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Alexandre Gil: “In a moment so particular that we are living our team responded positively to the challenges”

Alexandre Gil, CFO of Stricker’s Group was interviewed by the italian magazine PTE which is part of one of the most relevant associative entities in the sector. At the invitation of the publication, Alexandre Gil answered some questions about the strategies that the company outlined to face the unexpected challenges of this year and perspectives for the future. 

Below you can find the full interview. 

PTE: In a delicate economic moment like this, Paul Stricker replied positively: what are the strengths of the group? 

Alexandre Gil: I would go for a very obvious answer: the Team. In a very particular moment of our life in society, the People that constitute our Group answered in a very positive and proactive way to the challenges that the several stages of confinement imposed to us. In this way, our service level to the clients never suffered any limitation or reduction of its standard (that was already a reference in the market). This translated into Clients feeling that at Stricker they have "safe ground” and a realiable partner in such demanding times. All the rest (from high stock levels, to premium quality printing or competitive pricing approach) was just "business as usual”.

PTE: What are the most requested products in the sector and how is the market transforming? 

Alexandre Gil: Obviously the protection products played a very important role for the Promotional market, being the guarantee of a certain volume of activity in moments where our core business almost stoped entirely (and that was indeed the reality in March and April). They will be in future an integral part of the offer of the market. Other than that drinkware continuous to be a hit among the classic promotional offer. We have detected the trend of more complex offers, where companies send small gift packages with individual customisation to the employees that are staying at home. Here we face more structured operations (where we combine numerical imprinting, with packaging and multi location shipping), where companies like Stricker can be indeed added value as partners.

PTE: What are the news for the second half of 2020 and for 2021? 

Alexandre Gil: The news everyone is waiting for is a vaccine that could cut short the present status quo!
In a more humble terms and regarding the Stricker Group, we never stopped and we are continuously launching new commercial offers to the market while we continue to improve our own service levels. From the top of my mind, I can shoot: new Safety Catalogue and the associated product collection, new XMAS Catalogue, 3 new customisation techniques, expansion of our lanyards range, both in colours and in the type of products (I’m sure I’m missing a couple of relevant topics other than these ones...). 
Regarding the improvement of the service levels I can also name: introduction of 10 new languages and 9 new currencies in our communication with clients, expansion of the Czech warehouse in more 5.000 m2, incorporation of 30 new members in our Sales Team and launching of a "revolutionary” logistic service based in the deliveries by plane. And this only for the last 6 months. 
Regarding 2021, we have already several things in the pipeline but we prefer to launch the firecrackers in January!

PTE: An important reality like Paul Stricker, what advice and what suggestions can you give to smaller companies to tackle the sector?

Alexandre Gil: Bet in your own people since they are the ones that will bring solutions. 
Adopt a fighting attitude and go after the orders within your client portfolio (and adjust your expectations for a much more compressed market compared to previous years). 
Don’t over bet in Protection segment, since this is a segment that will suffer a contraction compared to the present heavy volumes. 
Have your critical partners both from the financial side (banks) and operational side (suppliers) aligned with your strategy and adopt a transparent approach in terms of communication. 
Finally, never lose a positive mindset: that approach has a viral effect!

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