Self made entrepreneur: M Ramarathinam

Father and son team - M Ramarathinam and R Ramesh Babu - making all out efforts of this century in cracker city of Tamil Nadu, Sivakasi, through ‘Century Offset Works’

Having worked for over six years in Sivakasi with a known name Pepco Offset handling multitasking jobs, the entrepreneurship within M Ramarathinam made him to plan his career differently. Easy going in the job also did not attract him much. He was getting restless to attempt something of his own where he can plan the things with independent ideas, tackling and serving the print-buyers in much professional manner. He had already studied B Com (completed in the year 1966) and the business strategies, which were igniting him too strongly to do something differently and thus a new setup came into being in the year 1972 under the banner of ‘Century Offset.’

M Ramarathinam with his son R Ramesh BabuThe beginning was not that easy, as he never came from a family with lot of money. But the spirit and strong willpower made him to proceed. With his own funding of just Rs 3,000 added with a personal loan of Rs 50,000 and helping hand by a bank with a loan of Rs one lakh, he jumped into the business. As Indians are known widely, M Ramarathinam also adopted a ‘jugad’ philosophy and installed a pre-owned Russian offset press but arranged to go for long delivery belts so as to avoid frequent set offs. And the journey once started, never took a pause. The installation base of more offset machines got continued in proportion to his efforts of nurturing the clients’ base, which went on increasing year over year. “Today we have 19 printing units comprising with brands like Planeta, Super Variant, Mitsubishi and Komori. Incidentally, we were the one who installed first Komori LS 40 in India way back in the year 2006,” informed Ramarathinam.

Appreciating the quality of Komori LS 40 produces, R Ramesh Babu (also studied B Com) informed, “We generally operate 12 – 16 hours per day with consumption of around 120 plates and average print runs of majority of books going around 5,000 – 10,000 copies.” However, postpress (binding) is being outsourced by them as of today.

To commemorate the working and handling of printed sheets of the book printing activities, Century Offset also took parallel initiatives in terms of planning the space year on year. They, though not having a land in acres (as many printers have in Sivakasi), went for RCC construction so as to expand vertically, and today have a working area of over 25,000 sq ft.

Sharing his views about going for a new press vis-à-vis pre owned, Ramesh mentioned that the difference is vast, “Today all new offset machines come with CIP4 options, which perform wonders in terms of make-ready time. Faster make-ready becomes really a ‘money spinner’ advantage which takes care of ROI significantly.” Adding further to this he mentioned that in last 12 months Sivakasi would have witnessed at least 50 in numbers of 4/5 colour machines, but hardly there would have been three or four machines coming as brand new.

So what next for Century Offset? Both the father and the son were keen and eager to enter all time growing ‘packaging’ segment where perhaps they see no threat which otherwise is disturbing many as regards to book printing (with the advent of e-books). Anyway guts of self-developed entrepreneurship in Ramarathinam could be realized seeing his business achievements which continue enhancing by combining endeavours of Ramesh.

Group Publications