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New publication from Fujifilm Chairman & CEO explains the company’s dramatic transformation

In Innovating Out of Crisis, How Fujifilm Survived (and Thrived) As Its Core Business Was Vanishing, published by Stone Bridge Press, Berkeley, California, Shigetaka Komori, FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation Chairman and CEO, recounts how he was inspired to lead Fujifilm’s journey from the brink of extinction to its current path of prosperity and growth – and a new direction.

In its recent fiscal year ending March 31, 2015, FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation reported a record profit, in spite of the loss of its core business several years ago, brought on by a rapid increase in the digitalisation of photography as well as the world financial crisis in 2008. In the year 2000, photographic products made up sixty percent of Fujifilm’s sales and two–thirds of its profit. Within ten years, however, the booming market for digital photography destroyed that business. In the midst of this,. Komori guided the company through an historic transition from being a traditional photographic company into a leading global innovator.

In his book, Komori states, “The company’s core photographic film market was shrinking at a spectacular rate, and the situation was critical. Fujifilm had good management resources, first-rate technology, a sound financial footing, a reputable brand, and excellence in its diverse workforce. If all these assets could be effectively combined into a successful strategy and applied, I was sure that something could be done to save the day. The whole of Fujifilm was depending on my managerial skills to make it happen. I was gripped by a strong sense of mission. ‘May be I was brought into this world to overcome this crisis,’ I thought at the time. The hair stood up on the back of my neck.”

Fujifilm is now a leading global company with business interests in a variety of industries, including: healthcare, highly functional materials, document solutions, digital imaging, optical devices and graphic systems. The company has been applying its unique core fundamental technologies, resulting from 80 years of research and development that began with the design and production of fine, quality photographic products.

In 2015, Fujifilm will celebrate 50 years in the United States.

Innovating Out of Crisis is now available through and, in both hard copy and e-book.

“We do not sell inks, we market them”

says VK Seth, managing director – Sakata Inx (India) Pvt Ltd, in conversation with P&P editors SK Khurana and Varsha Verma.

Sakata Inx (India) Limited currently manufactures all types ofliquid printing inks for gravure and flexographic printing process; offset inks for sheet fed and web offset printing and accessories; and UV varnishes & UV flexo inks & UV sheet fed inks.

On Indian market…

Talking about the present economic situation in India, Seth opined that the economy is still struggling and consumption is still slow. There is a mere 2-3 percent growth in the FMCG segment that too due to growth in the unorganised sector. “Sakata enjoys 40-45 percent share in the food grade sector like Coke, Pepsi, Nestle, P&G, ITC, Britannia, etc. Sakata India has a 23-24 percent share in the flexible packaging,” he added.

On newspapers…

“In India, the success of any product depends upon placing it at the right price point. For example, take the case of newspapers, it is available at the lowest price globally, targeted at the lower middle class segment. This is why newspaper market is growing in India, while it is declining elsewhere,” shared Seth.

Besides, the Indian model for newspapers works on advertising model and not on cover price. “Hence, production cost is very subsidised and so they look for cost-effective production solutions for the same,” he added.

Seth also mentioned the ‘Luce’ ink for newspapers, which is widely popular in Japan. Even in India some of the companies have started using similar products. Sakata Inx was started as a newspaper ink manufacturer, way back in 1896.


India is a price-sensitive market and in spite of inks being just 3-4 percent of production cost, printers are not willing to go for solutions, which are 5-10 percent more expensive than cheaper versions. “The concept of ‘acceptable quality’ prevails in India. This is followed in pursuit of grabbing maximum market share in the growing economy of India,” shared Seth.

But it’s changing gradually. “We don’t sell inks, but market it. We are closely working with some companies in terms of giving value to them. Earlier, people worked on the 4P’s of marketing (product, place, price, promotion) but now they are talking about SAVE, which refers to (solution, access, value and education). Customers are no longer talking about basic price. The standard format of costing is changing, taking into account the concept of productivity, mileage, bond strength, graphics and value. Customers now demand service, technical solutions and process costs. They are realising that they can save money in the long run,” he added.

