Page 1


April 2021

Issue 309


Remember Emma? Home working is having an impact on her too.


inspiring success

Emma was developed to show how office workers could look in 20 years if they continue to work with inadequately set-up workstations, poor posture and minimal movement. Our new Marketing Toolkit, featuring Emma working from home, is now available. It’s ideal for drawing attention to your range of Fellowes Ergonomic solutions. Contact your Fellowes Representative for your FREE Toolkit. Find out more about Emma and Fellowes solutions:

THE ROAD BACK TO THE OFFICE Heading towards to the new normal ERGONOMIC FURNITURE – A WFH MUST HAVE As work from home continues, so does the need for comfort MIND THE GAP Why GAP analysis is still a vital tool

THE independent event for UK dealers PUT THIS IN YOUR DIARY! Thursday 21st October 2021 Ricoh Arena, Coventry


Getting back to ‘normal’ DEALER SUPPORT APRIL 2021 ISSUE 309

April has arrived and we all know what that means – pub gardens! After what feels like a lifetime, we can finally go sit in a pub garden and enjoy a meal or a drink with family and friends. Although after having all four seasons occur on the bank holiday weekend, I’m not sure what attire is most appropriate for a trip to the pub - it’s probably best to bring gloves, flip-flops, a woolly hat and suncream to cover all eventualities! As lockdown is slowly lifted, the return to the office is also getting closer. We start the issue by looking at the role dealers will play in making the return to the office a success. Our BIG ASK gets the industry to discuss how the pandemic has changed the office supplies ‘food chain’, with the user now becoming the chooser. Mick Millar from Office Plus discusses what over 30 years in the industry has taught him and the business. We then take the old with the new and look at why GAP analysis’ are still an important tool for dealers as well as looking as how you can stand out online by adding value to your content. Despite a year of being encouraged to be physically distant, we discuss why collaboration is still key and how dealers can play a role in facilitating communication. Although returning to the office is on the horizon for some, many will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future. We take a look at how dealers can cater to the WFH market through ergonomics. Our LIVE IT section then invites you to take a well-deserved break and FATHER P. CLIP discusses the highs and lows of lockdown communication! We finish on a mindful note with Hayley James providing the FINAL WORD focusing on why employee wellbeing is imperative when returning to the office. As always, don’t forget to chat to us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts and opinions: @dealersupport. April 2021

Remember Emma? Home working is having an impact on her too.

Issue 309


inspiring success

Emma was developed to show how office workers could look in 20

years if they continue to work with inadequately set-up workstations, poor posture and minimal movement.

Our new Marketing Toolkit, featuring Emma working from home, is now available. It’s ideal for drawing attention to your range of Fellowes Ergonomic solutions.

Contact your Fellowes Representative for your FREE Toolkit. Find out more about Emma and Fellowes solutions:

THE ROAD BACK TO THE OFFICE Heading towards to the new normal

ERGONOMIC FURNITURE – A WFH MUST HAVE As work from home continues, so does the need for comfort MIND THE GAP Why GAP analysis is still a vital tool

Ellie Potter Acting editor

EDITOR Ellie Potter


HEAD OF SALES Matthew Moore

DIRECTOR Vicki Baloch

Dealer Support is the leading monthly publication for dealers in the business supplies industry. It provides information on the industry (both in the UK and overseas), information for and about the UK’s independent dealers, as well as information and advice on running a small business. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the views of the publishers. Copyright of all the material published remains with Intelligent Media Solutions Limited. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, copied, stored in an electronic retrieval or transmitted, save with written permission or in accordance with provision of the copyright designs and patent act of 1988. Printed in the UK by Buxton Press

All email addresses are formatted

Annual subscriptions are available at a cost of £68.00 for UK and overseas by surface mail, £90.00 for airmail. Subscription enquiries should be sent to the address opposite

Intelligent Media Solutions We Work Building, 115 Mare Street, London, E8 4RU Tel: 0203 794 8555 Fax: 0203 794 8554 Email: Web:


Work-life patterns are now a seamless blend. We work from the office, home and from almost anywhere. Leitz Cosy combines home style comfort with premium quality. Its minimal, versatile design and inviting matt finish colours create a positive environment wherever you are!

APRIL 2021


The latest news and views from the industry

12 THE ROAD BACK TO THE OFFICE A roadmap to the new normal


How the user has become the chooser


DEALER SUCCESS 26 LOOKING FOR THE PLUSSES Office Plus on their constant evolution

LEADERSHIP 30 MIND THE GAP The benefits of a GAP analysis

34 VALUE-ADDED CONTENT IS THE KEY How to differentiate yourself in the digital world


SALES SUCCESS 37 STOP! COLLABORATE AND LISTEN Despite social distancing, collaboration is key

42 ERGONOMIC FURNITURE – A WFH MUST HAVE As WFH continues, so does demand for furniture


Take a break and enjoy some lighthearted fun


The good Father discusses the joys of lockdown communication


A mindful return to the office

42 “I still think that, if you are prepared to adapt and be flexible in where you focus, there are still a lot of opportunities out there. It is not all doom and gloom.”




THE MONTH THAT WAS Integra announces partnership with Blake & White

Dams partner with inControl Marketing Dams marketing content is now available to resellers directly from inControl Marketing’s Cube Portal and their dealer group partner marketing portals “Resellers are naturally anxious to remain in contact with their customers,” said Simon Wallis from inControl Marketing Group Ltd. “Email has proven to be a very effective way to stay visible, wherever the customer is working. Whilst the traditional product mix may have changed, the furniture and seating category

Integra Business Solutions Ltd has announced a new partnership with Blake &

has presented a significant sales opportunity

White, a specialist manufacturer and supplier of cleaning, hygiene, janitorial

for resellers. We’re very excited to be

and PPE products.

collaborating with Dams so that their marketing

Previously trading as Techniclean, Blake & White has more than 40 years of experience within the facilities management and cleaning industry and is regarded as a market leader within the sector. With a huge range of products stocked at its warehouse in Andover,

content is easily accessible to resellers across our platforms.” Colin Burroughs at Abbey Business & Office Services added: “Having access to

Hampshire, Blake & White offers a reliable and efficient next day delivery

Dams’ marketing on Cube allows us to easily

service throughout the UK, either to a dealer’s premises or direct to their

access personalised, ready-to-go content to


target our database with the most relevant

“We are very excited to be with Integra and its members,” said key

office furniture messages instantly. We’re all

account manager, Jesse Long. “We have over 300 core products available

looking to maximise sales in ‘working from

supported by Fusion data, EDI feeds, next day delivery and plain label

home’ and ‘protective screens’. Being able to

deliveries direct to customers. We are committed to providing Integra

communicate clear, concise messages with

members with the very best service and support in order to make cleaning and

fantastic, high-quality content is key.”

hygiene products accessible and understandable to all.” Integra’s purchasing director, Allison Fishlock, added: “We look forward

Simon Howorth, marketing manager at Dams, said: “At Dams, we’re dedicated to

to working with Jesse and the team there to further develop this partnership

ensuring our customers are at the forefront of

to support our members grow this category which will remain a key area of

everything we do. Partnering with inControl


Marketing allows dealers access to quality

Blake & White also has a focused sustainability and CSR programme

marketing content across all our office furniture

alongside sister company, Blake Envelopes, which also offer a range of eco-

products, so they can personalise marketing

friendly and sustainable products for the workplace.

campaigns quickly and easily to send directly to

A fully attributed product file is available from the industry’s leading

their customer databases and helping dealers

software houses, including EvolutionX, Prima, ECi, Heart, Oasis,

to grow their office furniture sales with leading-

CommerceExchange and Calidore or directly from Blake & White themselves.

edge sales and marketing support.”

