Minosha’s Balaji Rajagopalan brings positivity to digital print

Minosha takes over Ricoh’s sales and service in India

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Balaji Rajagoplan the recently appointed CEO of Core Business MInosha India formerly known as Ricoh India Photo Minosha India
Balaji Rajagoplan the recently appointed CEO Core Business of Minosha India formerly known as Ricoh India Photo Minosha India

Earlier this year, the sales and service part of Ricoh India was transformed into a new company called Minosha India. We had an opportunity to speak with digital print industry veteran, Balaji Rajagopalan, the recently appointed CEO core business of Minosha India. Edited excerpts from our interview follow.

Naresh Khanna – What is the situation at Minosha India? Are you back up and running in the market as far as looking after the Ricoh print production engines?

Balaji Rajagopalan – Our organization continues — only under different management and name. We have more than 250 channel partners for our office products such as multifunction printers, and some of them also partner with us on the print production side. On the print production side of entry-level, mid, and high production engines, including a few partners we have more than a hundred engineers for both the MFP and PP engines. 

We never stopped servicing and supporting our customers even though we may have gone through a challenging period over the last four years. We may have been silent, but our customers have continued to be supported by our engineers and our team with servicing, spares, and consumables. We have sufficient consumables in stock to cope with the ongoing constraints of the pandemic situation. 

NK – How do you see the economic recovery and Minosha’s market share going forward?

Balaji Rajagopalan – You know me, and my idea is always to bring positivity into the system! Minosha is fully committed to the print market, and financially we are in a good position. How do we grow the business and get back our market share in the production space? Daily I get inputs from the customers, partners, and employees, and I can only say that we should or will grow at the same pace as the market grows.

I firmly believe that we should not be living in fear and should, with the right precautions, be engaging in productive activity. Challenges such as the trend toward virtual offices and remote working will put some pressure on the commercial sector. However, the businesses that will survive and grow will be those who take up the technology to the core. Those who innovate using technology and can use it to conduct their business will do well.

It’s a bit difficult to say how the Covid-19 pandemic will play out, but I believe that unless there is a dramatic setback, we will have to take the proper precautions and co-exist with the situation. By January 2021, there should be an economic recovery of 80 to 90%.

We have been doing our ground planning and working with technology for the past three months. We are getting ready by using webinars and virtual technical sessions for training in technology and networking for our customers, partners and employees. 

NK – Are you planning any new Ricoh print production engine launches?

Balaji Rajagopalan – Again, it’s a bit early to say because of the circumstances, but roughly the answer is yes. In the September-October timeframe, we should show new entry, mid and high production engines. 

NK – Like with many of the new offset presses, do you have a way to get networked remote feedback from your digital presses in the market to know if the economic and print activity is actually picking up?

Balaji Rajagopalan – Yes. All our print engines installed in the market in the past two years have this technology called @remote already installed. With @remote, we can monitor everything remotely from a networked engine. It enables automatic toner ordering and in the event of a breakdown examining the situation and even notifying the service partner. It can improve efficiencies for the customer’s day-to-day operations. We are keen to use technology to the core, but based on our team feedback, the Ricoh engines are extremely robust – they have proven that in the Indian market. 

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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