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From the Baltic to the Black Sea

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Orbico works together with more than 50 suppliers, managing more than 200 global and local brands and ensuring deliveries to over 40,000 points of sale. It operates in 17 countries throughout Central and Eastern Europe, providing its superior quality service from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

“We distribute branded products from the areas of FMCG, beauty care products, pharmaceuticals, toys and textile products, electrical appliances, cigarettes, motor oils and many more,” says Company Owner and President of the Supervisory Board Branko Roglic. “We offer a very wide range of products and also serve an equally wide range of markets. Our solutions are tailored to meet the needs of a highly demanding client base.”

Among the prestigious companies entrusting the marketing and distribution of their products to Orbico are household names such as Procter&Gamble, Philip Morris, Shell, Mattel, Johnson SC, Bolton Group, General Electric, Kellogg’s, Braun, Heinz, Wrigley, Barilla, Duracell, adidas, Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder, Burberry, Clinique, Olay, Max Factor and Salvatore Ferragamo.

This selection shows that Orbico is equally at home serving both the premium and mass market ends of the spectrum and can help brands in all market segments increase their turnover and market share. Orbico achieves this through a mixture of local expertise and sophisticated strategies.

“In this business, with such an extensive range of different products, we have to be able to manage constant change by implementing flexible organization and investing in our people and brands,” says Mr. Roglic. “We also have to be open to that change and embrace the opportunities that it represents.”

Embracing opportunities is something that the Croatian entrepreneur knows something about. Born in Makarska in what is now Croatia, he graduated in 1969 from the University of Zagreb in Split. His first job was as a commercial manager for a radio and telecommunications company in Split, but he then became the representative for Varta batteries in the former Yugoslavia and Bulgaria.

In 1987, he launched Orbico in Glarus, Switzerland, followed soon after by an office in Ljubljana. “Orbico was one of the first businesses in Yugoslavia to be allowed to function as a private company,” says Mr. Roglic. “I continued to distribute Varta batteries and also added the cosmetics company Ellen Betrix to what was then a very short list of clients. However, when Procter&Gamble took over Ellen Betrix, I approached them, and they offered to give me distribution rights for all of their products in Yugoslavia. Our brand and product portfolio expanded exponentially virtually overnight, and we were very successful in distributing those products.”

As a result of that success, Procter&Gamble gave Orbico responsibility for the distribution of its product range in Bosnia and Bulgaria as well, and over the course of the next 15 years, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia followed.

The latest addition was Poland in 2014. Orbico also took over distribution of Max Factor cosmetics for Procter&Gamble in Germany and Austria, showing that it could also be successful in more established, western markets.

“The Procter&Gamble account really opened the door for us to expand our client base,” says Mr. Roglic. “Other international companies started beating a path to our door, convinced that if we were good enough for Procter&Gamble, we were good enough for them.”

Like many companies that have fought hard for success, Orbico seeks every day to justify the faith its clients place in it. “My philosophy is that we can never be good enough – we always have to improve our service and prove that we are the cheapest way from our client’s warehouse to the retailer’s shelf,” says Mr. Roglic. “We recently installed a new IT solution from PricewaterhouseCoopers, which will allow us to consolidate our services across the company. It will allow us to collect and analyze company data that we can use to target improvements.”

Clearly, Mr. Roglic loves his job and shows no sign of slowing down. Nevertheless, he still makes time for relaxation. “I love what I do. That is the only way to be successful, but I also have my hobbies. Every spare moment I have, I jump into my boat and go fishing. It is my way of relaxing.”

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