Dot Line Data: a medium size printer covering a niche market
Niche market is the mantra for small and medium size printers. A printer has to be a thinker, having the passion and commitment to his enterprise apart from adopting a professional approach and providing one-stop solution to the customers. All other things fall in place was found out by Rm Senthilnathan of Dot Line Data, a printing solution provider in Chennai. A brief by D Ramalingam of P&P. Specialised in printing CD covers for various albums, films, devotional and educational CDs rendering extensively to corporate and individuals, Dot Line Data has executed VHS Cover print jobs for more than 1,200 Tamil films and 600 Malayalam films till 1998. They have more than 1,000 customers scattered throughout Tamil Nadu. The company has also created various forms of CD carry/pouches for the music lovers, leading singers, musicians, lyricists and producers of the album in the Tamil musical industry.
To Rm Senthilnathan, printing became a passion since very beginning. While doing Printing Diploma (1983-1987) in Chennai, he found out the need for text books in printing for the co-students. With the help of his lecturers, he compiled the notes and cyclostyled them for providing the students at cost price. Following this urge (a family trait), Senthilnathan studied the nitty-gritty of printing business while learning technology during his work semester. According to him, he gained application knowledge and confidence from his brothers particularly Rm Lakshminarayanan, Sree Vinayaga Screens, Madurai; Subramaniam, Sudarsan Graphics, Chennai and Bakshi Brothers, Color Dot, Chennai.
Started as a designing concern in the year 1988, named ‘Data Types’ undertook many advertisement jobs from leading companies in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Excelling in that for seven years, they began their own offset printing unit in 1995. Later in 1998, procuring scanners, two-colour Adast Dominant 725, semi automatic cutting and die cutting, lamination and ancillaries, ‘Dot Line Data’ was established with their philosophy focusing on small print buyers – hold, develop and broaden the client base by giving due importance to the jobs of all nature. All these were built up step by step, the core business being designing and printing of CD covers. The man behind Senthilnathan, a qualified printer and commerce post graduate, hails from a printer’s family, so to say. His father would produce printing on metal containers for FMCG products like Dalda – Vanaspathi, Pond’s Talcum powder, etc. With the changing times, his elder brother,
Rm Lakshminarayanan initiated printing business with his father, setting up a successful screen printing unit and today a leading offset printer in the temple city Madurai.
Seeing the potential in the printing industry and with an urge for creation and designing to develop his business on those lines, designing runs through as thread in his business till today. “People come to me for designing. I create the design and produce as per customer aspiration and need. With my set up, I deliver every job within 24 to 48 hours. Customers coming from outside Chennai, see their job on the computer, approve, wait and take the job with them. Alternatively, approval can also be done online,” stated Senthilnathan.
Asked about competition, Senthilnathan said, “Of course, there is, but our strengths are designing, and delivery in short time with one-stop solution. Accordingly, our business consists of 30 percent from core operation and 20 percent each from religious books, commercial jobs and jobs for small printers at cost price.” To further strengthen their operation, they installed one 4-colour Komori Lithron 426 and ITO programme cutting machine apart from SHOEI folding machine from Japan.
Interestingly, there is no marketing staff in the unit, and all employees concentrate on production and delivery only. Achieving more than ten percent growth every year, Senthilnathan sets a vision of reaching a turn over of four crore rupees as their next step, constantly endeavouring with his able wife Kannapuram, MBA, who helps him in administration. ‘Planning today for tomorrow like planting today for tomorrow’ is their mission statement, denoting their approach towards business.