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Noor Khan, general manager of Middle East Printing Press, LLC in conversation with Venkat Raghavan, shares his four decades of printing industry experience and narrates the future of the printing and where it’s heading towards.

Born and brought up in Pakistan, Noor Khan has completed all his school from Karachi. He has completed his Masters in Political Science from Karachi University. He landed in UAE, Dubai in 1979 and directly joined Dubai Islamic Bank Printing Press. He worked for 24 years in the press before starting the Middle East Printing Press in 2003 with MESCO Group along with his brother. Later in 2008, the press was merged with ABC / Cool & Cool Group, which is known for sponsoring the International Cricket Matches in U.A.E.

HIGHLIGHTS
•  The printing press was started with 15 employees
•  The press will be expanding more in packaging
•  The press is planning to go for ISO certification

Talking about his career, Khan, commented, “As soon as I completed my Masters, I came to UAE and joined Dubai Islamic Bank Printing Press in 1979 as a manager. I have learnt all the basics within couple of months after joining the press. Later, in 2003, we have decided to open a printing press and started the Middle East Printing Press.
Speaking about the press, he added, “After the establishment of the press, we had a clear goal in setting high standards of customer servicing, sufficient times and excellent quality. Also, our relationships with clients are being built upon trust, commitment, and transparency, aiming on maintaining a respectable long-term relationship. Finally, to contribute in the growth of the printing business in the UAE. Our company is specialized in laser cutting jobs and we are one of the printing presses who started printing the digital Quran before 6 to 7 years. Through the embedded software the digital pen will read the content for the users.”
He further added about the trends, “During those days, we were doing full photo typesetting and it’s a very big process and it’s time consuming as well. Again, we use to send the files for colour separation to Singapore and even most of the leading presses were doing the same. Then we use to receive it back from them and we correct it accordingly. Later, after some period of time, the big printing presses have started their own colour separation unit. During 1980’s there were only about 20 printing press in Dubai who were doing big business. As the years passed, every ones needs have been changed which is always a good sign. Nowadays, the market is a mix of different requirements. Most of the client request for quick turnaround jobs and it increased the need for digital print machines. There are again drastic changes in the pre press and CTP machines that has made the jobs easier with the software versions having more enhanced features. Also, during the early days there were multiple operators working on a single job and with the available automation today, all the jobs have been simplified and time spend on outputting a job has been reduced to minimum. Everything in UAE is modernized and you get faster than other countries. The government has supported the industry, which is one of the reasons the industry grown well. Now the current market is moving towards the UV related jobs, foiling, and many more. Now, people wants specialized jobs and they need more than 4/5 colour jobs.”
Talking about the company success, memorable moment, family and hobbies, he added, “Our company success is attained mainly from the team work. The employees have always supported us a lot and most of the employees are with us for a long time. The memorable moment in my career would be the day when I joined Dubai Islamic Bank printing press in 1979. We are living here as family and even mother and brother are here. I was a first class cricket player for Karachi team in Pakistan. I have even played for few teams in UAE.”
Speaking about the company facilities and credit policy, he added,  “Our Company provides accommodation and all the other facilities as per the UAE workers law. In addition, we have employee recognition program for the top achievers and we always believe that employees has to recognised for the efforts. We always have a good relationship with our employees, which is one of the reasons they are with us for a longer time. Credit policy is one of the uncontrollable factors in the printing presses. We offer 30 to 60 days of credit period to our customers and we are always trying to follow them strictly. The current challenges are the payment issue and it’s been there for more than 2.5 years. We are trying to follow up by sending up the representatives and by making phone calls, sending statements. However, even if the client is not paying on time we use to pay our suppliers on time.”
Talking about his plans for the next five years and company business, he added, “We are planning to expand well in packaging but we need to evaluate the market before investing. The packaging is one different sector where you need to have special equipment to accommodate the job so I think we will be expanding into that sector soon. We are planning to expand into digital, as well as there is a huge requirement for short run jobs. Again, we are planning to have more machines in packaging. Since, there are many commercial printing presses in the region so the competitions in the offset market it too high. We have some clients in Saudi Arabia and we are regularly doing business with them. We do around 80% of our business in local market and remaining 20% to international clients.”
Signing off, he advises all the printing presses to have a healthy competition, which allow the printing industry to grow.