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Lack of technologically qualified staff is the challenge facing the industry

Owner and general manager of one of the oldest commercial printing presses in Fujairah and UAE, Sultan Al Kaabi proudly talks of his father starting the Fujairah National Printing Press way back in 1981 with less than 10 employees and working very hard to bring up the press to the position it holds today. "This company is 100% private ownership firm and after graduating from business school in Al Ain, I joined the family business in 2001, initially as finance manager of the group. Even before officially joining the press, I would always visit in my free time and work on the machines. I was young and very inspired with the industry. Today our company has 65 staff members and we are the authorised publishers for most government departments

Our printshop is like a showroom says vehicle graphics specialist, Nabeel Ali

Father of five, Jordanian national, Nabeel Ali gainedvast experience on all aspects of printing before starting his own company, Color Mix in Dubai.

"I graduated in industrial engineering in 1993. My first job was with the National Paints factory in Jordan. My engineering background gave me technical advantage and my job experience gave me managerial skills, such that today I am able to repair my machines myself and start new companies and guide staff and employees through good and bad times

‘Print quality will pave the way for ME printers to match global competition’

Design, colour and presentation.
These were the three words that led IMC advertising chief executive Nizamodin Can to a successful career in the print industry.

With a bachelors degree in Arts from a university in India and a keen interest in technology, Can – who is originally from Verna in Goa in south-west India – was first involved in mechanical automative engineering.

“My family has been involved in mechanical automative engineering for generations so you could say

We must be the only printing company that was started in recession times.

An award-winning wrestler opening a print shop? Sounds far-fetched? Well, Haris Kauth, managing director of Master Printing Press in Dubai has done just that.

A keen sports enthusiast with no experience in print, Kauth is a self taught and an accidental printer."My very first job was radio officer with ONGC in India," reminisces Kauth. "I worked there for 2 years, quit and came to Dubai to expand my horizons. I started out in a secretarial position on a miniscule salary of AED 2,000. My next

Moulding the family business is more than hardwork and firm commitment 2009-02-01 28

An Arab by birth and an Egyptian scholar with a qualification in mass communication.
And that’s not all about Lina Taha, managing director at the Cairo-based Al Mohandes.
“My parents are Jordanian but I was born and raised in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. I then went on to study mass communication at the American University in Cairo and specialised in advertising. But despite my varied upbringing, for me, Egypt is my home now. It is where I have lived and worked for more than

Stick to basics, reduce wasteage and overheads, don't work below cost

Priding herself as a printer who thinks like a designer, Tess Abraham, managing director of the IMPZ based Dubai company, Print Central says, "I was client director for FutureBrand, world's second largest brand management company and was involved with branding in the media and collaterals of big ticket clients like DAE, DPWorld, JAFZA, TAQA, etc where digital and offset printing collaterals of world class quality had to be delivered. The creativity and finesse of the products requires deep

Train to gain: earning from learning

Demographic shifts, such as lengthening lifespans leading to longer working lives and developments in work, including the rise of the robots, all reinforce the trend towards people having several different careers.

As a result there is a need for new professional skills at all stages of one’s career, and with few of us rich enough to take time out for academic education, they need to be learned while we continue to work.
No longer does an apprentice have to be someone at the beginning of their

Consistency, speed and quality is what clients require from their printing jobs.

"The one thing I fear is the digital media making inroads into the outdoor and exhibition signage market," says Tarun Prakash, managing director of Multigraphics Production FZ LLC. "Earlier displays were always prints, nowadays with the LCDs, LEDs and plasmas, electronic media is becoming a big threat. Except for roadside advertising where it can be a traffic hazard, in malls like Mall of the Emirates for example, I have seen most of the posters being replaced with LCD

Hue and cry: don’t let your colour get lost in translation

Over the past 25 years a whole alphabet soup of colour working ‘standards’ has been brewed up for the printing industry in the wake of the device-independent digital pre-press revolution.

Some of them are internationally recognised and implemented (ISOs), some are de facto but proprietary (such as Pantone), some are interconnected, others are confined to broad territories. Some are different names for the same thing.
We get confused, we’re sure that newcomers to the industry get confused too

Whether recession or boom, prices are going down & margins are shrinking

Karim PH Saad, managing director, PrintWorks-Mediatech hands out samples of his printed work in answer to my question, what sets a printer apart?...."Our knowledge of colour management is what differentiates us from competition," he emphasises. "Printers in the region have similar machines, but our knowledge of and focus on colour management determines the quality of our job."

An accidental printer, Saad majored in communication and film making from St. Josephs University in

A personal approach wins new ground for digital tech

Conventional wisdom has it that digital printing is best suited to short-run applications with very limited opportunities in packaging, which is mainly a business of very long runs.
But we have seen from the rapid ugrowth in digital label presses uthat brands do value the added umarketing opportunities that udigital brings. Maik Laubin, sales director for KBA’s Digital Solutions division, says that this also applies to the wider packaging sector, which is becoming more interested in digital

The internet can never replace the look and feel of a printed publication

A youthful, AWI Printing started operations in 2003, from Beirut in Lebanon, with 50 employees and six years down the line has expanded into Syria and Kuwait, with current staff strength of 225 people.

Graduating in business administration from Haigazian University in Beirut, AWI’s managing director, Elie Mrad set up his first prepress and graphics art house in 1992.    “The shift from CTF to CTP forced print houses to have their own prepress departments

Connecting paths of cooperation

There is no doubt that technology is helping companies to collaborate in ways that were unthinkable 20 years ago. The internet is of course the main reason for this – but advances in video technology, cloud computing, processing power, and so forth have led to new types of collaboration.

