The subsidiary of MAAS ROOS Signage, LPFLEX Sign Systems India is a global signage and digital solutions company. In an email interview with Mr. Amit P Kapani, CEO, LPFLEX Sign Systems India, we tried to capture a brief about a shift in the signage industry due to the pandemic and what are a few of the technological advancements witnessed along with the organizations’ upcoming projects.
How has LPFLEX emerged as a leading signage & digital solutions company over the years?
LPFLEX has a 98+ year history of being at the forefront of signage solutions.
We pride ourselves on innovative technology (static & digital) combined with best-in-class service to ensure that our customers are successful. We are thankful to our customers who have become our ambassadors through repeated projects across the globe, referrals to their peers in the industry, and keeping trust and faith in us. Our principle is simple; Happy Customers = Business Growth.
How dependent is the signage industry on the retail segment? What are some other segments close to the industry?
Signages are heavily dependent on the retail industry, this includes various segments. However, signages are everywhere and in everything that surrounds us. To make it simpler, signages are audio and visual elements that communicate and direct a customer towards their need, hence we call ourselves in the Visual Communication sphere. This includes exterior signages that attract the customers inside the store to an audio system that directs passengers to the right platform, everything is part of the entire ecosystem of signages.
Over the period; we have ensured multiple revenue centers in our organizations, we have Projects & Digital vertical to cater to as well. The Covid19 pandemic has allowed us to refocus our efforts towards these segments.
What are the technological advancements observed in the last decade? Are they a boon or curse to the ongoing progress?
The integration of technologies into this industry in the last decade has been nothing short of amazing. Digital is a new way forward and signages are no different. Irrespective of the size of the retail store, brands are moving towards digital screens with the possibility of remote content management. Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning algorithms are playing a key role in understanding the customer and targeting personalized ads. IoT is making operations more efficient, and blockchain & cryptocurrency is changing the payment methodologies. Boon or Bane, it is happening and we have to keep evolving with the innovations in technology.
Is the government support for the infrastructure and other factors required to boost the industry? How progressive is the commercialization of the Indian market here?
Yes. Government investments into infra-projects is an encouraging sign for the industry with the majority of retail is under threat of lockdown in the second wave of Covid19. This is a necessity for our industry to expand beyond retail and expand into government and industrial projects to survive in the pandemic.
Sustainable solutions are the current talk of the town. Has LPFLEX adapted any of this segment’s branches (IoT, digitalization, energy efficiency, etc.)?
We at LPFLEX are driven to create products that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Keeping our ethos in mind, we are currently working with leading LED manufacturers for energy-efficient modules, use lesser materials, and reduces the total cost of ownership. Similarly, we suggest and integrate display solutions from reputed brands that create products that consume less power to ensure operational and maintenance costs are not high.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, how has it been for LPFLEX in terms of business? Did it dampen the prospects?
The beginning was pandemic was tough like every other industry. It was mostly about the unknown. We were thinking it is going to be only for 3 weeks which got extended till July- August. This is when panic had set in. We had orders to fulfill yet the factory was closed due to lockdown. The management did not want to risk our employees with the unknown virus spreading rapidly. As the markets began to open, we started implementing social bubbles for factory workers and staff with frequent testing to ensure safety.
Having said that, Q3 & Q4 of FY2020-21 have generated key orders from Hyderabad Airport, Dehradun Airport, and Mumbai Metro. Q1 of FY2021-22 has started on an incredibly positive note.
Considering the need of the hour, what are the major changes that the signage industry has faced? Is there enough room for creativity?
I would say there is room for innovation in the signage industry. Digital Out Home Advertising(DOOH) market has evolved rapidly in India. We are way behind in the DOOH market when compared to other nations. Brands and Media Agencies have to re-strategize the way they target their audiences in volatile, complex, and omnichannel focused markets
What are the expansions or new projects on the to-do list of the company? Any innovations can we expect?
The new projects and the expansions go hand in hand. We have invested significantly in machinery to support our focus on infra-related projects. Our team is currently looking to expand our facilities in India and expand into markets beyond the ones we are catering to in South Asia & MENA. In terms of innovation, our German R&D is currently working on a sustainable static signage solution was to be rolled out at the end of 2020. Due to the pandemic, the patent has been delayed. We will be announcing the news soon.
The digital signage team is constantly evolving and partnering with different stakeholders to provide our clients with the most innovative visual communication solutions for their brand. The scope of innovation is endless. Transparent screens, OLED Screens, and customizable TVs are the solutions our clients are requesting us to deliver. We have obliged and transform ourselves to this change.
Which signage advancement according to you would emerge as a winner in the coming years?
Digital Signage is no doubt the way forward for the industry. However, we are way behind when you compare with innovations in branding by other countries. There has been the rise of VR/AR solutions and there are signs that drones are being used as a form of OOH advertising. These are exciting times for tech-oriented brands. We can’t pinpoint one single solution that would redefine the signage industry. The requirements of each brand and its customers are different. Incremental innovations happen at every project and that is the pace at which the industry is moving. It’s the survival of the fastest.
Are there any retail branding innovations that you see in the forthcoming line?
There is scope for innovation in sustainability and eco-friendly solutions in both digital and static. Remote management and predictive maintenance are viable and problem areas for the brands we cater to. In this regard, we are working with a couple of startups to ensure the possibility of creating an ecosystem to ensure the best possible service at the quickest time.
In terms of market presence in India, where does LPFLEX stand? How do you ensure that all the clients get the accurate service they are looking for?
LPFLEX is a global player in the branding and visual communication industry. We pride ourselves on our service and ensure any maintenance is resolved within 24-48 hours. Even during the peak of the pandemic, we delivered and installed the products within the timelines promised. This is down to the efforts of the production and project teams who understand the philosophy of our company. They are the backbone and lifeline of our organization and we are fortunate to have a team that is committed and passionate about the individual roles.