Industry leaders identify issues, show empathy & take concrete decisions to combat COVID-19

In the current COVID-19 situation, industry leaders in the signage sector cut through the crisis to identify and address the issues at each point. They show their ability to navigate complex business challenges successfully. They come out to identify and develop fundamentals that enable everyone to adapt and overcome the changing realities and discover new opportunities out of the difficulties. Here is what they share with Sign & Graphics.

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“All our customers are MSMEs and the current situation is very challenging for them in terms of cash flows due to sudden disruption. HP is trying to generate demand for the Latex platform. We organised a brand webinar attended by some very prominent retail brands. HP would be regularly communicating with various brands to highlight the sustainable impact of HP Latex which is especially more relevant in today’s scenario. The current scenario would also create a situation wherein there would be a necessity to follow social distancing norms in all kinds of work spaces or commercial establishments giving a rise to signage especially floor graphics. HP has created ready templates of social distancing messages which our PSPs can download and use to print.”
–Vitesh Sharma, Country Manager for Large-Format Production and Graphics Solutions Business, HP India


“It’s quite a complex business challenge we face during this COVID-19 crisis. Given the complexity and gravity we are dealing with, there has been certain help which we expected to get from the government, but it didn’t turn out as required. Perhaps, it’s all our own responsibility to handle the situation and cope with the scenario. We are working to keep everything in balance and able to function at our best in such critical time. Any specific plan is not yet decided as of now on what will we do in the post COVID-19 to recover the losses we have had during this crisis.”
–Vimlesh Arora, Director, JN Arora Group


“The current COVID-19 crisis creates an anxiety producing environment. The most critical thing we are losing in this unprecedented time is mental health. That’s what we look at our customers or PSPs. We are trying to align mindset with them and we all need at this hour is the positivity in investment. It’s a universal fact that the industry is down. In order to get up from such set back we all need to be optimistic to find out new solutions to push business to normalcy. We at DCC are trying our best to help our customers to get out this clutch with new innovations in machines and technologies. It’s time for all of us to know how to kick-start from a zero level now. Let’s be brave!”
–Santosh Nair, Associate Director, DCC Print Vision LLP


“We have seen many companies being hampered by their inability to make quick decisions during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s not that in our case. We make decisions based on what is best for our overall management, welfare and safety of our working staff. Of course, the crisis has adversely affected our inventory and it has been quite a challenge for us to maintain support to everyone in the company as well as our customers all across the country. What we are planning today is to make sure the machines of our customers are up and running even in this unprecedented time. We are fully prepared to provide any support to our customers who required help from us.”
–Girvir Negi, Director, NEGI Sign Systems & Supplies Co.


“The nature of this COVID-19 crisis necessitates agility in thought as well as action where we need to evaluate and continually recalibrate the way forward as the situation evolves. At Caldron Graphics, we have lost connection with many of our customers as well as employees in this unprecedented time of economic crisis. We are now chalking out plan to pave road to recovery. Every business needs to capture bigger audience now through new routes. When it comes to taking new routes, we are going for online business platform for faster and easier connection with our customers and suitable way to cope with the crisis.”
–Rajat Mitra, Director, Caldron Graphics


“Being a company having a wide network of dealers all over the country, we are now facing tremendous slowdown in business and we are not able to meet our clients like before. This current crisis is a big blow to everyone’s business in all sectors. But we put our best endeavor to keep everything under control and move ahead. In fact, the situation demands that we should think ahead and retain the sight of bigger picture to avoid decisions that could result in adverse consequences. Taking part in war against the COVID-19, we have launched mask making machine (Mask PRO). We look forward to introducing new line of products comprising UV flatbed systems suitably designed to cope with the current market situation. ”
–Shailesh Mehta, Director, Mehta Cad Cam System Pvt Ltd


“We are up against a pandemic in this COVID-19 crisis for which the world has no idea till when it is going to last. We are driven by day to day analysis from different sources of news and invariably everyone has been proved wrong. We as printers for branding /event printing/gatherings for various occasions are one of the worst hit by the government order for banning these events/mall opening, etc and after four months have no clue when can we come back to normal business times. As such common people are so confused and paranoid of going out even to offices and other places. All our strategies were based on wishful thinking of opening dates/months of various markets/malls/events, etc. With new challenges of health in big cities like Delhi and Mumbai one can only pray that things should get under control sooner.”
–Deepak Girotra, Director, Sun Printable Fabric Pvt Ltd