[06] APRIL 2021


Data Direct introduces Pelikan brand Data Direct and PRPS have formed a new partnership providing products and loyalty recognition to channel partners and resellers. As a distribution partner to hundreds of UK businesses, Data Direct offers multiple solutions and opportunities to its dealer customer base. The addition of the Pelikan brand provides additional opportunities including a rewards programme for end users. “This is another exciting addition to our growing portfolio of brands, providing excellent products and margin opportunities for our core office equipment/IT channel dealer customer base,” said Peter Cowan, procurement director. “The package from Pelikan is impressive – with significant end-user activity and a rewards programme that will create demand through the chain. As brand loyalty and trends in consumption change, Pelikan from Data Direct will also attract new users looking for relevant eco-based products and also solutions for when working from home.” Jason Doran, general manager sales and marketing, Print-Rite Europe Ltd, said: “When we met Data Direct, we were struck not only by the energy and enthusiasm shown for the brand, but also by the business strategy and ambition of the team to move this project forward. Data Direct understands the market, the channel and the logistics of this industry really well and we feel totally confident in working with them to ensure the Pelikan brand becomes the number one alternative brand to OEM products in the UK and Ireland.”


Exertis strengthens premium audio portfolio by signing AfterShokz Exertis has boosted its premium audio offering by partnering with AfterShokz to distribute the US brand into retail channels across the UK. AfterShokz was founded in Syracuse, New York, in 2011 and is an industry leader in bone conduction audio technology. Bone conduction technology boasts safety benefits as it enables the user to hear their surroundings while also listening to audio. “AfterShokz is the market leader in bone conducting headphones and is dedicated to providing a safe and comfortable audio experience for users,” said Carl Eagle, general manager, premium audio, Exertis. “The addition of the brand will strengthen our premium audio portfolio, as health, fitness and wellbeing are more important to consumers than ever.” Li Jiachao, CE accounts manager, AfterShokz, added: “This is an exciting partnership for AfterShokz as extending our relationship with Exertis will enable us to distribute into retail channels across the UK. The team’s expertise and breadth of knowledge coupled with their relationships in the consumer sector makes them the perfect distribution partner for AfterShokz.” APRIL 2021 [07]




Cardboard packaging shortage could lead to struggle to fulfil orders


shortage of cardboard packaging, brought

short-to-medium term at least, packaging buyers will have

about by the boom in online sales during

to cope with the ‘double whammy’ of longer lead times and

the COVID-19 pandemic, means that a

higher prices,” said Bradley

growing number of internet-based retailers

Despite the rising costs and supply issues surrounding

are struggling to fulfil orders, and this could

cardboard packaging, it is estimated that e-commerce sellers

also affect the office products market.

continue to waste in the region of 30% of this increasingly

Jo Bradley, business development manager for packaging solutions at Quadient, warns that, with some paper and sheet board producers rationing supply for even their biggest

precious commodity by shipping orders in vastly oversized cardboard boxes. “It has never been more essential for retailers to reduce

customers, buyers are having to pay a significant premium to

the amount of cardboard material they use within their

secure the packaging materials they need.

pack and despatch operations, yet many continue to pack

“The price of corrugated cardboard (OCC) has risen from around £60 a tonne in December 2020 to about £75.50 a

outbound orders in boxes that are way too big,” said Bradley. With this in mind, she said it is worth considering investing

tonne in late January 2021,” she said. “The problem has been

in fit-to-size automated packaging systems – such as the ones

caused by the switch in consumer spending from the high

produced by Quadient – to reduce the waste associated with

street to online since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Figures

oversized packaging within fulfilment operations by creating

from the Office for National Statistics indicate that internet

perfect-sized boxes for every consignment.

retail sales grew by 32% during 2020.” With surveys indicating that any significant drop off in

“With the upturn in demand for cardboard packaging forecast to be on-going, and material prices set to

online sales is unlikely, even after non-essential retailers re-

continue their upward trajectory, the economic argument

opned on April 12 as part of the government’s roadmap to

for investing in fit-to-size box-making technology has

gradually end social distancing - demand for cardboard is set

never been more compelling,” said Bradley. “E-commerce

to remain high.

retailers and their fulfilment services partners simply cannot

“Quite simply, the switch to online retailing has resulted in

afford not to make optimum use of their valuable cardboard

a substantial and sustained hike in the amount of cardboard

resources - and the best way to do this is to adopt

that is needed throughout the retail supply chain so, in the

technology that cuts down on waste.”

[08] APRIL 2021


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ACCO: COMING BACK TO THE DEALER MARKET Acco’s long-serving regional vice president, UK & Ireland, Mark Wilkinson, explains why the company has recently returned to the dealer market after a decade away, and how he is looking optimistically to the post-COVID future


cco has been selling office

want to source other Acco products directly from the

equipment for more than 100 years;

company to complement their wholesale sourcing

the company has managed such

strategy. “We have found this to be a good opportunity

longevity due to making strategic

and we are getting good feedback from dealers,” says

acquisitions over the years, always

Mark. “Many of them remember that we walked away,

evolving to the changing demands of the sector and,

to some degree, but are willing to forgive us for that

indeed, trying to shape it.

and are pleased to be working with us again.

The company is a global business, but its ethos of

“We have Anita Clitheroe who has been with us

evolution holds in all countries it operates in. In the UK

40-something years and she gets a wonderful reception

Acco is currently re-engaging with the dealer community

when she rings up a dealer and says she’s from Acco.

to take advantage of opportunities in that market.

They can’t believe Acco are speaking with them directly,

Back in 2009/10, after the financial crisis, Acco in

and it is Anita. We see dealers as an important part of

Europe decided to simplify its market strategy and

our overall strategy; we are committed to that and have

stepped away from the dealer community. However,

initiatives in place to support that.”

the company has now reversed that policy “We very

To this end, Acco now have a portal at www.

much want to engage directly and indirectly with where dealers can browse and buy

the dealer,” says Mark. “We very much value our

from most of the company’s portfolio. “Dealers can

wholesale partners; they are very important to us. We

register with an email address and password. If they

have good relationships with them and, hopefully, this

haven’t already got a trade account with us, they can

will continue in the future.”

order by credit card or work with one of the sales

The reason behind the move, Mark explains, is that

team and get an account set up with us. We have 350

wholesalers generally only carry about 20% of Acco’s

dealers already signed up to the portal, and there is the

portfolio of some 5,000 products, and some dealers

opportunity for get hundreds more.”

