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We are not mere suppliers to clients, we aim to becoming their consultants

Bench-mates from school days and childhood friends, Vadal Kumar and Rajesh Kumar are now equal partners in outdoor print company, Media Innovations, a free-zone organisation set up in International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), Dubai in December 2007.

"We moved into IMPZ from the day it was operational, in fact, even before it was operational, by that I mean even before the water and electricity connections were ready. The authorities however supported us with generators. We have seen the place develop from the sands, so to speak," says Vadal Kumar.

Both partners were marketing professionals, with no formal training in printing technology but with business acumen and skills honed since teenage days, when they started a small courier

Downsizing during global recession is necessary evil says MD of Gulf Printing

Breaking the shackles of conventional printing, US-educated Hassan Dakroub, managing director of Gulf Printing Press has expanded into book binding, selling of second hand machines and starting a gifts and promotions company. "Though we are commercial printers, we want to be known as a one-stop shop in the printing industry," says Dakroub. "Interestingly, Gulf Printing was started by my father in Abu Dhabi as a trading company for paper and consumables with 3-4 employees. We still own this

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

Commitment and providing value to customers drives Al Ardhi Neon in KSA

"I am a mature man," says Mohammed Ardhi, managing director of Saudi Arabia based Al Ardhi Neon. "My years of experience has taught me that it is better to leave your children with the means of creating wealth, than merely leave them money as inheritance. This prompted my decision in gifting my daughter with a printing company, whose USP is that; it will be completely run by women. This is woman power."

US educated, Ardhi has a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and a masters degree

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

We wanted to benchmark knowledge and skills in this global environment

Costing, production, customer management. A printer should closely monitor all facets of his business to consolidate his position in the market, says Ashok Nerker, owner of Sharjah-based Gulf Scan. "Our Sharjah unit is doing well," says Nerker "with a noticeable improvement on a number of fronts. The economy is growing again, prices have recovered, credit has improved, and corporate confidence has increased. Print activity has increased by 10% year-on-year. However, one has to be cautious

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

Muscat Printing Press declares year on year growth, upbeat about the future

Rajan Pillai is in an enviable position today. While stories of doom and gloom float around him, he proudly reveals a 30% growth in the last 12 months saying: "Recession has not affected the bigger, well managed printing presses in Oman, and we, at Muscat Printing Press are talking of growth and expansion."

Born and brought up in the financial capital of India, Mumbai, Pillai has been a printer for most part of his life. After graduating from RYK College of Science, in Nashik, Pillai did a

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

Printers have to grow horizontally in Lebanon because market is saturated

A printer who operates his machines himself, Richard Nasraoui, owner of Modern Printing Press in Lebanon is 'happily married to his machines'. "The market in Lebanon is saturated, offset is saturated, so the only way to expand in such circumstances is to grow horizontally and add diversified solutions," explains Nasraoui. "In Lebanon, a printer cannot open another printshop or heavily invest in huge machinery, because where are the orders going to come from in a country with 3 million

‘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

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

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

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

Ramping up social media in pursuit of the perfect

For a sector that is frequently geared around promoting the services of other businesses, the print trade often struggles with selling itself.
And with an increasingly diverse mix of potential marketing channels – online, offline, natural search, pay-per-click and beyond – it can sometimes be tricky knowing which areas to focus on.
For Sam Neal, chief executive at Feltham-based Geoff Neal Group printers, marketing hasn’t really been an issue until very recently. “We’re a people-based business

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

Picking the right route to success

Printers are facing a perfect storm with rising job numbers, shrinking average order values, a less clear-cut distinction between the most appropriate production methods and the ever-present spectre of downward price pressure, Barney Cox

In the face of such challenges you could be forgiven for running for the hills, but there are some businesses out there who have rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in.
Understandably, some of these leading lights don’t want to reveal their secrets. In

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

‘Selling on price is not selling, it’s order taking’

All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy,” quipped the offbeat, hilarious Spike Milligan

Money is one of the great themes of comedy and there’s no end of witty one-liners about how much things cost. But of course, in the world of business, pricing is a serious matter.
Set your prices too high and you’re uncompetitive, too low and you’ll be unprofitable. Like Goldilocks, it’s all about getting it just right.
As pricing strategy is such a commercially sensitive aspect of any

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

Past and present of SGI Dubai

The rise of SGI Dubai

In the mid 90s, when we conceptualised the SGI show, we never thought that we will grow to this size with so many local, regional and international brands. It’s been over two decades and each year we have learnt something new in terms of the show and also in regard to the industry.
SGI Dubai started right from the old Dubai World Trade Centre days and has been an integral part of DWTC for over two decades now.
Those days people were getting used to emails and internet was

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