Fujifilm India Pvt. Ltd. was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Corporation, Tokyo in India more than a decade back. A leader in a broad spectrum of imaging industries, operated in India through its branch office and local dealers. World over, Fujifilm is said to be the pioneer in imaging technology with 80 years of experience. With all advanced technologies, the company provides solutions in digital camera, photo imaging, medical products, graphic arts, life science systems, motion picture films, recording media and industrial products.
Of all these, we are concerned with the company’s graphic art segment wherein the technology giant offers computerised printing plates, image scanners and other digital printing and publishing equipment and materials. It provides advanced solutions for multiple stages of the printing process — from scanning and prepress to plate-making and proofing.
Recently, the company celebrated its 100th UV installation in India. We, at Sign & POP World, met S. M. Ramprasad, Executive Vice President, Graphic Arts Division, Fujifilm India Pvt. Ltd., to know what makes Fujifilm successfully creating its way to lead the burgeoning Indian wide format market. Here are the edited excerpts:
How has Fujifilm been making its way to the UV printing technology?
At Fujifilm, we started focusing on the graphics market with our digital products around three years back. Fujifilm in the graphics is one company which has a commendable stake in the global UV printing scenario. In fact, it is the largest patent holding in the technology so far, which makes it a kind of stakeholders in the UV market.
In India, when we started our journey with UV there were hardly one or two players. Today, we are glad to see that most of the printer manufacturers have UV printers in their respective offerings. That has been the transformation in the world of printing technology which was brought out by Fujifilm. The testimony of the fact is that in a short span of just three years, we have been celebrating our 100th UV installation in India.
Where does Fujifilm stand in the Indian UV market?
With 100 UV installations in our name, we have become the no. 1 player in terms of market share in the country’s UV market. Our customers have been very much successful when in terms of expanding their businesses, trying out an all new eco-friendly way of printing, and breaking away from the conventional hazardous process. In this way, we also help them abide by the recent legislations, which have been developed for bringing in the environmental-friendly printing atmosphere. This revolution not only led them remain ahead in the market, but also allows them to think beyond flex or any other PVC-based media. We can see that people are now going further to printing on glass, wood, or paper-based substrates like corrugated sheet or for that matter any bio-degradable substrate. And this is the key focus of Fujifilm as a company.
What is the recent addition in Fujifilm’s UV portfolio?
We have recently launched our Acuity LED 3200R which has become an instant hit in the world of wide format printing. This printer is predominantly going to replace the printers that are meant for PVC-based media to get in to the printers made for fabric-based media. With the evolution of UV technology, there are very few media which are restricted for direct printing. UV technology has this distinct advantage because it has much better media compatibility and can cater to a vast group of media.
What keeps Fujifilm ahead in terms of technology?
Fujifilm is a company which is far ahead in terms of technology. Our UV inks are not only of the best quality but also come with environmental-friendly features certified by GreenGuard. We do have uniqueness of application-based inks. Like for some of the electronic panel boards, we have different kind of inks while for thermoforming applications where one can mould the already printed materials in to any form or shape whether for making signage or corporate logos. No other company is offering the versatility of such application-based inks as of now.
Going further, when it comes to quality, Fujifilm uses white as an option in all its printers by default, which enhances the creativity of anybody who wants to use the printed medium. Also white ink that we offer comes with the best opacities, which brings colour vibrancy in any printed stuff. Today, only select players can come closer to Fujifilm in terms of technology and advancements.
Is price-sensitivity of Indian consumers a deterrent in growth?
People more often miss understand the psyche of Indian customers. They are actually value conscious and not price-conscious. As far as we are able to add new value to the bundle, they don’t mind stretching their purse. What they want for instance is that if they are spending Re 100 then its value should be justified to them. They are not asking to make available the same at Rs. 25 or Rs.50 paisa. This we have truly understood else the success could not have come to us. We are selling our equipment as well as inks at a Value for Money Proposition which is far ahead of the cheaper alternatives the market is currently flooded with.
What makes the brand Fujifilm so endearing to its customers?
All thanks to our customers who have kept their faith maintained and further building. This is also because our products come true to their expectations especially when it is about the kind of ruggedness with which the machine performs the productivity that it brings to the table, the quality that it churns out. Ultimately, the print is nothing but what you see as the end product. If it is not good, even the best of your bargains go for waste. Adding to it is the brand name itself which has been instilling the level of faith in the minds of our customers in India for more than a decade. This clearly depicts that value always wins over price quotient.
How is the surge in the value of dollar impacting the trade at Fujifilm?
This is a serious concern for us, as for now we are holding our prices. However, it will not continue for long as there is huge pressure on us which we may force us to increase the price to match the rate of rupee against dollar, if the situation remains the same for longer period.
Don’t you think the time is right to setup the facility in India?
As you know, we already have a Ink manufacturing unit ,Fujifilm Sericol Plant, near Pune that is engaged in producing inks Currently for screen Printers/ WF Eco Solvent Printers/Digital UV Offset Printers/ Flexo Printers etc. For the UV inks, we are still waiting for volumes to come. As we reach the expected level, there is possibility of exploring the local manufacturing for the same as well.
Which other areas the technology major is exploring for further growth?
Till date, a lot of innovations that Fujifilm has been able to bring in and subsequently transforming the traditional method of promoting over flex banner to a kind of environment where branding doesn’t become the eyesore, but match the ambiance of the environment. Going further, beyond the conventional graphics, there is lot of scope for printing in the industrial, interior and homes. These are few areas where Fujifilm is very much interested to explore and bring solutions. The new solution would allow the users to change even the interiors of the homes within minutes rather than waiting for days to do the same.
How has been the preparation so far?
As I said, we are in process of coming up with such solutions in printing to be able to tap a market which is yet to evolve. When we talk about the expansion of market, those markets require certain unique attributes and the capability of printers as well as that of inks to print on the actual substrates. Suppose someone wants to personalise the home by printing the memories of good time on the walls of living room or on the cupboards. The memories may be of birthday, marriage, award ceremony, etc. – all these are needed to be printed on the actual surface. The new technology would allow homeowners to keep changing this with their changing preferences over time.
Overall, where does Fujifilm India stand in the market?
Fujifilm India in the Digital Graphics market is still at a nascent stage and is in expansion mode with lot of hope to cover greater part in coming days. However, within this short span itself there are some areas where we are doing extremely well like the UV flatbed, wherein we are much faster in India compared with the worldwide scenario. India is a fastest growing market for UV Flat Bed for Fujifilm, but overall a lot is left for us to catch up with.