Negi Sign Systems & Supplies Co. is a manufacturer and exclusive distributor of Mutoh large format printers for pan India. It claims to be the first to introduce Japanese technology in India owing to it being associated with Mutoh for over 24 years. The company is one of the leading suppliers of large format printers with solvent and eco-solvent technologies. Apart from that, it also offers textile printers, sublimation printers, DTG printers and UV printers along with all kinds of Inks. Over the years, the company boasts of its success in building the trust and faith of its customers reposed in it.
Located at Dehradun in the state of Uttarakhand, the company has setup multiple branches across major cities in the country to cater to the needs of printer services and solutions through a team of highly qualified engineers and technically skilled sales staff. In order to establish close relations with customers and supporting them to achieve great business propositions with their clients, the company provides product training and skills transfer to its customers and ensure that they become self-sufficient in the needed technical expertise.
We at Sign & POP World met Girvir Singh Negi, the company’s Managing Director, to know his vision on the evolution of UV technology and the signage market. Here are the excerpts:
How do you see the evolution of UV technology?
Under signage, the focus now is on UV technology irrespective of media type – rigid or roll to roll – wherein the latter is basically for fabric that is meant for backlit. This drive for UV is getting faster as now the PSPs, engaged in eco-solvent printing, are shifting to UV machines and are catering to the needs of both roll to roll as well as backlit. However, when it comes to flatbed, UV technology has found diverse applications covering quite a few segments.
This is because smaller machines measuring 2’x2’ or 2’x3’ are catering to the needs of gifting solutions while bigger machines measuring 4’x8’, 5’x10’ or 10’x5’ are catering to the needs of metal, glass and wood printing. In fact, whatsoever goes inside the machine is printed and accordingly the customers are served.There are various segments like door & almirah that have entered the world of direct printing because of the introduction of UV technology.
How have you seen the signage industry evolving?
Signage industry started in India with the availability of flex printing. It was the time when only flex was available as the media for signage application. The industry then was wide open with least competition wherein any layman could enter as no specific qualification – be it educational or technical – was required. The business at that time was working on simple mathematics, that is, bottom-line. Industry, however, still remains the same with a few high-end branded players ruling the roost.
The older guys, who were looking for more avenues, have now entered into IN-STORE graphics which stands as a premium segment as more technicalities are involved and more service-oriented with corporate approach is a must. This segment doesn’t have much competition as those without complete infrastructure i.e. with the right printing equipment and client servicing approach, cannot experiment here. Accordingly, whosoever entered into this segment, grew like anything. At the same time, flex could open growth avenues for those PSPs, who had bigger customers and capacity to produce huge volumes.
What factors are driving UV technology?
As I mentioned, in-store branding is only for those who have bigger and better brands in their clientele because this market is now expanding and growing rapidly with the introduction of UV technology. At some places, PSPs have fear in the back of their minds that flex may get banned in coming days, so they are planning to switch over to UV technology and are looking for better deals to install UV machines.
How do you see the life for solvent or eco-solvent?
When we introduced flex printing machine in India, no other player was there in the market. Later a couple of reputed companies jumped onto the bandwagon. Today, there are around 500 plus sellers comprising all those who initially worked with printing machine manufacturers or suppliers like us and then found it lucrative enough to turn entrepreneur. This is why solvent machines are nowadays available at reasonable rates, which these suppliers are sourcing from gully manufacturers of China. Most of these suppliers have their regional customers and are happy catering to the needs of that particular region.
On the other hand, there are few players like us who have been the suppliers of reputed international brands for decades and are catering to the high-end segment of the market. We are known for our quality products, favoured by our clientele which does not bother about price. I remember the condition was pretty different when we had started a decade back. There were only a few like 2-3 players. Now every third person, who was sometime back working as an engineer, technician or as a sales person, has turned to become a supplier.
In this highly competitive market, where does Negi stand?
We are a very old name in the market. Over the years, we have created a brand value for ourselves. So, people who are older in this industry usually know us and they recommend our names. Also, we are the suppliers of reputed brands, which eliminate the possibility of failure which is a permanent feature of other cheaper machines available in the market. We know that our products are actually costlier, but quality comes at a price. Take for example the sublimation inks, which are easily available at Rs. 500/litre, while ours start with a premium at Rs. 3000/litre. This is because our inks are certified for reliability.
Which all inks do you offer?
We offer a wide range of printing inks under the name PZO Inks. These solvent / eco-solvent inks are compatible with various printheads Epson, Xaar, Konica Minolta, Spectra, Polariz, and Starfire. We also offer inks for textile such as reactive dye, acid dye, disperse dye and textile pigment inks. We are also the distributor of UV inks from Nazdar, USA.
How tough is to sell quality products in a price-sensitive market?
It is actually tough to sell quality imported stuff which comes at a premium. But we are managing it from the last so many years. Thanks to our customers who believe in us as well as in the quality that we deliver which along with the service support, brings them the satisfaction. Even people, who for years worked with cheaper machines, are now opting for ours which could be on a higher side compared to others. This shows that there’s an inclination towards quality, which is only the prerogative of high-end brands like us. Also, there is something that comes with brand i.e. customer satisfaction.
Why there’s a shift in approach of PSPs?
See, it’s a demand-pull market and is based on what customers are asking for. We can’t change this to an extent that it can influence the market trend. Quite a few international brands have taken this initiative that they would not use flex for their signage or promotional stuff. These brands represent big corporates which understand their responsibility towards environment. They take such initiatives and push for a drive towards this. They have made us to shift to fabric from flex. Recently, Bihar government has banned the use of flex for promotional activities.
You are also one of the pioneers. What steps are you taking in this regard?
We too are doing our bit. For instance, the machines that we had sold a couple of decades back are now becoming outdated because of the evolution of technology. So, showing our environment-friendly gesture, we are recalling those machines and contributing to e-waste, in turn, we have received a certificate from an e-waste organisation. We are also using this to promote our brand. These are some of the steps that leaders take to initiate something good for the environment and then for the society. To promote this further, we are sending mailers to our customers for which we can say that the response is very good.