On distribution…

Sakata Inx (India) has their regional offices in Mumbai and Hyderabad and resident engineers in cities like Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, etc. “We also have around 30-35 exclusive dealers for gravure and 150 for offset inks. Of the offset ink dealers, 30 percent are exclusive dealers for Sakata,” told Seth.

On exports…

Sakata Inx (India) has the largest territory for exports than any other Sakata Inx company. “Almost 17-18 percent of our revenue comes from exports and we are targeting to increase it to 25 percent. We not only export to neighboring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh but also cater to Middle East, Dubai, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, to name a few. We have dealers/distributors for exports, besides a few direct customers,” told Seth proudly.

So, what is the quality of these products? “The quality remains as Sakata standard, but products are produced as per the particular market demands. We first map the market and then place out products,” answered Seth as a matter of fact.

Our USPs…

On asking about their mantra for success, Seth replied that they continuously invest in education for their staff, aimed at technical training and enhancing their skills. “We have a unique ‘Learning & sharing’ program, where it is mandatory for each employee to deliver three formal lectures on their subject of expertise. This way, they can share their knowledge and expertise with others,” he said.

Expansion plans…

On asking about their expansion plans in India, Seth replied that they would be focusing on offset inks for the next 2-3 years. “Our ink plant in Panoli (Gujarat), has a capacity to produce 7,000 tonnes of coldest ink every year. We are planning to double this capacity in Panoli by next financial year. Besides, we produce 3,000 tons of Coldset ink per year in our Bhiwadi (Rajasthan) unit. All products put together, we produce 26,000 tons of ink per annum. We also plan to expand the capacity to produce sheet-fed inks in Panoli as well,” told Seth.

“We have crossed Rs 500 CR mark in the last financial year and are expecting a growth of 17-18 percent this year,” concluded Seth on a happy note.

VK Seth, managing director – Sakata Inx (India) Pvt Ltd has recently been assigned with an additional responsibility and be on the International Advisory Board at Sakata Inx Corporation, Japan. The advisory board is a think tank for all international operations to grow organically or inorganically. There are five members on the board, including one from America and three being the senior most management members at Sakata Japan. This is because after Japan and America, Indian office is the third largest contributor to the group.

Smart and bright future of print!

Consumerism, an increase in global populations, the effects of the Internet and e-commerce – all of these developments are impacting our world, changing forecasts for the future and having a huge impact on the evolution and survival of print. Consumers are reaching out to purchase the latest products in consumables, pharmaceuticals and decoration. The drive for goods with desirability, branding and quality is impacting the industrial, packaging and print industries. The upsurge in interest in 3D printing, printed electronics, RFID, coding and mobile applications is taking the concept of communication into a new space. Here Gareth Ward offers his view on the future of print. According to Gareth we need to embrace the trends and all the developments affecting our world. We also need to face the challenges and use our creativity.
The future of print is here today – we can touch and grasp it with both hands… at drupa 2016!

Smarter print to market

The successful printer of the future will deliver customers a full service offering that extends well beyond printing and finishing. The exact mix of digital communications, value added print, data manipulation and logistics will depend on the customer base and how the printer positions himself, or perhaps how he forms partnerships with others with expertise in these areas. But what is going to make print a successful communications medium in the next decade is already clear: print has to be relevant.

This was not necessary when print was the prime channel for advertising, information, communication with government and so on. Much of this mundane printing has transferred to digital and will never come back, but print is not shrinking. It is evolving into something smarter, more versatile and above all more relevant to those who receive it.

If a printer is not part of this development, the only option is to sell print services as cheaply as possible and this is no way to build for the future nor to create enduring partnerships with customers. Unfortunately there are many printers that lead with price and face the same inevitable fate as the wooly mammoth: extinction.

IT drives print relevance

Tomorrow’s printers must become as comfortable with IT as they are with offset litho. That can stretch from operating a website to harvest jobs, to creating automated workflows that minimise touch points where errors can be identified, using management systems - MIS to record and present up to the minute details of how a company is performing through to data handling to create personalised communications for customers to talk to their customers in the most relevant way. If that means using social media alongside print, the new print house has to deliver.

