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Managing director of ABBA Printing Press, Alex Abraham highlights to Shilpa Jasani his thoughts on giving importance to quality over quantity and executing orders within the scheduled deadline.

Walking down memory lane, managing director of Sharjah-based ABBA printing press, Alex Abraham says, “After graduation, I joined the family owned printing press in Ajman. I took over from my father in 1997, which turned out to be an excellent platform to showcase my marketing skills since I hold a Bachelors degree in Business Management from the University of Mangalore (India).  The Printing Press was established in 1996 by my father and his brother - both of whom had previous experience in the printing sector.  The collaboration proved to be a success.  When I took over, I was overlooking the business development function.

However, in 2005, I wound up the business to be with my ailing mother in India, who was suffering from cancer. Following her demise in 2005, I came back to Dubai in 2006 and started ABBA Printing Press LLC with my elder brother, Lenju Joseph, with an employee strength of 7.  Currently we have 63 staff members.”

“Since I have taken over, there have been massive changes in the print industry, be it from CD to direct print and chemical free processing, to the fact that make ready takes from 5- 10 minutes. Controls and operation time takes minimal time these days due to the technology advancements.  The UAE is definitely a class apart, as opposed to the rest of the GCC, wherein we are abreast with the latest technologies. Especially in Dubai, I foresee in the near future, that thousands of government services will go smart.”

Talking about the challenges he faces in the printing industry, Abraham says, “Our main challenge would be to keep abreast with the latest developments in technology. As technology advances, we ensure that we keep up with the latest developments by being a part of various exhibitions like the DRUPA exhibition in Germany.”  

ABBA specializes in offset and digital commercial printing jobs for the hospitality industry, banks and hotels.  “Success to me is ensuring that the product is delivered with the highest quality within the respective timelines. In other words, ensuring that the customer is a 100% satisfied with the final product. Today the biggest strength in my organization is my staff. It is the teamwork that ensures that the final product is delivered on time and within the given parameters.  Employee retention is the core key element that contributes to the success of any organization. Today I attribute the success of my company to my employees. I ensure that every staff member is taken well care of.

Hailing from Ranni in the Pathanamtitta district in Kerala, Abraham loves reading both fiction and non-fiction books. He is armed with a Bachelors in Business Management from the University of Mangalore with a keen interest in marketing.

Abraham is in the process of establishing a branch office in Abu Dhabi, with the aim of expanding in Qatar and the rest of the GCC in the near future. Looking ahead Abraham says, “With Dubai winning the Expo 2020, it has been promising for the print industry as we see an influx of both small and large scale industries developing in the UAE resulting in demand of increase in print media.”

The printshop works in international markets including the GCC, Europe and East African countries.  “We do not feel that there is an excess of printing presses in the region, contributing to a situation of excess supply over demand. As the customer is concerned, they believe in quality and timely deliveries and that’s not something that everyone can deliver.”

Looking at the difficult times in perspective, Abraham says, “Two years ago, due to the shortage of power supply we lost out on many contracts as a result of which we are now investing on a hydro power generator.”

Boasting of banks, schools and universities, finance and accounting departments, ministries, insurance and mortgage companies among their clients, ABBA stocks various qualitites of paper including 350 gsm coated paper, acid free paper and clay coated paper for greeting cards.

“The main advice I would offer fellow printers is ‘focus not on the size of the project but the quality, ensuring every order is executed within the given timelines. Though we have not won any awards,  our biggest achievement was winning a project from Al Futtaim group and delivering the product within a week.  In real terms, this job should have taken a month, but due to our efforts we were able to execute the order within a week, which resulted in the customer applauding our work and expressing full satisfaction.  One of the highlights in my career was receiving a letter of recognition from the Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital, appreciating the quality of our work.”