[10] APRIL 2021



Listen to the full interview with Mark Wilkinson in the latest TUNED IN podcast

Mark is careful to emphasise that this move

That said, Mark insists that there are causes for

isn’t about taking business from wholesalers, but

optimism. “The success of the vaccine rollout enables

complementing it. “We are trying to ensure that the

us to look forward with a little bit more confidence

wholesaler sells the products they stock and market on

than even three months ago, and there are still lots

our behalf - but the other 80% of products are available

of opportunities out there. I still think that, if you are

to our dealers at a competitive price, with the right

prepared to adapt and be flexible in where you focus,

content, the right data, the right service level.

there are still a lot of opportunities out there. It is not all

“We have adjusted our minimum order quantities, and have made sure we are working on our track and

doom and gloom.” For example, there has been the move to

trace capabilities so we can tell the user where the

digitisation and online spending in the UK market –

products are in the journey. We have also made sure

which hasn’t happened to the same degree in Europe.

our stockholding is there. We keep improving our

“Those are quite dramatic, macro-level, changes that

communications so dealers can find out about new

are affecting everyone, particularly the dealer,” he says.

products or offers – sometimes offers unique to dealers – to give them their own part of this marketplace. We


think we are doing a lot for the dealer community, and

There are other ways the UK workplace is fundamentally

look forward to working with them.”

changing after COVID, Mark adds. For instance, he believes the days of most being in the office 9am-5pm


Monday to Friday are behind us. “I think there will

This is demonstrative of the upbeat feeling in Acco,

still be a need for some level of safety protocols in

and this optimism extends to the future of the office

the office, or any workplace, going forward, that will

products market this year, despite how challenging

mean either more space, or more protection, around

it currently looks. “We have had Brexit and the

the employee, depending on what is possible. I think

unfortunate demise of customers and key partners

there will be a hybrid environment and we will have

like Spicers and Office Outlet, for example,” he says.

employees in the office three days a week and at home

“There are also the ravages of COVID. The UK has

two days a week.

probably been most affected of the major markets and

“That is something we are going to have to adapt to

countries in Europe, and that has had a big impact on

as an industry.” As ever, the opportunities are there for

the office products market.”

those who are prepared to be flexible. APRIL 2021 [11]

inspiring success

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THE ROAD BACK TO THE OFFICE With the roadmap out of lockdown clearly marked, many businesses are preparing for the return of employees to the workplace. However, dealers will have a prominent role to play in making this a success as it will not be a return to the ‘old normal’


hen prime minister Boris Johnson

padding that offer out into virucidal sprays and wipes

announced the long-hoped-for

- tailoring to business’ requirements and making sure

roadmap out of the UK’s lockdown in

people feel safe for the return to work.

February, many employers began to think about bringing employees who

“There is an opportunity for dealers to branch into a new area of products and specialisms they might

have been working at home for the past year back to

not have previously had the skillset or product range

the workplace. However, if and when employees return,

to do. It is about positioning themselves in terms

it won’t be ‘business as usual’ – there will still be social

of the best proposition they can have to fulfil those

distancing and infection control, for instance.

customers’ needs.

Dealers will have an important role in helping

“There are opportunities for the progressive

employers to make the return to the workplace a

independent. There is a market that has opened

success, ensuring that all employees are kept safe

up and it’s about being confident in the range and

from infection, and that those who are nervous about

their capabilities. We are seeing this reflected in the

returning have their fears assuaged.

wholesale channel as well, and with manufacturers –

As Charlotte Eyre, director of marketing at Nectere,

look at the products that have been created in the past

notes, the biggest thing for independent dealers is

year; it has drastically changed from the product range

to look ahead and put the wheels in motion now for

we had 12 months previously.”

workplace returns. “We have been sourcing products

This means that it is more important than ever

for the return to work since before January - and that’s

for dealers to have a strong market proposition and

about making sure there is a range of products,” she

send marketing material out quickly, directly to their

says. “It’s not just about infection control, it’s about

customer base, Charlotte adds. APRIL 2021 [13]



SHIPPING MODELS Shipping models have also had to change in the past year to enable home orders to be fulfilled, and this is likely to remain in place, says Charlotte. “Dealers are going to have to change the way their business models look.” Lawrence Savage, marketing manager at ExacClair, agrees. “With more consumers working remotely, the rise in demand for dropshipping products continues to drive the supply chain. Dealers can also look to offer a wider choice of product bundles to aid those businesses seeking more cost-effective solutions for home and office-based environments.” He adds that it’s not just about sourcing the most popular office products. “The key for dealers is to take on a greater consultancy role, advising their business clients on where and how to best utilise and integrate this equipment. This is particularly important when it comes to product categories that certain businesses aren’t so used to, such as social distancing signage, PPE, and items for setting up office COVID selftesting stations. In relation to this, more dealers are now expanding their support services to incorporate personalised office design layout solutions.” For instance, if the roadmap is adhered to, on May 17 indoor entertainment and attractions will open, as well as hotels, hostels and B&Bs and indoor adult sports activities. This will provide opportunities for dealers to sell things like social distancing signage and sanitising stations. SAFE ENVIRONMENT Lawrence points out that products treated with antimicrobial additives to protect against bacteria, viruses, mould and fungi will continue to be in high demand. Marianne Chamberlain, sales director at Data Direct, adds that - while businesses will want to get operational quickly - the priority for most employees returning

[14] APRIL 2021



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to any workplace must be that they have confidence they’re entering a safe environment. “PPE has had to evolve beyond a defensive shield approach and become an active deterrent against pathogens and harmful environments,” she says. “Of course, copiers and printers will want to be maxed out again, and some ‘traditional’ PPE will still be essential, but things like SmartMister will help to manage COVID-19 risk.” Marianne says that the SmartMister can be easily placed in the dealer network with a machine and consumables approach. “You sell a box that makes your customer’s life less complicated, and more compliant, in the slow return to normality,” she explains. “Because COVID-19 won’t go away, SmartMister will help to manage this risk as well as winter viruses and spring pollution - not to mention new mutations of COVID.” FLEXIBLE WORKING Indeed, while limits on social contact are scheduled to end on June 21, when nightclubs will be allowed to open, there will still be demand for PPE and antiviral products as part of the new expectations that employees may have in the office, having worked from home for so long. This will require flexibility, says Claire Negri, trade marketing executive at DURABLE (UK) Ltd. “If this past year has taught us anything, it is that flexible working is possible, and is likely to continue in the future, for many businesses. “An office is more than just a laptop and, while it is reasonable to suggest a continued shift in working culture, the result will be an increased focus on the quality and adaptability of workplaces. Companies wanting to attract and retain the best talent will seek to offer a modern, inspiring and flexible working environment as part of their package. This calls for more flexible solutions to equip both workers returning to the office and those who continue to embrace flexible working.”