The problem here is that printers continue to prefer to invest in a new printing press rather than in IT. It is as if the press is tangible and understandable. If it runs at 18,000 sph (and machines at drupa 2016 are likely to hit 20,000 sph) this is 20-30 percent faster than their current machine, so must make sense. But few give due thought to how jobs are to be processed either before reaching the press, or once printed. Across the globe, print runs are falling and time allotted is shrinking. A faster press magnifies the problem of handling more jobs in less time without introducing errors. In addition, very few consider training for their staff to be an investment rather than an imposition.

The first drupa ‘Global Insights Report’ published in October 2014 highlighted this: “Only 23 percent of the drupa expert panel report an increase in IT spend in the last five years, and virtually all decision makers stated a lack of IT specialists. This is a major challenge for printers,” says Sabine Geldermann, director of drupa 2016.

IT knowledge is key for automation at the process level. Those supplying software to the industry take it as read that JDF compliance is essential. Workflows have to become more sophisticated. Producing an eight page section on standard paper is simple, but tomorrow’s customers will want something far more than this. They will want their printed products to stand out, to have the impact to cut through the thousands of marketing messages that are received each day.

drupa president and CEO of KBA Claus Bolza-Schünemann predicts, “In some years from now there will be fewer printing companies but they will be larger and more industrial with a broad service range. In the commercial sector printers will turn into marketing service providers for print and online services.”

“The connection between print, online and mobile activities will grow stronger.” says Claus Bolza-Schünemann.

The transition is in its infancy. A well known commentator on advertising and the internet pointed out last year that consumers spend vast amounts of time with their smartphones, but these only take a small proportion of the overall marketing spend, whereas the fast shrinking newspaper sector receives a disproportionate amount of advertising spend. One must shrink its share while the other one grows – unless the newspaper becomes more relevant to its reader. This means hyper local sections, printed digitally with targeted advertising.

Revalidating print in a digital world

The same can be noticed in magazines where the mass circulation titles that used to be printed by gravure are losing circulation while magazines that focus on the special interests of readers remain healthier. There will be fluctuations across national boundaries and as fashions change, but the magazines that focus on this sort of readers will not be displaced by digital delivery of content because reading a magazine is so much more than the information presented.

A decade ago it was predicted that with the growth of the internet, video on demand and the ability to interact with websites, fashion magazines might disappear because websites can show clothes being worn, have links to prices and instant ordering. But fashion magazines are stronger than ever because possession of Vogue makes a statement about the women carrying it. Online fashion websites like ASOS and Pret-a-porter have launched printed magazines because of this phenomenon.

The doomsayers who predicted the same fate for catalogues have also been thwarted by human nature. We like to browse a catalogue or holiday brochure. They spark our imagination in a way that digital fails to do. And retailers that either exist only online or else which dropped their print catalogues are returning to print to remind customers to visit their websites to complete a purchase. If online shopping is going to grow, (though it remains only a relatively small share of consumer spending even in the industrialised countries) more and more print is going to be needed.

But it is not going to be the same sort of print as of old. Why send someone who always takes a vacation in Mexico details of holidays in Canada for example? Instead the holiday company, with the help of the printer, can tailor a brochure that features the best hotels and resorts in Mexico. It will be a smaller publication with a shorter production run, but production standards can be higher in terms of print, paper and personalisation.

The printer must be ready to deliver this to his customers. It means investment in technology that can cope with shorter print runs. It means the ability to print on uncoated papers which are popular because of their tactile qualities, and this can be addressed through the new UV technologies that are spreading through the industry. It means being able to enhance the printed product using varnish, foils, raised print effects, die cutting and other processes that enhance the value of the printed product and make it more exciting and engaging to the consumer.

This can involve the inclusion of printed electronic circuitry to turn a printed page in a book or magazine into a loudspeaker to tell a story, the dashboard of a car which comes alive when various buttons and switches are activated, a printed label which can light up when a sensor detects movement.

