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Training programmes can help inject fresh blood

Manufacturers investing time and money into different training programmes for their customers and prospective customers could be one of the various measures that can be taken to inject fresh blood in the industry. Canon, Xerox and more recently Ricoh are among the first companies undertaking training programmes, not only into the more effective use of technology and processes, but using consultants and experts to help printers become more innovative, capture new markets and germinate an idea from concept to sale.

The print industry these days operate in a more complex landscape. Technology is making rapid strides and business is becoming increasingly multi- faceted and dynamic. Collaborative efforts can contribute towards creating

The changing dynamics of print in the global market

The last year and in fact, the last six months has seen a spate of tie ups between manufacturers of the print industry, signalling changing dynamics.

With Manroland partnering with Oce to sell its inkjet digital presses, or Kodak and Konica Minolta's distribution agreement allowing both companies to sell each others' products globally or the latest two announcements of Heidelberg aligning with Ricoh and KBA-R R Donnelley's agreement on developing a new digital press, the industry is in the

Business reverses should be handled patiently

January arrived in the UAE with two important events for the print industry in the ME region, the Sign and Graphics Imaging show and the Dubai International Print awards.

Though the economy is still in the grip of a contraction, evident from the fewer visitors and exhibitors at the SGI this year, 220 participants as against 255 last year and many publications shelving titles, events like these bring the industry together and provide a platform to network, share ideas and learn about new and cost

Who holds the trump card a new machine or apps?

It would be unrealistic to expect printers to continually invest in new machinery, long before the depreciated value of their old machines comes to naught, and that is why giant manufacturers will need to think out of the box to stay one step ahead of the crowd.

The route to adopt these days is, rather than new machinery launches, innovations in applications could pave the road ahead with growth and profits. A case in point is the 3-D effect for signages introduced by Digimatrix at Sign and

Allhail the duties and possibilties of New Year

As Edward Powell said, “The Old Year has gone. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months!”

It has been a tumultous year globally and for the UAE as well.  Leading regional and global names in the industry have been faced with reverses, mergers or closures.  However most printers are of the opinion (hope?) that the recession has bottomed out in the region.

Though the production output and

The see-saw ride that was 2010

Last year had its fair share of ups and downs.

IPEX, growth in ink-jet technology, packaging sectors' continued growth and increased environmental awareness were the high points of a year faced with trepidation; while closing printshops, machinery lying idle, squeezed margins and rising costs of consumables are but a few examples of distinct lows of the 12 months gone by.

Printers are entering into the new year with mixed feelings. While improvements in turnover and profit margins in the last

Recession brings with it takeovers and mergers

December 09 came with a bang and big news.

Loss of printing giant’s giant and prospective heir to the Heidelberg crown, Jurgen Rautert leaves behind a gaping hole too big to fill. Gossip of Rautert and chief executive Bernhard Schreier not seeing eye to eye, especially on the merger with Manorland seems to have triggered the decision.

This was preceded by news of Agfa’s takeover of most of the assets of Gandi Innovations and Canon’s bid for Oce.

The rapidly changing

Signing up to PAS 2020 will help DM to junk public's unfavourable perceptions

Transforming direct marketing (DM) into a sustainable industry is a challenging task. Coupled with the consumer's perceptions of 'junk mail' and wasted communication, the direct mail industry has a tough challenge on its hands.

The PAS 2020 environmental standard has been conceived to tackle exactly this problem. The standard is a set of guidelines and tasks that a campaign must pass for it to be accredited as a PAS 2020-certified communication piece. The certification came into effect in

Print may face challenges never redundancy…

From this month I take over as Editor of PrintWeekMEA.

As I write this article my mind echoes with voices of people I have interviewed.  The one concern at the back of everyone’s mind is how to contain the influx of online into the print industry.

