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At Art Next, People Like Pramod Are Recognized & Rewarded

# Leadership

A Culture of Employee Engagement

February 17, 2023

In 2016, when Pramod Jadhav was hired by Art NEXT Pvt Ltd. in Mumbai, India, as a driver, he literally held the keys to the company’s vehicles. Today, after being recognized for his work ethic, character and curiosity with a promotion to press operator, Pramod signifies a key to the company’s growth.

Art NEXT's leaders recognize, respect and value the strengths of everyone involved in the company, no matter their position or role. The team’s “in this together” spirit of equality and camaraderie is an important part of its culture.

So when Pramod kept poking around the shop floor after finishing his delivery jobs, asking colleagues questions about printing equipment and processes, management took notice. And when he seemed enamored with the features of Art NEXT’s HP Indigo 25K Digital Press, staying hours after work to watch the machine print materials that were empowering small-business owners, management took action.

“It was obvious right away that he was an honest and hard-working fellow, and he soon proved he could be trusted,” says Amol Lambe, Owner of Art NEXT. “He was also an extremely keen learner, not your typical driver who might sit in the car, roll up the window, put on the air conditioning and enjoy a nice nap.”

Just the opposite — Pramod seemed ready to roll up his sleeves and accept more responsibility, So Art NEXT promoted him, and its existing operators began training him. “His hunger and passion to learn more, and his desire to grow, are so high,” Amol says. “He invested his time and energy into something new. So, it was only right to give him the ability to move further up, and to reward him for his hard work.”


A Culture of Employee Engagement

At a time when finding and retaining employees is difficult for many printers around the world, including in India, Art NEXT is proving that great hires can be found in seemingly unlikely places. The key is recognizing and incentivizing self-starters who can band together and delight clients with flexible packaging solutions.

Pramod isn’t the only example. In 2022, the company also promoted a security guard (a recent college graduate) to a machine operator, and mindfully seeks to bring out the strengths in all the individuals who work there.

“Most of our observations over the past 20-odd years have revolved around the people who work with us,” Amol says. “Many of those people have worked here a dozen years or longer, and hopefully they have stayed for good reason.” When you find someone whose qualities match your culture, don’t be afraid to figure out ways to get them more involved.”

At Art NEXT, the dress code for management and employees is the same. And finding the right person for a role has more to do with attitude (which can’t be taught) than skill set (which can be taught). Teaching someone about the technical details of a substrate, or the web width of the HP Indigo 25K, might be a process, but teaching that person to deeply care about the job itself is basically impossible.

“There is a healthy blend of talent, where we have higher-skilled and more-experienced employees taking the initiative themselves to train lesser-qualified and less-experienced ones,” says Hemant Kulkami, who helps to lead Art NEXT with Amol and Suniket Dange. “We have a real team here, and the camaraderie is great.”

Advancing With Flexible Packaging

Art NEXT launched in 1998 as a prepress supplier for leading printing organizations in India. Since then, its leaders have regularly questioned the status quo to keep the company evolving and advancing.

Today, the company is capitalizing on the rising demand for digital printing and flexible packaging throughout India, which is true from the biggest brands in the country to the smallest organizations. Clients of all sizes appreciate Art NEXT’s creativity in helping them achieve lower runs and higher impact on a wider range of custom print (including pouches, shrink sleeves, labels and more).

One of those clients is Starbucks. Art NEXT’s recycled-content paper tissues are used in all of the retailer’s India locations.

At the same time, digital printing has helped to democratize the benefits of speed and customization, says Suniket. “Flexible packaging predominantly has been enjoyed by the big players. Smaller ones were mostly deprived of the benefits, often getting stuck with rigid boxes and high logistical and storage costs. We want them all to play on a level playing field.”

Sounds just like the company’s approach to driver-turned-operator Pramod, and all the other employees at Art NEXT. These Dscoopers are truly an inspiration in the Asia-Pacific region.

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