Jörg Schaefers and Thomas Grzanna

Jörg Schaefers and Thomas Grzanna
Büroring
Joint Managing Directors

2018: Most recently, it was a personnel issue that’s made the headlines at Büroring, when Ingo Dewitz left the German dealer group at the end of August. Dewitz joined Büroring in 2010 and had worked as Joint Managing Director with Jörg Schaefers – sharing the roles of sales and marketing (Dewitz) and finance, IT and logistics (Schaefers).

Schaefers, a long-standing Büroring executive who began working at the group in 1998 and became a member of the board in 2012, initially took over all responsibilities after Dewitz’s departure. He was joined by Thomas Grzanna, fellow board member and CEO of Büroring member Grzanna Büro Service, in mid-September on an interim basis until a permanent successor is found. Grzanna has taken on all of Dewitz’s previous tasks, but Schaefers will remain in a supervisory role for the time being.

All round, Büroring has had quite a bit on its plate, most notably with its €4 million ($4.7 million) logistics upgrade and the teething problems that this presented. With order values declining and packaging as well as freight costs increasing, 2017 was all round a challenging year – that was the gist of the group’s AGM in June. That said, total group sales of €212.4 million were up by 6.9% compared to the previous year, the “best sales figure of all time”, according to the management team.

During the meeting, the group emphasised the progress that’s been made in the areas of product expansion and e-commerce, both of which will continue to drive members’ revenues. It also elaborated on its focus on forging more and better partnerships where synergies can be realised and cost taken out. Its deal with fellow cooperative Egropa, which was voted on at the AGM, is just one example of such a partnership.

On a different note – and that must be hugely satisfying to Schaefers and his team – Büroring over the past two years or so has been able to bring on board Germany’s two biggest independent dealers. Kaut-Bullinger joined in mid-2016 amid plenty of controversy while Northern Germany’s Plate moved to the group at the beginning of this year. Both had been with Soennecken for many years.