“We have made sustainability a natural part of our thought process,” says Soham Gujral, innovator at the New Delhi-based Unidos Insta Print, which has announced its shift from PVC-based materials to recyclable alternatives in its products.
Established in 2001, Unidos Insta Print is a designer and manufacturer of point-of-sale-marketing displays operating out of a 6,000-sqft facility at Okhla, New Delhi. The product range includes floor standing display units, countertop display units, wall parasites, product display islands, promotional standees, cut-outs and more.
Gujral says that his company, over the past couple of years, has made conscious efforts to reduce its environmental impact and offer eco-friendly and sustainable solutions to its clients. Now, Unidos aims to adopt environmentally conscious materials, minimal wastage facility, make its products flat-ship and easy to assemble, and spread awareness.
“Being in an industry driven by PVC, we felt that it’s the responsibility of PSPs like us to bring about change in the market,” says Gujral. “When our team undertakes any project, we try to envision a product's complete life cycle and see at what stages we can reduce and optimise its environmental impact.”
Earlier, Unidos used to manufacture POSM and promotional displays using a large array of substrates including MDF, metal, PVC, Kraft corrugated, flute PP sheets, acrylics, and more. However, the company is now making progress towards recyclable materials.
Gujral confirms that his clients have been on the lookout for PVC-free and environmentally friendly solutions and “the products that we offer seamlessly fit well with their vision”.
Some segments of the print industry are heavily reliant on PVC-based materials. These are hard to recycle or reuse and cause numerous ecological issues when disposed of improperly.
“Due to this, we have made a conscious effort to educate our clients and shift our products to alternative materials such as PP plastics or paper-based materials, which can be easily recycled or bio-degraded. We also actively prefer materials that hold environmental certifications such as FSC-certified paper,” Gujral explains.
According to Gujral, Unidos was able to launch over 10 new products for Covid-19 safety and compliance for its clients during the pandemic, thanks to its brilliant in-house team.
Soham Gujral of Unidos Insta Print
Logistical improvements and waste management
According to Gujral, a sustainability-driven mindset involves analysing and optimising a product's complete lifecycle. “This should begin right from the drawing board and then follow to the manufacturing facility, materials used, logistics and activation, and finally to the end-of-life disposal. Each step in this process should be thought of and re-engineered to align with sustainability driven goals,” adds Gujral.
Keeping these views intact, Unidos has also designed an eco-friendly, PVC-free floor standing product display unit – one of the first products launched after the company’s shift towards greener materials. According to Gujral, these are large units of about 5-6 feet in height. “Apart from being PVC-free, these units fold-flat and get transported with minimal volumetric weight – saving freight costs and CO2 emissions,” he claims.
Gujral also claimed that its new initiative would also help reduce transportation volumes by 90%. But how? “While designing products, one of our core targets is to achieve a minimal logistical footprint. This is one of our key distinguishing factors,” says Gujral.
He says that all point-of-sale displays by Unidos are meticulously engineered so that they are shipped folded and flat to its customers and can be assembled instantly after unboxing. “In some cases, we reduce the transportation volume by 90%. This not only saves tremendous amounts of logistics costs, but also greatly reduces the carbon footprint of each product,” adds Gujral.
Unidos has also set up systems that ensure all the wastages and by-products, which occur inside the facility, are properly processed. For instance, the company segregates plastics that are recyclable from those which aren't, and then makes sure that those recyclable plastics are sent to the appropriate recycling plants.
“We are also a part of HPs Planet Partner Program, where old ink cartridges are picked up by HP and disposed of consciously,” says Gujral.
Gujral believes that the POS segment is fast growing in the country, driven by India’s booming retail industry. “Despite the pandemic, this industry has stayed strong, and I see a very healthy future for it going forward,” affirms Gujral.
“These efforts by us may only represent a drop in a bucket, but I strongly feel that as our society becomes more conscious about our environmental footprint, more players in our industry will focus on going green and sustainable,” he concludes.
Rapid fire with Soham Gujral
One POS ad that inspired you…
I’ve taken inspiration from POS ads all over the world, so it’ll be tough to name just one. Having said that, I personally strive to create POS ads that can be of inspiration to others.
Which is your favourite product by Unidos?
Our client once asked us to design a collapsible floor standing unit, which can hold products weighing over 150 kgs. After numerous brainstorming sessions and many cups of coffee, we designed the impossible and created something truly beautiful.
How different is POS in India than those seen abroad?
The Indian POS industry is highly price sensitive. Practices such as reverse auctions severely drive down the quality and beauty of POS displays that we get to see in the market.
If you had the power to change something in your industry, what would it be?
In our industry, most brands don’t want to bear the cost of R&D and sampling of POS items. In almost all cases, these large brands, who are exponentially larger than the PSPs, expect the PSP to undertake free-of-charge development using their limited capital. This practice slows down the much-required innovation in the POS sector.