It is not as if for so many years of our working lives we did not believe in ‘Skilling’ or ‘Making in India.’ Many of the best printers have always focussed on training and teamwork as the key to success. They have achieved international recognition for the quality of their products and even for their knowledge and training skills. In fact Xerxes Desai who went on to build Titan Watches was known for the investment he made in technology and training young people when he was the managing director of Tata Press. One could see his love for design when he asked Charles Correa to design the new Tata Press building in Navi Mumbai. Although Tata Press began its decline when Xerxes left to start Titan Watches, one can say that on many levels one of the best things to come of Tata Press was Titan.
Nevertheless, I believe that ‘Skill in India’ and ‘Make in India’ has caught the imagination of many. One reason may be that we want leadership and this requires talking about a better future and the role that young people can play in creating it. Slogans, catchphrases and examples work by uniting us and because they become a handy way for defining objectives and sometimes also to show the way to achieve these.
What are the printing industry’s objectives? There is in fact no common objective. In the main it is a fragmented industry, which is a polite way of saying that most of the players are below a turnover of Rs.10 crore and there are few players above Rs. 100 crore in turnover and only a handful that are above Rs. 250 crore. It was also to establish the real data that we started IppStar which has done the only real and detailed primary research of the Indian print industry in the past 25 years. Our data and plausibility checks have been able to overcome some of the governance issues associated with a fragmented and mostly owner managed industry.
Although we have been consulting and training on the shop floor since 1979, it is the training mission of the industry which is the most difficult. The printing colleges have not made the progress we had hoped for in the past 15 years and there is still a wide gap between what is taught and what the industry needs in order to adopt current technology and best practices.
Skilling requires certification and recognition
The G7 Expert and Professional Certificate training for color quality and standardization in Mumbai from 20 to 23 September is one of most important training events ever organized by IppStar. It is rivalled only by the 5-day Color Management Certificate course that we held at Don Bosco Polytechnic in Delhi and at Anna University in Chennai in 2006 in which about 45 participants took part.
The G7 course to be taught by Steve Smiley, an active participant in the ISO TC130 color standards committees, is hoping for 25 participants from the leading Indian printing and packaging companies. This is an attempt to create an abundance of skilled personnel who will achieve globally recognized certification for their achievements and deliver excellent output using modern measurement methods.
Idealliance India members are sought after by print buyers looking for print vendors because they are listed on the Idealliance website — especially when they become G7 Masters. The qualifications and certifications of their technical personnel are also recognized and this is an important ingredient in up-skilling our human resource. Another feature of the training program is to create several G7 Experts in the country who can work as consultants to help our Idealliance members and other printers to achieve best practices in quality and global standards.
Idealliance India which has developed its color management lab in Noida will also train its two young engineers to become G7 Experts in the September program. We have talked about color management long before IppStar was started in 2001, but now is the time to leverage technology with investment in human capital to achieve print excellence, decrease waste and optimize profits.
– Naresh Khanna firstname.lastname@example.org