GBC, Quartet, Velobind and Ibico
Founded in 1947, GBC is the recognized market leader in all of its core product lines, delivering high value to our many customers and end-consumers in over 100 countries. We continue to enjoy leading positions in binding and laminating equipment and supplies, visual communication products (writing boards, bulletin/planning boards and easels), and document shredders. Our strong, widely-recognized brand names of GBC, Quartet, Velobind and Ibico are well-known for quality and reliability, creating high levels of customer loyalty and driving repeat sales to a widely-diversified customer base across the home, office, education, and commercial markets: Including, Home users (individuals and home and small offices), Office users (corporations and professional organizations in manufacturing, consulting, financial service, accounting, legal, architectural, engineering and advertising firms),Education users (schools and training centers), and Commercial users (reprographic centers, quick printers/copy shops and commercial printers).
The wide breadth of our offerings across these product lines and our strong brand names give us a distinctive and competitive sales advantage. We further enhance this advantage by reaching our customers through a highly-focused, multi-channel selling strategy - both direct and indirect: Direct Channel -- In this channel, which comprises about 43% of our total sales, we sell directly to a large base of over 50,000 customers. GBC's direct channels include direct sales, telemarketing, e-commerce and service activities. Our direct sales organization consists of highly-trained sales people who are focused on selling mid- to high-end equipment and related recurring supplies and on marketing visual communication equipment. They have the ability to provide product demonstrations and ensure that customers obtain the right solutions and value-added customized products. Our telemarketing team handles inbound sales calls from new and repeat customers, as well as outbound sales efforts, which are focused on generating sales of supplies and maintenance contracts from our existing base of equipment customers.
Our e-commerce activities are designed to capture internet sales with a low-cost structure and also to provide our larger customers with their own customized sites for streamlined purchasing and pricing. Indirect Channel -- In this channel, which is about 57% of our sales, we sell our products through the entire spectrum of resellers (wholesalers, dealers, superstore retailers, contract stationers, mass marketers and buying groups) to over 15 million more end-consumers. Leveraging our 50-plus years of selling equipment to our large base of customers, we also generate a significant amount of recurring and high-margin revenues from consumable supplies and maintenance service contracts from these equipment placements. This "razor/razor blade" strategy is employed in each of our major product groupings, giving us a valuable balance of equipment and recurring supplies sales. In addition, we have a technical service and repair organization specifically focused on providing timely, on-site maintenance for our more-sophisticated equipment, as well as sales leads to our direct sales force for equipment upgrading opportunities on our customers with GBC's mid-range and high-end equipment. In 2003, approximately 44% of GBC sales related to office equipment, and 56% related to consumable supplies and service activities. These sales efforts are all designed to continue building brand awareness and loyalty and to continue enhancing long-term partnerships with our customers.