[16] APRIL 2021

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t PFU (EMEA) Ltd our aim is to make

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[18] APRIL 2021



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How the user is now becoming the chooser We speak to the industry about the impact of the pandemic on the office products ‘food chain’ and why the end-user is more important than ever

Elisabete Wells, regional marketing director, UK & Ireland – ACCO UK Ltd Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the needs and priorities of customers, it has also changed who exactly these customers are. Office products resellers must now influence, and cater to, the needs of individuals who are purchasing products for their own use, rather than a designated member of staff buying for an entire office. This is going to have a massive impact on the entire office products ‘food chain’, starting at the top with the manufacturers themselves. Now that the end-user is the one driving the purchasing decisions, consideration needs to be paid to how these solutions are going to fit into these customers’ working and buying patterns. Customers now have the power to choose products with the benefits or design features that best suit their APRIL 2021 [21]



needs and style; manufacturers should be focusing on features and benefits, offering customers design-led solutions in the right quantities. For example, within the past year, ACCO UK has introduced smaller, userfriendly pack sizes and the new Leitz Cosy range of design-focused home office solutions - and we continue to pivot to changing market demand. Wholesalers will also need to adapt to shifts in requirements by ensuring they have the flexibility to supply traditional demand from offices as well as the new demand from home and hybrid workers. Ensuring that the right products are on hand when needed will require strong partnerships with reliable manufacturers, locally or overseas, as well as a solid distribution network. The biggest impact is likely to be felt by resellers, who should be problem-solvers for their customers and need to offer solutions rather than just products. Resellers need to think about their customers’ concerns and market to them from this perspective. Themebased selling around areas such as ‘work from home solutions’ or ‘home office wellbeing’ will be key for introducing customers to products that address their specific needs. Beyond changing the way staff work, the pandemic has caused shifts in how consumers shop. Over the past year customers have grown more accustomed to shopping online for everything from clothing and toiletries to groceries - they will expect shopping for office products to be just as simple. Resellers need to focus on creating strong e-commerce experiences, enriched by relevant and enticing lifestyle photos of products plus videos and customer reviews. They may also need to stepup their order fulfilment and offer services such as parcel-tracking or click and collect, if possible. The good news is that there is a new world of opportunity opening up for everyone when the ‘two offices model’ - home and office - starts becoming the norm.

[22] APRIL 2021

Our new partner programme is now live Our partner programme is designed to support you and your evolving customer needs, even during these times of great change and uncertainty. At Brother, we pride ourselves on working closely with our partners, to understand your ever-changing individual challenges and goals.

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and when required. The ECI Horizon CRM and marketing modules, for example, have been designed to help busy office suppliers easily create and execute targeted marketing campaigns, promote specific products and services, manage customer engagements and even review buyer behaviour. This capability has provided real peace of mind for those considering new revenue streams, or concerned about managing a sudden surge - or decline - in customer demand. Emma Davies-Carolan, director of marketing,

Another focus has been around how we can

Europe, ECI Software Solutions, Ltd

streamline day-to-day processes for resellers, while

At ECI we’ve been really focused on supporting our

they focus on developing new areas of their businesses.

customers through the past 12 months. Many have

When selling directly to consumers, it’s important your

been forced to completely re-evaluate their ways of

customer journey is simple, easy and user-friendly.

working in order to keep pace with the ‘new normal’;

Empowering staff by giving them access to

adaptability has been key. It’s likely that, as resellers start selling directly to

important data to help serve customers more effectively, and with a system able to easily create

the end-user - rather than the stationery buyers or

quotes, convert quotes to orders, or copy from an

office managers - systems will have to change and

existing quote, you will be well-placed to meet these

we’re already putting measures in place to ensure our


software can support this. First and foremost, fostering good customer

For example, the ability to reduce delivery charges for your customers by merging orders, or the ability

relationships and brand integrity can help set you apart

to save a previous order which they can repeat in a

from the competition. Effective customer relationship

few weeks or months, are no longer a luxury, but an

management (CRM) tools proved themselves a worthy


investment last year, helping maintain a high level of customer service - even in the most challenging of circumstances. Often, the implementation of a CRM system will also motivate sales teams, as they can prioritise initiatives and create meaningful plans to help them reach their goals - perhaps leading to a monetary bonus or reward, also helping track and nurture leads in the sales pipeline or new business opportunities. In order to keep pace with the industry giants, it’s important your website remains dynamic when selling direct to consumers with regular offers and targeted marketing campaigns. We made it clear from the outset that customers could add on new modules as

[24] APRIL 2021

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LOOKING FOR THE PLUSES Office Plus has been a fixture in the office products market for more than 30 years, thanks to a focus on developing client relationships as well as constant evolution in response to changing customer demands


he office products

to legal. But one thing hasn’t changed

market has changed

since 1989 is the company’s ethos of

hugely since Office

providing a first-class service to its

Plus was launched

customers along with supplying good

back in 1989, and

quality products at competitive prices.

Mick Millar has been there to witness it all. The owner of the Jersey-based

power to source the right products,

office supplies business says the OP

but place great emphasis on having

market has changed greatly in terms of

a straightforward relationship with

product mix and order method over the

customers that lets them get on with

years, “but not at all in terms of client

their business without having to worry

relationships and trust.”

about whether supplies will come on

Today, Office Plus offers more

[26] APRIL 2021

Office Plus boasts a global buying


than 30,000 products - including office

It is this, along with an ability to

supplies, furniture and workwear - for

adapt to changing market trends – and

next day delivery to customers in a

careful protection of margins – that has

wide range of sectors, from education

enabled Office Plus to celebrate more



developed over recent years. Online

Turnover dropped by more than 30% overnight. Sustainability is right at the head of our marketing mission

orders have also increased over the past year – particularly through targeted and random sales of equipment such as home seating and desking, Mick adds. During the early part of the pandemic there was also a huge increase in demand for items such as hand sanitiser, toilet rolls, hand soap, disinfectants and disinfectant wipes. “These were all products we

than 30 years in business, an impressive

had supplied regularly in the past, but

feat given the amount of consolidation

never in such numbers,” says Mick. “We

in the market over the years.

struggled to get hold of them for several months – as many others did in the

SURVIVING THE PANDEMIC The solid foundations the business

sector.” The rush for cleaning products

is built on also helped Office Plus to

has now subsided and stabilised, but

weather the storm of the COVID-19

other buying habits have yet to return

pandemic over the past year. Mick

to normal. However, Mick thinks

notes that Office Plus remained open

that some of these will do so as we

during the whole lockdown period. “As

move towards a post-COVID future.

we supply the local hospitals, schools,

For instance, while he believes that

and other medical facilities, we were

more people working from home is

classed as essential suppliers and were

a trend that is here to stay, it won’t

not forced to close,” he says. “However,

be at the enormous levels that some

most of our business comes from offices

people have predicted. “People will

within the local finance industry so,

gradually migrate back to offices where

despite our remaining open, turnover

interaction creates its own dynamics,”

dropped by more than 30% overnight.”

he says, “although much will depend on

This reduction in business from its traditional target market prompted the

the type of work, obviously.” Whatever happens in the market,

Office Plus team find and supply to new

Mick is confident that Office Plus will

markets, such as home workers. Mick

adapt. “Markets have always changed

explains that this was predominantly

– remember carbon paper, multistrike

pushed through the company’s social

ribbons and fax machines? We’ll have to

media presence, which has been

find the goods or services to APRIL 2021 [27]



consideration of these issues when

Turnover has increased and we’ve succeeded in retaining our margins.”

trading,” he says. “It is still a point of slight disappointment that many clients who talk an environmental game often fall at the final hurdle when they hear the price!” LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

provide what’s needed to both

This sustainable range shows how

businesses and work-from-homers.”

