Key summary

  • By printing locally in India, companies can reduce shipping distances by up to 90% and avoid customs fees (15-20%) and delays in delivery caused by customs issues
  • India’s commercial print market is hugely fragmented but, as Gelato has already identified and secured the best printers, companies do not need to worry about the selection process
  • International companies need to know that their vendors have certain measures of safety and compliance in place - This is particularly important in India and taken care of by Gelato
  • The country is going through a period of rapid digitization - businesses must embrace the new ways of doing things, or risk being left behind

India is the largest democracy in the world and the sixth-largest economy by GDP. The country has seen rapid growth since liberalisation in 1991 as many large organisations have set up operations here.

On occasion, India has seen even faster economic growth than China.

The services sector contributes approximately 60 percent of GDP and the IT industry has traditionally been the largest employment contributor in the private sector. However, the ‘Make in India’ initiative, which was launched by the government in 2014 to encourage national and international companies to manufacture their products in India, is bearing fruit and manufacturing is on the up.

As more international companies arrive, they need print materials on the ground to support sales and marketing efforts. That is why Gelato launched in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) earlier this year, to support companies on the ground.

Here, we look at what needs to be considered when ordering printed collateral in India.

The commercial print market is hugely fragmented

‘Mom and pop’ print houses are everywhere. Just walking around Mumbai, you can expect to see maybe 20 printers within a few kilometres. However, the quality of such stores rarely live up to the standards of a global enterprise.

For companies with big footprints and large print volume requirements, going through a tender process can help mitigate the risk. But for the vast majority, it’s a different story. A Google search of printers in Mumbai will return a lot of hyper local results, with no way of telling who would make a good partner. The result can be a poor experience and poor quality print materials that do not do any credit to an organization.

However, Gelato has already secured the best partners, removing the burden altogether.

We’ve ensured that they’re the best and that their machines are the best (the latest, high-end HP Indigo printers). We’ve gone and looked closely at the machines, the paper, the facilities and we’ve run extensive background checks to ensure our rigorous standards are met, eliminating the burden altogether!

Working conditions must be taken into account

The big concern for large multinationals, along with quality of prints, is the way in which printers operate. They need to know that the vendors they work with have certain safety measures in place and adhere to working practices that are acceptable all over the world.

The norm for health and safety is different in India than the majority of the western world. Workforce safety is not always as rigorously controlled as it is in other markets and working conditions can be less perfect. What is standard practice in many other countries is not necessarily the case here. Rarely is a specific code of conduct followed and this can be a big problem for international companies that have clear corporate responsibilities. It doesn’t stop with just the printing but also applies to transportation and delivery firms!

Because Gelato has selected only the top print and delivery partners, which are frequently audited together with EY, we know that operations are inline with what customers expect anywhere else in the world.

Ensuring workers safety, no child labour, and that working conditions are to suitable standards are not optional extras or ‘nice to haves’ but are absolute essentials. This applies across all operations from the office to the print floor. It also applies to our delivery partners.

Digitisation is high on the agenda

Along with ‘Made in India’, there is another big government initiative called ‘Digital India’, which is seeing major efforts focused on digitising the economy on various fronts.

Moves towards demonetization, with the fading out of high-value currency notes, have been high profile testaments to this direction. ‘Digital literacy’ is improving and the country is going through a period of rapid acceleration.

This is perfect timing for Gelato, which is digitizing the print industry.

India is very receptive to changing print processes to dramatically improve efficiencies. For example, although India does not have imports and duties on printed materials, bringing prints in from abroad is a cumbersome and costly process that is at the mercy of customs officials as to how fast things happen. The approach is not the approach of a country going through rapid digitalization.

That Gelato produces prints locally in India means there is no need to import prints at all! Rather than needing to send physical materials across borders, print files are sent and then produced locally.

We’re very excited to be setting up in a country that welcomes new and digitized ways of doing things!