Costas Gerardos: 45 years Plaisio

 

 

ΡΟΗ ΕΙΔΗΣΕΩΝ
01 Δεκεμβρίου 2014 | Investing in Greece
Interview with Vice President & CEO of PLAISIO COMPUTERS

 

 

 

As far as we are concerned, the crisis began in 2005, when the 3 biggest multinational retailers entered the Greek technology market.
We're talking about players with much stronger bargaining power than ours and huge marketing budget to allocate for global advertising. They are companies that could exhibit growth by launching several stores, enduring for years the damage induced from this strategy under the umbrella of the parent.
 It was that time that they did not reckon us in the market while it was rumored that we would not only lose the lead but that we were also doomed to “die”.

10 years later some multinational corporations have withdrawn from Greece, some others manifest accumulated losses of over €135 million whereas there are players in the industry that went bankrupt. Instead, we, as a purely Greek company and without any funding or any kind of assistance from abroad, we move forward with average annual profitability growth of 27% from 2008 until currently, having achieved a simultaneous increase in market share, without implementing any cuts in manpower.
Specifically, we have posted simultaneous improvement in 3 sectors:

 

 

1. Fund totaling €52,200,000: the reduction in reserves and receivables ensured our liquidity, which amounts to €52.2 million in 2013. In conjunction with the low bond loan, we have now the opportunity:
• to take advantage of the opportunities arisen
• to ensure our unimpeded growth now and in the future

2. Profitability totaling €14,300,000: the annual pre-tax profits have been increasing every year by 27% since 2008 and indeed they reached €14.3 million in 2013. To that end, a key factor was:
• the assessment of every cost separately and the “choice” merely of costs leading to improved delivery of provisions to the customer
• the ongoing negotiation with all suppliers and the simultaneous development of opportunities
• the success of our exclusive brand Turbo-X. Apart from being best value for money to the consumer, Turbo-X is a source of profitability, which is reinvested in improving its own brand and in achieving the company’s development.

3. Market share: the successful products and services, coupled with the significant problems of the industry due to the economic crisis, have allowed us to steadily gain market share. For 2013, for example, our sales remained at the levels of the previous year, when the whole industry ranged from-7% to -15%.

The above outcomes are due to our continuous investment in the following sectors:

Infrastructure
In 2009 we launched the Administration-Assembly-Logistics Center in Magoula, Attica, a privately-owned area of 22,500m2, of total investment of approximately €30.000.000. In Magoula, there is the Logistics center of the company -fully automated- and 25,000 Office & Technology items. Also, a sophisticated assembly line with production capacity of 350,000 computers per year operates as well as the Central Service Department. Finally, a store of 1,200m2 and the Administration Department are housed there.

Manutailer concept
In Plaisio, we do not simply resell products just like the conventional chains. We are Manutailers –stemmed from manufacturer and retailer. Specifically, in the production line accommodated in Magoula, we compose the Turbo-X computers that incorporate every new technology from the very first day of their launch. To achieve this, we collaborate directly with leading international brands as far as components are concerned, such as Intel processors. Through disintermediation, we firstly achieve to produce our Turbo-X cutting-edge technology products and secondly to offer them at very competitive prices.

Brand Building
Currently in the Greek market, the Turbo-X brand that we created in 1986 ranks No1 in Desktops, No3 in Laptops and No3 in Tablets for 2013. This is due to the fact that these products hold very powerful features at very low prices compared to their competitive ones. But it is more than that. A Key role in the success of Turbo-X is that we build the Brand day by day. We place great emphasis on product design and functionality. We continually enrich the range and penetrate into new categories (TVs, Smartphones, etc) with innovative products and solutions. After sales services are of our primary concern, so that the clients will show their preference to us “blindfold”.

Service
There are 21 service points in major cities of Greece where all Turbo-X products are inspected, upgraded and repaired. More specifically, a total of 80 skilled technicians provide:

  •      Service within 4 hours
  •      Upgrade within 4 hours
  •      Free telephone assistance (12 hours a day, six days a week)
  •      Capability of building tailor-made computers

Consumer Experience
We continually improve all of our sales channels (stores, plaisio.gr, monthly catalogs, B2B, direct sales), so that the consumer will receive both a fresh experience and innovative and individualized services. We make sure to deliver new products at the best prices.

We hold a special B2B division, which serves 160,000 customers-companies, ranging from SOHO to the largest S.A. via fully personalized communication. We also issue special printed material of informative content for all new technologies.

By investing in these areas we have managed to gain consumer confidence, without launching even a single new store and to increase profitability notwithstanding the fierce competition and the very difficult situation experienced in the country. So, there was no need to make cuts in the manpower or in wages, benefits and education.

On the contrary, we continued to recruit staff maintaining the wages at the levels before crisis, to reward the team’s effort in every way and to invest in our people’s development through continuing education.

PLAISIO at a glance
1969: Giorgos Gerardos, as a student, opens the first Plaisio store in an area of just 12m2 on Stournari Street, having borrowed 80,000 drachmas

2013: Plaisio remains a purely Greek company, with over 80% belonging to Gerardos family; it employs over 1,100 workers and sells products of Technology, Telephony & Stationeries. It operates 25 branches in major cities across Greece and 1 in Bulgaria, measuring up 30,000m2 and generating turnover of €282.7 million in 2013.
 
Throughout its 45-year course, Plaisio receives the reward reflected on the constant preference of consumers and on the dozens of awards -more than 40- earned from Greek and European institutions. Indicative are the following distinctions:

• Award in the European Business Awards 2013/14, as being one of the top 10 companies with a turnover of over €150 million, which placed us on the list of the 100 top companies across Europe
• Being ranked at the 500 fastest growing companies in Europe for 8 consecutive years (from 1999 to 2007)
• “E-Business” prize from ACCI (2009)

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