The Office Times

Article: Comercial del Sur Papeleria develops business in Iberia and France

Comercial del Sur Papeleria is an ambitious business managed by brothers Carlos and Rafael Benavides.

How is the Comercial del Sur Papeleria business performing?
The business in Spain and Portugal is very stable and this is reflected in turnover, although we have enjoyed successful growth in Portugal this year. Our main focus is strengthening relationships with our existing customers and bringing in new clients.  

Have you gained business due to the issues that ADVEO has faced in Spain?
In a market where you have wholesalers competing for a large number of similar customers in, when a competitor goes through a difficult period, it can obviously be an advantage. However, our growth  over recent years has been very stable so I don´t think we have seen much impact from the difficulties of our competitors, including ADVEO. The choice that resellers have in terms of suppliers benefits the market as whole and makes it more efficient. Our clients are very service-oriented and will make decisions according to benefits and advantages their wholesale partner can provide. This is the area we have to focus our energy on.

How are you developing the business?
To excel as a service-oriented company our main strategy is based upon developing a full portfolio of services to help our customer to sell more, which is what our brand stands for. We have been a trusted partner for nearly 60 years in the wholesaling business, so we have a lot of experience in this regard.
In 2017 we have made very significant progress in business integration with our customers, mainly in logistics, marketing and software. We are currently in the fine tuning stage of our new logistic system in Guadalajara, which will be much more efficient in terms of orders servicing. From the commercial side, we are very proud to have been recently named the new Pelikan products distributor for the Portuguese market.

Which product categories are you focusing on?
We are very attentive to the needs of our customer needs and pride ourselves on being quick to respond to their everyday challenges. Currently we are developing some categories our customers are demanding in expand outside their core businesses, so that they can gain additional revenue. Some of these categories are gift  and education products, whilst also expanding our facility management offering, which is still one of the big grow opportunities.

How is the Liderpapel brand performing?
We have been very satisfied with how Liderpapel products have been received  in France and they have performed very well in that market. These products offer a very good alternative in terms of pricing and quality and allow our customers an important means of differentiating themselves from competitors in a very commoditised market. We are currently focusing on developing more specific Liderpapel products for the French market and expanding our Antartik line.

What is the latest news from your French subsidiary, Comlandi?
We are really very proud of our Comlandi business and are aware of the opportunities that the future will bring to us.
2016 was a year of great effort and hard work throughout the entire Comlandi organisation following its formation in 2015 of the back of RP Diffusion. The general situation of the company and its organization forced us to carry out a series of restructuring measures in all areas that were essential for its continuation. There have been radical changes that have affected us all, but we have also reached important milestones in the development of the business.
We can now say that Comlandi is much more competitive business and well prepared to meet future challenges. All areas of the business have been strengthened and modernized to improve service in B2B and B2C, with major advances in software and logistics. Our general ERP has been successfully implemented and the new product lines from Q-Connect and Liderpapel have been introduced to improve the product offering. We are currently working hard in the development of the Rouge Papier network and will shortly launch a completely new website and an improved portfolio of services to our partners. Now that this phase of restructuring of Comlandi is over, our aim is to increase turnover and profitability by gaining a larger share of the French market and increasing the Rouge Papier network.

What are the current trends you are seeing in the overall market?
The market is changing very fast and every day there are mergers and acquisitions in our sector that seems like an endless race. On the other hand, there are important changes in business models and ways of doing business that will greatly affect the sector in search of profitability, which has been declining during these last years. Therefore, I see a very challenging future for the stationery and office market.

What opportunities do you see for your business based on these trends?
First of all, we should be very vigilant to all the market changes and respond quickly to any new opportunities. We also need to pay attention to identifying future acquisition opportunities which may benefit our development, but maintain our focus on the wholesaling segment. Finally, we have to continue the consolidation and establishment process in the French market in order to strengthen our presence in this country.

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