As Jason Oliver, head of digital at Heidelberg, explains, there is a lot of technology that helps to drive partnerships. “We’re using digital video and photography, and we’re sharing digital data to communicate

Profitability of companies will surely improve if sales collection is good

A keen athlete Yasser Alkuwari joined Union Press, a family-owned business, in 1987.  Right at the onset of his career he faced a power struggle between several groups within the company, which resulted in dissatisfied clients and delays in delivery schedules.

“The infighting forced our then production manager to leave the company and I took over.  We took a hands-on approach and identified bottlenecks in the production process.  These were dealt with individually

Speed specialists supply the want-it-now generation

You could blame Amazon; its relentless focus on shortening delivery times infected the rest of high-street retail and ultimately spread further afield, including to print.

So, the causation of those same-day delivery demands seeping into your sales channels may well be the entrepreneurial mind of Jeff Bezos, founder of the online retail giant.
Yet that would be to simplify things in a rather complex area. In truth, there are multiple reasons why print production facilities are now geared up to

We have been enjoying a 10% year on year growth since the last 15 years

An ardent follower of Sri Sri Ravishankar, Sandeep Bhatia is unfazed by the slowdown.  While small and large units around him are closing shop, Bhatia already fully booked for the next three months, is actually expanding operations by buying more machines, warehouse space and recruiting staff.

A reluctant entrant into the printing industry, Bhatia is an electronics engineer by qualification.  “ I hated printing when I joined my college in Mumbai.  My father wanted me

Setting up pay strategies for long-term love affairs

Salespeople are the beating heart of a business; without the revenue they generate no other parts of a business will function for very long. The question is, how best to incentivise sales to work well, individually and as a team?

Fiirst principles
The Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD) suggests that any pay structure “should be carefully designed to support the business strategy of the organisation and to provide a clear and non-discriminatory framework for pay progression and

From a one-man show to one with hundreds of men, Raidy is moving up

My childhood memories are full of happy hours spent at the printing press located in the same building in which we lived in downtown Beirut.  I would invent games to play with the shredded paper or use trolleys as skateboards,” says Raidy Emirates Printing Group managing director, Doumit Raidy.

“I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and went on to do my masters in printing and publishing production from the

Strategies to land the perfect catch

The question of how best to grow a business is asked again and again and again. Organic or acquisitive – either way the intended end-result is the same: the greater efficiencies and profitability that come through economies of scale and increased market clout.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with organic growth, it’s just that it takes time. It’s an option that Nick Dixon, director at Veriteva and a long-term buyer and seller of businesses in print, says firms should consider because “if

A passion for people and a good sense for business keeps press owner on top

A heap of entrepreneurial spirit stirred with a splash of good business sense was what brought CK Mukundan’s recipe for print to the table.

Born in Kerala, Mukundan moved to Dubai in 1978 after graduating in Mumbai to look “for new opportunities”.

He says: “My first job was at a company called GKN Al Gurg. I started as a store keeper and eventually moved up to a sales executive position in the stationery division.  After having learnt what I could, I left the

Skills schemes to attract bright young things

Whenever I thought of the print industry I pictured big warehouses printing stacks of newspapers: I guess I just thought of print as being quite old-fashioned,” recalls one of them.

Another admits unflatteringly “If I’m honest, with recent technology I was under the impression print was outdated”. Meanwhile a third rookie printer “knew the basics: requests come in, print goes out”.
All of them have now wised up to the reality of print in the here and now. And all of them did so by completing the

Veteran sportsman still going the distance in building a career in print

A keen athlete with no qualifications in print, managing director of the Abu Dhabi-based Al Omeira Printing and Publishing, Mohammad Ghos Khawaja admits he ran a long way to get to where is in print today.

As a student, Khawaja ran in several sports events up until state level and almost reached national level when he first left India.

Having left his family in India during his adolescence, it was “sheer determination” that led him to finishing a Bsc while also going on to build

How to raise your profile or make an impression

Now that colour digital printing is ‘good enough’ for the sort of things most people want to do with it, attention is switching to the twiddly bits that catch the eye and add value to the print job.

Embellishment is the fashionable term. This means what used to be called special effects, such as spot gloss (or matt), texturing, embossing, metallic and other exotic finishes.
There has always been the option to add these with traditional analogue processes, but we’re now seeing more and more

‘Building an empire is less about work and more about a passion for print’

Global citizen and managing director of Dubai-based Spectrum Digital Solutions, Ramzi Razian has spent most of his life observing different nationalities. Now he spends his time observing his presses and counting the number of print runs.But before heading up Spectrum, Razian worked across various sectors - from the construction business to sales and marketing to being an environmental consultant.

“I have been in the UAE for 27 years so the UAE has become home,” he says. But I

A focus on the past helps build for the future

There’s no future in history, unlike heritage. And for one large-format printer what lies ahead has never been more promising for a service both high in impact and highly acclaimed.

 

For more than 125 years Leach has specialised in large-format graphics from its base in the North West. Only in recent years, however, has it honed its service to a core niche that focuses on heritage displays for museums and galleries.
Breaking into a niche is hard, making a name for it can be harder, then

Self-taught printer says raising the bar is the best way to get on the map

Managing director of Promotech, Nabih Fakhry talks about his transformation from physiotherapist to printer

With no experience in print, everything that Dubai-based Promotech’s managing director Nabih Fakhry learnt,  was self-taught.

HIGHLIGHTS
● Has a MBA in International Business and Marketing
● Relocated to Dubai in 2002
● Joined Promotech in 2002

A qualified physiotherapist, the Lebanese-born Fakhry, now runs the