Mick is looking to the future of the business, and he has some help in


this as the next generation is already

An example of how the market evolves

involved. “Two of my three sons

can be seen in the move towards more

are now in the business, driving it

environmentally sustainable products

forward with young and modern ideas

in recent years. Office Plus introduced

and perspectives,” he says.

its own sustainable initiative, ‘Forever Future’, 18 months ago with the help

global challenges of the past 18 months

of its buying group, Integra, “but with

- our turnover has increased and, while

from pressure from ourselves,”

some local competitors have gone out of

Mick says.

business, we’ve succeeded in retaining

The primary objective of Forever Future is to reduce the company’s

our margins.” Mick’s motivation is still as clear as

carbon footprint and help to make

ever, and he believes that the personal

positive social change. However, while

touch from a business that is local to

the promotion of Forever Future’s

many is still valued by customers.

aspiration has been successful so far,

[28] APRIL 2021

“Since they joined - and despite the

“There’s no complacency – we don’t

this has yet to be carried through

have a right to supply a client; we’ll

to results. “Sustainability is right at

continue to provide, locally, a great deal

the head of our marketing mission,

more than any faceless online trader

and many clients insist on full

can,” he says.



M I ND T HE G A P GAP analysis has, traditionally, been an important tool for dealers to see what customers are and are not buying and, with some adaptations, it still has a vital role in the post-COVID office supplies market.


o say this past year has been like no

managing director of NEMO Group. “In the past 12 months dealers have

in my view, is still to be determined as the COVID threat decreases.

other for the office

had the opportunity to sell new products

products sector is

and categories which, consequently, has

remains the same. For example, if a

an understatement;

made the GAP analysis approach seem

customer is buying floor markings

demand for products has switched

less valuable. Yet, done properly, with

for social distancing that creates the

markedly thanks to COVID, and many

some adaptations for the changing times,

opportunity to sell in screens, regular

dealers have moved quickly to adapt.

it is still massively valuable,” he says.

sanitiser, signage for washrooms; just

But as we move into a new –

“Traditionally, GAP analysis is used

“The principle of GAP analysis

because it is a new category, it doesn’t

hopefully – post-COVID phase, dealers

to identify products categories not being

make GAP analysis less relevant –

still need to analyse what customers

sold to individual customers, based on

instead, it changes what the customer is

have bought and will want in the coming

purchases. Dealers need to change to

looking for. In truth, it probably requires

months, and this is where the GAP

a more forward-thinking approach, in

a bit more of a personal customer

analysis still has an important role,

line with the whole work environment

analysis rather than simply running a

according to Tim Beaumont, group

transitioning to something new which,

report from the system.”

[30] APRIL 2021




can access the emails they have sent,

each customer is buying, not buying

Robert Harper, marketing director at

and check the open rates and success

or has stopped buying and seamlessly

Prima Software, agrees there are chances

rates, but it is about following this up.

sharing that information with those

for upselling in the future. “We are seeing

The way of completing business will

responsible for communication with the

a lot of dealers having new customers

change; they can no longer rely on

customer are all key to current world

coming to them for PPE and COVID-

the ‘phone ringing - there is a more

business success.

related products, and this is a good

proactive sell coming, I believe.

opportunity - when we go back to normal

“The traction you see in people

“CRM and sales tools such as Vecta enable simple, accurate, timely checks

- to upsell the traditional office products

opening email is important, going

on performance and opportunities and

to them.” In the same vein, there will

forward – it’s going to highlight some of

create calls to action.”

also be opportunities for upselling PPE

the key gap areas. Targeting customers

products to existing customers who have

with traditional paper and toner

dealers if they don’t start using these

only bought traditional office products in

might not work but they might need

marketing and data tools to grow. There

the past, Robert adds.

sanitisation products. It’s about being

is so much change now, and this is one

ahead of the curve and using those tools

more area they are going to have to

to see what’s coming.”

push forward in. Some of them have got

Robert says historic GAP analysis will have an important role to play when looking at existing

“I think it’s going to be hard for

the information readily available but,

customers. “Having historic data is


for others, it’s going to be much more of

key – comparing data for the past

Hill, Vecta product manager, agrees

a challenge.”

few months isn’t going to be relevant;

that information is key for dealers to be

dealers need to go back to what

successful in the future. “Many sales


customers were buying before the

and customer service personnel believe

Tim Beaumont points out that,

pandemic,” he says. Using this data,

they know their customers pretty

while GAP analysis will be needed,

dealers can see where demand was

well; customers however have higher

a more personal approach will also

before, and predict what it might be

expectations and more buying options

be important. “A call to determine

again, as we head towards a more

than ever before,” she says. “Consistent

where the pain points are, and what a

normal way of working, he says.

communication, a real understanding

customer is doing about an area of their

of the products that fit client needs and

business, or how they are managing


keeping a close eye on performance,

the return of staff and hybrid working -

Charlotte Eyre, marketing director at

buying patterns and requirements is

then some applied thought to just what

Nectere, agrees that GAP analysis can

vital to retaining that competitive edge

the customer will need,” he says.

highlight opportunities for dealers.

dealers aim for.

“Just as with online dealers – people

“Running an analysis of what people

“However, in an environment of

have bought, or stopped buying, is a

hundreds or thousands of customers

purchased these additional products; as

huge opportunity area for picking up

and products it’s impossible to manually

always, it’s about building a picture of

those sales and forecasting what the

track all of the opportunities that exist

the customer pain points and delivering

focus areas need to be over the next six

to sell associated items, switch sell to

the products and services they will

months,” she says.

higher margin products and fill gaps in

require. A focus on new product

a customer spend pattern.

areas, and providing solutions, is also

Charlotte adds that dealers will need to pay close attention to GAP analysis data in the coming months. “Dealers

“Analysis of what products are selling across what customer type, what

who purchased this product also

an excellent lead into traditional OP opportunities.” APRIL 2021 [31]

PUT THIS IN YOUR DIARY! Thursday 21st October 2021 Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Dealer Support LIVE returns in 2021 to present an interactive version of our market-leading magazine We would like to invite all dealers and their teams to DSLive 2021 in October. We have carefully considered the timing and precautions will be in place, and we look forward to welcoming you at the RICOH Arena, Coventry on 21st October.

