Unidos pivots business to post-Covid growth sectors
by Akanksha Meena, deputy editor
Unidos Insta Print, a manufacturer of POP/POS displays, has been providing Covid-19 related products such as floor distancing decals, safety posters, foot-operated sanitizer dispensers and countertop shields to help businesses reopen safely. Soham Gujral, the innovator at Unidos Insta Print explains his business continuity plans for growth in the post-Covid-19 world.
‘As soon as the lockdown began, our team proactively sprang into action and started brainstorming the possibilities for our post lockdown plan,’ says Gujral. ‘We came up with innovative product ideas, such as a car safety shield, foot-operated sanitizer dispensers, isolation door shield and countertop shield. We quickly started designing the technological aspects as well as the structural components of the products and geared up for full production capacity.’
The company has 25 years’ experience working with leading brands and material suppliers and its product line includes retail countertops and floor standing displays, corporate merchandise, indoor and outdoor printed advertising and printed collateral. Based in Okhla, Delhi, the Unidos facility is equipped with HP LX360 latex large format printer, HP DesignJet D5800 large format printer, Epson SureColor 10-colour printer, Roland XR 640 eco-solvent large format printer with plotter and Roland LEF-20 UV flatbed printer. Other equipment includes cutting tables from Zund and a flatbed laminator from Fayon.
Gujral adds, ‘We have focused on keeping our products economical to reach a large user base. Our facility in Delhi has two Zund digital cutting beds working with a great degree of automation on multiple materials thus allowing us to optimize resources and keep costs at a minimum. These beds allow us to rapidly adapt our products to the client’s specifications leading to a quick turnaround.’
He explains that with the end of the lockdown in India, orders for Unidos's Covid-19 products started to trickle in and are in high demand by brands. ‘We have been running at full production capacity ever since the end of the lockdown. The most popular product amongst brands has been our EcoDoc foot-operated sanitizer dispenser followed by floor graphics.’ The corrugated foot-operated sanitizer dispenser stands are lightweight and an economical alternative to metal sanitizer stands and can be customized for brands.
Gujral acknowledges that the pandemic has not been friendly to the sign and graphics industry. Since brick-and-mortar establishments are currently operating at a limited capacity and their future seems bleak, the sign industry is bound to see a significant reduction in the demand for conventional print. On the other hand, he believes that Covid-19 is compelling companies to adopt automated technology in their operations. ‘The signage and the retail industry are not immune to this trend. The companies that don’t embrace automation and increase their digital exposure are bound to have a difficult time going forward,’ he warns.
Business continuity strategies
Businesses all over the country are going through a difficult time with a foggy view of the future. Gujral suggests that going forward, enterprises (including Unidos Insta Print) will need short-term (next one year) and medium-term (next three years) business continuity plans.
‘In the short term, we are shifting our client mix away from Covid-19 affected sectors such as travel, hospitality, events and aviation towards sectors like FMCG, pharmaceuticals, insurance, and hygiene and sanitation – the sectors that are not affected and are rather geared for fast growth as the economy will emerge from COVID-19 turbulence.
‘In the medium term, we plan to decrease our dependence on purely printed products and replace them with technology-enabled value-added products. We have embraced innovations such as embedded sensors, microcomputers, and IoT to create cutting edge promotional products and customer-facing fixtures,’ he explains.
Creating a safe space with print
Despite the challenges faced by the print industry, print has emerged as a critical tool for the retail industry to attract customers to their establishments. ‘Brands need to use print to assure customers that they are entering a safe and stress-free space. A few examples of how this may be achieved would be - by deploying floor graphics that ensure distancing compliance or infographics that communicate a brand’s safety standards and sanitization protocols. Brands will have to take such steps to ensure that customers are comfortable in entering the store again,’ Gurjal concludes.