Flag Printing and Installation Job at Fujitsu
The Fujitsu Company Colors Flying High
Sometimes a good friend can also become a hard task master and give you more grief than an enemy. Here is a story where a friend of mine just would not take ‘no’ for an answer. And ended up keeping me awake through the night.
Makarand Shaha works in the purchase department at Fujitsu Consulting, an IT company based in Talawde, Pune. When we first met, we had a pretty formal client – vendor relationship. But as time passed, we also became good friends. Apart from my friendship with Makarand, Fujitsu also became a high-value client for Orchid. They regularly source a lot of sunboard prints, posters, hoardings, brochures, and wall prints from us.
Working with Fujitsu has also always been a breeze. Makarand’s office is pretty systematic. They always give us a heads up, well in advance of any print job. This gives us enough time to process and deliver our material. Which makes the next part of my story, all the more surprising.
The Job – Custom Flag Printing & Installation On a Tight Deadline
On a late afternoon in August, I received a call from Ms. Deepali Sangamnekar. Now, Deepaliji is one of the top executives at Fujitsu. There really was no precedent for a high-level manager to directly get in touch with a vendor like me. So even before she explained her requirement, I knew that there was a ‘fire’ somewhere that urgently needed to be contained.
And my intuition proved to be correct.
It turned out that Fujitsu was receiving high level dignitaries from the UK. And the guests were coming in the following morning, about 16 hours from now. My mission (should I choose to accept it 🙂 ) was to –
- Print 4 custom flags bearing the company logo and design.
- Fabricate four, 15 feet tall flag poles complete with pulleys and hoisting ropes.
- Assemble everything through the night.
- Install the same at Talawde, 32 kilometers away from our office in Pune.
And oh yeah, I had to do all of this in 12 hours (not 16) because the artwork for the custom flags had yet to come in from the UK. While I kept mum then, I knew in my mind, that the timelines were just too tight.
Deepaliji’s call was quickly followed by another one from Makarand. With him I was more comfortable. I told him that this was a ‘Mission Impossible’ job for me. There was absolutely no way I could meet their deadline. But Makarand was in no mood to hear me out. He quickly disabused me of my notions by saying the following three things.
- This was not a fanciful Hollywood movie.
- I was definitely no Tom Cruise. Not even my loving mother would have called me one.
- There was no element of ‘Should you choose to accept…’ in this mission. In fact, ‘No’ was just not an acceptable answer. I had to bloody well deliver.
Now this situation put me in a spot. Makarand always vouched for me, in front of his top management. I could not let him down. On the other hand, another past experience had taught me that it is always better to refuse a job than to over commit and risk losing credibility in the eyes of a customer. But in this case, all my protests fell on deaf ears. I had to execute this custom flag printing & installation job, no matter what.
And the clock was ticking.
Getting Mission Impossible Done – A Sprint Against the Clock
With the Fujitsu job fait accompli, I quickly realised that there was no point wringing my hands over it. We had to do our level best to deliver and leave the rest in the hands of fate. So I sat down and made a list of all the things that actually had to be done, to see the job through. The material and job requirements were typical of how they are for promotional flag printing, as follows:
- Print four, two-sided satin flags of size 3 feet height X 4 feet width. Double stitch the flags (essentially, double-sided flag printing).
- Fabricate 4 flag poles, each having a height of 15 feet and a diameter of 2 inches.
- Weld 2 feet square base plates at the bottom of each of the poles.
- Fix 4 foundation rods to each of the above plates. These metal rods are 18″ long and would be pushed into the ground to ensure that the poles do not topple.
- Weld a pulley on the top of each flag pole.
- Hoist up the customized flags with silk rope.
Now, printing the actual double-sided flags was the easy part. We have ready stocks of flag materials. Also, our high-speed inkjet machines can print not just 4, but even 40 copies in no time at all. But, fabricating the flag poles would take time. And installing the same would take even more.
A Great Team Makes the ‘Impossible’ Doable
So we broke up the entire project between multiple teams. Here is what we did –
- One team was dispatched to Talawade to dig four, three feet deep holes. The flag poles (along with the base plate and foundation pillars) would be lowered into these holes. Cement would be poured around the same, to hold the poles in place.
- Another team got busy with fabricating the actual structure in my workshop. Here the poles were cut, welded and painted. We used a fast acting primer because there was very less time for the paint to dry.
- I kept nagging Makarand for my custom flag artwork. When the mail finally came through, a third team took up the job of printing these custom flags using a thin silky cloth material.
- Our tailor, Vinayak, was kept on standby. The poor fellow wanted to go home but was made to stay back late. He took up the flags for stitching the moment the printing was done. Flags are stitched in a regular way on three sides. But on the fourth side we need to create a hollow pocket in the cloth, to insert the hoisting rope. Finally, a double-sided printed flag emerged, with the company marks gleaming brilliantly on both faces.
- Finally everything was ready at around 1 O’ clock in the morning. But we still had to ship the material to Talwade (30 odd kilometers away). Fujitsu is located in an IT park and we also had to obtain security clearances to enter the premises after office hours. Makarand took care of that.
- The moment the tempo reached Fujitsu with the material, it was taken up for installation. We already had a team on standby there, remember. These were the guys who had dug up the holes in the ground earlier in the evening. They now quickly erected the poles and poured fast-drying concrete around the same.
As you can see from the early morning light in the images above, the entire custom flag printing & installation job was finished just after sunrise and a few hours before the guests from the UK came in.
And I got to say… Mission Accomplished.
A Job Well Done – The After Story
The job specifications mentioned above are pretty straight forward. But what made this case memorable was its crazy timelines. Another memory I cherish is of the smiles on our client’s face when they saw that we met their deadline. The entire team had put in their heart, soul and time into the job. And the happiness of the client made all of it worth the effort. 🙂
That’s How We Do Things at Orchid Digitals
At the core, we’re essentially a premier print-for-pay shop in Pune that churns out countless prints daily across different use-cases, material, and dimensions. From palm-sized visiting cards to 200-foot hoardings, brilliant sign boards that adorn offices and shops, we create quite a few things.
But the source of our satisfaction and pride isn’t the wide variety of products or the printing services we’re selling. These are just tools and enablers for us to solve our customers’ problems and bring them delight and contentment. From printing & installing custom flags on a tight deadline, to printing invites that people wouldn’t throw away, even printing my family’s photos as the home decor — the pursuit is always of creating happiness in the lives we touch. 🙂
At the risk of sounding boastful, I’d like to state that we at Orchid Digitals always go the extra mile to ensure client satisfaction. While the rates of all printers in Pune are more or less similar in Pune, the quality of our service and the experience is what makes Orchid Digitals stand apart.
We’d love to hear about your views on this experience. Do put in your thoughts in the comments section below. And if you’d like to see more of such interesting projects at Orchid, make sure that you click on this link here.
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Mitesh lives, mostly for Saturdays. But when forced to work, you’ll find him heading Orchid Digitals – a printing press in Pune. If its an emergency, try looking for him in the hills behind his house. He’ll almost certainly be under a tree, with a book in hand.
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