Embedded codes within the printed page are scannable by smartphones to unlock digital information for the consumer, perhaps an offer to be redeemed in a certain store or restaurant, while providing the company making the offer with information about who has scanned the code, where and when. The printed poster or advertisement acquires a measurable value because it proved to be relevant to that consumer at that time.

Marketing innovation

The sorts of high quality print and finishing effects that sell the premium bottles of spirits are finding their way to other types of packaging, especially as the movement for artisan produced goods gathers pace. While overall volumes are small, the value of the printed pack is that much more important. And the printer can have far more influence on the quality than the company working for global brands with extensive product marketing teams forcing printers to toe the line.

However, even these global companies must become more flexible in order to match society’s craving for innovation and novelty. It means that printed packaging becomes a major marketing tool, consider the impact that Share a Coke has had for example. The printer must be able to help cut the time to market for new products, either through automated workflows or perhaps by also taking on prototype creation using 3D printing technology.

There is room too for using the new inkjet technologies by printing directly to the bottle or package itself, what is called ‘direct to shape’ printing. The printing system becomes part of the bottling or packing line and rather than printing and delivering labels, the print company’s task becomes managing this new technology and establishing a new workflow.

It is going to require a whole new approach to marketing what a printer is and can do, and this is very much unknown territory for many print service providers. The exceptions are online printers that have grown rapidly in recent years, sweeping away swathes of small print businesses as they have done so. But even these rarely lead on price; they are selling convenience and ease of access and that is down to constant marketing and sponsorship to raise brand awareness.

Increasing the value

Printers should focus on benefits such as personal service, same day printing, wide choice of substrates, design, fulfilment and so on. Even this requires marketing skills that need to be developed.

The answer will be different depending on the printing company, says Claus Bolza-Schünemann, “Every printing house knows its customers and its strengths best. Therefore, it is of little help to simply copy the recipe for success of others. If every company offered the same this would automatically lead to over abundance in the market with the familiar consequences.”

“Large trade fairs, such as drupa, offer good chances to find out more about new technologies and future-focused business models and the appropriate path for a company.” says Claus Bolza-Schünemann.

Alon Bar-Shany, vice president and general manager of HP Indigo, agrees, “There is pressure to commoditise, options for lower quality and lower pricing, but that would spell disaster for the industry. The opportunity is for less pages but higher value ones.”

“Printers need first to acknowledge change and then embrace it. The industry needs to evangelise the inherent beauty and effectiveness of print in today’s digital world,” says Alon Bar-Shany.

Printing will remain at the heart of it, but printers must become like project managers, shepherding the different aspects of the communication chain to achieve the result that the customers want, reaching a measurable return on investment. The focus on reducing overheads in the end to end supply chain has already transformed how books are printed and distributed; digital printing is starting to eat into packaging for the same reason. It is not the cost of producing an individual carton or label that is important, it is the overall cost of wasted materials and time in the supply chain that is important. Printers need to expand their thinking beyond the creation of the box.

For those companies that can do this, that become engaged with their customers and work together to find solutions that embrace print at some level, the future is bright.

“Print can still create emotions and print lasts, preserving moments and memories,” says Alon Bar-Shany.

Print is no longer the dumb sheet of paper that is recycled in moments. The smart printers are discovering this. Value now is a ‘function’ not of scarcity but of ‘relevance’.

EFI pre-announces new technology for drupa 2016

EFI, the worldwide leader in UV and LED inkjet grayscale industrial printers, is adding even more excitement to superwide-format inkjet imaging by adding 50 shades of grayscale to its printers.

Under a new licensing agreement, EFI will have the exclusive rights to 50 shades of grayscale in inkjet technology. The company expects to debut its first product at the drupa 2016 in Germany, giving printing companies repressed by current limitations in printing capabilities the control they desire.

While grayscale has become an increasingly important feature in digital inkjet performance, no other industry technology provider is expected to use more than 49 shades of it. By hitting the 50 benchmark in its new products, EFI can ensure that frustrated printing professionals don’t get tied up by inefficiency and waste. With this new technology, EFI printers endowed with 50 shades of grayscale will be able to print on an extended range of substrates – rough or smooth, rigid or flexible.

