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Sunny Thomas, general manager of Pen Printing Press, Ajman in conversation with Venkat Raghavan, shares his knowledge about the printing industry and explains where the industry will be heading in the coming years.

Born and raised in Kottayam, Kerala, India, Sunny Thomas completed his schooling in Kerala and bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from NSS College affiliated to Calicut University - Palakkadu, India. He opened a printing press in India in 2002. In the year 2011, Thomas came to Dubai with all his managerial experience and capabilities to join Pen Printing Press as a general manager.
Speaking about his career, Sunny said, “After completing my B.Tech in 1989, I joined as a lecturer in Bombay University and worked there until 1996. In 1996, due to some family issues, I was forced to go back to Kerala. As I wanted to pursue my career in different stream, I joined as a faculty in computer training institute. Over a period of time, in the year 2002, something sparked my mind and I opened Media Printing Press with 8 employees where I was doing purely commercial printing. The business was running successfully for more than nine years. Later in 2011, my engineering classmate, Nadeem Sait, owner of Pen Printing Press, gave me a job offer to join as a general manager in his press. I immediately accepted the offer and came to UAE.”

HIGHLIGHTS

● The press has recently purchased Metro Printing Press, Sharjah

● They are planning to go for ISO certification

Further speaking about the industry he added, “During olden days people used to print with blocks and types which required more effort, but now things have changed. I believe, the younger generation has to be more tech savvy. Now packaging has become the core of every business. For instance, a farmer who wants to sell his honey needs a packaging and even a woman who wants to sell her home-made products needs packaging. In UAE, we have customers from different cultures and different countries so we need to cater to their requirements. Here the main challenge is the raw materials and the prices of these have increased drastically. The price of the papers are increasing frequently and it’s a big hurdle to handle. Unhealthy competition is going around many presses and the pricing war has started. The collection is also getting affected. Due to this, some of the companies are unable to pay the salaries to their employees as well. In order to avoid this, a base value should be kept for every product and then an organisation should be formed. Digital and packaging will be the future of the printing industry. The quality and output of digital machines are very good; particularly the outputs from UV, Spot UV with the combination of different media are immensely awesome. In addition, if a person wants to print small number of quantity then it is very easy to print in digital and it is cost efficient too.”
Speaking about the company, he said, “Our company mainly focuses on packaging and gift boxes. The recent acquisition of Metro Printing Press has enabled us to offer more packaging-finishing jobs through their existing sophisticated machines. As our Pen Printing Press is located near to the main road in Ajman, we get more walk in customers. Every day, we meet new people and get many new orders. We believe that we need to talk to customers and understand their needs before accepting any order. In addition, we also make sure that the customer will not leave us, once they come in, after seeing our prompt delivery and quality. Customer interaction is always required to keep them in good rapport with us.”
Speaking about his family, he said, “My wife works as a teacher in a school in Ajman. I have three sons; my first son is working for General Electric (GE) in India, after his graduation in computer engineering. Second one is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in India in NIIT Calicut, and my youngest son is studying in an Indian School in Ajman.” About hobbies, he added, “I read a lot of articles and practice yoga, meditation, naturopathy and bio farming.”
Talking about the expansion plans and company business, Sunny added, “As an expansion plan we will be applying for ISO certification which would allow us to extend our services. In the next two years, we will be expanding more in packaging field. We are also planning to invest in an industrial folder gluer machine.  We do around 20 to 30% of our business to overseas clients and rest to the local market. The current market will encourage only survival of the fittest and we strongly believe that we are one among them.”
Speaking about the employee benefits and credit period, Sunny added,  “We always give importance to our employees and that is one of the reason most of our employees are not willing to leave us. We provide medical insurance to all our employees and take them for an annual one-day tour. We maintain a credit period of 60 to 90 days for all our customers and suppliers.”
Signing off, he advises, “Everyone has to be very cautious while taking the jobs from clients; especially from new clients in terms of payment.”