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Direct Paper expands in Brisbane

Wednesday, 08 November 2017
By Jake Nelson

(L-R) ‘Old-fashioned service’: Dale O’Neill, John Ferguson, Andrew Swindells, and Gavin Brown.

Since the merger of BJ Ball and K.W. Doggett into Ball and Doggett, Direct Paper has become the third largest paper supplier in Australia, behind B&D and Spicers – and the largest that is family-owned. Fresh from a recent rebranding and celebrating its 21st year in business, Direct Paper has opened a 5500m2 facility in Pinkenba, Brisbane, bringing the entire east coast within its fine paper distribution network.

The huge warehouse, which has been up and running for about six weeks when I visit, holds 3000 tonnes of stock – more than enough to meet the demands of Queensland’s printing market. Its Pinkenba site, less than half an hour from Brisbane Airport and with easy access to major roads and ports, is another of its best features, says John Ferguson, business development manager at Direct Paper. “From Pinkenba, we can get to anywhere in Brisbane. It’s a good facility in terms of size, as well; we can keep a lot of stock here,” he said.

While Direct Paper has had a presence in Brisbane for three years, its old Cleveland facility provided only industrial papers and converted materials. The Pinkenba site brings the company’s fine paper products into Queensland as well, and the market has responded, says Andrew Swindells, business development manager. “Printers are pretty keen, and it’s enabled another supplier to come into the market. The general uptake’s been very good,” he said.

Ferguson and Swindells, along with fellow BDM Gavin Brown, migrated from K.W. Doggett after its merger with BJ Ball for one main reason – they wanted to stay with a family business. “The opportunity to work for a family business was just more attractive than working for a big corporate,” said Swindells. “There was also the chance to start something new here in Brisbane, which was very exciting for me.”

Brown and Ferguson agree, with Ferguson adding that, having worked for big corporates before, he much prefers the atmosphere and attitude of a family-owned company. “I wanted the chance to do something different in the industry and get back to old-fashioned service,” he said.

Dale O’Neill, director, says a big advantage that family businesses can offer is service to market. “We’re pretty down-to-earth people, and pretty hands-on. We think our staff and customers can both see that,” he said. “We try to understand our customers’ businesses and the challenges that they face, and we try to knock down as many hurdles for them as we can.

“We think family businesses are unique in the way they operate, when compared to big corporates,” he said. “We’re able to react fairly quickly to situations and meet our customers’ requirements.”

With several decades of experience in the paper industry between them, the three new members of Direct Paper’s Brisbane team bring a lot to the table for both the company and its customers, says O’Neill. “They have an intimate knowledge of local trade. They’re well-regarded and experienced industry professionals, and with these three coming on board, it gives Direct Paper an opportunity to hit the ground running.

“The customers know these guys well, and vice-versa,” he said.

Though Direct Paper has changed its branding and colours, O’Neill says the company’s commitment to good product and old-fashioned service is as strong as ever. “We have industry knowledge with these guys here, a service that is more than acceptable to the market for things like delivery times, a good product range without being everything to everybody.

“We have a tried and tested extensive range of paper and board grades that are stocked in store with deep stock holdings, backed by Direct Paper’s 24-hour-a-day, six-day-a-week converting operation,” O’Neill said.

This combined with just-in-time bespoke paper and board supply should help Direct Paper expand its business in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, says O’Neill. “Hopefully it’ll be onwards and upwards as far as the business here goes – it’s early days, and we hope to get plenty of support from our customer base,” he said.

The Brisbane team all agree that the presence of a viable family-owned, Australian-owned competitor in the paper market will offer more choice to customers than the major players alone. “We’re a really good alternative to the big two,” O’Neill said. “We’ll keep the big guys honest.”

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One Response to “Direct Paper expands in Brisbane”

  1. November 08, 2017 at 6:13 pm,

    JR
    said:

    Good to see a fully Australian owned and operated merchant giving the market choice and great service.
    These guys and this business will do well.

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