“From survival to revival, over the last few months have been very challenging for us. COVID-19 has turned out to be a global crisis and evolving at a very rapid unpredictable speed. No industry or individual is immune to this and it has affected us the same way as it has affected many other industries—signage/printing industry is no different. This is the time to act while also preparing for the future. To preserve the integrity of our customers and protect them while preparing them for their operations in the future post COVID-19. It is very important that we show our support and create a sense of confidence towards them in these testing times and to do so we have taken multiple steps to ensure smooth running of customers operation post the lockdown. We have launched AMC and buyback schemes to our customers wherein we have given pocket friendly offers to the customers so that they can start their machines post-lockdown without hitting for a big expense.”
–Tej Prakash Jain, Managing Director, Monotech Systems Limited


“We closely take part in war against the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Under the motto ‘We Care for Life’, we introduce high-quality personal protection equipment kit. Our line of personal protection products include Trinity brand of disposable and N-95 face masks, face shield mask, hand sanitiser, goggle and waste disposable bag. The products are made of premium quality materials. After all, we are open to help our customers to boost their business and fight against all odds.”
–Amar Patel, Director, Trinity Inks


“Since we were not completely not ready for this unexpected COVID-19 crisis, our biggest challenge has been on crisis management. Our actions including changing working style with safety of staff is on priority. Though we believe that people will not accept a future society required to keep the physical distance each other, COVID-19 is prevalent in various areas and forcing us to change our styles of business and life. We expect that more customers will try to minimize their outsource dependence and seek a way to be the one-stop-service providers for risk reduction purpose in their business operation. To support these changes, we plan to provide better service as a manufacturer by introducing not only new user-friendly inkjet technologies but also application, pre-/post-solution, and after-sales services.”
–Yoshimoto Sugiyama, Senior Sales Manager, MIMAKI India Pvt Ltd


“In this unprecedented time of corona crisis, our first recourse is to ‘blow our own horn’ to announce the precautions we are taking and the training we are providing to our staff to protect their health, wellbeing and business to a certain extent. We at Colorjet India are engaged, motivated, glorified and practically involved in all activities including fighting against the dreaded COVID-19. Apart from offering machines and promising solutions to boost business of our clients in such hard time, we come out with protective products like high-quality face marks.”
–Smarth Bansal, Senior Product Manager, Colorjet India


“The current market situation is now double-folded. One is COVID-19 crisis which has crippled business in all sectors. Secondly, it’s the ongoing political tussle between India and China, which may cause a deep impact in the import-export activities of the two countries. Look at our industry. It’s a well known fact that more than 75-80 percent of machines and components are from China. I am not talking only about India. China is globally a big importer of machines and technologies in the graphic arts industry. We are doing our best to cope with the situation offering our premium range machines like Mimaki to help customers go for new and innovative applications.”
–Vikram Bhatia, Managing Director, Apsom Technologies (India) Pvt Ltd


“Durst India, subsidiary of Durst Phototechnik HQ, in compliance with all necessary safety regulations is providing all the support to its customers in India during these challenging times. Durst does not expect an immediate return to ‘normality’, which is why concepts for virtual presentations and webcasts have been developed in and are now being implemented in a timely manner for interaction with all the customers. Durst India in line with Durst HQ will support these meetings as best we can with the technical possibilities in the Durst headquarters and Customer Experience Center. We are really looking forward to the opportunity to take the next step into normality with new interaction options with all the customers and prospects from India. Welcome back!”
–Ashan Dhunna, Country Head, Durst India Private Limited


“During the COVID-19 crisis it has been a big challenge for us to ensure we don’t increase prices of our inks when exchange rates caused an almost 10 percent change in our purchase prices. Morally we feel all of our customers in India have suffered economically and at this time we are ourselves in a dilemma on increasing costs, increased burden of salaries without any sales and dropping sales. It has been a very challenging situation but we have taken the hit onto ourselves for the time being. These difficult times shall pass too. We shall all come out stronger, ensuring the safety of our employees. Ensuring the staff of almost 500 people is kept with social distancing is a very big challenge for us. Keeping the workforce alert as the danger still exists and will probably exist for another one year or so is now the task at hand.”
–Neerav Goswami, Managing Director, AT Inks


“Every one of us in the industry is affected in the current economic crisis caused by the COVID-19. In such situation, what we need to conscious about is business sustainability. What can bring this sustainability? Quality brand! Thais is what we are chalking out. We are coming out in this hard time to lend helping hands to our customers, offering right solutions that can boost business forward. We offer solutions to produce unique and innovative applications. In such time of unstable market successful businesses are made only when can stand out of the ordinary. For that we have the solutions.”
–Pradipta Chowdhury, Senior Product Manager, Graphics Arts Division. FUJIFILM India Private Limited


“COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis which we never ever dreamt of. The markets all over the world have shattered over the last few months. The challenge we face in our business in such time is that big brands have either cut down or completely stopped their budget owing to uncertainty they foresee. For manufacturing houses like us 2-3 idle months is a big loss considering the huge amount of salary expense. However, we as a company have paid salary to each and every employee and expect business to come to normal. We have been working extensively on R&D, specifically for CC LED drivers and EV chargers. We expect to launch our completely new range of LED drivers and EV chargers by July end both for the Indian and US markets with all required certifications.”
–Vineet Gupta, Director, Neenjas Technologies Pvt Ltd


“Today’s COVID-19 situation demands for a sight of bigger picture to avoid unintended results. We look at wider scope to deal with the crisis. Apart from the signage printing materials, we introduce a set of economical personal protective products including face masks, gloves and others. We offer the products especially for fellow PSPs and sign makers. In addition, for those who are engaging in making floor graphics and social distancing signs, we offers McCAL grey back bubble free vinyl. Our aim is prove whole varieties of products to meet the need of our every customer.”
–Deepak Gupta, Director, Sun Sign & Technologies Pvt Ltd


“I have actually lost for words to express the current market situation caused by COVID-19. Complete lockdown is still going on in Chennai and there is no certainty about when the normalcy will be resumed. It was scheduled from May 19 to June 19, then still continuing without seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. We being a company dealing in materials, everything is ceased and no business could be done for us without direct contact with our customers. However, we are now engaging in building regular connection with our clients through online, hoping for the betterment for all soon.”
–Rajiv Agarwal, Director, Southern Agencies


“We are trying our best to keep in touch with our customers throughout these days of corona crisis. Business in all sectors has been hit. That’s why we have to accept the fact that the crisis will be a big challenge to a certain period of time in near future. In order to encourage, uplift their spirit and help them revive their business we lend our best support to our customers all across the country. Our focus is now on how we can revive the momentum in business with some innovative products and technologies with which our customers move to a new level in this unprecedented time of COVID-19.”
–Tajinder Singh, Director, Color Digital India (CDI)


“During this COVID-19 pandemic, the main challenge is about managing our staff as well as customers. We have been working hard towards new ideas and models which can be implemented during this unprecedented time. Online support to our customers is one of the strategic moves we are planning to implement. When it comes to maintaining safety we have been following all protocols at our office surroundings. In addition, it is very necessary to go with utmost precautions when we serviced our customers. After all, it’s quite necessary to survive in this difficult time and it would be main challenge for every one of us in the industry.”
–Raj Thakur, RTR Corporation


“Doubtless to say that this recession due to COVID-19 is the biggest ever loss we have encountered till date. Apart from stopping all sales and distributions in the market, the impact of this economic crisis has hampered all inventories. Now we are in constant interaction with our existing customers as well as many others in the industry who are willing to know effective way of recovery from months of business lockdown. We at Kheizer Sign are developing new products and solutions with which our customers can boost their business to regain their lost momentum.”
–Riyaz Siddiqui, Kheizer Sign


“COVID-19 is an obvious pain for everyone in the industry. It has been a big challenge for us to tackle the market when there is no sale for the last two months. But we shouldn’t be retreat and surrender in such situation. It’s very much a part and parcel of business. We are quite hopeful that there will be comeback of sales after all this lull with a bang. What we are planning is to increase our sales and service backup, so that all of our customers can be serviced well after the crisis is over and business recovers to the same level as it was before.”
–Sumit Dev, Director, Britomatic India Pvt Ltd


“When we look at our positions in the three phases in market—pre-lockdown, lockdown and post-lockdown—there is nothing that we have ceased our work, our activities have been stopped. We keep moving. Of course, we feel the pain of recession caused by the current COVID-19 crisis. We wisely manage everything to bounce back during this hard time. We produce a line of protective gears which have been highly demanded. In a way, the signage industry is quite moving. While fighting against the coronavirus, signage companies are engaged in production of various products, they keep doing business—this will never stop.”
–Saurabh Aggarwal, Mono Sign Systems


“We in Chennai are still under the complete lockdown. Businesses and all normal activities are not functioning at all. For us, we are impacted in two ways. One, the market is closed. Second, our products are from China. Anyway, we should take everything in a positive. There is market prediction that the graphic art industry will be growing vigorously once the current crisis is over. Even a number of signage players are doing business during the lockdown as they produce graphics for social distancing signs and others. In this way, this crisis will be an opportunity on another side for everyone in our industry.”
–Varun S, Manager, JX Enterprises


“COVID-19 crisis has stormed our credit cycle. Customers couldn’t pay our dues and the dealer network is not properly functioning. The market is now opening up slowly. But it would take time to come to normalcy. Customers are demanding for cost deduction in inks and printers. This is really a hard to handle situation. However, we don’t want to let our customers down. That’s why we are planning to offer some solutions which will viable in terms of costs and quality.”
–Yatinsinh Vaghela, LISCO System Pvt Ltd