Exclusive interview with Faisal Bin Haider, CEO of Printing and Distribution Sector at Dubai Media Incorporated
Faisal Bin Haider is a well-known personality within UAE and regional graphic arts industry. He has also been at the helm of Mohammed bin Rashid Quran Printing Centre since 2014. With an annual production capacity of 6 million copies, the Quran printing center prints the ‘Khalifa bin Zayed Mus’haf’ (edition of the Holy Quran) and the ‘Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Mus’haf’. In order to find out more about this center and its activities we talked to Bin Haider and here are his comments:
What are your expectations, goals and plans for 2021?
My expectations for the year 2021 are for the gradual recovery of the printing sector in general and a faster and more comprehensive improvement in the printing of the Holy Qur’an. As for the Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for the Printing of the Holy Quran, there is a continuous effort to modernize and develop regardless of the pandemic. As the first specialized center to provide services for printing the Holy Qur’an in the region we are always keen to harness all capabilities to serve the Book of God and to excel in this field.
When was the Mohammed Bin Rashid Center established and why?
The Mohammed bin Rashid Center for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an was inaugurated in 2014 as an independent center, to be part of the printing and distribution sector of the Dubai Media Incorporated. We had already printing experience garnered through Al Bayan newspaper set up which was established in 1980. Mohammed bin Rashid Quran Printing Centre is the first of its kind to provide copies of Quran in all typescript, writing styles and variant readings for all Muslim countries. The content of printed Quran is approved by the official Sharia authorities in the UAE and Islamic countries.
Why this center and its mission are important for Arab world?
The establishment of the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for the Printing of the Noble Qur’an came in line with the wise vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his belief in the importance of serving the Noble Qur’an through a specialized center dedicated to this noble work. As I already mentioned, among the objectives of the center is the printing of the Noble Qur’an with the highest international standards and under the supervision of the Review and Audit Committee of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, as well as preserving the Holy Qur’an in its original form by an authoritative and reliable organization.
Are you also participating in any events or take part in any special activity?
Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for the Printing of the Holy Quran has participated over the past years in many important exhibitions at the local, Arab and international levels, including the Sharjah Book Fair, the Cairo International Book Fair, the London Book Fair, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Jeddah Book Fair, the China Book Fair and many other exhibitions.
How did Coronavirus affect your day-to-day activities?
We were forced to reduce the number of employees per shift while ensuring their commitment to wearing masks. We also educated employees about the precautionary measures and encouraging them to take the vaccine, as per the Health Authority instructions. Vaccine campaign was arranged and provided to the employees at the company’s headquarters. At the same time we restricted traveling as well as quarantining our employees who were returning from abroad, while asking them to undergo a PCR examination before they start work. Also, we allowed employees to work from home when it was possible.
There is no doubt that the Corona pandemic has had a negative impact on many sectors, but we at the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for the Printing of the Holy Quran rely on modern and highly automated equipment and solutions with a small number of workers. That is why we were able to continue operating without a major hitch. Meanwhile we needed to make some tweaks in our operations in line with health and safety requirements and preventive measures.
Do you think that the epidemic will force or encourage printing and packaging houses to adopt more automatic solutions and rely less on manual labor?
We at Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for the Printing of the Holy Quran, are constantly updating, developing and adopting our solutions for every possible production process, regardless of the crisis and in all cases. This was our strategy from the outset and now we are reaping the fruits of our forward-looking planning. Now we are able to serve our customers in an efficient way, even during the most difficult crises.
Are you receiving more orders through online platforms?
The center deals with many institutions, associations and companies in providing printing services. The center also receives many requests through its electronic platform www.hqpc.ae, and since the demand for our products via the website has increased considerably, we are developing our platform and opening electronic stores for the center on other electronic shopping sites. Our goal is to reach a larger number of customers and facilitate the buying process.
Have you been forced to reduce number of people who work for you due to pandemic?
The number of employees in the center has not been reduced because the demand for printing Qur’ans is increasing, especially during Ramadan and Hajj pilgrimage.
Packaging is growing a lot, have you also considered to invest in new packaging?
We studied the packaging market and found that there is intense competition in this area, so we have not made any investments in packaging equipment.
What range of equipment you have and n what basis you chose a brand or technology?
At the Mohammed Bin Rashid Center, we employ the latest in printing and binding technology. In terms of equipment, we have chosen the best German and Swiss machines including manroland Lithoman IV, the world’s biggest heatset commercial web press which is capable of printing 96 pages of the Qur’an at a speed of more than forty thousand revolutions per hour, and with an automatic in line gluing system that enables exceptional production speed and complete control over print and color quality.
In post press we are using Muller Martini Prima Plus saddle stitching line and a wide range of other top of the line products including Kolbus book production line BF 527 which is the most advanced book preparation and book production line in the Middle East region. We also have a fleet of Heidelberg sheetfed presses as well as Kodak Prosper 6000 C digital press.