MORE CONVENIENT ROUTES FOR USTUKIŲ MALŪNAS CRISPS TO REACH THE CONSUMER ARE BEING BUILT
This year, the company celebrated its 30th anniversary and, according to the company’s CEO Kipras Uždavinys, the changes that have taken place in that time are astonishing. ‘A new generation of millers has grown up, we have expanded considerably and the old site of the mill has already become small – having started with just a few products, today we have more than a hundred of them’, he says.
These include organic buckwheat, corn, wheat, rice and spelt flour crisps, as well as bread, potato, lentil and chickpea crisps, with or without additives, with coconut, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, sour cream, chilli, tomato and olive, cheese and garlic, chocolate and cocoa glaze suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
However, according to the director, people are the most precious asset accumulated over three decades. ‘It is thanks to them that the millstones are rotating, new and unique products are being created, and these products are reaching gourmets in Lithuania, Europe and, to our delight, even other continents’, says Uždavinys.
The company is being modernised with the help of the Innovation Agency Since 1992, the company has been cultivating the production and consumption culture of organic and natural grain products in Lithuania. It implemented the project ‘Unique design solutions for new product packaging by increasing their demand’ having received part of the funds under the measure ‘Design LT’ to increase the company’s productivity.
Under a contract with the Innovation Agency* (formerly the Lithuanian Business Support Agency (LBSA)), almost EUR 30,000 was allocated for the implementation of the project, which helped to create original packaging designs for three new product groups. ‘Attractive packaging will help increase sales and make us feel stronger in the market. This is a prerequisite for the sustainable and long-term development of the company to benefit for several years after the implementation of the project’, says Uždavinys.
The company continues its digitisation together with the Innovation Agency by implementing the project ‘Implementation of the e-commerce model for digitising the sales processes of UAB Ustukių malūnas’ to keep up with progress, to be more visible in international markets, to attract more customers and to increase profitability.
Almost EUR 50,000 of EU investment will contribute to the development and deployment of a customer self-service system on the e-commerce platform for products and services. This will include the management of production and service orders, and the integration of a resource management system into the platform.
‘The opportunity to sell our natural grain products online will greatly increase the company’s revenue. The benefits of this e-commerce system are unquestionable, as it will help to avoid ordering errors, ensure faster and more convenient ordering of goods, and a more efficient customer service. It will save resources, reduce costs, allow to improve the company’s information system and expand operations’, says Uždavinys.
Expansion is gaining momentum
‘Original packaging also adds value to a product that has a good reputation in the market and is popular with consumers, and new buyers are attracted by easy access to the product. Progress is also unthinkable without the digitisation of processes. The tools to achieve these goals are in the portfolio of the Innovation Agency, and companies that have been able to benefit from EU investment have been reaping the rewards for years’, says Agnė Vaitkūnienė, Director of Investment Management Service and Acting Director of the Innovation Agency.
The Head of Ustukių Malūnas says that the company sees the point in seeking EU investment, especially as the company is expanding and has plans for which it will not always have enough its own funds.
‘We have found investors, we are building new production facilities, so we will need both equipment and new solutions to modernise processes. We want our range of organic products to be as diverse as possible for the modern person who is always in a hurry to get their work done and visit their friends’, says Uždavinys.
*The Innovation Agency was established on the basis of the Agency Versli Lietuva and the Lithuanian Business Support Agency (LBSA), and by consolidating the functions of innovation activities performed by the Science, Innovation and Technology Agency (SITA).