A Portuguese giant

Read full interview for Fastener+Fixing Magazine

Situated in Águeda, Portugal, everything about PECOL Group is large scale – its 160,000m2 headquarters, its 45,000 pallet warehouse and its €30 million worth of stock – highlighting the Group’s vast capabilities and reaffirming its position as a global Portuguese fastener giant.

Last year, PECOL Group achieved €85 million turnover – with 40% from PECOL Sistemas de Fixação S.A. The industrial group also comprises of PECOL Automotive – the largest unit for manufacturing parts by cold stamping in Iberia; RETSACOAT – a surface metal coating and treatment plant; and SERMOCOL – a plant specialised in manufacturing tools and technical parts in hard metal – all housed at its Águeda headquarters. “What we can offer here in Portugal, under one roof, is a very unique proposition. We have the entire fastener supply chain and that’s why our customers buy from us,” explains António Novais, general manager at PECOL Sistemas de Fixação S.A.

PECOL Sistemas is presented to the market under the brand PECOL. “Our name stands for quality and we are known for producing high-quality products. Our brands are about consistency, which is important when it’s such a populated market,” explains António. “50% of PECOL Sistemas’ turnover is from fasteners – the other 50% is from chemical (silicones and adhesives), power tools and consumables.”

At the heart of its headquarters is PECOL Sistemas’ pallet warehouse with 45,000 pallet spaces – storing €30 million in stock. “Our picking area serves more than 12,000 customers annually, and prepares about 1,000 orders a day,” comments António. “Our customers select us because we give them added service and we do more including next day and, in some cases, same day delivery.” Items are delivered with zero defects and full traceability due to PECOL’s product labelling system, which provides all information needed such as the batch number and barcode clearly displayed on the box. Boxes are packed with fully automatic packing lines, especially designed to fulfil the needs of professional clients, packing approximately 300,000 boxes a month.

Alongside this, PECOL Sistemas also has packaging systems for the industrial segment. These polybag packing lines are specially designed to provide a professional service of packaging kits of one or more items. “With the infrastructure, automation and staff, I am confident that the service we offer our customers is high-quality, efficient and unbeatable. We must keep innovating to keep this offering, which includes constantly making sure our facilities adapt and evolve with us,” proudly states Antonio.

An example of this adaptation includes PECOL’s plans to expand its chemical sealant capabilities. Last year the company manufactured more than 2 million tubes of sealants on-site and is planning to expand its facilities to increase its market share. “For us, it is important we create our products in-house and create any new innovations here, in Portugal. We want to keep Portugal on the map. To aid this innovation, PECOL also has partnerships with universities in Portugal, to encourage the next generation of engineers. “These young, ambitious engineers enable us to think outside the box and concentrate on innovations purely based on customer needs.”

An example of this includes its newly launched range of power tools, which PECOL hopes will strengthen its leadership in the market. “Creating our own power tool brand seemed like the next logical step. Many of the products we sell require power tools for application and therefore a natural extension to our range is a line of professional machines that are highly robust, reliable and outstanding in their performance,” explains Antonio.

Designed for professional use, the range includes battery powered machines, and electrical screwdrivers, drills, hammers, and angle grinders. A new maintenance area is also under construction on the Agueda site in order to best serve the customer. “As with everything we do, we need to make sure we are offering the after sales and added value services to the customer. Eventually we will have repair technicians based here and a warehouse is already under construction, which will comprise of all spare parts for the tools.”

“We’ve also taken the selection of all materials and mechanical and electronic components used to ensure maximum robustness and durability very seriously, and we have already received several major worldwide distributors interested representing our brand. Both in the domestic and international market the response to our new venture has been fantastic. We’re confident we’ve developed high-quality machines built to last and are setting standards by being the first Portuguese brand of 100% professional power tools,” points out Antonio.

PECOL is also trying to keep one step ahead of the market with a ‘green push’, such as the installation of solar panels, which that shows its contribution to reduce the ecological footprint. It has also introduced electric cars for its sales force, and is also looking to reduce the amount of plastic used on its blister packs for the retail market, which currently offer retail clients an innovative, attractive, informative and functional packaging. “Our blister packaging allows the creation of organised areas in customers’ stores and are extremely attractive to the final DIY consumer,” comments Antonio.

Antonio continues: “We only exist because of our customers – and
they only select us because of our high-quality products, added services, and unique proposition. I can only name a handful of companies that can offer what we do under one roof. We have everything in-house, we make our tools, we prepare our raw materials, we manufacture, then we do our own surface treatment and packaging. This enables us to control our quality and produce high-quality products.”

With the Agueda site being the home for the entire PECOL Group, the company can offer an extended portfolio of special parts, manufactured in various materials such as steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminium and copper. Due to the Automotive business, a large percentage of this production is supplied to the automotive industry with applications in different vehicle components. To ensure the high-quality of these materials, all wire rod is sourced from Europe, and is stored in the raw material warehouse, which currently houses 2,000 tonnes of wire coil.

In order to further guarantee the quality of the products, PECOL also has four Kardex machines on-site storing all tools, which have been manufactured on-site through tooling company SERMOCOL.

PECOL’s Agueda site is constantly evolving and investing in not only its infrastructure but it’s services too, to supply its customers with a complete package. Not only is the Group capable of supplying fasteners and fixings, it can manufacture, coat and pack them on the same site. “As a business we are always looking to move forward and develop, with the site almost doubling in size over the past 10 years, our aim is to be the best so that our customers can have confidence and trust in us. We are a Portuguese giant, who’s ready and capable to take over the world.”