Sonal Xerox opens 10th branch with Canon imagePRESS C165

Same-day doorstep delivery of print in Ahmedabad

The Sonal Xerox team with the new Canon C165 digital press at its new branch in Ahmedabad
The Sonal Xerox team with the new Canon C165 digital press at its new branch in Ahmedabad

Sonal Xerox is one of Ahmedabad’s biggest digital print service providers, with ten customer-facing branches across the city. All the branches have fully loaded presses and post-press sections, and Sonal does not rely on third parties for any bought out services. The tenth branch was recently inaugurated with the commissioning of a new Canon imagePRESS C165 –the first installation of this digital press n the country. 

“We already have eight Canon presses across our branches, and the new imagePRESS C165 is our ninth. Having been a dedicated Canon user for many years, we decided to buy one more. The best part of the Canon digital presses is their color quality and consistency. As for the imagePRESS C165, the highlight is that we can create our own paper profiles. This makes the job easy,” says Rakesh Surani of Sonal Xerox.

Canon India launched the imagePRESS C165 multi-functional printer in June this year. The press offers an output of 65 pages per minute and handles multiple paper sizes and formats, including SRA3, A3, A4, envelopes, heavy media up to 350 gsm, and long-sheet functionality up to 1300 mm. The printer has a combined 4-color resolution of 2,400dpi X 2,400dpi.

Same day doorstep delivery service launched 

Leveraging the strength of its vast branch network in the city of Ahmedabad, Sonal, on 15 August 2020, started same-day delivery service to serve its customers better. Customers who opt for this service will get their jobs delivered at their doorsteps before the day’s close.

“These days, customers find it a little cumbersome to travel to our branches to get their work done due to the city’s traffic. We thought we would make use of our reach and deliver the jobs at the customers’ doorsteps. With this, the customer does not have to waste time in traveling. Our same-day service is aimed at customer convenience,” says Surani.

The just-opened tenth Sonal branch is located at Chandkheda. From this branch, it can now effectively service customers in the nearby city of Gandhinagar as well. Earlier, Sonal’s closest branch to Gandhinagar was 20 kilometers away, and now the distance has been reduced to just 10 kilometers from the Chandkheda branch.

Sonal provides production print and wide-format inkjet printing for various customers, from corporates to retail customers and educational institutions. It offers comprehensive format print services at all its branches.

Recovery from lockdown lows 

Like the printers across the country, Sonal was severely impacted by the lockdown imposed in end-March. In April and May, only one branch was operational, and that too with limited timings as Sonal was only printing pharma related jobs. However, from June onward, the business has been recovering but is still significantly lower than pre-lockdown levels.

“Although things have improved from April and May, there are still a lot of restrictions that are impacting the demand for print. Offices are partially open, and expos and events are banned. Plus, there is a widespread and general fear of the virus. All these factors have impacted print demand. At present, our business is at about 50% of pre-lockdown levels. We expect to get back to 100% by December,” Surani says.

More expansions planned in 2021

Sonal Xerox planned to open its eleventh branch this year, but the coronavirus outbreak delayed the development. With the economic recovery unfolding gradually, Sonal now plans to open the eleventh branch in 2021. “With business still down and recovery being gradual, we have decided to go for further expansion only next year,” Surani adds.


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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