There will be something for every type of delegate at Dealer Support LIVE. Each attendee will be able to build a schedule for the day that meets their needs. The day will include: SOLUTIONS-THEMED SEMINARS With a focus on problem-solving and addressing pain points, the seminars will cover a wide range of issues and supply delegates with invaluable information from their peers and partners. Q&A SESSION A panel of key industry faces will give delegates the opportunity to speak up about any burning questions they might have on the hot topics of the moment.

EXHIBITIONS As ever, there will be an exhibition area which allows delegates to network and learn from supplier partners, interact with products and discuss new ideas. NETWORKING Dealer Support LIVE gives delegates the opportunity to meet up and talk face-to-face – something which has recently been impossible due to the pandemic. GROW YOUR BUSINESS Develop your company using the combination of informative seminars, expert advice and peer discussion. Dealer Support LIVE was created to improve the professional lives of our readership, so take full advantage of the day.

While this is a challenging time, we can all work together to stay connected and safe.



VA L U E - A D D E D C O N T E N T



managing director at Social Chain

world, every brand

Types of content users would like to see more of:

is fighting for


people’s attention,


loyalty and

Creating value-added content requires

2. Funny content e.g. memes (37%)

money. The question is, how can you

you to fulfil one or more of the

3. Short videos <60 seconds (33%)

differentiate yourself from the rest and

following criteria with every post that

4. Photos and images (33%)

actually cut through this noise?

you publish:

5. Reviews (32%).

The biggest mistake that you can

1. Educational content e.g. how-tos (40%)

1. Educate or inform your audience

make when it comes to social media, is

2. Inspire your audience

Note the types of content that aren’t on

expecting your audience to pay attention

3. Entertain your audience

these lists. Your audience don’t follow

to you, engage with you, and care about

4. Save your audience time

you for your internal news bulletin

what you have to say. You can’t just throw

5. Save your audience money, or help

style posts, job ads and product

posts out into the algorithm-abyss and

them make more.

expect it to attract 1,000 likes, 200 shares, and 100 new leads every day. You’ll get the greatest return on your

catalogues. Sure, these things are important to post about from time to

We now have a hefty amount of data

time, but it’s about making these kinds

backing the business case for value-

of posts the minority, thus allowing

marketing efforts when social media

added content too. GlobalWebIndex

value-added content to become the

is less like a shouting match, and more

conducted an incredibly insightful

majority of your output.

like a value exchange.

study in 2020 that revealed the main

Therefore, in order to get the

motivations of users when choosing


attention, engagement and new business

who to follow (and who not to follow)


that you’re looking for, you need to

and what types of content they would

Building your social media strategy on

create content that warrants that

like to see more of.

a foundation of value-added content

attention and engagement. In order to

Main motivations to follow brands

will help you to create a seamless sales

receive, you must first give. But what

and/or creators on social media:

funnel. This content helps people to

can you give on social media? Value-

1. To learn something new (51%)

discover your brand, engage with your

added content.

2. To be entertained (49%)

brand, and build trust with your brand,

3. To pass the time (49%)

with the ultimate goal of doing business

without a strong social-first creative

4. Shared passions or interests (43%)

with your brand.

that provides value” - Katy Leeson,

5. To gain inspiration (38%)

“Everything is a waste of time

[34] APRIL 2021

Value-added content is more easily

VA L U E - A D D E D C O N T E N T

searchable and this helps your content

you. By consistently providing your

to reach new people. When you create

community with the answers to their

content that matches up word for

questions, inspiring them, perhaps

word with what your ideal customer

entertaining them too, they’ll become

or client types into Google, your

more and more likely to engage with

content is more likely to get found

you. They might save posts that they

and then clicked on - whether that be

find particularly helpful, share them

a blog article, a YouTube video, or any

with their colleagues or friends, and

other type of social media post. As

comment on them asking for further

soon as they see your post they think

guidance. All of these interactions lead

“Ah, that’s exactly what I’m looking

them further into your sales funnel.

for”. What content could you create

And finally, the end goal is, of

that generates that kind of response?

course, to build relationships so strong

For example, I could write a blog

that the most engaged members of

on “How to create high-performing

your online community turn into leads

social media posts”.

for you to convert into customers.

Value-added content is important


Which, since you’ve provided them

for attracting new people into

with so much value already, should be

your online community, but it’s

significantly easier than selling to ice-

also important for continuing to

cold prospects. Et voilà!

strengthen your relationships with

So, what value could you start

them after they’ve chosen to follow

adding to your social media content?

DANI BARKER, FOUNDER AT SOCIAL SOURCE Connect with Dani Barker on LinkedIn and Instagram for more social media strategies, updates and insights. Email DANI@SOCIAL-SOURCE.COM APRIL 2021 [35]

inspiring success

Enjoying this issue of Dealer Support? If you like what you see, you can subscribe for free! Don’t miss out on receiving your own monthly issue

SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Visit to receive Dealer Support for free every month Issue 295




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IT PREDICTIONS FOR 2020 What to expect for the year ahead

PHIL JONES Brother UK’s MD talks learning and leadership

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Collaborate and listen Collaboration is fundamental to the development of ideas and projects in businesses across the board. COVID-19 has made this difficult, thanks to the number of people working from home, but there are solutions, and OP dealers have a part to play.


he old adage ‘two heads are better than

managers are based, with employees travelling in once or

one’ may be cliché but, as with all clichés,

twice a week to meet with their bosses.

there is more than an element of truth in

That said, 3M say collaborative workplaces are

it. And so it is in business – collaboration

increasingly favoured among employees and pave the way to

between people, and in teams, is vital to

more effective interaction between colleagues and increased

the sharing and development of ideas, no matter what sector

idea-sharing. There are various products available to help

they operate in.

enable effective home working and collaboration, such as Post

However, traditional office-based meetings and workshops - which have been a staple for generations - are now often no longer practical; many people are working

it Notes, meeting charts, notepads and writing instruments, says a spokesperson for VOW Wholesale. Establishing an openly creative culture, where all ideas

from home, and those who remain in the office are currently

are acknowledged, will encourage employees to collaborate

subject to social distancing rules. Nevertheless, collaboration

and innovate, while involvement and transparency from the

is still needed to ensure projects are brought forward to

top-down is essential in motivating employees to engage with

fruition and developments are secured.

one another.