While the benefits of internet are known to people like the back of their hands, print industry can never be made redundant.  As one consultant succinctly put it, “How many of us would prefer to be operated by a surgeon who

Exhibitions can give actionable ideas

Though the response for Signage, Imaging and Media Show (SIM) 2010 at Abu Dhabi was lukewarm at best, exhibitors were not complaining, either because they have paid peanuts for their booths or also because some manufacturers and distributors have showcased machinery and applications which could provide printers with food for thought, when they are ready to invest.

An example that could be cited here is ProTechnology, distributors of large format printers from Russian company, Sun Innovations.

Helping the planet means more than simply talking

The PrintWeek MEA team has paper on the brain this month.

With two of the biggest paper exhibitions in the region taking place in October, it’s easy to understand why. The Paper MiddleEast Exhibition took place from October 3 - 5 in Cairo, Egypt with PaperArabia following close behind from October 27 - 29 at the Dubai International Convention Centre in the UAE. Both exhibitions aim at attracting market leaders, manufacturers, converters, distributors and traders from all over the

Printers cannot afford to underate apps revolution

Rather than viewing anything related to the internet as a potential threat, printers should view the apps revolution and new devices as a means of running their business better.

Twenty-thirty years ago printers walked on the shop floor to check the status of their print jobs. With the advent of reporting systems like management information systems (MIS) actual reports could be accessed through mobile devices from anywhere in the world.

Fast forward 2010. Tablet machines particularly Apple's iPad

Kutty practices ‘honesty as the best policy’ in his daily business practices

Rajesh K Kutty, managing partner, Col.Art Publishing and Advertising LLC, UAE, in conversation with Venkat Raghavan talks of his experiences.

Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Rajesh K Kutty completed his graduation in Commerce from Kelkar College, Mumbai & post graduated (PG) from Mumbai University. After completing his PG, he worked in India for some years and later came to Dubai to join the family business.
Speaking about his career and how he got into printing, Rajesh K Kutty, from

Why not one major trade show in the Gulf like Ipex?

This sentiment was echoed by a lot of printers, general managers and participants at this edition of Paper Arabia.

The lukewarm response to the expo and reduced number of visitors prompted a lot of participants to express that there were too many trade shows in the region.

Senior management we interviewed said that it made more sense to have one major annual show for the entire Middle East, something on the lines of IPEX or DRUPA; which covered all segments of the industry, from offset

Six ways to attain growth by thinking differently about your business

Lawrence Lee, VP, incubation and strategy at Xerox, in discussion with Venkat Raghavan – assistant editor of PrintWeek MEA.

In the age of digital disruption, every company needs to think differently about their business – both to grow beyond their core markets, and to head off competition from new entrants. But often the exact skills that helped companies succeed in the past prevent them from finding success in the future. At Xerox we have reinvented the company multiple times as technologies

Greater scope for paper and paper converting

Another month and another exhibition round the corner. Paper Arabia, from 2010 will become an annual event instead of once every two years.

Though paper prices are rising every quarter, the demand does not seem to subside especially from the UAE, which produced $27 million worth of paper in 2009, a 25% increase over the previous year.

Chinese companies too have increased their presence at Paper Arabia this year in a bid to capture a larger share of GCC tissue and hygiene products market from a

Canon UVgel: Solving the Wide Format Productivity Puzzle

Ayman Ali, senior marketing manager – B2B, Canon Middle East, explains to Venkat Raghavan, assistant editor of PrintWeek MEA.

The digital revolution in wide format printing for signage and graphics has undoubtedly opened up many avenues of opportunity for print service providers (PSPs). Developments in hardware, media and inks over the last decade have enabled PSPs to diversify their product offerings and extend their business capabilities.

The continuing good news for signage and graphics

Print is dead,long live print...

