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COBA Europe
Europark Industrial Estate
A5 Watling Street
CV23 0AL

Meet the Team – Paul Lauper talks about two decades at COBA Europe

Ask Paul Lauper a question about any of COBA’s matting products and he could probably answer it instantly.  Having worked for COBA in a variety of roles for some 23 years, this is someone who knows the company – and its products – inside out.

COBA Career Progression…

Paul joined COBA in 1991, initially as a weaver of COBAmat, which is the original interwoven PVC safety matting still produced by COBA Europe today.   As COBA’s matting business grew and anti-fatigue products were introduced to the range, Paul progressed to become Supervisor overseeing the warehousing and ultimately Quality Control within this area.

Then, about 13 years ago, the opportunity came Paul’s way to move into Matting Sales; something he had always aspired to do.  “I used to drive the van out with all the matting and equipment for exhibition and help build COBA’s stands.  They have come on a long way since then!  It was during set-up for A+A one year (on the banks of the Rhine with a few beers) that I suggested to our managing director, Richard Cooke that I could do the job of Southern Area Account Manager.  Luckily, he gave me the chance and the rest, as they say, is history.  I also look after accounts in Ireland now too.

How the job has changed…

The biggest change has been the introduction of new products for different market sectors.  COBA offers all sorts of mats for all sorts of environments.  There are the obvious industrial safety products and our latest entrance matting systems, but we also supply leisure matting, catering mats – even stable mats. In fact, you name it, and I’ve probably been there,” says Paul.  “At one time, we were simply talking to industrial distributors but through the introduction of entrance matting systems, we are also meeting and doing site visits with flooring contractors, specifiers and facilities managers.  I like the fact that there is so much variety and I really enjoy the joint site visits especially if I feel like I’m helping to solve a problem through recommending the right type of matting.”

Well trained…

As well as accompanying distributors on site visits, Paul also spends a lot of time conducting product training sessions.  “I really enjoy doing this now, but I can remember this being a daunting experience when I first started it.  I watched how Chris Stanley did it, and it wasn’t too long before I got the hang of it.  We have a lot of product information to digest with such an extensive range but the fact our offering is always evolving, keeps this fresh.  It’s easy for some to think ‘oh, it’s just matting’ but actually one anti-fatigue mat can have entirely different properties to another, so it’s good to train distributor sales reps.

More distributor support…

It’s not just accompanying distributors on site visits and product training; COBA also supports its distributors through the capabilities and services of its in-house Marketing team.  “It’s our aim to make everything as easy as possible for our distributors and this is another area where COBA Europe really adds value,” explains Paul.  “Our Marketing department at COBA can produce layouts for product catalogues, literature, flyers, product images as well as other resources to support our distributors’ sales and marketing functions.

A typical day…

Is there such a thing as a typical day for Paul Lauper?  Possibly not!  He explains that most of the time is spent out on the road. One day he can be at a Premier League football stadium measuring up for entrance matting, and the next day visiting an abattoir recommending the most suitable matting for slip-resistance.  “I really do enjoy meeting new people and visiting different businesses and locations, so it’s ideal for me to be out so much.  I do try to have at least one day a week in the office with the internal sales team, and I’m lucky I have their support should I have queries when I’m out and about.

Amusing moments…

There have been many!” laughs Paul. “I do remember walking out of the No.1 Changing Room at Wimbledon with a briefcase, having measured up for leisure matting.  There were fans waiting outside and they just presumed I was someone famous because of where I had come from!

Favourite products…

All of them of course, but I would say that because I’m a salesman!” says Paul.  “Seriously, there is one industrial product that I have sold thousands and thousands of over the years.  That is Solid Fatigue Step Tiles – they are just so versatile, and now we offer so many options either with nitrile or without nitrile.  Mind you, I’m really excited about our new product launch at Safety & Health Expo this year – it’s a truly unique product that COBA has developed – watch this space!

Rising to the challenge…

Paul describes himself as someone who is “very competitive and thrives on pressure”.  “I still enjoy the challenge of growing the business within my area.  I suppose the bottom line is I like selling products that deliver solutions to problems, and with COBA we have such a huge range it’s nearly always possible to do this,” explains Paul.

Music to our ears…

It seems that COBA Europe has a few budding musicians in the mix, and Paul is one of them!  His main hobby is playing bass guitar in a band called Tanky Smith, a group he has been part of for the last couple of years.  And when he’s not strumming the guitar, Paul likes nothing better than to watch the footie describing himself as “an armchair Leicester City fan!”

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