‘Relax EMIs to revive digital print business’

RK Color Lab installs Xerox Iridesse

Sunil Bhambhu of RK Color Lab alongside the new Xerox Iridesse digital press.

Sikar-based RK Color Lab recently bought a new Xerox Iridesse digital press with enhancement features from Monotech Systems. In the last five years, RK has climbed to one of the leading positions in photo album printing in Rajasthan. The company also owns a Konica Minolta bizhubPRESS c8000, which it also bought from Monotech Systems more than six years ago. “Since the KM press has become old now, I’ve decided to buy the new Xerox Iridesse digital press with enhancement capabilities. I decided to invest in the Iridesse press since it has enhancement capabilities that will complement my existing setup for photo albums,” says Sunil Bhambhu, owner of RK Color Lab.

This is India’s first Xerox Iridesse press in the Photo Lab segment. The Xerox Iridesse is a new-generation mid-productivity digital press, offering inline embellishment to up to six colors in the same pass. This is the first dry toner press available with six color stations, although liquid toner HP Indigos can offer six and seven colors. The extra color units are placed before and after the CMYK in the laydown sequence and can easily be changed. Xerox also stresses a wide range of substrate weights, plus new levels of automation.

Bhambhu was vocal in lauding Monotech’s service support. “I’ve been associated with Monotech for around six years now. The owner of Monotech, TP Jain, is extremely helpful and has always made sure I get the required assistance with the presses on short notice. Monotech was responsible for servicing KM presses when I bought this press, and they’ve never disappointed me.”

Covid-19 kills business

India is under lockdown since 22 March 2020 to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. This has resulted in the temporary closure of many print businesses across the country. The experts at utilitysavingexpert.com said that the pandemic had been a financial burden on businesses. “The new government guidelines to restrict mass gatherings such as parties or weddings have completely killed any business opportunity. Usually, the period from August to November doesn’t have any wedding functions. The business is dry during that phase, but this year, the dry patch has come much earlier. However, there is some hope with the Iridesse press as it can print embellished visiting cards and brochures as well. I hope some of the work that is currently printed on offset press comes to me. That’ll help stabilize my business easily,” adds Bhambhu.

RK’s business during the previous financial year was reasonably good, says Bhambhu. Since Bhambhu gets a massive demand for wedding albums, he could not focus on other verticals last year. But, this time, he aims to give equal attention to all verticals to make up for the losses that he will incur in Q1of FY 2020-21.

Relaxation in EMIs necessary for revival

Bhambhu believes that the government must give relaxations on loan EMIs to help the smaller companies recover. “The need of the hour is to stop all EMIs on existing loans temporarily. We must be given at least three months of relaxation. That will allow us to focus on reviving our business and not take erroneous steps in distress. The situation is extremely delicate and calls for bold moves such as this from the government.

“Even though we have opened up, we are not getting any work from the market. The entire supply chain should function, and all sectors return to normalcy to start our business again. I anticipate the market to recover for us only in December. Till then, we have to make do with whatever little amount of work we get,” Bhambhu 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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