Press Ideas Nov 2012

Saku Group adapts to Digital demands

Xerox technology leads the way

The Saku Group was an Offset print provider and its adoption of Digital Printing by catering to Print-On-Demand needs of publishers is an example in itself, set for others to follow.

Established in 1991, the Saku Group (ISO 9001:2001Certified) is today a force to reckon with in the printing and publishing industry. Starting with just about 6 employees today they have more than 400 employees on their roll. In 1996, it took a major step forward with the establishment of Saurabh Printers as a complete solution provider to the publishing industry.

Vinod Kumar Gulati stepped into the industry when he started working with a printing company as an accountant. During that period, in 1980 he got the responsibility to look after the post-press operation of the concern. He took the opportunity in his stride to learn the tricks of the trade and in no time was innovating in his own way and producing results for the company. This was his entry into the printing field and there has been no turning back since then. Only after a short stint, he started his own post-press company Saku along with his brother Harish Gulati. The company would indirectly serve the needs of the publishing industry by catering to its demands in the post-press arena. Starting with serving the post press needs of the local printers, after some time, Vinod added printing machines too to his setup to meet the printing demands of his publishing clients.

The company has come a long way and today, Saurabh Printers (P) Ltd., is a name synonymous with 'on time delivery every time'. "We always keep our promises and put our best efforts behind keeping time schedules. This is the reason we are recognized in the industry as a printer who always keeps his words," claims a proud Vinod. A firm believer in hard work, Vinod is supported in business activities by his elder brother Harish (an ex-MoD officer) and two sons Vikrant and Saurabh. Westman Printing in Australia to Digital adoption in India Among his vast line-up of machines and equipment is a priced possession which he acquired in 2005. He got the news about the press on sale in Australia from his machine supplier. He found the proposal lucrative and visited the country to finalize the deal. Today Westman Printing is one of the most innovative presses working in that part of the country. The press is looked after by his eldest son Vikrant. The enterprising decision he took then is just a matter of 'fortune' for Vinod, "It is all a matter of destiny that we own a press today in Australia." What draws us most to Saurabh Printers (P) Ltd. Is its amazingly smooth adoption of digital technology, which came to the Offset printer most naturally. Today, Saurabh Printers has a complete division catering to printing on demand (POD) for leading publishers

Key Notes :
  • Starting with catering to post-press needs of publishing companies.
  • Today a force to reckon with in Print-On-Demand arena.
  • A diverse range of Digital technology from Xerox supports Saku's 'on time delivery every time'.

"I completely believe that ultimately it is the customer who is the king and he is the one whose demands have to be met with and Xerox has been a great help in terms of services for us and it indeed is very important in this industry." Vinod Kumar Gulati

Mr. Vinod Gulati, Chairman & MD, The Saku Group

How Saku ventured into POD is another interesting story. During the normal procedures followed in executing a job, once Saku sent a digital copy of a book being done to its publishers for final approval instead of sending a blue print of the book. The editor at the publisher's found it very convenient; moreover it came out as an exact replica of the final book which made more sense to both the supplier as well as the client.

Soon there was a demand for more copies from the client for different needs and this showed Saku a new stream of business to follow. The copies required by clients often varied between one and 300 but the publishers were ready to pay for the premium service. Vinod knew what will be next line of business and soon decided to install a Xerox Digital machine at his premises. All this while the company used to outsource printing of the book titles but with the increase in demand they decided to install a colour engine as well. "It is always better to have the whole thing in-house thanto outsource considering the value we give to on-time delivery every time," stresses Vinod.

It's Xerox technology leading the way Today in addition to a Xerox 4112 in their premises they have a line-up consisting of one Nuvera (for mono), a 700 (for colour) and a Xerox 6180 complementing the digital production machine. "The response to the6180 engine from Xerox was so good that we have not been able to give rest to the engine for a day even in the very first month of the installation," says Vinod.

The Saku management made a visit to IGAS 2011 with the intention to procure an inkjet system which could give a reasonable pricing for a 1500copy run.

The system was supposed to give them a first mover advantage apart from helping them have less turnaround times and serve their customers better. Vinod says that the decision was put on hold on the observation that "the quality of prints on the inkjet was not as good as our clients' needs". They had shelved the decision till Drupa 2012 but the increasing demand for POD forced them to add more machines before that.

The Saku team once again zeroed in on an Oce engine to fulfill the standing demand for an Inkjet. This time they traveled all the way to Germany and visited major providers of the technology there. Even after visiting the Oce facility, understanding the technology and almost deciding to buy one, they couldn't finalize the deal. Interestingly, the decision in favour of the right laser digital technology came in no time at all over a cup of coffee when Xerox came up with an offer for their Nuvera 288 engine. "The Nuvera 288 exactly matched our needs and the deal was struck as we were having a cup of coffee with Mr. Rajiv Ahuja of Xerox," "We always provide our customers with solutions that our customers require at a price they can afford and the engine 288 was a win-win situation for both Mr.Vinod and for us," adds Mr. Pankaj Kalra, Associate Director, Xerox India and Head Graphic Communications Business.

"I completely believe that ultimately it is the customer who is the king and he is the one whose demands have to be met with and Xerox has been a great help in terms of services for us and it indeed is very important in this industry," asserts Vinod. "It is just the beginning and there is a long way to go for us in the digital arena. It is bound to grow manifold and I firmly believe that our turnover in the coming years will reach almost 50:50 when it comes to offset vis-a-vis digital."Digital is the future In fact Vinod and his team is even thinking of decreasing the offset infrastructure in near future. He believes that customers will want to decrease their inventory to save costs. "Apart from big publishers, small publishers too will rely on print providers for their logistic needs which mean a printer would be required to look into the storage and dispatch of books in addition to printing them," says Vinod.

Vinod looks forward to further development of inkjet technology in order to match publishers' demand of quality (density of print crispness as he calls it and smudging) as well as price per print. We at PRESSIdeas feel that this is a quantum jump for an Offset print provider to adapt to the digital technology and a trend which will be seen with other Offset printers as well in times to come. We already have Repro ordering a Kodak stream machine and we shall see many more to follow suit shortly.

Over the last three years the Saku Group has witnessed a five-fold increase in its turnover. Apart from catering to major publishing giants like Oxford University Press, Penguin, Springer, Taylor & Francis, Kogan Page, Thieme-A & Anthem Press through its export division. With a host of services, well-established processes and stringent quality control measures, the Saku Group is an ideal solutions provider to publishing and printing companies worldwide.

Press Ideas Nov 2012