Nipun aims to transform food equipment business, brings home after-sales service

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Growing from strength to strength, today Nipun’s leading clients include Freshmenu, InnerChef, Cafe Coffee Day, Barbeque Nation, The Leela Palace, and Holiday Inn.

You can buy an ice cream by just walking into a supermarket anytime of the day and pick it up from the refrigerator. However, the backend processes such as the kitchen infrastructure that brings the product to the supermarket shelves are numerous, challenging to execute and constantly changing.

In the early 2000s, Joy Ice Creams also experienced difficulties in acquiring and maintaining the appropriate infrastructure setup. There was a distinct lack of after-sales service protocol to maintain the machinery.

Arun Java, who worked with Joy Ice Creams then, wanted to transform the challenges he faced on the client side into a business opportunity as an independent player. He told himself that he can plug the gap not just for one company but for the sector.

He says, “As a client, there was the issue of equipment maintenance and servicing. Because of the lack of proper food and refrigeration infrastructure, I also noticed a substantial amount of loss in the process of food distribution. There was a big gap in providing infrastructure to the supply chain management and towards retail equipment as well,” he says.

“The absence of relevant knowledge and a recognised company which provides all these services led me to believe there was a huge opportunity,” he recalls.

Java and his wife Pooja setup Nipun, a food services equipment company, in 2010. It deals with related project design, planning, execution, implementation, supply and services. The aim was to showcase the best of imported food service equipment and become a hub for all hospitality needs in India.

While Java handles operations, Pooja, who coined the name ‘Nipun’, also provides the company with objectivity in growth.

Presently, the company designs machinery for the hospitality sector and utilises infrastructure from Taiwan, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Italy and France to manufacture them as per specifications, and then brings them to the Indian market. Java claims there is no Indian manufacturer who can build all the products available in Nipun’s catalogue.

“We started off with a top-line of around Rs 25 lakh and we now stand at around Rs 15 crore,” he says, adding,“But it is still miniscule when compared to the industry size and potential.”

Growing from strength to strength, today some of Nipun’s leading clients include Freshmenu, InnerChef, Cafe Coffee Day, Barbeque Nation, The Leela Palace and Holiday Inn. The company has offices in Bengaluru, Goa, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune.

At the moment, the products focus on the retail side of food service equipment. “We haven’t ventured into the industrial or agricultural side yet. Standalone supermarkets and restaurant chains are our focus areas at the moment,” says Java, who is currently the Managing Partner of the company.

“However, along with the product line, after-sales service is our focal point. We believe in providing support to our clients in order to facilitate smooth operations at all times.”

Java admits there is still a learning curve in the manufacturing and service side. “We are still trying to ensure a fool-proof system to ensure zero complaints. We already have a very limited number of complaints, but we are still trying to dummy-proof all our products.” The unorganised nature of the sector also poses a challenge, but opportunities tag along.

Nipun plans to move ahead and disrupt the sector in a two-fold manner. Java maintains that the first step is to “establish hypermarkets that allow clients to walk in and out with ready inventories, and ensure automated supply chain management to reduce anxiety caused by delays in deliveries.”

The next step involves helping the consumer make an objective decision with the use of technology. “There will be kiosks that would require a comprehensive input from customers, and in turn, would churn out an automated layout plan within the budget specified. This is a never-seen-before use of technology in the industry. The platform will clear confusion and doubts when the consumer walks in with, shaped into a viable output in the form of an efficient design for the kitchen,” he says.

Nipun is gunning to penetrate the market to an extent where each step in the back-end operations in food preparation can be accomplished by its products. Its product range now spans refrigeration and cooking equipment, stainless steel fabrication, dish washers and electric and table top machines.

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