Complete Office Supplies, or ‘COS, is the largest privately owned business-to-business supplier of technology and office products in Australia. Since the company’s initial conceptualisation in 1976, when owner Dominique Lyone first drew up a business plan on a napkin while enjoying a drink with a friend, ‘COS has grown to achieve a $110 million annual turnover, with thousands of individual delivery requests completed every day throughout the country’s capital and regional cities.
Through its next day delivery service, ‘COS supplies over 18 000 unique office products to more than 5000 customers across Australia. The ‘COS product range covers a variety of fields, including technology and IT hardware, toner and ink, office machines such as shredders and laminators, conference and training room products, kitchen appliances, snacks, and food storage solutions, janitorial equipment, health and safety supplies, furniture, and stationery, featuring the company’s own premium range of value-added copy paper, sticky notes, binders, files and folders, writing instruments, and much more. As well, ‘COS also offers uniform supply and online print management services, from design through to on demand printing, as well as warehouse storage and inventory management.
‘COS maintains a strong commitment to the reduction of its carbon footprint at all levels of business, from product manufacturing through to supply chain management “It is a core mantra of the Lyone family,” states General Manager Belinda Lyone, who adds that the company has succeeded in achieving carbon neutrality for its top-selling paper product, COS Premium Paper. ‘COS is also proudly certified to operate in compliance with ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System quality standards.
Belinda feels that ‘COS’ greatest point of difference from its competitors has been its long history as an Australian family owned and operated business, in addition to its outstanding staff, who have built a strong reputation by offering the most cost-effective solutions within the industry. “Our people are a major differentiating factor;” she continues, “they provide the optimum customer experience, and offer cost control tools and productive product solutions to their customers.”
Currently underway at ‘COS is a major business development initiative called the Lyone Foundation; a foundation created in 2013 and run by the Lyone family, working predominantly with charities focused on the development and support of Australian people. ‘COS is committed to donating a minimum of %15 of the company’s annual profit and has to date donated over $3 million . “Charitable work has always been embedded in the core Lyone family values,” says Belinda, who represents on the board of the foundation, “and we thought it only made sense and was appropriate to form an official foundation.”
‘COS has been the proud recipient of a broad range of industry awards and commendations, and was recently presented with the Supplier Diversity Partnership of the Year Award at the 2015 Supply Nation Awards, for its partnership with Muru Group, an Indigenous Business. ‘COS was also one of the top 4 finalists out of 600 entrants for the 2014 Ethnic Business Awards. When the ‘COS head office and national distribution centre relocated to a custom built facility in December of 2012, the company was formally recognised for excellence in design, function, and aesthetics by the Master Builders Association, receiving the 2013 Excellence in Construction Award for the state of the art, purpose-built site. ‘COS’ commitment to excellence is equally evident from its AS/NZS 4801:2001 certification for occupational health and safety, as well as its ISO 9001:2008 quality management certification.
The development of strong relationships with supplier partners is a key element of success for ‘COS. “We play an integral role in each others success,” says Ms Lyone, “and we like to view our relationship as working together, as opposed to working for each other.” The company is also an active member of two major organisations; AUSBUY, an association specialising in the promotion of Australian owned businesses and the support of local employment opportunities, and Family Business Australia, an accredited advisory group focused on the success of family businesses, and committed to respecting family values while providing advice on collaborative operation.
Looking to the future, Belinda feels confident in the industry’s ongoing strength. “The corporate switch to e-commerce platforms is a trend that will continue to grow,” she says, noting that while keeping up-to-date with financial trends and changes in the market is of great importance, remaining in tune with consumer demands should always be the highest priority.
Graduating from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, and a Master’s Degree in Marketing from the University of New South Wales, Belinda spent 6 years as Brand Manager of Suntory Australia, a leading distributor in the country’s liquor industry. In 2006, she was approached by her father to aid in the further development and expansion of the COS brand. In her role of General Manager, Ms Lyone combines her expert knowledge of marketing and supply chain management to drive further innovation and efficiency within the business.