Kamal Vyas 13.10.1960 – 8.7.2020

Appreciation

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Kamal Vyas
Kamal Vyas 13.10.1960 – 8.7.2020

Kamal Vyas passed away in Jodhpur on the night of 8 July 2020. He was sixty years old. Although a long-time resident of Mumbai, he grew impatient with the pandemic and lockdown conditions in the city and, with all appropriate permissions, came away to his hometown Jodhpur where he, unfortunately, contracted Covid-19 and was extensively treated. At first, he recovered and also received plasma therapy, but ultimately the coronavirus took him away. He is survived by his wife and a married daughter, who has a family of her own and lives in Jaipur.

What can one say but that the Covid-19 is too close to us — and that it affects many people in our industry too. There is no immunity that comes from being associated with printing, publishing, and packaging.

Kamal Vyas was a gentleman who worked in our industry his entire adult life. Basically, in the marketing and sales of offset presses, first for Indo-European Machinery, then for Proteck Machinery when it brought Mitsubishi multicolor presses to India, and finally with Manroland Sheetfed. Selling capital equipment requires building relationships with customers and trust. And in a world where the offset press and the ancillary equipment that go with it are in seemingly constant turmoil in terms of technology change, insolvencies, change of ownership, and distributorships, it is up to the salesman to soldier on and maintain continuity – and above all trust.

Not an easy territory to occupy, sales takes a lot of energy and time. I can imagine a lot of pressure from both sides – from the printer customer and the Japanese or German manufacturers. To be caught in the middle and delivering the promises made in good faith is not always easy. In India, too often, the salesman is compelled to be the person who informs and teaches technology. Running the press and maintenance can also come on his head, especially in earlier days when the installed base of new presses was smaller and fewer engineers.

Our company and I knew Kamal Vyas as an accommodating, considerate person. He valued print not only as a professional but as a thoughtful reader, often praising some of the most intellectually challenging editors that the mainstream news media was fortunate to have over the years. He was personally helpful to our IppStar research team and me in our extensive research over the past 20 years. For us, he was an expert where we could validate data and do plausibility checks. I shared some good moments and some tragic moments with Kamal, and I will miss knowing that he was always there to answer the phone. Our condolences go out to his colleagues and his family.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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