The new product line will also include a suite of workflow solutions – the perfect offering for superwide-format printing professionals who have been curious about submission of print jobs. Printing companies will be able to address their production pain points, leveraging the only printing workflow developed with an intimate understanding of demand fulfillment.

“With this new launch, it doesn’t matter if you are experienced or a first-timer; the technologies EFI is developing will work out the kinks so printing companies can establish a position of dominance in the markets they serve,” according to print industry consultant Thomas Foolery. “This new product line is a clear indicator that EFI is determined to help its customers whip their businesses into shape.”

Product launches and live demos to be main attractions at PAMEX 2015

As everything starts moving in full pace for PAMEX 2015, one of the greatest expos on the printing and allied machinery industries, overall excitement is palpable as the core group members recently gathered for its second meeting in New Delhi. The gathering brought out brainstorming sessions and drew roadmap for the successful hosting of the trade exhibition and the concurrent conference.
The pre-exhibition gathering for PAMEX 2015 to be held from December 09-12 at Bombay Exhibition Centre was attended by over 30 leading printers, suppliers and media persons including representatives of Cambridge Press, Dewan Offset Printers, Dhote Offset, Foil Printers, India Printing Works, Insight Communication & Print Solutions, Konica Minolta Business Solution, Memory Repro Systems, Monotech Systems, Nippon Color, NPES, Paper Bind, Pressline India, Print & Publishing, Provin Technos, Sahil Graphics, Shalimar Offset Press, Sri Durga Polymers, Sumi Publications and The Jeyagraham Arts Crafts.

The 1st newsletter released at the hands of AMSG Ashokan.Spirit of the attendees at the august gathering was set by an eloquent welcome address by Anand Limaye, hony general secretary of All India Federation of Master Printers (AIFMP), in which he briefly traced back the history of PAMEX. He also shared the rationale of moving the event to Mumbai in its 10th edition and predicted a closer co-operation with Indian Printing, Packaging and Machinery Manufactures' Association (IPAMA) that would benefit their respective events as well as the exhibitors and visitors of both the exhibitions – PRINTPACK INDIA and PAMEX.

Opening of the meeting was marked with the release of the PAMEX Preview Newsletter (first of the three series) by AMSG Ashokan, chairman, PAMEX Organising Committee, as he presented the first copy of the newsletter to Satish Bajwa, vice president, IPAMA. Further in the follow-up session, Tushar Dhote, co-chairman of PAMEX Organising Committee presented updated details on the stall booking status and promotional campaigns successfully carried out till date. He also outlined the international conference planned on the second day of PAMEX 2015 at the exhibition venue itself before opening the forum to a freewheel discussion.

The core group was overwhelmingly buoyed by the decision of shifting the exhibition venue to Mumbai. In a moving recount of his regular participations in various editions of PAMEX, Bal Krishan Khindria, managing director, Memory Repro, spoke of how the entire industry was enthused with the move. The group recommended a series of grassroots level campaigns to be carried out across Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat to attract larger number of visitors this year. Also suggested during the meeting was a systematic campaign to be carried out by covering B-towns all over the country, especially in the south and outreaching to international visitors from Gulf, East Africa and the neighbouring countries. “Mumbai is ideally located to draw visitors from these regions and efforts should be made to get the largest pull,” suggested Anuj Mehta from Paper Bind International Pte Ltd.

Tushar Dhote updates the gathering“Running machinery or live demo is the life of a printing exhibition. The prime locations in the hall should be reserved for the exhibitors that commit to display live running machines and launch new products,” opined Kishore from Monotech Systems and it was a view shared by almost all present at the gathering. It was discussed that as a corollary, tight monitoring of procedures for octroi and hassle-free movement of exhibits through the border check posts and on site handling should be ensured by the event managers.

In his closing remarks, Ashokan thanked the gathering for its contribution in providing an insight into the concerns of the industry and promised to design a promotional campaign and a conference that would take into account all the inputs received from the core group. He also expected this interaction to be an ongoing process and continue through a WhatsApp group on social media network. For further details contact Varsha Pal at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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