As a trader (canvasing) in commercial printing, Sathya Narayanan K, one of the partners of Coimbatore-based SS Associates, happened to visit a Print Exhibition at Hyderabad in 2007, where he saw a live demonstration of advanced screen printing and its fascinating applications. Then and there only he and his partner Shameer Ahamed booked the machine and the rest is history.
Today, SS Associates has established a commanding position in the South India market with their unique screen-printed In-store branding and advertising solutions. Starting with just a 2000 sq.ft facility in 2007, today the company has 17000 sq.ft printing unit with over 50 employees. The company has deployed two digital printers and four screen printing machines to print up to 4×6 ft. Although South India is their major market, they have some customers in Pan India, with clientele from Telecom, Cement, Engineering, FMCGs, Banks sectors.
You started as a small trader in printing. So, what are the reasons behind your success?
Success is a long journey, but we have to keep evolving ourselves and address the customers’ needs, failing which the so-called success would be forfeited. Today, we are in a commanding position in the market thanks to our valuable customers and our dedicated team. We understand clients’ needs. We are specialists in offering product-based solutions with innovative design and print. We always think about customers’ requirements.
Although you are more into graphics screen printing, but have you invested in digital printing?
Yes, we have two digital flatbed printers. It is a necessity as certain jobs can be easily printed on a flatbed digital press. Having both the great printing technologies is in itself is a great strength. Let me reveal that, we often combine both screen and digital printing on certain jobs as per the needs of the clients in terms of substrate and outdoor life. We can offer very rich graphics screen printing solutions including digital like CMYK and spot colors on any rigid substrates.
How did you manage to survive during the pandemic?
Yes, the Covid19 pandemic affected every business or individual. In our case, signage orders were almost nil. However, we quickly designed and introduced Covid19 related, standard signage, pamphlet, posters, and other public awareness print materials. We supplied these items to some of our regular customers in addition to promoting and selling through social media.
On the management side, it was a tough time. So, we immediately indulged in a cost-cutting drive. We even closed our city office and shifted to our factory. Our cooperative and understanding team, unanimously agreed for pay cut. On the ‘receipt’ front, a lot of our payments were kept on hold and at the same time, our vendors supported us by accepting delays in payment from our side.
Coir printing is your forte. Please share your idea:
We make corporate gift items out of Coir. We are perhaps the only screen printing company, specialised in printing on Coir with Deities’ abstract designs. We obtain excellent print results on coir and that is our forte.
What are your products and their features?
We are specialised in designing and printing innovative advertising products, using Polypropylene sheets (PP Sheet and Bubble Guard Sheets. We offer display products, floor standing units, shop displays, product hangers, newspaper box, countertop displays, etc. We are into mostly indoor advertising products. In a day we can print about 75000 sq.ft of graphics printing. These are cost-effective, look elegant and sturdy, yet lightweight hence easy to carry. Our products cut down about 75% transport cost.
Tamil Nadu seems to be the largest market for outdoor display boards printed on sunpack. What is the reason?
Yes. Tamil Nadu perhaps is the largest producers /consumers of Sunpack related advertising display boards. In almost every district there are sunpack printers (screen), who supply display boards to local businesses, events, Saloons, Food outlets, education institutes and tuition classes, etc. Even we print over 20000 sheets of sunpack per month.
What is the future of printing?
In the post-pandemic scenario, I feel in the future printing business is going to get consolidated. Big players will get works, diverted from smaller closed units. Only the fit one will survive in business.
Your company usually participates in Print Exhibitions. What’s your strategy?
Often PSPs like us are afraid of participating in exhibitions. But we fearlessly showcase in print exhibitions like in Chennai and Bengaluru. In addition, we also regularly visit various exhibitions related to our industry in Mumbai, Delhi, etc. Whenever we participate in exhibitions, we generate a lot of leads. I feel the market is too vast and there is scope for everybody who can deliver.
What are the notable achievements of the company?
We had supplied branding solutions to Tata Sky and the order continued for over 3 years on a Pan India basis. Currently, we are supplying to Reliance Jio for their branding in most parts of India. Volume-wise, we had received one order for 2.5 lakh pieces of display products.
What are your plans?
We are just out of the pandemic. We always expand our business by increasing production capacity. We wish to bring some new technology in the FY 2023-24 and/or 2024-25, the details of which cannot be revealed now.