Beltrão Coelho celebrates its 73rd anniversary with a focus on Robotics

Beltrão Coelho

The oldest Portuguese family-run technology company, Beltrão Coelho, celebrates 73 years of existence. It is known for representing major brands, such as Pentax, Polaroid, and Casio, and was the great pioneer in the management of print parks. It has reinvented itself over three generations, having invested in Robotics in the last three years.

Beltrão Coelho has started its activity in 1948, in Largo do Carmo, with the presentation of Swiss photography material, namely Telko paper, and Omag filters.

It rapidly expanded its business, becoming, in 1954, the first company of photographic material importing Japanese material and achieving three bigger representations: Polaroid machines (1956), Asahi Pental (1958), and ViewsMaster (1961).

In 1970, it already represented Nashua photocopiers, as Nashua was a Japanese brand with great prestige n the technological environment. In the following years, it continued to supply diversified technology to the Portuguese marks, such as microfilm, calculators (Casio), computers, video projectors, and interactive whiteboards.

In 2011, Beltrão Coelho started a big partnership with Xerox – a leader in services and technology in document management – in the commercialization of office systems. Shortly after, in 2015, Beltrão Coelho was nominated as Xerox Platinum partner.

In 2018, thirsty for innovation, decided to create the robotics division, following the worldwide growing trend of the service robots segment. First, it presented Sanbot, from the Chinese manufacturer Qihan, and with a view to helping companies to leverage their business, especially in the tourism sector. It was a success, especially in interaction at events.

Later, in 2019, Beltrão Coelho presented Cruzr, a humanoid service robot from the manufacturer UBTech, that interacts with users through corporal language, that identifies emotions, answering according to that identification.

In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the company decided to contribute to the economic return and launched a thermographic camera, a device that allows the reading of the temperature of those who enter the establishments, as well as checking the use of a mask, helping the come back of activities, especially in the tourism sector.

“Since 1948, we have been showing evidence of resilience, adaptation, and entrepreneurship. Beltrão Coelho is in its third generation and it is a pride to celebrate the 73rd anniversary with a sense of accomplishment and willingness to continue this path, always maintaining the values that guide our posture in the market”, says Ana Cantinho, general director of the company.

Currently, Beltrão Coelho has more than 1000 clients with an active contract, about 7 200 pieces of equipment management under printing contracts, and practically 9 000 000 € in turnover.

Social and environmental responsibility

Beltrão Coelho has always had a strong “vein” of social responsibility and, in 2015, decided to cede the entry of its facilities in Lisbon to create an art gallery where it exhibits works of all types of arts and artists, whether they are at the beginning of their career, whether already established, a project that gained visibility for becoming part of the cultural guide of Lisbon. This initiative was recognized in 2018 by the Portuguese Association of Business Ethics in the Community category, having already organized 41 exhibitions, individual and collective, involving 220 artists.

Still, in 2019, the company renewed its automobile fleet for 100% electric cars. It invested around 300 thousand euros, in a total of 17 new vehicles, as well as in the placement of five energy charging stations near the headquarters in Lisbon, to ensure the loading of the entire fleet. In addition, it has made several other investments in its facilities and in logistics, to become more ecologically responsible.

Recognition and Distinctions

Consecutively SME Leader since 2015, Beltrão Coelho has invested in the certification of quality management systems, environment, and information security, in accordance with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO/IEC 27001.

In 2020, the company was recognized by the Portuguese Business Ethics Association with an honorable mention in the “Decent Work and Conciliation” and its director-general, Ana Cantinho, received the Best Team Leaders 2020 award in the “Covid-19 Management – Transparent Communication”.

In 2021, Beltrão Coelho was also distinguished with the “Punctual Payment Commitment” and “Excellence Index” awards.

Team management during the pandemic

Beltrão Coelho believes that the success of a company depends on its employees and, because of that, from the beginning, it believes that people’s satisfaction must be the highest priority. In times of pandemic, it invested in internal communication, trying to keep everyone’s motivated.

Ana Cantinho explains the challenges after a year of a pandemic: “The issue of teleworking was unavoidable! However, with 70% of our employees at home, in order to minimize the negative repercussions in the medium-term and keep the motivation, we had to take complementary measures: we sent to each employee a personalized kit that included several PPE and some gifts, including some sweets cooked by me; we created an internal newsletter with the sharing of experiences, testimonials, and recommendations; we take a weekly coffee break, via Teams, so we can keep in touch; we stimulated everyone’s interaction through our internal social network (Yammer), among others. The return to the office is phased, but our team spirit surpasses everything and this is reflected in the results”.

Beltrão Coelho’s history is full of episodes of resilience and continuous improvement, which makes this Portuguese company a case of success and pride for its 75 employees.