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50 years young

Leicester-based CSL Group is celebrating its 50th anniversary on May 1

Established in 1969, CSL Group has a strong foothold in the East Midlands – it has two digital print centres in Leicester and Market Harborough, and offices in Nottingham and Long Eaton. The company’s future growth plans include extending its offer to include 3D printers, plotters, more solutions and inkjet technology, as well as acquisitions to further expand its MIF and geographical reach.

CSL Director Andy Perkins, says that the current climate is tough and achieving organic growth year on year can be a challenge and expensive. The company has enjoyed consistent year on year growth of between 10 and 15 per cent and Perkins is keen that that continues, which is why the company is now looking to grow through acquisitions. “We are in conversations with a number of companies,” he said.

“We see future growth coming in part through acquisition,” Director Michael Mathias added. “As an independent reseller, we firmly believe that we provide customers with the very best service, but we also recognise that we have to be able to compete against the larger national or even multi-national vendors.” Perkins added: “We are of a sufficient size to compete and the more we grow, the better our buying power becomes, and that’s what ensures we have a place at the table when it comes to large tenders and bids.”

Expanded offer
CSL Group was one of the first UK Konica Minolta dealerships and is one of only nine Elite Partners in the UK. Over the years, it has looked at branching out and selling other brands but up until now, the company has maintained its status as a single-line Konica Minolta partner.

“We really like the build quality and the fact that Konica Minolta has a strong offer particularly in colour,” Perkins said, adding: “We’ve achieved significant successes and secured some major wins with Konica Minolta over the years, so up until now there really wasn’t a strong reason to add in a second line.”

CSL is now looking to capture a share of the growing inkjet printing market, add 3D printers and plotters to its portfolio as well as expand its solutions offer. “Perhaps we should have done it earlier, but we feel that now is the right time to expand our portfolio with new technologies and offer our customers more choice,” Mathias said.

One of the companies that CSL is talking to with a view to acquiring them has a strong offer in terms of inkjet. “That’s one of the attractions for us,” Mathias explained, adding: “We have a large customer base that spans all industries from large conglomerates to small local businesses but we’re only currently offering them A3 MFPs. We want to increase our offering to include smaller desktop devices to capture a greater share of spend and the company we are negotiating with want to offer their customers higher-end technologies – so there is a natural synergy between the two businesses.”

Wider geographical reach
Another of CSL’s goals is to widen its geographical reach. The company has a strong foothold in the East Midlands and the opening of its Nottingham office two years ago has enabled it to more effectively service customers in Derbyshire and Yorkshire.

CSL Group has invested heavily in its back-office systems to improve its efficiency. State-of-the-art machine-to-machine communication (M2M) between the devices and service operation enables it to pull the latest status information from connected devices. All engineers carry stock with them and the company utilises vehicle management software to help make its service support more responsive and efficient.

“We do offer a nationwide service, through our partnership with Konica Minolta, but the plan is to do more with our own in-house team of advanced manufacturer-trained engineers,” Perkins explained.

“Acquisitions will play a key part in enabling us to expand our service area, both in terms of increasing the team, and we won’t need to purchase more premises. With more locations strategically sited around the country we will be able to be more productive over a larger area,” Mathias added.

Successful and profitable
“We are very proud of what we have achieved in 50 years,” Perkins said. “We are targeting future growth and £10 million turnover would be the magic number, but we want to make sure we do it in the right way. Remaining profitable is front and centre and that means ensuring we keep the same margin. It is after all the margins we make that enables us to employ the highest calibre people and to provide the service that customers want,” he concluded.

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