish 3DS with iFoil S in December 2019. BN Ramamurthy, traditionally an offset printer, who shifted to digital printing nearly a decade ago says,  “The competition in offset continued to grow. The printers started offering work at cheaper rates, which wrecked the profit margins. Hence, we decided to shift to a digital setup,”  Ramamurthy started his digital printing plant with a Xerox 242 digital production printer. About a year later, he bought the Konica Minolta bizhub c6501 digital press. Then, he replaced his older presses with three new Konica Minolta c8000 production presses. “When we purchased the c8000 presses, HCL was servicing KM presses. We faced a lot of problems with the services provided by HCL. They weren’t responsive, and the spare parts were not always available with them. As a result, shortly after buying those presses, we sold them off in Mumbai. Those were turbulent times, and we had to face huge losses. We then moved to Xerox because KM was not a reliable option for us then,” says Ramamurthy.

After KMI took the servicing contract back, Ramamurthy decided to invest in a KM bizhub PRO 1100 digital press. Currently, Padmashree has four digital color presses and one monochrome press. “Bengaluru has  become a heavily competitive market. One cannot survive in this market if he/she doesn’t offer value-added services. We print and supply close to 4 lakh copies in a month. We wanted to grow our business. The demand for foiling and embossing kept growing, and investing in a digital embellishment press became inevitable,” adds Ramamurthy.

Job changeover time a concern for Padmashree

Padmashree is supplying printed work in small as well as large quantities on its MGI. “This was very rare. No other printer in Bengaluru offered value-added printed work for very small quantities. We wanted to change this pattern. We wanted to supply to everyone irrespective of the quantity that they demanded. It took us some time to learn the various applications on the MGI press. However, now that we’re thoroughly trained, we’re offering all kinds of embellishment possible through the MGI JetVarnish,” says Ramamurthy.

However, he adds, “There are certain limitations on the MGI. For us, the changeover time is the biggest concern. The changeover time between the two jobs is extremely high. Since we’re offering smaller quantity printed work, it isn’t very easy for us to keep up with the longer changeover times. That is also the main reason why most of the printers offer digital embellishment services for longer runs only.” The company currently prints and supplies 10,000 digitally embellished copies to its customers in the market.

Padmashree’s strategy to gain customers in the market

“We are trying to offer embellishment services at a tad lower cost to encourage more customers to enter the segment. We are also trying to shorten our promised delivery timings to add customers. What  used to once take at least 48 hours to print and supply now takes only an hour or two,” explains Ramamurthy.

Padmashree started its production on the MGI in the first week of January. Subsequently, through word of mouth publicity, it spread the word in Bengaluru market about its new capability. In the fourth month with the new MGI, Padmashree has witnessed an increase in the customer base and a growth in its Q4 profits. “We are currently associated with many freelancers who are offering us jobs from major corporate companies,” says Ramamurthy.

Possible impacts of coronavirus  in the long-run

He also said that his future investments would depend a lot on the new technologies that important t manufacturers and suppliers of equipment offer at the upcoming drupa 2020. drupa 2020 has been postponed due to the coronavirus scare and will now be held in April 2020. The virus spread is in its initial stage in India. “So far, even though a few cases have been reported in Bengaluru, it hasn’t had any adverse impact on our business. Although major malls and theatres are temporarily shut down in the city, it has not impacted our business yet.”

“It may have an impact in the longrun if the spread of this virus isn’t contained. India is already facing a shortage of raw-material supply that came largely from China. Certain raw-material costs have also gone up. The availability of spare parts such as toners and cartridges may also be affected in the long run,” he concludes.

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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