20 Jan 2021, 11:21 — 6 min read
Even though we are moving towards a cashless society, currency is still an intrinsic part of our lives. Yet we rarely think about what goes into making banknotes and coins.
Meet Rajeev Jiten Shah, Director of JUI Print Technology Pvt Ltd (JUI), who plays a key role in the banknote and security printing industry including mints. His firm has been the Indian representative of renowned foreign companies that provide highly specialised machinery for currency printing; security printing of documents like passports and stamps; and coin minting.
Shah explains, “Security printing of currency, passports, and stamps requires precision equipment such as numbering technology, perforating machines, counting systems, etc. We are the Indian representatives and an extended arm for the foreign firms manufacturing this equipment, offering local support to them in submitting tenders to Indian Government agencies, ensuring delivery timelines, after-sales support, and maintenance of machines. We also offer warehousing facility”.
Security printing of currency, passports, and stamps requires precision equipment. We are the Indian representatives and an extended arm for the foreign firms manufacturing this equipment.
When asked if he gets to visit the high-security currency press in the country, Shah laughs and responds, “That’s a question I get a lot! I have frequently visited the banknote printing facilities and mints. But believe me, the charm of seeing banknotes being printed soon wears off. Inevitably, my focus is drawn to more prosaic matters such as whether the machines are dispatched on time and functioning optimally”.
Sound techno-commercial expertise has been the secret of the business in maintaining a competitive edge over two decades. Shah reveals, “My father started the business in the late 90s and was able to win the confidence of our international principal partners with his deep knowledge of finance and astute understanding of the business legalities in the country”. Like his father, Shah too has strong techno-financial skills and in-depth industry know-how. He shares, “I joined the business in 2000 and in 2001 we got registered as a Private Limited firm. With a bachelor’s in Physics, a chartered accountancy degree, and a diploma in printing technology from Germany, I have a good understanding of specialised machinery, expertise to bid for high-value tenders, and the experience of government regulations and protocols. I regularly read trade journals and attend conferences to keep abreast with industry trends”.
As part of such a niche sector, business challenges for JUI are consequently unique. Shah opines, “Entry in this segment is not easy as the market is big enough for only 2-3 players. We were relatively late entrants into this sector, so it’s taken us a while to make our mark. The turnaround times in this line of business are pretty long and one has to be patient and focused to take the project to completion.”
Entry in this segment is not easy as the market is big enough for only 2-3 players. The turnaround times in this line of business are pretty long and one has to be patient and focused.
Shah shares, “We want to consolidate our knowledge of security printing and mints and explore newer technologies. We have diversified into providing raw materials and machinery for the printing of credit cards, SIM cards, loyalty, and identification cards that are made of PVC material. These cards typically have multiple layers including RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and are made with specialised machines”.
When asked about his formula for success, Shah pauses to think and then says in his characteristic measured tone, “I would say it is technical expertise; honest hard work; and focus—we have stuck to our strengths and not tried to diversify in non-core areas”.
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