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Owner and chairman of Economical Printing Press, Hassan Fahmi Alshunnar emphasizes toShilpa Jasani, the importance  of maintaining ethics while competing for orders..

 

In love with printing since his childhood days in Nablus (Palestine), Hassan Fahmi Alshunnar, was facinated by the mechanical processes of machines as they printed numerous sheets of paper.

Soon after his graduation from Al Azhar University, where he studied Urban-planning, Alshunnar migrated to UAE to chart his career.  He first worked as an employee of Dubai government before branching out to establish his own business in the world of architecture.  A partnership firm was established with Australian architect, Eric Towel and the company was named Eric Towel & Partners.  “I gained firsthand experience of how a business should be run in Dubai,” reminisces Alshunnar.  “We did not particularly have anything to do with print, but it was a stepping stone for the companies I would later participate in. Moving to Dubai also helped me get acquainted with a lot of market experts that helped me sort of visualize my goal in establishing my dream printing press. 

“During my studies, I was always involved in mechanical and electrical freelance projects with my friends in the university. I also preferred researching and learning more about the letterpress, Lino-mono type offset and lithography aspects of printing until I was actually involved in the printing process back then. Coming back to the partnership, though it was a failed attempt, it gave me insight and knowledge which has helped my future progress.”

Economical Printing Press was established in 1975.  After  venturing into different entrepreneural projects, Alshunnar decided to focus his attention on his printing business and a couple of other projects to help finance his press.  “The print industry is different in each country, due to the varying amount of population. The print industry over here is not as strong as it is elsewhere but it is definitely on the right track to becoming a powerful force to be reckoned with. Though, the printing industry has always been vibrant and strong, but I realized that it became increasingly easy for anyone to start a printing business these days, thanks to the widely available options of short run digital machines that cater to small businesses. The newly introduced technologies were both good and bad for the printing industry, now that anyone can start a business with a couple of machines it resulted in allot of poor quality work and high prices being given to clients around the market due to the lack of knowledge.”

An ardent calligraphist, Alshunnar hails from Nablus in North-West Palestine, a town known for its ‘beautiful scenery and rich culture’. “This artistic side of me has been in the family genes for ages and all of my children share this trait with me. I am also very interested in the way things work, especially moving mechanical parts which explains my love for offset machines as opposed to today’s digital presses.”

Specialising in commercial and corporate printing, Alshunnar says, “The biggest problem in the print industry is the lack of ethics between competitors, many small and medium sized businesses fights furiously over clients using many un-ethical procedures to gain insight or obtain clients. This resulted in a lot of unhealthy competition between print shops and is affecting everybody in the printing industry.”

Attributing their honesty and ‘old school’ way of ensuring maximum quality at honest prices (regardless of the turnover of the client),  Alshunnar explains, “Remember to always keep a healthy relationship between your clients and your competitors. It is also important to focus on stabilizing the company’s revenue stream and eliminating any extra unneeded expenses that will slow down the company’s progress. Now is the perfect time for the print industry to raise awareness towards quality control since we are about to witness the demand that the Expo2020 will bring in to our doorsteps. I think that where there is supply, there is demand. But in some cases, this has proved to be wrong since one must make sure he is ready to venture into a saturated market. There is always room for underdogs to prove their worth, by adding to a healthy industry with innovative technologies and solutions that refresh the market every once in a while.”

 

Looking ahead Alshunnar adds, “My son graduated with a degree in graphics design and is working on restructuring the company using his knowledge in design and print to create a hybrid company. He is planning to open up a couple of branches in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. We are also shifting our headquarters to Al Quoz within a month. He also tells me that he came up with a way to revolutionize the way print jobs, employees and make-readies interact with one another to optimize work flow in a beautiful way. He is also planning to improve our short-run digital printing and capitalize on that market as well.”