G-Pak Limited, a subsidiary of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), has positioned itself to take on any job in the printing and packaging industry, irrespective of the quantity.
Management of the 50-year-old printing company said over the last five years, more than GH¢6 million had been channelled into the procurement of cutting-edge technology and printing equipment to deliver quality jobs in a timely manner.
“When it comes to printing, G-Pak is one of the best in the country.
This is because our system is in such a way that no book is produced without quality checks being done and to add to that, we have invested in equipment that gives us the best,” the Ag. General Manager of G-Pak, Kingsley Mate-Kole, told the Daily Graphic.
He said the company had an installed capacity that could produce more than 100,000 books a day.
Mr Mate-Kole explained that one of its equipment – the Muller Martini Pantera binding machine, which cost over €200,000, could produce over 15,000 books an hour.
The capacity of the company, the acting general manager said, could be seen in the delivery of 1.8 million copies of textbooks it produced for the government under its textbook project.
G-Pak currently boasts of about five printing equipment that produce almost two million sheets in a day.
It also has five different commercial folding machines that can fold almost all those printed materials in less than 24 hours.
Mr Mate-Kole said over the last two months, job orders given to his outfit had not stayed for more than two weeks on the premises of the company, adding that if the firm was able to execute 1.8 million books in three months, it demonstrated its capacity to deliver.
“We have the Pantera that can collate and bind, so we don’t put the books together,” he said, explaining further that “there is a collator that gathers section one to section two to section three, sends it into a binder and then they come out as complete books and that machine produces about 15,000 books within an hour,” he explained.
G-Pak, its Ag. General Manager said, had built its own capacity when it came to the issue of book works.
Although it had the capacity to deliver quality, its equipment had been underutilised “because publishers are printing their books in the far East,” Mr Mate-Kole added.
He said the job was not there because people wanted to print in overseas countries such as India, at a cheaper cost.
“They pay less when they bring their books into the country, but for me to print the same books, the system has made it very expensive.
We still have to cope with the duty on imported paper,” Mr Mate-Kole cried out.
“So for us, what we are pushing for is that if the government wants to benefit from the industry, it needs to scrap the duties on imported inputs and make the playing field equal,” he said.
Mr Mate-Kole contended that if it was about the UNESCO Convention 45 years ago, “then let’s stay with it but then make the playing field equal for all book printers”.
He said if the government had come out with a legislation to waive the Value Added Tax (VAT) off imported paper meant for the printing of learning materials, “we should be able to use the same modality to waive the 25 per cent duty.”
Apart from the production capacity, Mr Mate-Kole said G-Pak was looking into the digital space to be able to print smaller quantities of books to meet the needs of publishers and clients.
“So we are looking into the digital space to do smaller books for some publishers.
This is something we want to do in the next one year.
Our major focus now is to get enough to be able to feed the installed capacity,” he said.
However, he said the challenge “is that it is just expensive to produce learning materials locally as a result of the cost in procuring and importing paper.”
Mr Mate-Kole indicated that G-pak would be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the next two weeks on July 25, adding, “what we’re saying is that experience our heritage”.
He said those who started the business 50 years ago envisioned that there would be a time when things would have to be done locally and so they started building a company that would be able to deliver huge volumes of books.
“We started as a small department but it has now grown into a full company.
We have invested over the years and we are still investing to make us relevant now and in the future,” Mr Mate-Kole stated.
“What we need in order to make the industry thrive is a legislation that would enable us to be competitive.
Once that is done, we would all be on the same page to compete with any foreign press,” he emphasised.
As part of the 50th anniversary, Mr Mate-Kole said the company would organise a clean-up exercise to tidy up the company’s premises, launch the anniversary on Friday, with the unveiling of an anniversary logo and then mark the anniversary on July 25.
In September, he said, a symposium would be held to discuss the way forward for the book industry in the country.
“We just don’t want to celebrate only ourselves, we want the industry to be affected also,” Mr Mate-Kole said.
During the discussion, there would be representatives from the government, industry and parents on the way forward for learning materials, he indicated.
Commenting on the book industry, the acting G-Pak general manager said the quality was determined by the knowledge that went into its production.
“Since it is technical, it involves planning, designing to communicate with the audience as well as arrangement,” Mr Mate-Kole stated.
He said books could last long if the technical knowledge that went into printing them was very rich.
“If it is bounded very well it could be there for the lifetime of a generation but what happens is that because of the cost of doing business, people find other ways of doing books anyhow and then ship them to audiences,” Mr Mate-Kole explained.
A good book, he said, was one that had been designed well to last long.
He said using paper of low quality meant that books produced from it would not stand the test of time.
“A good book is one that has been designed well and done in such a way that the spine can last long.
Ideally, a book would be open by an average user a number of times and the user should be able to handle the book without it tearing,” Mr Mate-Kole stated.
He said at G-Pak, quality checks were conducted on books before they left the premises.