JDC Group: reviving printing in a digital age

With digital in the ascendency during Covid-19, JDC is introducing high tech equipment to help a struggling printing industry soar.

Covid-19 has challenged the dominance of print with digital technology gaining ground during the two-month lockdown. However, JDC Printing Technologies is making it possible for enterprises in the print and packaging industry to capture new business opportunities during the economic crisis. The advanced technology introduced by the company will benefit not only large-scale enterprises but small and medium ones too, says Chandula Perera, Managing Director of JDC Group. JDC Printing Technologies (Pvt) Ltd. commenced operations way back in 1979 and the company has grown over the years to be one of the leading suppliers of machinery and materials to the printing and packaging industry in Sri Lanka from pre-press to finishing.

They are an established, mature and reputable company ensuring the very best quality in the products they sell. In March 2017, the JDC Group which comprises of JDC Printing Technologies (Pvt) Ltd., JDC Graphic Systems (Pvt) Ltd. and Unifold (Pvt) Ltd. together with 120 staff was acquired by Nawaloka Holdings under the Chairmanship of Dr. Jayantha Dharmadasa who is no stranger to the corporate world.

Perera took over as Managing Director in January 2020 and the Group has since then undergone structural changes especially in their sales and technical divisions focusing very much on enhancing their business. Covid-19 broke out three months into his appointment. The two-month lockdown devastated several industries but JDC’s diversified portfolio of businesses and cutting-edge products is helping the Group realize new opportunities.

JDC is a supplier for renowned global brands such as Komori, Konica Minolta, Horizon, Itotec, Uchida, Riso, Flint Group, Tesa, BCI, Graphtec, Meccanotecnica, Osako, Trelleborg, Dong Yang, Fujifilm, Esko, Foliant, Deluxe Bostitch, Henkel, XRite and many others. JDC is well geared with a very dynamic sales team to provide customers with a prompt and efficient service. JDC is also known to have the largest technical team in the industry and their services are unmatchable.

Their factory trained and well experienced technicians are available 24 hours a day. During this Covid-19 crisis, Perera says JDC has products that can cater to a wide range of businesses from large-scale commercial establishments to small printing shops.

“JDC can help them find their relevance, diversify services and capture key markets,” Perera says.

There is little demand for printed promotional materials and many businesses have also moved to remote working which could accelerate the trend towards paperless operations. Besides, with customers spending more time online, advertisers have abandoned print for digital media.

“I tell our customers, don’t let the crisis distract you, but focus on getting out of it by creating new opportunities. I believe the setback is temporary and the printing industry has many opportunities,” Perera says.

For instance, although the demand for commercial printing has declined due to Covid-19, the printing of labels and packaging materials have surged. Infact, their flexographic plate manufacturing company catering to the packaging industry has overcome the loss incurred due to Covid-19 and has progressed to record the highest sales in the history.

“Also, printing is not dead. Some companies can still afford print campaigns but importantly some are visionary about maintaining their brand presence during this crisis,” he says.

As a measure to diversify its portfolio to create opportunities for itself, JDC has introduced the latest Konica Minolta AL230 Digital Label Press to cater to the growing demand for packaging label printing. The company’s new offering is targeting both large-scale commercial enterprises and SME ventures in the industry. The Konica Minolta AL230’s advanced technology offers several benefits. It allows label converters in the country to seamlessly switch to digital operations quickly. This will enable them to benefit from the growing demand from producers of essential goods and services. Label production companies will be able to produce pressure-sensitive labels for various industries such as pharmaceuticals, consumer foods and cosmetics. The state-of-the-art press can handle short run volumes with multiple SKUs.

With a maximum print speed of 23.4m/ min and a warm-up time of fewer than 30 seconds, the AL 230 is designed to deliver superlative value addition through best-in-class print quality, productivity and operational flexibility. While label converters contend to spiking demand, manufacturing companies also have urgent requirements for labels in small batches at regular intervals which makes the AL230 the ideal tool. It offers many other advantages like short turnaround times, variable data printing, quick delivery time, ease of use with one operator, fast job changeover, fewer media wastage and cleaner environment.

Besides its operational speed and flexibility, the AL230 differentiates itself from competing products with its unique overprinting solution that automatically adjusts the overprint position for accurate registration; this reduces print wastage and lowers operational costs. The advanced variable data printing (VDP) feature makes it perfect for short-run print jobs that require a high degree of personalisation.

“Its compact, ergonomic design also makes it possible for the AL230 to fit into large-scale facilities alongside other machines as well as in smaller print shops,” Perera said.

“For many companies in the industry, both large and SMEs, planning their recovery from the Covid-19 recession, the AL230 is just what they need to diversify and capture a growing new market,” he said. Perera says that he is optimistic that a recovery will take place at some point in the near future for the entire print industry.