The above headline caught my eye and attention and set me thinking. It has been 20-25 years since Internet connected the globe, yet more and more newspapers and magazines are being published today. Global circulation of newspapers and magazines has risen and not fallen. Agreed stories of newspapers and magazines closing shop and decline in subscriptions abound, but such instances are disproportionately highlighted. When reports of tabloids like Emirates Business 24/7 going online or magazines

Everyone can bounce back if they have their hope and works towards it

Amit K. Singhal, director of Global Packaging FZE, Sharjah in conversation with Venkat Raghavan, shares his views on the current packaging industry and his future plans.

Originally from and raised in Mumbai, Amit K. Singhal completed his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in 1995 from Guru Khalsa College, Mumbai and prior to that he completed his schooling from Pathak College in Santacruz, Mumbai. After completing his degree, he joined National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT), Mumbai to

Fespa lives up to its theme new wave of innovation

Printing industry is continuing its good run, with Fespa exuding an optimism similar to that observed at Ipex.

Visitors to the Munich show continued to patronise digital with 'two-thirds highlighting digital as their main focus as compared to half the visitors at Fespa 2007 in Berlin'. The theme of the show was Catch the New Wave of Innovation and it lived up to its name. Displayed at the expo were, for example, EFI's narrow web Jetrion label press that has been upgraded to take screen and pad

Authentication vs Authorization: What’s the difference? Why should you care?

April Bourne, LSS Black Belt, Xerox manager sales enablement and training, research & product development, in discussion with Venkat Raghavan – assistant editor of PrintWeek MEA.

There’s a big difference between gaining successful entrance to the king’s castle (Authentication) and what you are allowed to do once you are inside (Authorization). Chances are, as a visitor, your actions and movement will be restricted and for good reason. Just because you got through that big iron door does not

This edition of Ipex ended on a optimistic note inspite of ash clouds and British Airways

This edition of Ipex ended on a optimistic note inspite of ash clouds and British Airways' strike causing hiccups on the way. The optimism was evident in exhibitors and visitors, prompting many echoes of 'industry is headed towards recovery'. Though the star of the show was digital, the future lies in the coalition of offset and digital technology. As an industry veteran with his finger firmly placed on the pulse of market movements said, "The traditional offset market will shrink, but not as

Demand for lightweight media drives new possibilities in mono

Ayman Ali, senior marketing manager – B2B, Canon Middle East, explains to Venkat Raghavan, assistant editor of PrintWeek MEA.

For today’s digital print service providers (PSPs) and in-house print rooms operating with small format cut-sheet digital presses, the capability to print on lighter weight substrates is opening up a vast array of opportunities, thanks to four key market drivers which are stimulating increased demand for lightweight applications.

Growing legislation – Widening

Industry should not write epitaphs of offset just yet.

The buzz everywhere around me is how fast and rapidly digital is making inroads into the traditional offset zones. Stories abound of printers venturing into publishing daily newspapers and magazines on digital machines, with some even value adding to their products by personalising copies.

Traditional offset, however is not to be left behind, as is evident from the new machines to be launched at Ipex this year. Heidelberg will unveil its CX 102 capable of printing 16,500 sheets per hour, while

Success can be attained in business only after achieving the desired output

Shawaf Muhammad Sheriff, director of Ajmal Printing Press, Sharjah in conversation with Venkat Raghavan, shares his technical experience.

Hailing from UAE, Shawaf Muhammad Sheriff completed all his schooling at New Indian Modern School, Sharjah. Later, he did his Bachelor in Electrical & Electronic Engineering at BITS Pilani and completed the same in 2010. After completing his education in Bachelor degree, he decided to do post graduation in Energy and did it in Heriot Watt University. After

Going green can reap cost and productivity benefits

The Middle East region trails behind Europe where environment aspects are concerned. While the region is very keen and quick at investing in the latest technology, going an extra mile for the environment often takes a back seat.

Though it is becoming very commonplace to talk of 'corporate social responsibility and 'eco-friendly approaches, at media gatherings, the ground reality is that the printing fraternity is largely concerned with profit margins.

The need of the hour is mass