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"Success to me," says Azim M Somji, group managing director of Tanzania based MM Group, "has been offering the right price, unmatched quality and catering to every demand to please and satisfy our clients. Being in the right place at the right time is also very important."

Established on 14th November, 1999, the MM Group has the outdoor signage company MM Signs and large format printing firm 2M Media under its banner, besides various other companies. Elaborates Somji, "My career started with the signage industry when I first started MM Signs Ltd on 14th November 1999. Thereafter as technology was developing, I decided that I needed to change from vinyl cutting to digital printing and designing. Against this perspective I decided to open a separate company in 2009 in the name of 2M Media Limited, therefore leaving the laid back technology and turning into more modern technology that was a more demanding and challenging."

Hailing from 'Bongo Land', slang for Dar es Salaam, Somji is inspired by speed and therefore his hobby is motor sports. "I have done local rallying in Tanzania but due to work pressures had to give it up, although I am still an active member with the Motor Sporting Fraternity in Tanzania."

Tracing back his steps from when he first started his career, Somji recalls, "My father was a commercial artist and I was inspired by his work to train for graphics designing and sign making and eventually the path lead to digital printing."

"I started out with working for a sign company. Initially for a year as a graphics designer and then within 6 months was promoted to the post of operations manager. From there I joined an advertising agency as the creative director. After one year, I was ready to turn into an employer, rather than remain an employee. The first steps I took were freelancing with an advertising magazine, which incidentally is still in existence and is among the most widely read and recognised magazines in Tanzania. Another magazine which I was associated with as creative director was AdMag. After these enriching experiences came the logical next step- my own company by the name of MM Signs in 1999."

Having a degree in computer science, Somji has no print related qualification, and is a print veteran by experience. Elucidating the changes in the printing industry, Somji says, "Printing quality and the speed with which jobs are executed is changing within the industry, enhanced machines are now available and technology has evolved from conventional roll to roll machines to flat beds and simultaneously inks have changed from solvents to eco solvent to UV. Even country wise there are some differences, like the volumes are much larger in the Middle East as compared to Tanzania. Availability of consumables and printing materials is a challenge in my home country, Tanzania, and works as a drawback."

Counting Zantel and Vodacom (both telecom companies) and SBC Tanzania (Pepsi) among their satisfied clients, Somji says, "These companies give us sizeable advertising business. We plan to be the preferred choice for printing and designing in Tanzania for which we have initial plans of expansion into East and Central African regions."

On the subject of scope for printers, Somji adds, "The scope is vast and I am sure that the current market and industry trends will improve to be much better and volumes will increase as the printing industry is always evolving and customer demands are getting larger and larger. Printers will be able to grow their business if they keep a combination of high quality, speedy delivery and low price in mind. Our fraternity should also focus on the client's needs and budgets. Advertising needs will always be a step forward or a remedy to the global recession and therefore my advice would be to re-work the costs accordingly and overcome the recession."

Retaining trained staff is becoming more and more difficult. When Somji was questioned about this he said, "We have a good record in maintaining our employee-loyalty. Our senior staff have been offered furnished accommodation at company expense, medical aid, bonuses, meal allowances and various other perks. To us our employees are like family and would like to emphasise that we work as a team since they, our employees are the backbone of our organisation."

Reminiscing about the most memorable moment in his career, Somji signs off saying, "When we acquired two new state of the art machines from Digimatrix, Dilli UVT / 1606 & Dilli Neotitan UV / RTR, this I look back as the most memorable moment in my life."