“Our CEO is a walking LinkedIn”

Tholen – Dasa Group is a company with many faces, but has one common goal: The customer is king. The common cliché is an important truth for the corporate CEO. That catering mentality sometimes spills over into the printing and fresh produce sector. As a walking LinkedIn, the director of Dasa Group Saïd Darkaoui easily connects everywhere. This means that Dasa Group sees and seizes opportunities in many markets, from security printing, a niche within printing, to importing and exporting food and fresh produce to North Africa. The latter is the responsibility of Paul van den Broek, who explains how all these side activities came together.

“Dasa Group was founded in 2010 and originates from the printing house Profix, which specializes in safe and valuable printing. As one of the few companies in the Netherlands, we print paper with colors, holograms or watermarks for passports and transport documents, checks for banks in Africa and Asia, secure certificates, for example up to ballot papers for foreign governments, we send 6 planes full to that.”

The CEO of Dasa Group is the Moroccan-Dutch Saïd Darkaoui. As owner, he is involved in all areas and travels around the world as an ambassador. “30 years ago, Saïd started working for me in the hotel industry as a 16-year-old boy. He spread his wings and ended up at Profix, grew as a salesman and climbed his way up the organization. In 2010, he did a management buy-out and expanded the company to Morocco and Dubai.”

Partly as a result, new markets and opportunities arose. An order for leaflets and brochures for a large supermarket chain was won in Morocco. The contacts with the owners of the supermarket chain grew into a friendship, and from there the demand for a typical Dutch product arose: cheese. “In 2015, Saïd came to me with the question of whether I would help him with that. From my background in hospitality, I had some understanding of the food world. With the printing company’s knowledge of marketing and communication and our own DTP department, we developed a campaign in-house and marketed the Fromaasj brand for them. We are now doing a number of containers a year in it and it is still growing. Later there was also demand for sauces, frozen chips and apples and pears with a private label on the boxes developed by us.”

Dasa Group mainly focuses on the (North) African market. There is a broad demand for quality products, although with a strong focus on price. Paul knows what to do with it, nothing is too crazy for him. He now has an extensive network of food suppliers, of both fresh and frozen products produced in the Netherlands and from other European countries such as Germany, Belgium, France, Italy and Great Britain. The added value lies in controlling the entire process. From purchase to delivery of the product at the destination, including knowledge of marketing and communication. Paul: “Of the 10 questions we receive, we can always answer a few. With my knowledge of logistics, I find the right way by road, at sea and in the air for international food-related projects, up to the development of Private Label and obtaining the correct export documents and certificates.”

In the meantime, inquiries have also come from North Africa and Spain from suppliers of fresh produce who wish to export to the Netherlands. Paul, who also lived in Spain for a number of years, also addresses this. “We have several offers that I am trying to get into the dealers. It remains a very big challenge, despite the fact that we already deliver products there, and I know how to find my way.”

Like the fruit and vegetable world, the printing world is very competitive. As a hospitality man, he has a very different view of doing business. “In the hotel industry, we always do everything we can for our guests, so that they leave satisfied. It has been ingrained in me from an early age. Therefore, it is sometimes incomprehensible that a few cents still have to be negotiated. Of course, I understand that when it comes to large quantities, 1 or 2 cents makes a big difference. In hospitality, it is more a matter of give and take.”

This article was previously published in issue 12, volume 36 Primeur. See www.agfprimeur.nl for this.

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