ECONOMY

Plaisio Computers aims to cut hidden costs of office supplies

Greek enterprises spend an estimated average of 450 euros per worker annually on stationery and office consumables; this is further burdened by the invisible cost of procurement as well as management of orders. According to recent studies in Europe, cited by the chairman of listed firm Plaisio Computers, Giorgos Gerardos, the average cost of an order comes to nearly 100 euros. Those responsible for supplies know that from the moment that a need for stationery arises to delivery, there are many stages – recording requirements, collecting quotes from suppliers, placing the order and taking delivery. Plaisio now aspires to deal with such vacuums and management problems through a special model it has developed for customers; almost half of those visiting Plaisio stores are looking for office and computer consumables. The strategy is paying off, says Gerardos, and indeed, it has been a strong support for the chain in a period of crisis for the sector. At a time when most competitors are trying to stem considerable losses, Plaisio announced a 51 percent profit growth to 3.12 million euros in the first half of 2003 on a rise in turnover of 28 percent compared to the same period last year. «Know-how from foreign markets and a prudent growth policy have allowed Plaisio Computers to claim a prominent position among office equipment suppliers worldwide and become one of the 150 strongest personal computer assemblers in Europe,» says Gerardos. «The system we have developed to win the corporate market segment is based on considerable investment in technology – about 4.5 million euros in the last two years – in order to install business software MySap.com and set up three electronic shops; we also have a logistics center, with 100 call positions that answer more than 8,000 calls a day.» Plaisio handles three categories of products: consumables; stationery, PCs and peripherals; and telecommunications, with 14 stores and two superstores spread around Greece. It also has 13 technical support centers for computers and peripherals, and a computer assembly plant. «We aim to provide personal service to enterprises,» says Gerardos. «Our investment allows our customers to visit any of our stores in case of urgent requirements and place their order on the same terms that they would place a bulk order.» Plaisio is the first enterprise of its kind to develop an information system for new products through about 60 catalogs annually, with a total circulation of about 7 million copies. Enterprises are also served through one of the company’s three electronic shops (www.plaisio2b.gr). «Every customer sees his own prices and terms on which he places his orders, and knows at any given moment his available stocks and at what stage his order is,» says Gerardos. «He also has access to statistical data concerning orders, even per department for his business.» Plaisio’s range of merchandise includes 18,000 products and its immediately available stocks are valued at 20 million euros. The firm boasts that more than 96 percent of products are delivered to customers’ offices on the day after the order is placed. A business customer can also receive a monthly statement of orders and, therefore, pay once, with a corresponding entry in his books, irrespective of the number of orders or departments of the firm that placed them. This allows for the compilation of statistical data per department or category of product for better monitoring of detailed expenses.