With Ireland’s economy starting to reopen, more businesses will be working out how to bring their staff and customers back into their places of work safely and responsibly. The Government’s “Return to Work Safely” protocol clearly outlines the importance of effective signage as a key way to educate staff and customers in expected standards of hygiene and how to move safely around each other in a shop or office.
With this in mind, we spoke to regular Linked Finance customer Michael Corcoran of Quantum Fulfilment about how he has adapted his business to operate within the new guidelines, and how he has adapted his printing business to offer an easy Covid19 signage printing service for his customers.
Michael, firstly how have you adapted to “business as unusual” in your company?
As a printing service we were classed as an essential service and so we’ve been working throughout the Covid-19 crisis, continuing to supporting our usual customers with mandatory mailings but also with demands for this new type of signage that you see now in many shops, supermarkets and in public places.
To keep our staff safe on site, we’ve introduced a rotating shift system with staff coming in for morning shifts and then afternoon shifts. We do a thorough clean down after each shift and we have hand sanitizers and handwashing facilities on site around the premises. We’ve also introduced signage to help our staff understand what they need to do to keep themselves and others safe at work, and we’ve also introduced protocols about what to do if people become unwell at work.
And with business requirements changing, you’ve needed to make some changes to your product offering?
Yes, in effect our business has changed completely. It’s been like starting a new business from scratch. Using the templates and materials provided by the HSE, we’ve designed out all new artwork, produced new product brochures and sourced the necessary materials to meet demand. This means that customers can access the materials that are government approved quickly and in all formats as they need them.
We’ve also started to supply other related items such as disposable facemasks so that we’re offering the most comprehensive solution.
What types of businesses are coming to you and what are the challenges they are facing?
At present we’re working with offices that are planning their return to work in the coming months, as well as a number of factories. I think the main challenge is understanding all the implications and for that we always refer them back to the HSE guidelines. The NSAI has produced very comprehensive guidance for businesses as well so there is a lot of information out there to help.
What I’ve learnt from this is that every business is different and every company has their own unique requirements. We respond to this by having strong graphic design abilities so we can quickly resize or shape what they need.
Typically the requirements are for small quantities of sometimes quite bespoke materials which means that each order has to be handled very carefully to ensure we get it right every time.
What advice would you give businesses who are looking to source signage for their business?
I would definitely recommend being proactive, reviewing the guidelines early and working with your suppliers in good time before you need the materials. Currently there is high demand for the raw materials such as the hard-wearing floor vinyls but I expect that will improve as supply quickly catches up with demand. So be proactive, think about what you want to achieve and then get started with orders as soon as you can.
At the heart of all of this, it comes down to reminding people about showing respect for each other and good signage can really help you to do that effectively.
Michael Corcoran is founder of Quantum Fulfilment in Dublin. Further information on his new product lines can be found here.
Finally, if your business could benefit from additional working capital to aid cash flow or to adapt to the new normal when reopening your business, Linked Finance is here to help. We can provide simple, no hassle unsecured business loans with minimal paperwork and no strings attached to drawdown. Apply now.