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N. L. Ashok, managing director, Decent Printing Press, Sharjah in discussion with Venkat Raghavan, shares his assessments and technological growth he has seen so far in all these years

 

Born in Hyderabad and raised in Mumbai, N. L. Ashok completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical at Usman University, Hyderabad. After his Engineering he pursued block making at Kohinoor Technologies, Mumbai. With the passion towards printing industry and with the experience he gained has let him to open his own printing press in the United Arab Emirates.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

● The press has diversified into many industries starting from rubber stamp to printing press

● Printing press was started with less numbers and now there are more than 90 employees

 

Ashok says, “I have completed all my schooling and college in my hometown. The interest I have in engineering made me to pursue my education in mechanical engineering at Usman Unveristy, Hyderabad. To get me more versatile in the Art Block making, I decided to do a one year course and joined in Kohinoor Technologies to pursue Art Block making in Mumbai. After completing my education I joined in Tata Press as block making assistant engineer where I spent around one year in that company to learn all the techniques involved while making it. Since, I have gained the confidence I decided to start my venture in UAE and came to the emirates in 1990. Later, I joined in the printing press as pre press supervisor and stayed there for one year. Again, I went back to India for few years and came back to UAE in 1994. Suddenly, one spark came in my mind that why can’t I start a business on my own which made me to start the Decent Rubber Stamp with the help of my relatives. The business was doing well at that time and we wanted to diversify into block making. I started the Decent Zinc and Block making company with finishing unit. We were getting orders from many companies but they vendors were not delivering the stocks properly. Since, we are already in diversification plan we decided to open a plastic industry and started the Al Mahalla plastic industries in the next couple of years. During those days printing press were making good business so we decided to expand ourselves into more printing and opened the Decent Printing Press in another couple of years. Our Printing press is a family.”

Speaking about the trends, he said, “The printing industry has grown a lot compared to the early days. During those days we had several difficulties in attaining a loan and getting a license. In addition, it is quite difficult to get the additional power supply for keeping the machines. Nowadays, you can easily start a printing press on your own if you have enough money. Even getting loans and machines is the easy one where people are eagerly waiting to help you. People don’t even want to learn about the process involved in the company but it is entirely different earlier where even I went for two months training before opening my plastic company. Nowadays, most of the industry has turned into digital and that is one of the reason we have got one Konica Minolta digital machine.” 

Narrating about the company, he added, “Decent Printing Press started with 30 employees and now we have more than 90 employees. We are determined to provide exquisite quality in all our jobs through our professional staffs. In addition, we take it as our prime concern to make sure that each of our clients unique print media needs is truly met with. We are three brother and all of them are working here so it is similar to a family business. All of them are equally taking care of the jobs, clients, and staffs along with maintaining the discipline. My elder brother controls the financial activities, my other brother taking care of the printing supervision and I take care of the rest.”

He further added about the challenges in the industry, retaining employees and credit terms, “Challenges are occurring only due to the increase in the number of printing press and in reflection to that we are in a position to do a price war. We are strictly adhering to the credit policy and we are strongly evaluating all the customers before giving credits. Our credit policy day varies from 30 through 90 days depending upon their proficiency. However, the government over here gives a relish security for the owners through their strict rules. Once we receive the post dated cheque then it is mandate for the customer to pay the amount by the date to avoid getting imprisoned. Again, retaining employees are not that difficult if you satisfy their needs, all our employees are satisfied with our provided services. Out of all, we are living here as a family so it’s good for all of us.”

Talking about the future plans, “We have plans to focus more towards the packaging industry. Since, I have some exposure in the making luxury boses and others so it would be easy for us to expand. We have one top and bottom pasting machinesa along with few more packaging supporting machines so we need to buy only one big packaging machine to accommodate big quantity jobs. I believe the whole printing industry will do well from next year as the Expo 2020 is approaching and until then we will be doing business only with customers who are having good credibility.”

Signing off, he advices the printing presses to be more cautious while making the collection and sales. In addition, always take care of your customers and suppliers.”