The scale of the problem was highlighted by a recent GFK

Collaboration between home and office workers should be

survey which revealedthat 55% of people said they found it

encouraged by giving everyone appropriate technical support

more difficult to collaborate with people they usually see in

in order to make it quick and easy for everyone to participate

the office from a home office environment, although 31% of

and share ideas, according to VOW.

people said focusing, and preparing for a meeting, was easier to do from home for the same reasons. 3M has predicted that office locations, size, purpose,

“In Microsoft Teams, for instance, Word, Excel and PowerPoint files can be edited directly within Teams once uploaded,” the spokesperson said. “This allows teams to view,

activities and environment will change dramatically over the

edit and collaborate in one, centralised file. Give the people

next five years; offices could remain as hubs where senior

the tools they need to do the job.” APRIL 2021 [37]





Cameron Mitchell, head of sales (partner channel) at

Jeff May, UK sales director at Konftel, adds that offices are

Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd, agrees.

being reorganised to create more space for meetings and

“Digital transformation has been quietly revolutionising the

enable more video conferencing. “It’s important to fully-

workplace for several years but, as people return to work in

prepare for the next phase of COVID recovery, combining a

the wake of the global pandemic, the digitally-connected

mix of home working and phased office life,” he says.

office has become essential in helping companies to foster a

“Our working world has undergone dramatic changes,

collaborative environment, particularly as demand grows for

with video and audio conferencing playing a frontline role.

agile hybrid working practices.

With the vaccination rollout going well, organisations need

“Even before the COVID restrictions, technology

to start preparing for people to return to offices in a limited

advancements and refreshed expectations from a younger

way – while also ensuring they have high quality equipment

generation had already resulted in office space being empty

to continue working from home.”

for larger parts of the week. Dealers must cater for customers seeking agile solutions to provide workplace transformation,


delivering technology - such as document management

Jeff adds that, when people return to the office, it won’t be

solutions - to help employees stay connected, even if they are

‘business as usual’. This is something businesses will have

scattered geographically.

to factor in – and dealers should look to offer products to

“Konica Minolta and our channel resellers work

help. “Safety and social distancing will be vital when more

closely together to help customers in their workplace

people return to offices,” he says. “No-touch solutions will be

transformation and journey to the intelligent connected

increasingly popular.

workplace. This approach is perfect for addressing ongoing

“Take our Konftel Unite app for example. It switches

barriers, such as time and travel constraints, but also ideal

the operation of audio-based meetings from the traditional

for overcoming similar challenges presented by social

keypad to the screen of a mobile ‘phone or tablet, easily, via

distancing restrictions.

Bluetooth. Konftel has always argued for flexibility when

“To meet the needs and expectations of both office and home-based workers, dealers need to ensure their customers have solutions that deliver agility, and also data

it comes to all the collaboration tools available, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Webex. “Safety is paramount too. At the office, Bring Your Own

security. Examples of relevant solutions include document

Meeting means the user can take their own laptop into

management, data capture, workflow automation and print

the meeting room, with their choice of collaboration app

management, and also products that can help improve the

installed, and then connect to the speakerphone, conference

customer experience - for example SMS messaging solutions.

cam and screen using a single USB cable.

“Ultimately, work is no longer a physical place or time; it

“In addition, the Konftel 800 audio device can be daisy-

is about connecting people with workspaces and technology

chained to significantly increase the distance between people,

to allow them to operate with agility, accessing information

while ensuring they are still clearly heard, even in the biggest

from disparate locations to make decisions faster.”

of rooms.”

[38] APRIL 2021

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ERGONOMIC FURNITURE a must for long-term homeworkers Ergonomic furniture for people working at home will still be an active market even when people have begun to return to the office and dealers need to cater to this market.


esearch published in March by Currys

evaluate your workspace every day to within an inch of its life,

PC World, in collaboration with Canon,

but you should certainly be considering how you generally

found that many UK employees working

feel, day-to-day.

from home still don’t have their own office space, with 27% working from the living

room and one-in-10 working from the kitchen. Such working environments are not ergonomically

“For instance, for a chair to support and fit you properly there are some key features you need to consider - height adjustment, good seat depth, lockable back with lumbar support, adjustable armrests and dynamic chair adjustment

optimised and, in the long-term, could lead to tiredness and

which allows you to move in the chair whilst being supported.

work-related injuries, such as shoulder or muscle strains,

At Dams we believe that everybody deserves a good office

which are painful and can impact on productivity.

chair which has the movement and positioning capabilities

It means that, with working from home set to be a long-

to enable people to sit comfortably, while at the same time

term arrangement for many employees – either full-time or

encouraging productivity by seamlessly supporting the body

part-time split between home and the office - the issue of

during work activities.”

having ergonomically-designed office furniture at home is as important as ever. “Ergonomics is all about enhancing your performance

Desks are as important, according to Simon. With the standard desk height of 725mm – which correlates to the seated elbow height of a 6’2’’ male – users need to ensure they

through good design whilst also keeping you safe and

can set themselves up so that, when their hands are in their

healthy,” says Simon Howorth, marketing and design manager

lap, the worktop meets their natural elbow position. “You can

at Dams. “What this means is that you need to take a bird’s

do this by adjusting your chair height and using a footrest for

eye view of the space you now find yourself working in and

additional support, or adjusting the table height. The desktop

identify what is working and what’s not. You don’t need to

should be at around elbow height in a seated and standing

[40] APRIL 2021

INDUSTRY NEWS AND INSIGHT Make sure your team are up to speed with the latest industry developments Sign them up now at |



position,” he says. Meanwhile, it is recommended that the laptop or monitor is positioned at eye level, or just below, Simon adds. “If you are using a laptop alone, sourcing a height and angle

market, with emphasis erring back towards the traditional office environment, so there will be a return to normal office products,” he says. “That being said, the term ‘hybrid working’ is becoming

adjustable laptop stand is important; this will encourage a

common parlance and reflects the expectation that, for the

better head and neck posture. If you have one or two screens,

longer-term, many employers will be offering their staff the

you may want to consider a monitor arm to provide smooth

choice of working from office, home or both; this means that

and effortless adjustments, which can be tailored to the user’s

the WFH market will move past the ‘firefighting’ needs of

exact needs, allowing you to sit more comfortably at your

a lockdown and into a phase of more maturity, so breadth

home office desk while reducing lower neck pain and eye and

of price points, styles and sizes of workstations/desks with

back strain due to incorrect monitor positions.

matching ancillary items, are key for dealers if they want to

“Creating a space where you design issues out and, therefore, can work with better health and performance is

capture the opportunities that this demand will create. “We are also seeing a call for multi-purpose furniture that

vital - but it only works if you allow your body the chance to

could be used as a desk but then double-up for domestic use

move throughout the day.”

– flip-down tables, counter height desks, etc. As far as chairs are concerned, there won’t be a huge change to the market as


seating functions are largely interchangeable between office

Jon Askill, marketing manager at Nautilus Designs, adds that

and home.

ergonomic office chairs have been by far the most popular

“One thing that is notable about the WFH market is

and desired office furniture item during the lockdown, due

that, from a dealer perspective, it is much more fragmented,

to their proven health benefits. “Having an ergonomic office

and doesn’t really create many large installation project

chair helps prevent neck and lower back pain, promotes

opportunities, so a good supply partnership is key.”

the natural lordotic ‘S’ shape of the spine, improves blood circulation and boosts overall productivity,” he says. “All respectable employers are aware of this (though many may not admit it). “Throughout 2020, we saw a dramatic increase in sales of basic home office furniture and, as 2021 progresses, and we move into 2022, we expect demand for ergonomic equipment to level out and to be, once again, overshadowed - or perhaps only matched - by standard equivalents. It’s all contingent on what the ‘new normal’ turns out to be. “Whatever the outcome, we suspect that the market for ergonomic home office equipment will remain thriving and healthy for quite some time.” CHANGES COMING Mark Galliano of Teknik agrees that the ergonomic furniture market will continue to thrive in a post-pandemic world. “There is no question that things will change in the furniture

[42] APRIL 2021

Calendar Year 21 Quarter 2 is

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LIVE IT Life hack Clean with baking soda to freshen things up all over your home. It’s a gentle abrasive, and a natural deodoriser, making it ideal for whitening grout, refreshing a stinky fridge, de-greasing dishes, and more.



