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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

Digital signages with ‘augmented reality’ feature could propel retail sales

Ecommerce is the next big thing, however, physical retail outlets in the UAE, with augmented reality enabled digital signages could pull in the customers to their stores. The retail sector in the Emirates needs to up their game by adopting the latest technology and strategies that will help them become competitive in this cut-throat industry.

According to Euromonitor the value of UAE's retail sector stood at $56.6 billion in 2016 and predicted retail sales turnover in the UAE will exceed $71

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

Build sustainable growth with a tighter focus

The direct mail sector, like much of the printing industry, can’t claim to have had the easiest of times in recent years.

It remains, however, a profitable market for operators with the right approach, and it is one that David Wright is optimistic about. This January his employer, Taylor Bloxham, launched a new division dedicated to direct mail, Mailbox, and Wright’s job is to make a success of it. From outside print, that might look like a big ask. This is a digital age after all and marketing

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

New leadership sets out targets for growth

Signs Express rates itself the largest sign company in the UK and Ireland, with more centres than any other business in the industry.

So when Jonathan Bean contemplated taking it over through a management buyout (MBO), the potential risks were as numerous as the rewards – the bigger they are, the bigger they can fall.
For Bean it offered the perfect opportunity to go for more growth and truly connect with a franchise business he’d been involved with for well over a decade. MBOs, however, are

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

Build bridges to inspire the next generation

It started badly, and with Idi Amin. In early August 1972 the president of Uganda ordered the expulsion of his country’s Asian minority, giving them 90 days to leave, Jez Abbott

Tens of thousands of people were driven out, and one of them was the boy Shahid Sheikh with his prosperous father and siblings, all of whom were forced to quit the east African country. They lost everything.
And they settled in Britain; the start of a “rags-to-riches story” that helped define Sheikh’s character and

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

Snatch success from the jaws of failure

His first response was stark: “Oh my god, what are we going to do?” Claremon managing director John Conroy had just been told his neighbouring print company, Wheelden Print, had gone out of business.

This could have spelled disaster. Both print companies were separate businesses, but late last year had agreed to share a 500m² premises to split costs such as rent and rates.
Conroy had even sold his one and only printing press, a Heidelberg Speedmaster, so both firms were sharing Wheelden Print’s

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

Making the case for setting up apprenticeships

Many in the sector believe that print’s reputation for being characterised by oily rags and deafening machinery is turning off potential new talent, starving the industry of the fresh blood it needs. Apprenticeships, meanwhile have their own cliches to contend with that they offer nothing better than poor pay and minimal training.

Keenan Phillips had something to prove at his interview for an apprenticeship post. So did the man interviewing him for the job at Saxon Packaging.
Phillips was up

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

Learning how to swim with the big fish

Mercian Labels is moving upwards and outwards. Two months ago, the business upped sticks at its Derby operation and shifted it 40 miles to its headquarters in Burntwood, Staffordshire. This was a bold statement of expansion; one of many in recent years.

And with all production now under one roof, even more expansion is on the agenda. Staying the pace with such fast evolution can be a tough call, however, without the capacity, tools or processes in place, trying to keep up with growth can line

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

Make printing easy for your customers

No clutter. No pop-ups. No up-sells. No cross-sells. No information overload. Back in December, web-to-print business Printed Easy went live with a new-look customer-focused website that said ‘no’ to all those things, and many more of those annoying web ticks.

It formed a major part of a larger company restructure and rebrand that cost half a million pounds. “Modernising or rebranding the image of any business begins with a website,” says Printed Easy’s online director Paul Duffy. You can see

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

Make finishing touches the first priority of your company

It started with finishing. Commercial printer PCL Digital was looking to win customers by offering more services. Print was well balanced on supply and demand, so managing director Nick Westley-Smith took a post-press tilt.

But this was to be no minor tinkering on the fringes of finishing. Westley-Smith embarked on a comprehensive refresh involving tens of thousands of pounds covering several new pieces of kit.

The challenge

The company, established as an HP Indigo printer 12 years ago, is based

‘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

Business Inspection: A local solution to the problem

Finding the right premises close to home has enabled a labels expert to plan a big expansion in a major industrial area.

It is only half a mile away, but it has taken Print-Leeds more than two years to get there. Managing a move from one part of a major industrial city undergoing large-scale regeneration can throw up problems – especially for a company keen to expand. One of the biggest is finding the right space in a place that is on the up and where property of all types is hard to come by.
It

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