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Thomas George, general manager of Tamir Printing Press, LLC., Sharjah in conversation with Venkat Raghavan, shares his experience and how to run a charming business under any circumstances.

 

Having more than two decades of experience in the printing industry Thomas George came to UAE in the year 1997. He pursued all his education in his native place called Kozhencherry, Pathanamthitta district from Kerala, India. During his career to gain experience in the printing industry, he worked in Eiffel Printing Press for a year before starting Tamir Printing Press. He and his wife are taking care of the company operations and they have three children.
Talking about his career, Thomas, commented, “I was born and brought in a middle class family where my parents had seven children and with the Grace of God everyone is doing extraordinarily well. I studied my schooling at my hometown school ‘St. Thomas Higher Secondary School’ and after completing it I pursued my Bachelors in Commerce in St. Thomas College. After completing the degree in 1982, I immediately joined a one-year computer programming at South Indian Society, Mumbai and following that I joined NIIT for another computer programming course which I completed in 1984. Along with the computer programming course, I was pursuing ICWA inter which later guided me a lot while running the printing press. In 1984, my brother who was working for Charilaos Apostolides (Bahrain) W.L.L which is known as CHAPO has offered an employment visa and with his assistance I started my career there as an accountant. Since, the construction was one of the leading companies in the world has taught me many new things. In 1997, I came to Sharjah and joined in Eiffel Printing Press under the guidance of Kurian Thomas, managing director. Since, he is my father in law, he taught me a lot about printing techniques and methodologies to be followed in a press. Apart from his guidance, out of my own willingness I use to sit with the employees and learned about the printing process, types of papers, collating, learned on how to identify the paper weight and many more. While I was working in Bahrain I wanted to do some sales task where I did not get an opportunity to do it but things in Eiffel allowed me to do sales for some key important clients even though I was accounts manager. After gaining the confidence, I decided to open a press on my own and started this Tamir Printing press with 22 employees in 1998.”

 

Highlights
● The printing press was started in 1998
● The printing press was started with 22 employees and it grew to 50 within 10 years


Talking about the press, he added, “While starting the Tamir we were having machines like single colour GTO, two colour GTO, one letter, one cutting, cameras and many more. Since, I do not have enough money I started the press with the installment facility offered by Ali Alhashemi Trading. It is not that easy to start a press on your and I felt it when we started this press where I need to combine all my knowledge which I learned throughout the career. During the initial stage we faced several difficulties but we knew that things cannot be changed in a single day and it requires time which made us to stand here. We have achieved very good success during those days and even staffs grown to 50 employees between 2007 to 2008.”
“As far as I evaluated these were the few changes happened in the printing industry”, Thomas said, “Earlier, there was no CTP or film processing and we use only the manual blocks for all the jobs. Later then arrived the letterpress kind jobs and even after some period arrived the offset jobs. Printing is an industry where technological enhancements occur quite often. During those days, everyone has to give more importance to the offset machine alone but the market requirement has changed a lot and it is expecting a swift return from every press to switch over to the digital machines. During those days we use to get a lot of jobs and there was no huge competition in the market and even the profit margin was very good but due to unhealthy competition the market has come down drastically.”
He explained about his company benefits and memorable moment, the region scope, “Like others, we provide accommodation and transportation for the employees. Retaining the employees in this region is quite difficult where the employees nowadays it is very difficult to get a skilled offset operator. Challenges always persist and most troubling among them is the credit policy, it is quite difficult to handle the credit terms and we strongly do all the evaluation procedure before providing to the clients. Our company credit period varies from 30 through 90 days but at this period we can’t even say a definite period for it. However, we are able to collect more than 95% of the payment from the clients. A client didn’t pay for the job and I took it to the Dubai court and won it which was the most memorable moment.”
Talking about his plans for the next five years and the current market, he added, “As there are some short run requirements we may be expanding a little in digital. The unhealthy competion is the one bad factor which is there in the industry for a while. For instance, if a person is providing a quote for 5 AED and the next person is giving it for 4.5 without seeing the product whic is not at all good for the industry.”
Signing off, he advices the printing press to follow the business ethics of the printing press and to do the job for their own satisfaction and not for the sake of money.