Imaging Solution Magazine, in association with RT Media, conducted an engaging Panel Discussion at RemaxWorld Expo 2023 on October 14, Zhuhai, China.
Topic: ‘Opportunities for marketing and for manufacturing in the imaging consumables industry in India.’
Host and Coordinator: Mr. David Gibbons, Director of International Communication, Comexposium – RT [China]
Mr. Ganesh Iyer, VP—Marketing & Sales, ITDL
Mr. Joseph Peter, Sales Manager – South Asia at Tomoegawa – Japan
Mr. Swapan Roy: I thank Mr. David Gibbons and RT Media for giving this opportunity to organize this Panel Discussion. Before we start the discussion, I would want Mr. David to come on to the stage and share a few words on how the global imaging industry is doing and his outlook for the Indian market.
Mr. David Gibbons: It is quite a privilege to be associated with Mr. Swapan Roy and Imaging Solution. Today, market is changing fast. The opportunities that were before are shrinking and new opportunities are coming up. India is a big and one of the fastest growing markets in the world and offers many opportunities for brands and for those who want to manufacture in India. RemaxWorld 2023 Expo is a great platform where sellers, manufacturers and service providers in the imaging industry converge and explore the partnership opportunities. Most important thing today is how to adapt to the changing dynamics and identify new opportunities. Despite India being a price sensitive market, I am sure that the Indian imaging industry and HCP market offers great opportunities now and in the future. I hope this panel discussion with will be a source of new ideas and new opportunities in the Indian imaging industry.
Moderator: I thank Mr. David for giving a wonderful overview of the global and the Indian imaging industries. As Mr. David has mentioned, India is a big and one of the fastest growing markets in the world and offers many opportunities for brands and also to the manufacturers. The purpose of this discussion is to understand the latest market dynamics, new opportunities, how technology is changing and the opportunities in marketing and manufacturing in the Indian market.
Mr. Sanjeev Mahajan: During the Covid pandemic 2020- 22, there was a dip in the market as it was everywhere, but the imaging market did not crash. The demand in fact shifted from office space to consumer space. Starting from 2023, the demand for both inks and lasers and the corresponding machines is getting back to the pre-Covid levels. We can foresee more growth in the coming year.
Mr. Ganesh Iyer: According to me, the market is still growing, though there have been some fluctuations in demand. At ITDL, recently, we have increased our production capacity significantly owing to the increasing demand driven by the growing demand.
Moderator: I want Mr. Gaurav Khetterpal to throw some light on how the brands are doing at present.
Mr. Gaurav Khetterpal: As a brand, what we do is focus on quality, understand the customers’ exact needs, educate the customers, tell them what our brand is giving them, and build the trust. Several companies and brands suffered during Covid but we kept on growing. In 2023, our growth has improved further and expecting even better growth in the coming years. I believe that right approach to the needs of the customers, maintaining quality and by building trust, the brands can do good business even during tough times.
Mr. Sandeep Sanghvi: As a brand (Itone), I would say, despite India being a price-sensitive market, there are a lot of opportunities for those who focus on quality, quality-conscious customers and the right market niche.
Mr. Dhruv Mahajan: Quality, consistency and understanding the actual market needs are key to success in the present day imaging market. Today, people are gradually getting quality sensitive from being price-sensitivity.
Mr. Joseph Peter: Tomoegawa is a provider of global class toners for OEMs and others. In India, we see different types of demand at different regions. In south and west India regions we see very high demand for OEM quality toners compared to other regions. To be successful while selling it is essential to understand the region wise demand patterns and the customer requirements.
Mr. Rishikesh Awasthi: JIT is a manufacturer of high quality toners. Despite the fact that India is a price-sensitive market, we need to maintain high quality. Quality pays in the long-run.
Moderator: I want Mr. Sushil Kumar Agarwal of Itek Solutions who is a master remanufacturer who remanufactured to cast light on the opportunities for remanufacturing.
