In talk with Rahul Soni of Rahul Print O Pack. He was a delegate at the panel discussion at recent NPB conference.
NPB – Navigating Print Business conference took place on 25th June at ITC Welcomhotel, Dwarka. The conference was organized by GDMPA (Greater Delhi Master Printers’ Association) in association with PRESSIdeas. At the panel discussion, Rahul Soni of Rahul Print O Pack (RPP), a leading commercial printer based out of Delhi, shared his perspective on overcoming adversities and to thrive. Dynamic, zealous and fuelled by an appetite for learning and growth, Rahul aspires to establish RPP among the top printers in the country. Faced with the Pandemic and the ensuing supply chain disruption at the onset of his career, here is a young professional sharing his views with us.
Facing the challenges of the Covid pandemic, Rahul came up with a quick response to prepare his business for the impact which was imminent. “We faced supply chain issues (disruption in supply of all major print inputs), demand shock (schools were shut, demand for printed textbooks slumped), workforce issues (COVID induced fear, anxiety & uncertainty) and other operational difficulties,” recalls Rahul.
However, he didn’t just sit back but pre-empt the issues with better preparedness – they had put COVID related SOPs in place earlier in February, 2020. “We worked on better preparedness by maintaining proper communication with all our stakeholders,” says Rahul.
“We addressed staff and customers’ concerns head on. We dealt with our staff’s insecurities by instilling positivity; we heard their concerns and imparted awareness about Covid. We ensured that salaries were paid in advance and there were no pay cuts, let alone lay-offs,” he explains.
“With customers too we maintained general interaction, kept discussing with prospects of the industry in the context of the pandemic and the way ahead. We timely conveyed our preparedness to deal with COVID and business continuity plans. And to the suppliers, all payments were made on time,” he emphasizes.
These measures brought them through the tough times and after the lockdown was lifted RPP was one of the few units that had ready availability of workforce and confidence of the suppliers to continue business as usual. “When many in the industry were waiting for their workforce (that had left during the lockdown), we had a ready workforce and uninterrupted raw material supply that eventually ensured that our delivery schedule to our customers remains unchanged,” avers Rahul.
The keyword for Rahul to deal with similar bad situations is ‘Empathy’. “If we truly embrace ‘empathy’ rather than using it as a buzzword, we will be able to understand the needs of all stakeholders well and act accordingly. Empathy based actions, in my opinion trumps all situations, no matter how adverse the same may be,” he declares.
“Should similar situation happen ever again, apart from empathy,” underlines Rahul, “building and putting in place resilient processes and systems is of paramount importance; as is prudent financial management.”
He has clearly demarcated the short as well as long term vision for RPP.
First in the short term vision, comes ‘optimum capacity utilisation’ which chiefly includes process optimization through strong IT systems and minimizing plant idle time. Next, is incorporating digital (POD). “Next in the line comes ‘better margin realization. We as printers need to start respecting what we do and extend quotes that help us maintain a sustainable bottom-line. If we assess and ask for the right price, customers will eventually come along,” asserts Rahul.
In addition, he puts emphasis on increasing component of value added jobs/ fine jobs in their jobs mix, providing value added services and identifying the strength & differentiate on the same.
In the long term, Rahul envisages diversifying into Packaging and venturing into Exports. “Packaging is slated to grow at a rapid pace (per capita consumption in India is 10.5 kg compared to 109 kg in the USA, 65 kg in Europe, 45 kg in China and 32 kg in Brazil). We shall be targeting Packaging as well as Exports in near future,” he concludes.