Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Challenges of printing industry in Kenya

Printing industry in Kenya has grown over the past years since the establishment of the first printing press in Kenya the year 1895. The government press which established the first printing plant in Kenya, opened door for many other commercial printing firms later. Those business people who started the printing business in Kenya in early days can be a witnesses although the printing business was not well known to many was very profitable and attractive business to undertake, but of late the industry has changed and faced with a million challenges that has made the trade more difficult for the people in the printing industry, not only in Kenya but also in east Africa and other part of the world.
Here are some of the challenging facing the printers and printing industry in Kenya:
Training – with the need to run a complicated machines in the printing industry, training of the personnel and the right people to do the same and produce the desired print  out is necessary. Despite of the understanding and the need, there are inadequate training institutions that offer printing related training programs or rather those that exits do not have enough equipment  to do the same. Most of you would agree with me that, the majority of the machines operators with have in Kenya printing firms are either self taught or learnt the skills from the other.
Most of the training program’s in Kenya higher learning institution and technical institutes offers graphic designs and other printing related arts but the printing industry in Kenya cannot survive with only artworks and design on the computers, they need to converted to usable print out among others. Over the years the printing industry in Kenya has lacked enough training institution to equip the people and industry the right personnel and skill manpower and this has been a very big challenges to printing companies in Kenya among other players.
Material – Attaining the printing material in Kenya has been a big challenge to many printers in Kenya, and especially bearing in mind that most of the materials are imported from other countries outside Africa. Despite Kenyan market and printing industry in Kenya at large consume a large number of offset papers and computer papers; the country has less than two firms which manufactures and mill papers. This has made the cost of doing business very expensive due to dynamic currency rate involved in doing the international business while importing the papers in Kenya and the cost of the shipment among others. Moreover, most of the firms are unable to deliver the printing to their clients due to delays that comes with obtain papers away from home. Most of the printing material and more so offset printing papers comes from, Europe ,Asia, among other Africa countries like Egypt and south Africa. This problem has been a big hindrance to many printing companies in Kenya whereby the cost incurred and in turn transferred to the consumers and thus making the trade difficult to operate.
Maintenance and spare parts – printing industry involves use of very complicated machines, where the same parts needs frequent monitoring and maintenance, the part like machines gears, blankets, grippers, rollers, motors among others are bound to frequent damage and thus a big problem to the entrepreneur in meeting the cost since most of the parts are outsourced and which are available in Kenya market are either improvised or very expensive. Moreover, the insured lack experience and well trained expert to service and assemble the heavy printing machine, most of the technician in the printing market in Kenya can comfortably service small printing machines like 201 machines thus this being a problem to  the printing industry in Kenya and printers in general.
Technology – the printing filed and technology has been a challenge over the years with new invention and introduction of new printing machines every day. We have witnessed machines that embrace high technology in the market, for instance speed master type of machines. With this kind of mega machines those firm which owns small printing machines like 201 or GTO are finding themselves in a big problem to set pace and compete in the printing market ,since the high tech machines offers better output, same time and more cost effective as compared to manual and smaller printing machines.
We cannot rule out that, the offset printing machines are very expensive for one to Acquiring that making printing business for rich people in Kenya. Although, the digital printing machines are slightly cheaper machines, but in most cases are not commercial viable when comes to bulk commercial printings. It is due to this reason, which has made even those who would love to be in the printing filed very difficult due to huge amount required to set up a printing company in Kenya and related machines like perforating machines, cutting, binding among others. There are other challenges faced by the printing players in Kenya but these are just a few of the challenges 

Article Contributed By,
Sales Executive

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