Mr. Sushil Kumar Agarwal: I have been in the imaging industry for over a decade and remanufacturing is our main forte. We remanufacture OEM cartridges multiple number of times. In one case, we remanufactured a single OEM cartridge over 70 times. We make the customers understand clearly how using remanufactured cartridges, over compatibles helps them save money, besides giving them near OEM quality. We use our own special techniques which others do not use. We give high quality and consistency in our remanufactured cartridge, and we have been successful in this regard. Today, customers trust us and come to us to get their cartridges remanufactured repeatedly. Some of our customers have been coming to us for the 20 years for remanufacturing. Our aim is to encourage the customers to use only new OEM cartridges and remanufactured OEM cartridges, against using use-and-throw compatibles. Today, we have several thousands of stable and satisfied customers who rely on our remanufacturing services.
Moderator: It is interesting to know the great hidden scope for remanufacturing which everyone has been thinking is on the decline. Now I want Mr. Awasthi of JIT to enlighten us on the opportunities for Make in India in toner manufacturing.
Mr. Rishikesh Awasthi: India is a big market and the demand is growing for toners. One challenge we are facing is certain raw materials are not available in India and even if available they are very costly. People want high quality toners at low costs, so we have to depend on imported raw materials. We need to create an infrastructure and ecosystem where the raw materials are available in the required quantities. I hope the situation will change soon for better and we will be able to manufacture more in India.
Mr. Gaurav Khetterpal: As Mr. Awastiji said, in most cases, our manufacturers dependent on imported raw materials and components. In India, at present, particularly in the imaging industry, manufacturing means assembling the imported components. I wish the ecosystem in India will mature to the level of manufacturing the components domestically and in good quantities adopting the best technologies. Of course, to successfully manufacture, high quality components, the manufacturer needs demand in high quantities. Manufacturing in low quantities is not economically beneficial. With the government being highly supportive, I wish, in the coming few years, Indian manufacturers will be able to manufacture high quality products in high quantities and make India into a leading manufacturing hub. India has the capacity to stand alongside China as a leading manufacturer in the world.
Mr. Sandeep Sanghvi: Nowadays manufacturing environment is gradually improving. Now manufacturers are moving from assembling to developing basic components in India itself. I am sure, in the coming years, we will move to total manufacturing in steps.
Mr. Joseph Peter: Tomegawa has its manufacturing units in China and Japan, but we have a vision to have our manufacturing setup in India in the coming years. Those who want to manufacture in India should develop the toners with quality and consistency comparable to the global brands. Of course, quality comes at a cost. I am sure in the years to come India will shift from being a price-sensitive market to quality-sensitive market. Recently, one premium OEM brand has already started manufacturing printers and cartridges in India. I hope more will follow the path in future.
Moderator: We want to know ITDL’s journey, and how they see the opportunity for manufacturing in India.
Mr. Ganesh Iyer: We have been in the market for over 3 decades, and we have an excellent R&D department. Despite India being a price-sensitive market, customers do trust ITDL toners and in their quality and consistency. We scaled our toner output capacity from the earlier 3600 tonnes to the current 5400 tonnes.
Mr. Dhruv Mahajan: As the other penelists have shared, in India, for example, while manufacturing toner cartridges, we still depend on the components imported from China. But I hope things will change in future.
Mr. Sanjeev Mahajan: First, for the manufacturing to be successful, a company needs to manufacture huge volumes, to take advantage of economies of scale. Second, they should be able to sell in India as well as abroad to be profitable. The third most important thing is consumers as well as brands should make it a point to buy and use Made in India products. If we focus on these three points I am sure that India will soon emerge as a manufacturing hub.
Mr. Sushil Kumar Agarwal: Manufacturing is a complex machine-driven process whereas remanufacturing is a skillbased operation. In India, most of the users depend on recycling, remanufacturing and compatibles. I think remanufactured cartridges offer several benefits over compatibles. If service providers can provide remanufactured cartridges that give quality and performance equal to that of OEMs, users will definitely prefer remanufactured products. And we are getting excellent response from the market for our remanufactured cartridges.
Moderator: India is trying to restrict the import of used copiers and printers. What effect do you see this will have on the Indian market?
Mr. Joseph Peter: I see a positive effect from restricting the import of used machines, because this will encourage OEMs to manufacture in India and also the Indian customers will get the latest technology and models compared to using outdated used machines. I am sure in 7 to 8 years, most OEMs will be manufacturing in India.
In a Nutshell
It is exciting to listen to many facts and foresights shared by the panelists which we are not aware before. The most important to note is that the old opportunities are closing and new opportunities are opening up. The partners, manufacturers and brands should know how to adapt to the changing conditions and adopt new technologies to be successful in the trade.