THUMBS UP The queen of hearts BBC News has reported that crocheted hearts and messages of kindness have been left around a town by a crafter dubbed ‘the queen of hearts’. The hearts and flowers have been found around Alcester, in Warwickshire, leaving residents keen to identify the mystery crocheter. They are attached to notes reminding finders ‘You are loved’. Residents said finding them has been ‘a pleasure’, and has helped them through difficult lockdown days. The identity of the person leaving the notes remains a mystery, but locals say whoever it is is ‘amazing’.

Quote of the month “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey –

[44] APRIL 2021


Did you know?



The hashtag symbol is technically called an octothorpe. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the ‘octo-’ prefix refers to the eight points on the popular symbol, but the ‘thorpe’ part remains a mystery. One theory claims that it comes from the Old English word for ‘village’, based on the idea that the symbol looks like a village surrounded by eight fields!

What a wonderful world Fly me to the moon Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has invited eight


1. Who was the owner of Buzz in Toy Story? 2. Which famous long-distance train had its first run in October 1883? 3. True or false: goldfish have a three-second memory?

members of the public to join him

4. Which is the largest planet?

for a trip around the moon on Elon

5. Amazon boss Jeff Bezos pledged $10bn to help fight what global issue?

has reported. “I want people from all kinds of backgrounds to join,”

Answers: 1. Andy 2. Orient Express 3. False 4. Jupiter 5. Climate change

Musk’s SpaceX flight, BBC News

he said in a video via Twitter, where he also shared a link to application details. He said he will pay for the entire journey, so those who come onboard will fly for free. “I

Knock me down with a feather

have bought all the seats, so it will be a private ride,” he added.

A miracle pup

The mission, called dearMoon, is

A puppy with six legs and two tails has been born in

scheduled to fly in 2023. Applicants

the US - and vets are describing her as a ‘miracle’, Sky News

need to meet two criteria; they

has reported. It’s believed that Skipper was supposed to have a twin,

should advance ‘Whatever activity’

but they failed to completely split apart, meaning that she has twice as

they are in to ‘help other people

many body parts from the waist down. Although she has just one head and

and greater society in some way’,

chest, she’s got two pelvic regions, two reproductive systems, and two tails.

and show they are ‘Willing to

Veterinary specialists say they haven’t been able to find any published case

support other crew members who

studies of a puppy being born alive with her congenital condition.

share similar aspirations.’ APRIL 2021 [45]


F A T H E R P. C L I P

Bringing hope, peace and unity to the good brethren of the business supplies community

The good Father on the joys of lockdown communication, digital blessings and unfortunate camera angles oom or Teams

is looking at you, or if, in fact, the

wish them a successful future with

or Skype or

whole zoom call is looking at you.

fewer damages, less picking errors and

whatever your

Discovering your best position is

more customers to hear complaints

choice of video call

very important - it’s all to do with

from. I think people appreciate

software may be,

finding your best angle and your

this gesture during lockdown as it

they’ve made such a difference

best background. Mrs O’Reilly, who

seems that more and more people

during this lockdown, haven’t they?

looks after our IT, HR, warehousing,

are looking for some sort of guidance

I can’t remember the last time I was

administration, and logistics, found

- like how to unmute themselves and

in the same room as someone, but

this out very quickly when the camera

how to switch their camera on.  

I can tell you everything you need

had focused on one of her warts during

to know about how many fillings

a zoom call. The guys at the other end

would be so nice to go out and actually

they’ve got and what sort of biscuits

didn’t sleep for three days and she was

visit customers again or meet up with

they prefer and what they wear when

so embarrassed that she made sure that

them in person. It helps to cement

relaxing (although it appears that just a

her positioning was perfect from then

relationships much more than talking

pair of underpants is not acceptable).


to them on a computer screen and you


I don’t know if anyone actually

I always put on my best cassock

The times have indeed changed, it

can also keep an eye on who’s been

feels comfortable on these calls though.

during these calls and make sure

supplying them with office products

You really are in the spotlight for

I start the meeting with a small

during lockdown when they’ve been

everyone to see and unlike when you

blessing where I bless all of those

telling you there is no one in the office

are in a room, you don’t know who

working in office supplies and

to buy any.

[46] APRIL 2021



A mindful return HAYLEY JAMES, mindset coach at Hayley James Coaching, on why you need to put employee being at the forefront when returning to the office After months and months of working

another. Not everyone adapts to change

from home, the thought of returning to

well. Not everyone wants to open up

the office for many people is daunting.

about how they are feeling. For some

For others, it can’t come quick enough!

people, the feeling of anxiety can be

For any business welcoming back

completely new, something they have

employees who have been on furlough

never experienced before the pandemic.

or working virtually, it’s time to put in

NLP (Neuro Linguistic

Hayley James Mindset coach at Hayley James Coaching

the right health and safety protocols

Programming) is about how we take

to keep their employees physically

in information or experiences that

safe. But, what about their employee’s

happen outside of us, how we process


that information or experience and how

capacity signs in meeting rooms, or

Many employees will be feeling

it affects our thoughts, our beliefs and

one-way systems. It’s also about creating

anxious about their return to the office.

our behaviour. So, it’s no surprise that

an environment for employees to feel

Worried about their safety, what will the

the last twelve months has had an affect

safe and feel that they can be vocal

office look like? What will the new rules

on how we feel, we think and behave.

about how they are feeling. It’s about

be? Do I have to wear a mask all day

It’s enhanced our feelings of fear and

letting them know it’s okay to feel

every day? What if one of my colleagues

our feelings of sadness with many of us

this way and provide support where

comes too close? What happens if one

experiencing the loss of loved ones. It’s


of my colleagues brings the virus into

enhanced our feelings of loneliness. All

the office?

of these feelings are perfectly normal.

All these questions and feelings

It’s important to be mindful of how

If there is one thing this pandemic has taught me, its about being kind to yourself if you are finding things

are perfectly normal. The COVID-19

people around you might be feeling.

challenging and to others. Your

pandemic has been challenging for

Returning to the office isn’t just about

experience can be and will be a very

each and every one of us in one way or

hand sanitizer stations, or maximum

different experience to someone else. APRIL 2021 [47]

THE independent event for UK dealers PUT THIS IN YOUR DIARY! Thursday 21st October 2021 Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Profile for Intelligent Media Solutions

Dealer Support April 2021  

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