NEEDED: A Global Manufacturer to Set Up Operations in India

India is now being portrayed in various news channels as a beacon of hope for pushing the global economy ahead. Manufacturers, globally, are looking at the huge Indian market with excitement. Yet there is still some apprehension.

The global aftermarket printer consumables industry has been dominated by China for almost 20 years. It sells big volumes on a few product lines to importers but at very low prices. Very few Indian importers are loyal as they are always shopping for a better deal. It’s true for other countries too. Suppliers, however, do not really understand the Indian market, nor have they connected with customers who believe in a long-term, sustainable, win-win relationship. Of course, this issue could be easily addressed.

One factor that impacts the organized growth of the Indian market is the industry trade shows and expos. The annual pilgrimage by hundreds of Indian people from large, medium and small businesses to the RemaxWorld Expo in Zhuhai, China continues unabated. They are looking for profitable solutions to compete in India’s ultra-competitive and price sensitive market.

No reputable brand leader has moved in and set up as a business in India. Not yet. No one has established local manufacturing or assembly operations. No one has invested in building the necessary infrastructure. No one has demonstrated a long-term commitment. No one has reassured corporate Indian buyers that they can get a better deal from a local, reputable player. Consequently, the market is forced to buy expensive OEM products and services that continue to grow quickly and profitably.

The China-USA “trade war” has affected our global industry too by slapping a 25 percent customs duty onto many Chinese-made products destined for the USA. This penalty could be avoided by setting up a plant in India with non-infringing, “Made in India” products allowing profitable sales to the USA, which continues to be the largest and most profitable marketplace.

My word, the same plant could also produce enough products to address local market requirements and to cater to OEM buyer requirements in India. I am convinced that local manufacturing could address the pressure on volumes, prices and profits. All it requires is an industry pioneer or investor with industry “know-how” to develop a joint venture project with capable, local Indian companies. Guidance and support could be given to establish a factory near a major seaport, to set up establish factory infrastructure, to manage labor and logistics and to conform with local legal requirements to ensure high-quality production and productivity.

At the Imaging Solutions Expo held at New Delhi in November 2018, a much-needed trade association, called Imaging Solutions Association of India (ISAI), was announced. It will be based in New Delhi so that it can easily and efficiently influence government policy and address industry issues and difficulties. I urge industry associations in other countries to cooperate with ISAI to build a healthy environment for everyone to prosper.

The Chinese players must exhibit in the Delhi trade show to demonstrate to the Indian government the capability of this industry. In my view, there should only be one trade show held in India and it would be good for the organizers of both events to look at how one big show could be professionally organized and affiliated with the non-profit ISAI association.

By taking these steps, I believe the Indian market can consolidate, mature and become more professional in successfully addressing local and international needs for high quality, aftermarket printer consumables and managed print services that offer better value and a safe choice from the expensive OEM offerings.

Women in the Indian Aftermarket

The global aftermarket is an innovative, fast-growing market which is predicted to grow exponentially in the next ten years. However, it is also a male-dominated industry, with women comprising only approximately 13 percent of workers.

International Women’s Day (IWD), is celebrated on March 8th every year. According to the UN, “the focus of the celebrations range from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration of women’s economic, political, and social achievements.”

According to the website of Women’s Studies Centre Punjab, “An entrepreneur is one who innovates, organizes, manages and assumes the risk of an enterprise, and acts as a catalytic agent in the growth process.” When an enterprise is established and controlled by a woman, it not only boosts economic growth, but also has many desirable socio-economic outcomes. Women have an innate flair for entrepreneurship. They are natural organizers and relationship builders. They can perform all the functions of an able entrepreneur in as efficient manner as their male counterpart.

The aftermarket, in general, was traditionally a male-dominated business. However, women are now largely joining and active in the aftermarket business, either alone or in partnership with their family members (usually their husband, brother or father) or taking up managerial positions in large OEM companies.

Women in the industry have opportunities today. Many of the professional courses available today for training and enhancing skills in the imaging industry are available for both men and women. These days, if you walk into a room of imaging industry professionals, there will be an increased number of women compared to the 80s and 90s. Yet there is more demand for knowledge of both products and services, which has become part of a technologically-driven industry, and therefore women must keep up with both.




Copier Supply Market

According to the 1Q2016 results from IDC, the hardcopy peripherals market in India fell 2.2 percent, with 795,451 printers being shipped during the quarter. The market was “primarily driven” by laser printers and copiers, which saw a “remarkable sequential growth” of 15.9 percent.

The laser copier segment saw huge growth of 31.5 percent, with the first quarter in India “traditionally” strong for copiers, Copier growth was attributed to “strong enterprise buying” as well as “demand from the government segment.”
The market leader was Ricoh leading with a 19.5 percent market share, followed by Konica Minolta, which had seen growth in the quarter of 24.9 percent, overtaking Kyocera in third.

Given the above information I did more research on photocopiers in India as most of the desktop printing Aftermarket in India had ignored this segment which still has massive window of growth compared to printers.

Canon established their India software development center in 1999, followed by a center of excellence in 2004 and a design center in 2008; Xerox established its India R&D center in 2009; Ricoh established its India R&D center in 2012. The objective of each organization is to develop products suitable for the emerging markets. This shows that OEMs are focusing on developing their photocopier business for many years.

In India, photocopiers are ubiquitous. They are a source of income to thousands of young unskilled people for whom setting up a copier shop is the best way of generating income.

And let’s not ignore the massive market of used/refurbished photocopiers that is very huge in India. Despite the Indian government banning these machines, they are still being imported and are very much available, eating into a significant market share of the OEMs as well as the Aftermarket.

It is quite timely that this year’s RemaxWorld Expo will see a new copier consumables zone which will get massive response from visitors as well as exhibitors being the first time an Aftermarket trade show is giving such attention to this sector.

See you in Zhuhai for the RemaxWorld Expo.