PRESSIdeas spoke with Sudeep Bhattacharjee, MD, manroland India during the recent WAN-IFRA India Conference in Chennai.
manroland India focused on three key areas during the WAN-IFRA India in Chennai – Web Presses, Print Services and Maintellisense.
“We are looking at three areas,” says Sudeep who explains, “the first is Web Presses – the Cromoman 4 x1 newspaper press which is already running in Times of India and Namaste Telengana. This is a press made for the Indian market. It has a low height and is guarded against power fluctuation and all other aspects for Indian market conditions are taken care of. Looking at today’s market in India, this press suits well, especially for the regional newspapers.”
He adds, “The second area that we are focusing here is our Print Services. By this it does not mean supply of spare parts only. Under Print Services, we are looking at the Pecom-X and Market-X. Pecom-X is our operating system for manroland presses. We are now making this technology available off the shelf and extending this operating system to other big non-manroland equipments. We recently did a major upgrade with a Goss press in the USA. Two more such upgrade jobs are underway. Unlike other companies doing such refurbishing and upgrade jobs, we are different. We are a full fledged printing company. So nobody understands a printing machines better than us. The second area that we are looking at is Market-X. We already have the manroland store. What we are now doing is extending this platform to non-manroland equipments. Other equipment manufacturers, be it press, post press etc, can use this platform to sell their wares and services. Market-X will be an online platform, a global source for any manufacturers and buyers to sell and buy printing equipments and services.”
The third area is Maintellisense, which means manroland’s maintenance using sensors. Sudeep elaborates, “We are trying to extend to the industry the concept of 4.0 in print. We use internet of things, data computing, cloud computing etc. to service printing presses. Earlier for printing presses, you had preventive maintenance, break down maintenance and then came in predictive maintenance. Now, using advanced computing technologies, are trying to predict when any equipment would fail and take appropriate timely action to eliminate downtime. We do this by putting in lots of devices and interconnecting all these by using internet of things so there is a data exchange between different devices and generate a report for the customer. We also extend this by using the data to do a data analytics. This is a concept which we are extending to the printing press; presently to manroland presses and may add to other presses later. This we believe is the way for the future as the customers will be keen to reduce costs, increase production efficiency with lesser man power.”
The other area manroland focused on was the Printcom business, a portfolio of blankets, rubber rollers and press room chemicals. “We have tied up with some European suppliers and extending their services in India at Indian price,” says Sudeep.
Speaking on the industry sentiment he puts in, “The entire Indian economy has slowed down and also the newspaper industry. One has to be aware of the slow down and take precautionary steps to sustain and get over this slow down. It’s a temporary phase and I am very optimistic of the future. The economy will bounce back. The regional newspapers are growing, the national newspapers are retaining their markets – India is different, unlike the western countries,” he emphasises.
As opposed to the threat of Digital media and e-newspapers etc., Sudeep sees the real threat in the fact that new generation is not reading as much as the earlier generations would. “Though the printed version of newspapers is growing, the next generation just reads the headlines and the mobile platforms are the best way to disseminate these headline news constantly. This would have happened even if digital had not come in. The change in reading habits has affected the newspaper industry. As regards opportunity we are now looking at a readership coverage of more than 12% of the population due to increase in literacy rates, and this is a huge opportunity for the industry. However, we have to keep innovating to disseminate news contents and give more value and returns to the advertisers,” he suggests.