Interview with the CEO of PGS Electrical Supplies Ltd Mr Neophytos Neophytou
“With 38 years of history and activity in lighting and advanced electrical equipment, I never expected that the little 40m² shop in 48, Griva Digeni in Paralimni would turned into a company owning 11 sales points throughout Cyprus and with a physical presence in Greece and the United Kingdom.”
During these 38 years, which do you think are the corporate milestones – “stages” for the further development and progress of PGS Lighting Electrical?
The first important stage in the company’s development was the fact that back in 1981, my father and founder of the company decided that he should discover new markets with modern energy-saving technologies for that time. Thus, as an anxious intellectual entrepreneur, he travelled abroad in several exhibitions that were mainly held in Italy and Germany and began his first own imports from Europe. That movement enabled the company to become more competitive by providing the market with innovative technologies at very affordable prices. This dynamic, which the company acquired at that time, had as a natural consequence, a one-way development. The operation of the six stores of electrical materials and equipment and the five showrooms was for the next important phase. Every time that a new shop opened, it was also a new entrance to a market that we should get to know each other. Furthermore, in 2009, PGS was the first company to introduce mercury-free lamps in Cyprus, following an agreement with the Electricity Authority of Cyprus. The company then became a shareholder of WEEE Electrocyclosis and a member of Green Dot Cyprus.
Have you ever imagined such a growth and success?
One of our original goals was to expand and consolidate the company in our country for sure and it was not easy. Until then, all businesses started their operations in the major cities of Cyprus. PGS started operating in Paralimni. So, initially there was some distrust from the market. Slowly, that issue was overcome. It needs everyday hard work, effort, faith and many sacrifices. We must be constantly alert and manage any success wisely and never to be calm. Our vision is to exceed in providing the best solutions for electrical and lighting products on the market, always with respect to people, to the society as a whole and to the environment.
Have you ever undertaken any risks?
The element of the risk exists everywhere. I believe that doing business without any risk is a utopia. Therefore, business decisions and actions need to be done with a controlled, let’s say, uncertainty. Consequently, business leaders, in order to “stay in the game” need, more than ever, to make courageous decisions with controlled uncertainty, risk more often, and respond quickly to the market changes. The pace of change in the market is now spellbound.
In your opinion, which are the main elements that a company should incorporate to go ahead?
I believe that a company must have faith in its vision. Believing in what you have created as a company is a vital element for the survival and further growth. If you do not believe in something, you cannot support it. The company must also have the capacity to implement a strategy and a detailed plan that will lead it forward. This of course presupposes the employment of competent people who, as a team, can contribute to the improvement and growth of the company. Luck is likely playing its own role.
You have mentioned the right staffing of the company. As I can imagine, you are paying great attention on the human resource factor.
As Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin, has said, “Our employees are our most precious asset.” Our employees, our own people, are the heart of the company. At PGS we are always striving to ensure a balance between the business and the human factor. We operate as a large family where each one of us contributes on his/her own way of achieving the best result through his/her responsibilities. Through direct, two-way and honest communication, respect and team spirit are cultivated.
What is the biggest goal or goals of PGS for the coming years?
Our ultimate goal is to enhance the value of PGS to our customers and to the market in general. Given the strong bonds that links us with our customers, the creation of value for the customer is a prerequisite for the successful course of PGS in the long run and therefore the foundation stone for creating value for the local communities where we are doing business. The business environment and the technology are constantly changing, and no one should stay stagnant. We are developing our organisational structure, enriching our range of products and services, upgrading our stores and improving the procedures and methods of working. All these actions and activities add value to our customers and to the company itself. We operate in a customer-oriented way and this has also been added into our corporate culture. Everything starts with the customer and ends with the customer. We are dedicated and focused on the needs of our customers and we always try to respond to them or even exceed their expectations. The main objective of the company is to provide quality and safe products at the best prices with high levels of service before sale and after sale. We want the customer satisfied.
We have noticed that besides its business activity, the company also contributes to several social events and activities. Where does this come from?
This derives from the heart of the company but also from the very society in which the company operates. Today’s society requires a company to be socially responsible. So, in responding to this demand, we are developing our long-standing human values and always serving the fundamental principles of respect, honesty and responsibility towards people, society and the environment. Today, all PGS shops operate as local collection points for recycling, and we have also implemented a number of practices, such as minimising prints, paper recycling, and so on. Moreover, in 2013, we have released the Pay As You Save® energy saving program, which is mainly aimed for businesses. This program is about replacing high consumption lamps with LED lamps. PGS Lighting Electrical has long been a company with sensitivities regarding social issues, always combining its business development and its’ contribution to the community. At this point, I want to take this opportunity to announce the creation of our charitable foundation, aiming to provide financial help for children and young people suffering from chronic diseases.
This is a great move from PGS. Can you give us more details about it?
Yes, of course. Our foundation will eventually be composed of a Board of Directors and will be supported by a team of volunteers or other groups which may want to support with their services. Through the organization of various events and actions, with the financial support of PGS, the foundation will help and support people who really need it. We hope that our foundation will be embraced and supported by other organizations and institutions.
We noticed on PGS social networking pages and on the company’s website that you have undertaken major projects such as the SIX building, which is the student residence of the University of Nicosia.
Indeed, in the last few years we have invested and will continue to do so in the field of major and big projects. There is a special department in the company, staffed with remarkable professionals who take over and manage only the big projects such as buildings, hotels, schools and private schools, football fields, etc. Our long experience and know-how in the field of electrical equipment and lighting enables us to provide continuous, comprehensive and professional support to the process of a project development and completion. The SIX UNIC Residence is a great project in which we did the lighting and we are very pleased for the outcome. Of course, I should mention some other projects, such as large hotel units, the AEK Arena Stadium, the new library of the University of Cyprus “Stelios Ioannou”, the Cultural Center “Hani of Ibrahim ” in Paphos, etc. I would like to thank all our clients and partners for their trust and support over the years and to assure them that we are continuously striving for improvement. We are working always with the same passion and dedication to offer innovative technologies and unique lighting experiences.
Photography: George Athanasiou