Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pertinent thoughts from a technologist and a graphic designer

I had first met Matthew Sunil more than two years ago, in Chennai, when the ‘going green’ concept had really not caught the imagination of the printing industry at large in India. Of course, isolated printers were doing their bit for the environment but that was not enough. It was clear that the onus was on the industry to come up with creative solutions to be efficient and be counted in the expanding world of green printing.

Matthew struck me as a man of style and substance and also as a man with a vision to take his company forward. He seemed to be a man in a bit of a hurry, to get his vision implemented quickly on the ground. The occasion was the presentation of the Green Printer Award instituted by technotrans India. The Times of India, Ahmedabad, was the winner, having taken small creative steps in saving energy and reducing paper wastage. The award was perhaps a first of its kind in the country – a printer being honoured for respecting the environment. It was Matthew’s idea of encouraging a corporate citizen who showed it was socially responsible about preserving the environment for future generations. It was also, I thought, a wonderful way to have a celebration for the ‘backroom boys’ in the newspaper industry without whose efforts the daily newspaper would never be produced before dawn.

technotrans India (suppliers of dampening systems, filtration plants, etc to the newspaper and commercial printing industry) under Matthew’s leadership, has come quite a long way since then. Despite the odds, the team keeps stressing that quality is its topmost priority and that there’s a price to paid for it. This, I feel, is being disarmingly frank. It will earn the company goodwill and help its growth in the long-run. A couple of other things Matthew said also struck me. One, for any system supplier, efficient service support is the core competence and if you cannot meet customer demand on service requirement, you will fail in the long-term. And two, being an advocate of healthy competition helps you do your homework, understand your strengths and weaknesses, and complement the areas that need attention. Matthew sees his competitors in India as partners in the industry who can together develop the best solutions for the customer. A statesman-like sentiment, one that will stand him and his team in good stead.

Simon Scarr, deputy head of Graphics for Thomson Reuters, was in New Delhi recently. It must be some job because Reuters has about 2800 journalists in 200 bureaus around the world. Simon says it is always rewarding to work very hard on projects you are passionate about and have them appreciated by your peers; it’s also good for the department to be recognised on an international stage for our work. And it is such recognition that Matthew I’m sure understands very well – there are many more entries coming in now for the Green Printer Award.  A pertinent point Simon made was about illustrators and graphic designers working in newspaper offices in India not finding adequate space in the newspaper for their work and lacking the confidence to voice aloud their views in the newsroom. Perhaps this will change once newspapers in India begin to look at information graphics as an important element in news production. It was another point he made that stuck with me for a long time. There should never come a point where you know everything, says Simon. You should constantly learn from your mistakes and also from the work and practices of others. Wish many of us could emulate his example!


No comments: