Page 1


December 2020

Issue 305


NEW YEAR, MORE CHALLENGES The industry makes it’s 2021 predictions

inspiring success

NEW YEAR, MORE CHALLENGES The industry makes its 2021 predictions TUNED IN WITH GEOFFREY BETTS Industry veteran enthusiastic about sectors future THE GO-TO MAN go2’s Alister Hall on taking risks to get rewards

On behalf of Matthew, Ellie and Dan, a big thank you for your continued support through this rather tricky year. Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Thanks to all of our customers for their continued support in 2020. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The whole team at ECI Horizon wishes its customers and suppliers a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2021.

We’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and all the very best from the ECI e-automate team!

THANK YOU and Merry Christmas to all our customers. We appreciate your continued loyalty and look forward to a prosperous, safe and better year ahead.

We would like to wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2021, from the FusionPlus Team stay safe folks!

Wishing everyone in the industry a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, successful New Year from the team at Durable.

We would like to wish all our trading partners Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2021! Thank you for your support and loyalty through this “challenging” year!

Merry Christmas to our fantastic employees, customers and suppliers. Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to working with you in 2021.

From the team at International Paper, we wish you a Merry Christmas. Thanks for your support through 2020 and we look forward to a safe and happy New Year.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas from everyone at Brother. We’re looking forward to being “At your side” again in 2021.

! E W

N AN EASIER WAY TO SHIP HAS ARRIVED All you need is Scotch® Flex & Seal Shipping Roll and a pair of scissors - No tape needed. CUT



Grey to Grey

Conforms to the shape of your item.

Cushion to protect a wide range of sizes and shapes.

Sticks securely to itself, not to your items.

The final curtain After a tumultuous year which has been challenging for most of us - both personally and professionally - many will be glad to close the final curtain on M 2020 and look to 2021 for a brighter horizon. I imagine most of us have uttered you arkin rc g the words “I can’t wait for this year to end” at some point, and now it is finally ard drawing to a close. s Despite the hurdles 2020 has relentlessly thrown up, the industry has shown that, when the going gets tough, it gets going. Wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers and dealers all adapted quickly to the challenges this year A presented, and should all be proud of how they have faced these difficult times head on. Although a new calendar year may be soon to begin, the impact of COVID-19 will continue into 2021 and Brexit will become a more pressing issue. With this in mind, this month’s BIG ASK probes the industry for their 2021 predictions. We then go from looking forward, to looking back, as Geoffrey Betts reflects on 2020. Our DEALER SUCCESS story focuses on Alister Hall, of go2, who discusses his journey in the industry and how it has led to a successful 2020 and a partnership with Office Power. From there, we look at why 2021 is predicted to be a year of stationery success, with the stationery and cards market expected to grow and, bringing Dealer Support’s 2020 to a close, our FINAL WORLD comes from 3M’s Keeley Shepherd and this year’s final FATHER P. CLIP reflects on the Christmas cheer of yester years. Although this festive season won’t be full of the parties, gatherings and celebrations we are used to, I’m sure we will all be glad for a bit of Christmas spirit to lift our mood, with twinkling lights and nostalgic tunes making life seem a little less dark and dreary. I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year full of health, prosperity – and, hopefully, a lot more fun than 2020! Stay safe, and enjoy the festivities! As always, don’t forget to chat to us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts and opinions: @dealersupport. SALES SUCCESS


A new report says the global stationery and cards market is set for strong growth in the coming years, and dealers are looking to take advantage of this trend with a range of products.

s Christmas

than £1.7 billion in 2018 on greeting cards,


approaches, many

according to the UK Greeting Card Market

This is reflected in The Global Stationery

people will be

Report, undertaken by Echo Research

and Cards Market, a new report by Inside

thinking of sending

and commissioned by the Greeting Card

Market Reports, which says that the global

cards to loved ones

Association. Three-quarters of these sales

stationery and cards market is anticipated to

and friends to wish

came from ‘everyday’ cards – birthday,

rise at a considerable rate between 2020 and

occasions cards and also ‘blank for your

2026. In 2020, the market has been growing

them the best for the season – perhaps

even more so than usual this year given

greeting’, usually with a catchy message’ or

at a steady rate and with the rising adoption

that the COVID-19 restrictions which will

eye-catching design’ on the front.

of strategies by key players around the world,

be in place for many people around the

“There is plenty of evidence to

UK will mean going to see them won’t be

show that Generation Z and Millennials


(18-34-year-olds) are fully engaged with

While the development of the internet

cards and buy more volume than any other

the market is expected to increase over the coming years.

Tim Browning, a director at Blake

Envelopes, agrees that there is a movement

has revolutionised how we communicate

age-group,” says Amanda Fergusson, CEO

back towards written communication.

with each other over the past 25 years –

of the Greeting Card Association. “This is

“For the last 15 years communication has

most of us use email daily, and don’t send

an incredibly positive trend for the future

become more and more reliant on digital

many old-style letters – many people still

of our industry. We still have a way to go

platforms and, in recent years, this to the

prefer to send physical cards to friends

to catch up with the US though – the US

point of saturation,” he says. “The events and

and relatives to commemorate birthdays,

Postal Service reported 44 million extra

experiences of the last 12 months have only

anniversaries and religious festivals.

Indeed, the UK public spent more

[26] DECEMBER 2020

cards were sent between 2017 and 2018 –

served to enhance this feeling. Yet through

which they say is due to Millennials.”

all this a counter-movement

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:

Helping you and your customers stay safe and connected wherever you are Always your supplier, never your competitor Working with Exertis Supplies gives you access to over 21,000 products across Ink & Toner, Office Products and Technology If you’re not a customer already, find out today why so many successful businesses choose Exertis Supplies

Speak to our Team on

0871 222 3844 or email:



The latest news and views from the industry


Brexit and predictions for the year ahead


Stewart Superior’s Geoffrey Betts discusses the 2020 rollercoaster ride



Alister Hall on taking risks to get rewards

SALES SUCCESS 26 MARKING YOUR CARDS The resurgence of stationery




Take a break and enjoy some lighthearted fun


The good Father reflects on Christmas celebrations of years gone by


3M’s Keeley Shepherd with the final word of the year

Ma you rkin rc g ard s


“It has been a rollercoaster, to be honest, and I’m grateful to be sat here at the end of November with a company which is still in good shape”




THE MONTH THAT WAS Podcast: Spectrum Industrial enters office products TUNED IN with Alex Tatham, supplies market


Welcome to the first issue of Dealer Support TUNED IN, a new series of podcasts for the UK business supplies industry. In this podcast Alex Tatham, MD of Westcoast, gives a clear account of how the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has affected the business supplies industry, how that industry needs to change, and how dealers can adjust their business to thrive post-pandemic. Spectrum Industrial, a trading division of Centurion Europe, is a manufacturer

One of the UK’s largest privately owned

and supplier of safety signs and premises management products in the

companies, and on target for a record set of

industrial/FM markets. They are expanding their routes to market and

results despite the impact of COVID-19, here

have entered the office products supplies market, with agreements being

Alex explains his take on the industry, key

developed with wholesalers, distributors and dealer groups.

topics, and how resellers need to refocus on

Paul Kantecki, MD, commented: “It’s important that we look into new markets, and we are really excited about this new opportunity of supplying our leading range of safety signs and premises management products into

their businesses to be agile, adaptable and successful. For this episode Steve Harrop, a long-

the office products market. We offer a comprehensive range of safety signs

standing industry figure, TUNED IN with

to cover every conceivable customer requirement, all manufactured at our

Alex to discover the opportunities for UK

86,000sqft site in Doncaster.”

dealers to become successful in the tech

As a specialist manufacturer, all Spectrum’s signs conform to the BS EN

area. Alex provides some great examples of

ISO 7010 regulation, ensuring that all graphical safety symbols are consistent

‘business growth’ through the dealer channel

and compliant. “With over 20 years’ experience of manufacturing and

and is very enthusiastic about new product

supplying safety signs into the industrial, FM and health and safety supplies

opportunities. Innovation can be the key to

markets, we aim to bring our expertise and knowledge to help the office

success and Alex covers this in some detail,

products suppliers grow their sales with a product outside of the traditional

providing dealers with an insight into new

stationery assortment,” Kantecki explained.

and exciting product categories.

Spectrum is working with major partners in the OP market to gain

Join Alex and Steve in this fascinating

placement on web platforms for late 2020; with class-leading drop ship

discussion - and have your own say by

capability, resellers can be assured of the best ranges of products with

getting in touch with us by email: hello@

excellent availability across the channel.

[08] DECEMBER 2020


VOW Wholesale announces extra Christmas deliveries


CTS Toner Supplies expands sales team CTS Toner Supplies has three new members in its sales team. Paul Nelson joins the team as regional sales manager for Central UK; he has been working in the UK office supplies industry for last 25 years with his most recent experience at Spicers and Office Team heading up the EOS and MPS divisions. He brings a wealth of experience and new ideas. Tim Wills, the new CTS regional sales manager for Southern UK, brings with him 20 years sales’ experience and has worked with Canon, Panasonic,

In a change to previous years, VOW’s distribution centre will continue to

Samsung and Toshiba, bringing a broad

pick and despatch all direct delivery sales volumes between Christmas and

knowledge and understanding of the

New Year.


Operations director Martin Weedall says that changing customer behaviour, and discussions with VOW’s value add resellers, has led to this

CTS also announced an internal

change in approach. “While forecasting sales volumes in the current situation

promotion within its sales team. Charles

remains a challenge, we recognise the importance of maintaining a ‘business

Mill has been promoted to internal sales

as usual’ stance as far as possible to support our VOW resellers. The COVID-19

consultant. Charles, who previously

pandemic has driven many changes in the way we all live and work, especially

worked at a Rymans print shop as a print

when it comes to the number of people now working from home. This change

consultant, started at CTS just over a

in end-user dynamics is one that we have seen ourselves, from an operational

year ago in a customer support role and

perspective, and feedback from resellers has been that extending our trading

has shown both great enthusiasm and a

window over the Christmas period would be a welcome development in

natural skill for sales.

support of their own service offering.” VOW is anticipating that working habits over Christmas may also change,

Steve Clayton, MD, said: “We were lucky

with home-working leading to the potential for additional demand over the

to find such experienced individuals

traditional holiday period. “We know that there is a definite trend to people

to join our dedicated team, as well as

buying from local businesses, and that is great news for resellers,” says

to spot talent within the company. We

marketing director Helen Wade. “We will make sure that we do all we can to

are all looking forward to a prosperous

support them in building relationships and providing great service to their

2021, furthering our position in the

customers. Opening the warehouse between Christmas and New Year to

market as the choice supplier with the

facilitate deliveries on December 30th and 31st is not something VOW has

best service and broadest product

done previously, but it is necessary this year to support our reseller community,

range offering.”

and in response to changing customer behaviour.” DECEMBER 2020 [09]



ECI Software Solutions to be acquired by Leonard Green and Partners Upon completion of the transaction, funds advised by Apax Partners, which acquired ECI in 2017, will retain a minority stake in ECI. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Under the ownership of Apax Funds and Carlyle ECI has experienced rapid growth both organically and through strategic mergers and acquisitions. Since 2017, ECI has made 15 acquisitions, helping it gain significant market share and scale, internationally, with sizable transactions in Europe and Australia consolidating its presence in those regions. “The ECI team and I have had a powerful partnership with Apax and Carlyle as we have built the company into a leading SaaS business software solutions and services provider,” said Ron Books, ECI’s CEO. “They have been instrumental in the tremendous growth of our company, and we are proud of what we accomplished together. We are excited to welcome LGP as our new partner, and I am confident that this is

BIC launches Horizon strategic plan The Horizon strategic plan, which is an extension of the ongoing BIC 2022 – Invent the Future transformation plan, is focused on a set of initiatives that build on BIC’s strengths, with an intensified focus on consumer needs and sustainability. The strategy is grounded in BIC’s new vision of ‘We bring joy and simplicity to everyday life’, and its raison d’etre of, ‘creating high quality, safe, affordable, essential products, trusted by everyone’. “The goal of our Horizon plan is not only to amplify the core capabilities that have propelled our company for the last 75 years, but to also go beyond them into adjacent segments to ensure our long term, sustainable growth and profitability. My vision is to transform BIC from a manufacturing and distribution-led company into one which is more consumer-centric and fit-forpurpose, consistently seeking greater efficiency and reduced complexity in everything we do. “This strategy will accelerate growth, and prioritise sustained cash flow generation, to ensure sustainable returns to shareholders, and value creation for all stakeholders, for many years to come,” said Gonzalve Bich, CEO of BIC.

[10] DECEMBER 2020

Next Generation Shredders Now featuring a new range of Home and Small Office models for 2021


When launching our LX SERIES shredders in January 2020, we introduced new standards of style, a zero jamming promise, and the patented Intellibar™ responsive technology.* One year later, we are following up the success of this range with new models especially designed for home workers and small offices. Your customers can now ensure their employees are securely destroying confidential paperwork to comply with the GDPR wherever they are working.

*The LX201, LX211 and LX221 models feature Intellibar Technology and micro-cut functionality. The LX200, LX210 and LX220 models feature Intellibar Technology and mini-cut functionality. The LX65 and LX85 models feature cross-cut functionality but do not feature the 100% Jam Free function and Intellibar Technology. Ask your Fellowes Representative for more details.

The World’s Toughest Shredders®



NEW YEAR, MORE CHALLENGES The one thing we can be certain of about 2021 is that nothing will be certain. Due to either Brexit or COVID (or both!) we know that constant change is inevitable. In this month’s BIG ASK we ask what is likely to change in the industry next year, and what dealers need do to adapt now to grow turnover in 2021

[12] DECEMBER 2020



Alex Tatham, MD, Westcoast

the products that Westcoast distribute or which are sold by

Westcoast have been planning for

readers of Dealer Support. This could change, but it is unlikely

Brexit for over two years and this

that tariffs will be introduced anywhere in Europe. The biggest

December is the third time that

issue here will be developments in ongoing US and China

everyone has had a run at the actions

trade wars.

they need to take to manage the

These calmer waters will probably lead to less volatility

changes that are hurtling towards

in exchange rates too. However, price rises are inevitable

us all in the UK and Ireland - with

as the administration costs of managing the UK new regime

precious little sign that there is a

and freight movements will result in a gradual rise in prices.

‘false dawn’ this time around. Like all the other times, we

These are unlikely to be as violent as predicted previously,

are preparing for a ‘no deal’ scenario - the thought process

but dealers will need to be able to prepare themselves for

being, plan for the worst and any deal, however ‘thin gruel’ it

a more volatile price book - which will move them more

might be, will just make the situation better.

towards the IT industry’s business model, and away from the

What’s interesting is that the situation feels different this time around. Why? Is it that the pandemic has made us weary’ and a no-deal Brexit can’t be any worse than we have already

fixed price, corresponding to a catalogue period, which they currently use. However, some things are definitely not going to change

been through this year? Or is it because we have had such a

no matter what deal is struck – most notably, the need to

long time to get used to the idea that suppliers and freight

manage product data, paperwork, VAT, Irish deliveries and the

forwarders must be better prepared? Or, perhaps, 2020 has

inevitable divergence of regulations.

made us resilient, and if we can cope with all the things that COVID-19 has thrown at us, we can cope with anything! One thing is for sure though, it does feel different.

Most importantly, all dealers - and anyone exporting to Ireland, Northern Ireland (it will be treated as an export) and continental Europe - will have to ensure they are able to print

There is less hysteria; less news and, well, fewer arguments.

the commodity codes and countries of origin on their despatch

Everyone has now accepted it’s going to happen; it can’t be

documentation. It is a huge job to collect such codes, and

stopped, so we have just got to get on with it. For instance,

the support of the manufacturing community has been varied

resellers/dealers attitude to delays at port of import has been

with some (e.g. HP) being fantastic, and others non-existent.

much calmer than it was when the two previous deadlines

Distribution will perform well here, providing services where

came and went. Then, distributors stocked up with vendor

dealers do not have the resources and contacts.

support to cushion the blow that would inevitably happen

Dealers must be able to prepare correct paperwork. The

when Kent was turned into a lorry park; this time, very few

EU will stop and fine consignments that do not meet the

vendors have asked Westcoast to hold increased inventory –


perhaps because there are shortages but, much more likely, is

The advice for every dealer must be to go the

that they too are better prepared. The demand from dealers

government’s checklists (the British Chambers of Commerce

has also been calmer – everyone will have to wait.

do a very good one) and ensure their readiness. Hoping that

It’s fair to say that this is not the case in the car industry -

this will all go away, or magically get better, is not a strategy.

where JIT manufacturing will be crippled - or in the fresh food

Partner with the right distributor, open up your procurement

industry - where a two-day delay will prevent acceptance of

to more options and, above all, don’t panic. Sometimes it

consignments. But, in office products, we’ll be patient.

sounds worse than it is and, with a methodical approach,

It is also generally accepted that tariffs are unlikely in

Britain will carry on trading well. DECEMBER 2020 [13]



Adrian Butler, MD, VOW

ports is 95%+ deep sea vessels from outside the EU, so any


disruption should be very limited. There will be no changes

2020 has been consumed by the

to the customs’ procedure for orders coming from outside

COVID-19 pandemic; however,

the EU, and our freight forwarder is confident that we will

as we approach the end of 2020,

not see material delays due to Brexit.

we understand the continued

With regard to other products, VOW Wholesale’s

uncertainty surrounding Brexit

merchandising team has been working with our vendors

and its imminent deadline. Please

to identify possible risks to supply, and to mitigate these

be assured that VOW Wholesale

wherever possible. We are planning to buy an additional

is here to support you throughout whatever the deal or

£5m of stock by the end of this year.

no deal outcome may bring, and now is the time for us to update you on our position - be it deal or no deal. VOW Wholesale is taking all reasonable steps to

Cost increases It is possible that the value of Sterling will fall following

mitigate the potential impacts of Brexit. We have identified

Brexit, which would make imports of both raw materials

that the primary risks are as follows:

and finished products more expensive; it is also possible that tariffs will be payable on some imported goods. As the

Supply chain delays

UK’s largest business supplies wholesaler, VOW Wholesale

It is likely that the import arrangements for goods from the

will continue to leverage our purchasing power as much as

EU to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) will be

possible, to secure the best possible prices.

impacted at the end of the transition period. This could mean

Nonetheless, it is possible that VOW Wholesale will

that disruption for supply chains becomes a more tangible

be forced to take significant cost increases, as a result of

risk, but VOW Wholesale is prepared and ready to adapt to

Brexit, that are wholly beyond our control and which we

new processes and activities to smooth the transition.

cannot avoid or absorb; these may result in price increases having to be applied at short notice.

New customs arrangements We have been working through the key challenges and

Staff shortages

assessing how the rules for imports between the EU

VOW Wholesale employs some EU citizens within its

and GB may change after the transition period. The

operations. The large majority of them hold permanent

government has introduced a new, staged approach to

positions, after we acted earlier this year to mitigate the

imports from the EU as of January 2021, which will apply

risk of staff choosing to leave the UK after Brexit was

both in a deal or no deal scenario, with the intention of

confirmed. We believe that most – if not all – will continue

facilitating the smooth flow of goods.

to work for us into 2021 and beyond. Clearly, other risks may emerge as the precise form of our

Risk mitigation

exit from the EU becomes clearer. In all events, however, VOW

The only products that VOW Wholesale imports directly

Wholesale is committed to communicating all issues that arise

are private label lines from the Far East. The imports of our

to its customers as soon as they emerge, openly and honestly,

private label products from Far East factories come into

and mitigating any impacts on service and/or pricing as much

the UK via Southampton or Felixstowe. The intake at these

as reasonably possible.

[14] DECEMBER 2020

Can you give your customers big business benefits for a small price?

Xerox® VersaLink® family of office printers. Big features. Small price. Built-in security. Offer a true differentiator to customers and new ongoing profitable revenue for you. ©2019-2020 Xerox Corporation. All rights reserved. Xerox® and VersaLink® are trademarks of Xerox Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.



David Jones, group marketing director, Premier Paper Group

customs‘ inspection until July 2021. Premier has analysed which products are delivered by this

Whilst the outcome of a potential

method through channel ports and will be taking steps to

trade deal with the EU remains

build stocks prior to 1st January 2021, to negate the potential

unclear, it is now confirmed that,

negative effects of unreliable delivery times.

from 1st January 2021, goods arriving

Much of Premier’s supply of paper comes from long-

from the EU will require customs‘

distance suppliers by sea - which should be at far less risk of

clearance to be allowed into the UK,

delays as none of these suppliers use any of the channel ports.

and goods going to the EU from the

Premier will be generally increasing stock levels to cushion

UK will require the same. Premier Paper continues to prepare

the effects of any early post-Brexit delivery disruption, but

for new customs‘ procedures as we enter the last quarter of

customers using deliveries direct from our supplying mills

2020, and we are finalising our plans with all relevant parties in

should consider the effect delays may have upon production

our supply chain.

schedules as it will be difficult to guarantee precise delivery

To mitigate any issues that may arise through new, post-Brexit, customs‘ procedures discussions are ongoing with suppliers to ensure they are well aware of known

dates around the start of 2021, especially in respect of goods coming roll-on, roll-off through channel ports. With regard to the commercial effects of Brexit it is

requirements for customs‘ clearance, such as clarifying

still too early to know what these may be, as we need to

their incoterms and commodity codes. We are also seeking

consider the possibility of a deal being struck with the EU

to fully understand what actions they are taking to reduce

or, indeed, a no deal. It is of some comfort that, in the event

any customs‘ delays, such as signing up for Authorised

of no deal, then standard WTO tariff schedules on standard

Economic Operator (AOE) status, and arranging clearance

paper and paperboard are zero. However, in the event of a

of goods themselves - both of which should help reduce

no deal some specialist products may be subject to tariffs.

delays at UK customs.

We expect news on any tariffs that need to be applied to

In addition, Premier Paper will be working with a specialist customs‘ clearance agent to ensure the smooth flow of goods through ports where our suppliers are asking Premier

specialist products to become clearer and be communicated in the weeks ahead. Premier Paper are now part of OVOL, a $5bn international

to arrange goods‘ clearance. It is probable that European

paper distributor, giving us additional financial security to

suppliers operating a roll-on, roll-off distribution model

reassure our customers that we can help them through these

through the channel ports are most likely to see potential

volatile and challenging times. We continue to hold around

delays - as even small delays to the flow of goods traffic could

30,000 tonnes of stock across our 16 UK warehouses, as well

see an accumulation of traffic flowing through these ports

as additional stock at UK ports

in both directions. This is where Premier sees the greatest

We believe we are well on course in terms of our

potential for customs‘ delays, even though HMRC and border

preparation and will, therefore, be well placed to ensure we

control have stated that they will not be stopping goods for

minimise any impact of Brexit.

[16] DECEMBER 2020



Mark Wilkinson, regional vice

eventually have to be passed on to the customer and the

president, UK and Ireland, ACCO

consumer. This is because we are moving from frictionless trade

Brands EMEA

to something different. Some examples of the costs that could

What is likely to happen to stock

be incurred relate to duties (taxes), import fees, increased


stock holding and cost increases related to significant currency

Hopefully, there will be no impact

movements. Our pricing for 2021 is already set, and we have

at all. ACCO UK are taking every

chosen not to speculate on a no deal outcome. Any potential

possible measure under our control

negative impact of Brexit is, therefore, not reflected in that

to ensure our supply chain continues

pricing. In the event there is no free trade agreement between

to run smoothly and reliably. We maintain a very close working

the EU and the UK then our costs will increase - and these may

relationship with our European factories and external suppliers,

be passed on to the market in the fullness of time.

and that is not going to change; we have a well thought through plan to mitigate the potential impact of any disruption

Are there any specific regulations dealers should be

that may arise. At this stage, it’s hard to predict exactly what

aware of?

might happen, but we believe that any disruption at ports will

As the situation currently stands, the domestic shipping of

be relatively short-lived.

goods seems to be staying broadly as it is today. The main areas of change involve the labelling of goods, when placed on

What should dealers be telling their customers, if anything?

the UK market, as well as changes relating to the cross-border

If you want it, order it. Nobody knows exactly what will

supply into the Republic of Ireland. We are working closely with

happen, and we might see disruption at ports, with container

government and trade bodies, as well as our Irish partners, to

shortages, and existing COVID-19 restrictions, on working

prepare for these eventualities.

practices at ports being potentially exacerbated by other Brexit-related issues. Large, established suppliers like

What provisions have been put in place at your company

ACCO have a broad portfolio and solid supply chains and,

for Brexit, and why?

in the unlikely event that supplies of individual products are

We have put together a full, cross-functional team to ensure

disrupted, we will have plenty of other great products to

business readiness across all areas of the business including

satisfy the needs of the customer. If they want to be on the

sales, operations, supply chain, compliance, factory, finance,

safe side, and they have storage capacity available, resellers

IT and legal. We are doing all we can to ensure stability and

should place orders early to give themselves and their

continuity for our channel partners in January and throughout

customers peace of mind.

the first quarter of 2021. Like everyone else, we are hoping for some clarity from the negotiations and the relevant regulatory

Will the cost of products increase? If so, why?

bodies between now and the end of the year - but, for now, we

Brexit will increase the costs of doing business in the UK for

remain confident in our ability to manage whatever comes our

many businesses and, in the longer term, these costs may

way, and we’re planning for every possibility. DECEMBER 2020 [17]



CLEARING A PATH THROUGH THE DATA JUNGLE One-in-three businesses still don’t have a plan to digitally transform the way they work, and achieving this is difficult for 50% of these; this presents opportunities to dealers to help them make the transition and achieve the competitiveness they seek.


nformation – and the application of it

26% citing that their current setup makes it difficult to share

to gain a competitive advantage – is

information with others.

fundamental to any business in any sector.

This can affect all levels of a business. When employees

Today, businesses have access to more

don’t have easy access to key information, or it can’t be shared

information than ever before but, to be

across departments, then inefficiencies can increase and lead

of use, it has to be interpreted correctly;

to errors with customers receiving a sub-optimal service which

86% say that managing the amount of information in their business poses a challenge, according to findings unveiled by

can, in turn, lead to lost revenue. The figures in this research highlight the need for

information management solutions provider PFU (EMEA) Ltd in

businesses to digitally transform if they are to be competitive

the Fujitsu Image Scanner Organisational Intelligence Survey

in the future. The study shows that 35% of businesses surveyed

2020, a research project into the state of digital transformation

do not yet have a clear digital transformation plan in place -

in Europe.

and that digital transformation poses a challenge for 50% of

In addition, of the respondents - taken from more than 1,000 IT and business decision-makers across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK - 24% said they have lost important

organisations – while 61% believe it is impossible to become completely paperless. This is hampering their ability to operate in increasingly

documents and 23% said they have experienced inaccurate

competitive environments and develop organisational

decision-making because of how information is organised.

intelligence, Fujitsu says. Organisational intelligence is the

Meanwhile, 27% of businesses said that information is not currently easily available within their organisations, with

[18] DECEMBER 2020

capacity of a business to derive maximum value from its information; it involves the ability to create flexible knowledge



pathways that add value at every stage to every employee. An

competitive - especially as 61% believe the paperless office is

intelligent organisation uses insight to strategically adapt to its

an impossible dream.

environment or marketplace, according to Fujitsu. “Digital transformation is no longer a ‘nice to have’ for

There are other opportunities for dealers in this journey, the research revealed. For instance, 54% of respondents said

organisations; it’s a business imperative as more accelerate

they see scanning as an important digital transformation

their technology investments to be able to thrive in today’s

enabler, while 56% of records are stored both on paper and

highly-dynamic workplace,” says Mike Nelson, senior vice

digitally – which means there are opportunities to sell various

president, PFU (EMEA). “However, without the capacity to gain

storage applications.

valuable insight from the information they hold, organisations

The survey asked businesses what the primary

will not unlock the full capabilities that digital transformation

considerations are when selecting a supplier of scanning and

can enable.”

image capture solutions. By far the most important factor was ‘product quality’, which was cited by 44% of respondents. The


second most important factor was ‘innovation of products’

Customers will be better served by employees who can access

(mentioned by 24% of respondents), followed by ‘price

approved information quickly – productivity has been shown to

competitiveness’ (23%) and the ‘ability to manage information’

improve by 20-25% in organisations with connected employees,

and ‘exploit data and product warranties’ (both 22%).

the report says. Likewise, the knowledge base of employees

“Viewing the organisation as a single, interconnected

grows the more information is readily available to them and,

system of knowledge flows that can complement each other

as more employees interact and update this information, the

opens up opportunities for a business to gain maximum

organisation’s overall intelligence increases.

value from the information it has access to, and increase

The key benefits of well-organised information for

organisational intelligence,” said John Mancini, past president

businesses according to the survey are: improved productivity

of the Association for Intelligent Information Management. “It’s

of the workplace (31%), simplification of processes (30%),

reassuring to see that, despite the challenges businesses face,

cost-effectiveness (28%), faster decision-making (25%), client/

many are actively navigating their digital transformation journey

customer satisfaction (24%), ability to easily share information

to unlock their full potential.”

(23%) and avoiding wasted time (23%). The end goal for more than half of organisations is ‘company growth’ or ‘remaining competitive’, while 44% said

Embrace digital transformation with Fujitsu Document Scanners

‘improving staff efficiency and productivity’ is a trigger to launching digital transformation programmes. RESELLER OPPORTUNITIES

However, while the benefits are well understood, there are still barriers that businesses need to overcome in order to make the transformation. For instance, 34% cited security risks as a barrier to digital transformation, while regulatory compliance issues, and a lack of internal skills and/or resources to digitally transform, were both mentioned by 27% of respondents. A promising sign is that organisations are now recognising that they need to do more to better manage their information as part of their digital transformation journeys, with 80% turning to external experts to help them do so, and overcome the barriers mentioned. This creates opportunities for dealers who provide information capture solutions that will enable organisations to gather and process data and use it

Visit our newly refreshed channel enablement portal where you can download the report in full as well as watch a webinar taking a detailed look at the findings and customer opportunities.

Offer your customers the benefits that digital processes can bring:

to make intelligent decisions that will allow them to remain DECEMBER 2020 [19]



TUNED IN with Geoffrey Betts Industry veteran Geoffrey Betts, of Stewart Superior, has been in the office supply market for more than 35 years but is still enthusiastic about the sector – and its future - despite a rollercoaster year.


n all his years in the industry, Geoffrey

Stewart Superior has maintained a turnover of about £4

has not seen a year like 2020, and the

million for the past three years which, given the general

threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

downward trend in the office products market in that time, is

“We were very badly affected at the start

something that Geoffrey is justifiably pleased with.

of lockdown,” he concedes, “but we managed to turn ourselves into a COVID


supplier very quickly. We stayed within the parameters of what

This maintenance has been primarily achieved by expanding

we knew, rather than try and get into masks and visors; we

Stewart Superior’s markets in recent years. “I started going

stayed in our signage and display category which, fortunately,

to America – a bit like taking coals to Newcastle in the view

enabled us to have a tremendous second financial quarter.

of our being part-owned by an American company – and

“It has been a rollercoaster, to be honest, and I’m grateful to be sat here at the end of November with a company which is still in good shape.” The company is indeed in good shape. Marlow-based

[20] DECEMBER 2020

eventually we found ourselves a partner who took us into Staples and Amazon, and got us started about four years ago. “That was a tremendous springboard. We are now working with very large resellers in America. We also started working



is one of those situations where suddenly you find a product you have been selling for ever is suddenly no longer en

I’m grateful to be sat here at the end of November still with a company which is still in good shape

vogue. That’s what has happened to the office product market in core stationery supplies.” Replacing those products – and the margins – is difficult, and often requires moving into new markets, but success is usually down to the individual dealers, he says. “You look at the large independent dealers - and even the smaller independent dealers who are growing; if you are hungry, focused and driven, and know where you are going, there is still a great business to be had and you will continue to grow. “I have never lost my enthusiasm. I still get out of bed

with a company in Canada 18 months ago; that is growing as

in the morning and come in, and there are other people

well, and we are slowly but surely getting our brand established

like me out there driving businesses. I hope we continue to

in all the big resellers in Canada and the USA.

be successful. The independent dealer definitely has a role

Geoffrey adds that Stewart Superior is expanding further into Europe as well. “We had been thinking for a while if we should have a mainland Europe presence, in terms of

to play; the ones we work with offer great service and have great ideas. “It’s not all about price; it’s about service delivery, and

warehousing and support to our customers, because then we

taking the customer on an experience – when you come in,

could offer a dropship option to the likes of Amazon, Office

they have to think ‘What have you got new today?’ ‘Where are

Depot, Staples, Lyreco or whoever.

you going to take my business?’”

“During the year the pressure has been on more and more to do this. The government has failed us badly in not


telling us exactly what is happening with Brexit – the fact

Geoffrey adds that it is imperative for successful companies

that it is November 26, and business does not know what

to stay on trend with what customers want, as this is changing

is happening, is quite incredible. How all governments – I

all the time. Home working is, obviously, a growth area, and

include the EU in this – have not managed to reach an

Stewart Superior are planning to launch a furniture range in

agreement is beyond me.

the second quarter of 2021, preceded by a lighting range in

“The decision we took was to make sure we are ok. We are opening a warehouse in Holland - it will be open on

the first quarter, to cater for this. “The lights will come out with a USB port – no plug

December 2 - but we won’t start shipping until the new year.

socket; you won’t have the problem of different plugs for

We will be a player in Europe to our European customers,

different countries as the USB port is universal,” says Geoffrey.

and will make all the problems they perceive – and they

“Products will move that way, generally, and that is where we

might only be perception – in dealing with a UK company

are heading initially,” he says.

post-Brexit go away. This gives us the opportunity to do what we do successfully in the UK, and to take more of this into mainland Europe. That is the plan. “It’s an exciting time. Not only have we got the UK to run, but Europe and USA as well, and we can’t even get on a plane. Thank heavens for Zoom!” INDEPENDENT PLACE While Stewart Superior has looked overseas for expansion, Geoffrey believes there is still a place for smaller independent retailers in the UK market. “We are in a difficult market, so the industry is doing as well as you could expect it to,” he says. “It

You can listen to more of Geoffrey’s views, including more on his history in the sector, in the second episode of Dealer Support’s new podcast.




THE GO-TO MAN 2020 has been a great year for ALISTER HALL. His business is thriving - at a time when many are floundering - and he is growing his team, and the divisions within his business. How has he pulled off this miracle?


lister puts his

something Alister learned when he started

was coming up to 40; I was a director, and in a

success down to

out in the industry as an 18-year-old

good position, but I considered that in five, 10

how he fosters close

telesales agent for a dealer. “That was all

or 15 years’ time there was no possibility they


via the ‘phone using the Spicers catalogue,

were going to give me a share of the company.

relationships with

a record card box and an ashtray on the

I would just be expiring, and not having

customers, something

desk,” he laughs. “I really enjoyed that. I

anything to show for the years I had put in.”

that has been at the heart of what he has

have always enjoyed talking to people in a

done throughout his professional life, and it

consultative, friendly way, rather than having


is a philosophy that has brought him success

that supplier-customer relationship, and

So Alister decided to take the gamble and

for 25 years, whether as a telesales agent or

seeing it as more of a partnership. I have

strike out on his own – and really did put

running his own business.

always been into the partnership element.”

his money where his mouth is. “The first

After success in that role, Alister moved

thing I did was to make big personal lifestyle

Ltd, a new name in the industry, but one that

up to managing a telesales team, along with

changes to significantly my reduce outgoings

has made significant progress this year, thanks

his own roster of premier clients. This later

to take the pressure off myself financially.

in part to developing good relationships

developed into a field role, which again he

with customers, but also listening to these

took to easily. “It was natural for me to sit in

having the pressure of having to replace my

customers and what they need to grow their

front of people and talk to them.”

salary with immediate effect.

Currently he runs product supplier go2

businesses. Alister also partnered his business

However, despite the dealer being

“That gave me the freedom of not

“I effectively gambled on my own ability

with Office Power earlier in the year, and this

successful, and developing significantly during

to replace that salary. Within three years I

has had a huge impact on productivity and

Alister’s time there, by 2014, he felt he had

had doubled it.”

streamlining processes.

plateaued. “I wanted the opportunity to work

Developing customer relationship is

[22] DECEMBER 2020

for myself rather than for others,” he says. “I

In the beginning, Alister joined a couple of old schoolfriends who supplied cleaning and



janitorial products. He set up his supply chain

at -helping clients get their business-critical

business as consultancies and have an agency

through an office dealer services provider

supplies, whatever they may be, wherever

agreement with me,” he explains. “Once

and started selling under the name Nu Office.

they maybe and whenever they are needed”.

they sign that agreement they have access

Initially, he was successful but, before long, he became frustrated with the arrangement, Alister felt that the provider was

to all the products, services and marketing NAME CHANGE

we provide. They then go out and bring on

Alister set up a new company, Go2 – so

all the people they know, and get an agreed

aligned more with smaller clients ,while he

called because his customers think of him as

profit-share every month.

had more experience managing a smaller

the ‘go-to’ person for supplies. The name was

number of large clients, where he could

chosen to avoid the company being thought

business, which offers marketing goods,

develop relationships and provide a more

of as ‘just an office products supplier’.

and procurement business that tackles

personalised experience. This frustration incentivised Alister

“We also have a specialist promotions

“I used to get pigeonholed because of

items that are not necessarily day-to-day

the Nu Office name; a lot of companies in

but, nevertheless, are still high value and

to make another move, this time into a

the industry make the client feel like they are

important for our clients to be able to

partnership with Office Power. “I now

dealing with an office furniture supplier OR

access. Each division has consultants who

have access to all the Office Power tools -

an IT supplier OR a stationery supplier - and

are specialists in each area. We are always

suppliers, support, credit control, marketing,

so they miss out on other projects. I thought,

adding new divisions so please get in touch

invoicing and scale,” he explains. “I get paid

if I have a neutral brand, we can be like a

if this is of interest; we’re currently looking at

on any invoice we raise. Even though there

chameleon and suit what the clients want

recruitment and property divisions.

is a slight elevation percentage-wise in terms

us to be, rather than trying to change their

of fees [compared to previous arrangement],

perception all the time.”

the cost of the products in my basket is cheaper, so my cash margin is higher. “It also means I can effectively cash flow

“The model I use works so well because the self-employed agents are being paid a large profit percentage, so motivation levels


are high and, because everyone knows where

Since joining with Office Power Alister has

they stand there is no man-management

forecast because I know what I would get at

sought to create partnerships with like-

the end of each month. The system means

minded colleagues and through an agency

that I am no longer credit controlling for

contract agreement. “They all own their own

two weeks a month. I now spend just two days carrying out admin, while the rest of the month I get to do what I am really good DECEMBER 2020 [23]



required as everyone is singing off the

I would meet a finance director or head

they are also talking back. Social media and

same hymn sheet and I basically lead from

of procurement at their office, suited and

email marketing are helping us to develop

the front.

booted. There’d be handshakes, and I’d give

more leads and grow relationships.”

“Our supply chains are locked-in and automated; we are effectively a stockbroker. Clients come to us and have a login and

them some statistics, and set some objectives for the next month. “But COVID-19 changed this

The sales and marketing teams work closely together so that the right messages go out to clients regularly, and in a personalised

account; they can input, or we can do it for

arrangement; this summer meetings would

manner - personalisation being key to

them, and they can order whatever they

be in a client’s garden, their husband/

everything that happens at Go2.

want, whenever they want, and have it

wife making me lunch, petting their dogs,

delivered to wherever they want.

meeting their children, and talking about


planning their return to work and what they

Looking to the future, Alister wants to build

could do with their home working staff.

on this initial success and is looking to take

“The most challenging task was setting up the business, but now it is like a polished machine! I owe a lot of credit to Office

“It created some beautiful relationships

on more agents – although he is seeking

Power for enabling me to launch Go2,

that I would never have been able to achieve

quality, rather than quantity. “We cherry-

and to work from their platform. “They

in a normal environment. It also meant the

pick who we work with. Anyone we bring

have transformed my business. I had some

client knew that we were doing everything to

on we ask, ‘Are you going to add value to the

conservative estimates of what we could

support them through the pandemic, while a

team? Are you going to work with us to get

achieve in the first year and we smashed

lot of suppliers had closed.”

us where we need to go as a collective?’ We value teamwork, shared goals

these in the first four months.” Considering that most of those four months coincided


adaptability and forging great relationships;

with the first COVID-19 lockdown only

Marketing is also responsible for the growth

this is the secret to my success”.

makes this more impressive.

of the business. Alister was keen to develop a marketing model not seen in the industry


and used a marketing strategy that involved

When the lockdown came Alister saw it

both email marketing and social media.

as an opportunity. “We found a lot of our

“The pandemic meant that we were

competitors were closing, and furloughing

adapting both our business and the

staff, which presented a huge opportunity for

supplies we offered and this needed to be

our business,” he says. “The first thing I did

communicated to existing and new clients.

was speak to my clients. Fortunately, many

Home working assessments with qualified

were businesses that needed to continue to

physiotherapists, PPE, branded face mask,

work throughout the pandemic. I asked what

home office kit-outs were just some of the

they needed us to do to become a supplier

ways we pivoted to provide for our clients,

to help support them. I then set up supply

and we needed to let them know. I decided

chains with established suppliers of PPE,

to invest in a marketing strategy that would

masks, signage - any supply they would need

inform clients of our services, and that

to keep their business running.

would be visible on all the relevant social

“Our turnover quadrupled within the

networks. Now the conversation is two-

first two months of the pandemic. Our

way; not only are we communicating to our

clients switched their purchasing over to all

clients through email and social media, but

these products they needed, and it was in huge volume.” Another reason for Go2’s success is that throughout the pandemic Alister continued to meet his clients and suppliers – socially distanced, of course. “Before the pandemic

[24] DECEMBER 2020

E: T: 01543 474920

Supporting the Home Worker Trade Only Distributor of top selling inks ideal for the home worker

Delivery Service Direct to your Customer Picked, Wrapped & Delivered We will send the goods straight to your customer under a plain label delivery note which can also be fully customised to include your full colour company logo and details.

HELPING YOU STAY SAFE! Filing and Desktop Accessories


Stops the spread of bacteria and viruses. Eliminates them by more than 99%. For more details please visit



Ma you rkin rc g ard s A new report says the global stationery and cards market is set for strong growth in the coming years, and dealers are looking to take advantage of this trend with a range of products.

s Christmas

than £1.7 billion in 2018 on greeting cards,


approaches, many

according to the UK Greeting Card Market

This is reflected in The Global Stationery

people will be

Report, undertaken by Echo Research

and Cards Market, a new report by Inside

thinking of sending

and commissioned by the Greeting Card

Market Reports, which says that the global

cards to loved ones

Association. Three-quarters of these sales

stationery and cards market is anticipated to

and friends to wish

came from ‘everyday’ cards – birthday,

rise at a considerable rate between 2020 and

them the best for the season – perhaps

occasions cards and also ‘blank for your

2026. In 2020, the market has been growing

even more so than usual this year given

greeting’, usually with a catchy message’ or

at a steady rate and with the rising adoption

that the COVID-19 restrictions which will

eye-catching design’ on the front.

of strategies by key players around the world,


be in place for many people around the

“There is plenty of evidence to

UK will mean going to see them won’t be

show that Generation Z and Millennials


(18-34-year-olds) are fully engaged with

the market is expected to increase over the coming years. Tim Browning, a director at Blake

cards and buy more volume than any other

Envelopes, agrees that there is a movement

has revolutionised how we communicate

age-group,” says Amanda Fergusson, CEO

back towards written communication.

with each other over the past 25 years –

of the Greeting Card Association. “This is

“For the last 15 years communication has

most of us use email daily, and don’t send

an incredibly positive trend for the future

become more and more reliant on digital

many old-style letters – many people still

of our industry. We still have a way to go

platforms and, in recent years, this to the

prefer to send physical cards to friends

to catch up with the US though – the US

point of saturation,” he says. “The events and

and relatives to commemorate birthdays,

Postal Service reported 44 million extra

experiences of the last 12 months have only

anniversaries and religious festivals.

cards were sent between 2017 and 2018 –

served to enhance this feeling. Yet through

which they say is due to Millennials.”

all this a counter-movement

While the development of the internet

Indeed, the UK public spent more

[26] DECEMBER 2020

A BRAND-NEW VOW WHOLESALE INCENTIVE VOW Wholesale wants to insert some much-needed positivity into our brilliant industry. That is why we are offering all our valued customers the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to beautiful Chamonix, France.

Scan me now to visit our incentive website

Drive your sales of the below supporting brands between 1st September and 24th December to win your place on this not-to-be-missed trip.


H a r d w a r e

Get in touch with your VOW Wholesale contact for more information.



The most popular products have been

seems to be gathering momentum; the

recent projections also estimate that the

inherent value, reliability and authenticity of

market will recover to reach somewhere

across a range, Lawrence adds. “Writing

tangible written communication is cutting

between US$186.9-$217.9 billion by 2027.

instruments and notebooks remain the most

through the digital blur.”

“Additionally, the value of the greeting

popular items, with around a third of those

cards sector should stabilise at around $7bn

working from home also seeking filing and

worldwide,” he adds.

organisation products,” he says. Having a

And when people write cards and such like, they want to use quality products to make them stand out and be memorable

“Nonetheless, premium stationery

larger number of remote workers has also

– something that recipients will want to

continues to be an area of growth. This has

had the knock-on effect of creating more

keep; the Greeting Card Association ran its

been particularly fuelled by recent trends -

family time, which has stimulated growth in

#cardtokeep to this end last year.

such as journaling, and the rising number of

the number of arts and crafting hobbyists.

Figures from business data provider

staff working from home, especially during

“Thus, there has been more demand in

Statistica show that, in 2019, UK households

the pandemic. The latter has also influenced

activities such as origami and other paper

purchased more than £2.84 billion worth

the impact on the demand for more

crafts like card making.”

of stationery and drawing materials. While

customisable greeting cards, with people

this was slightly down on figures for 2018,

having an increased desire to communicate

variety of products to be popular in the

where £2.98 billion was purchased, it is still

with friends and loved ones using a more

coming months – and, again, this will be

more than was bought in 2014 and 2015,

personal touch.”

influenced to some degree by the pandemic.

Lawrence adds that he anticipates a

One driver of demand for stationery

“Notebooks and desktop accessories that

stable, whereas other sectors, such as office

and cards has been the pandemic, Lawrence

are treated with antimicrobial additives to

stationery, have declined during the same

adds. “There has been a significant uptick

protect against bacteria, viruses, mould and

time period.

in home schooling and people working

fungi are very much in the public mind at the

showing that the market remains broadly

remotely – a recent IPSOS survey indicates

moment,” he says. “Also, the ability to create


that 54% of UK workers are now working

a versatile home office environment which

Lawrence Savage, marketing manager

from home more than one day a week –

not only maintains worker efficiency, but

at stationery, arts and crafts supplier

which has driven an uplift in online demand

also offers ergonomic and eco-friendly items

ExaClair, notes that, despite an anticipated

for items that can aid home-based learning,

which easily integrate into their surroundings,

2.8% overall decline in the global office

as well as keeping children and adults

is a trend that is set to continue influencing

stationery and supplies market during 2020,

occupied within the home environment.”

future product design.

d ase ith e r c w n in icate a e n hav mmu ones uch e l o p to d c Peo ire to d love sonal r des ds an re pe n o frie g a m usin

[28] DECEMBER 2020



LIVE IT Life hack Tired of loose, open vegetable bags in your freezer? Hang them from the freezer shelf using binder clips — it will save space, too!


THUMBS UP A very happy meal As reported by BBC News, a six-year-old boy who paid for another person’s meal at a McDonald’s drive-thru sparked a chain of kindness when everyone in the queue followed suit. Blake Durham was ordering breakfast at the fast-food chain in Stockton-on-Tees when he told his mum he wanted to “do something kind”. He told his server he would buy food for the man in the car behind. The youngster’s act of kindness then spread - with car after car paying for the meal of those next in line. Blake said he had wanted to make the first recipient “happy, and let them have a good day”.

Quote of the month “If life were predictable it would cease to be life and be without flavour.” – Eleanor Roosevelt –

[30] DECEMBER 2020


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!


1. Who was the owner of Buzz in Toy Story?

The purr-fect translation According to BBC Newsround, a new app has been developed which could translate what your cat is saying - so, if

2. Which famous long-distance train had its first run in October 1883? 3. True or false: goldfish have a three-second memory 4. What is the largest planet? 5. Amazon boss Jeff Bezos pledged $10bn to help fight what global issue? Answers: 1. Andy 2. Orient Express 3. It is false. Scientists say that goldfish do have short memory but they can remember things for months 4. Jupiter 5. He donated $10bn to fight climate change

Knock me down with a feather you have you ever wanted to know what your feline friend was trying to tell you, your dreams might be about to come true! The app has been developed by a former Amazon Alexa engineer and

What a wonderful world

is called MeowTalk. It aims to translate your cat’s miaow by recording the

Racing pigeon sells for record £1.4m

sound and then attempting to identify

Sky News has reported that a female racing pigeon from Belgium called

the meaning. The cat’s owner also

New Kim has been sold for a record €1.6m (£1.4m); it went to a mystery

helps to label the translation, creating

Chinese buyer at an online auction. During a frantic final 30 minutes at the

a database for the AI software to

end of a two-week auction at the PIPA, a Belgian auction house for racing

learn from. It’s still in its early stages of

pigeons, two Chinese bidders operating under the pseudonyms ‘Super

development, and currently there are

Duper’ and ‘Hitman’ drove up the price. Super Duper got the bird, and

only 13 phrases in the app’s vocabulary,

is said to be the same wealthy Chinese industrialist who already has the

including, “Feed me!”, “I’m angry!” and

male pigeon Armando - dubbed the Lewis Hamilton of the sport.

“Leave me alone!” DECEMBER 2020 [31]


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 reflects on the merry cheer of Christmas celebrations which have taken place over the years - including a lot of drinking, singing and the inevitably competitive annual workplace awards


it is they ordered at the time.

hristmas in the office

in the village, and everyone had spent the

supplies industry is

holidays searching for them. When he

a wonderful thing.

was eventually found he had struck up a

out the annual staff awards. This is an

‘Where are we having

relationship with a heavy duty two-hole

important part of the day for some people,

our Christmas party?’

punch and was eventually arrested for it.

and can get quite competitive; fights have

has been on the boil

After the poteen in the office everyone

since March and its taken until now to

heads off to the restaurant for the Christmas

decide on the same place as the last 30 years.

lunch. Mrs O’Reilly always takes care of the

Just after the meal Mrs O’Reilly hands

broken out in the past as these awards are paraded round the village in the new year. The main awards are Salesperson of

booking, and makes sure that she is at the

the Year, IT Person Most Likely to Engage

we have it because, on the party morning,

top of the table with an enlarged version

with the Other Staff, and The Person Most

Mrs O’ Reilly produces the annual batch of

of her business card in front of her so

Likely to Find Where the Courier has Left

strawberry poteen for everyone to try - and

that everyone knows what she does in the

the Customer’s Order - there are many more

once a bottle of that has been consumed we

company - the only difference being that,

and, to be honest, the awards ceremony has

might as well be spending the rest of the day

at Christmas, it also says ‘Entertainments

to be brought to an abrupt end or it would

in the warehouse.

Officer’ at the bottom. Every year the singing

carry on into the new year.

To be honest, it doesn’t matter where

One year its effects did cause a certain

starts before the meal and even though

It’s been a tough year for a lot of us in

individual to spend the Christmas holidays

everyone has filled in a form to let the

the office supplies industry and I hope that

wandering around the warehouse, oblivious

restaurant know what they want to eat in

next year is a good and profitable one for

to the fact that search parties were organised

advance, absolutely nobody remembers what

you all. Have a great Christmas!

[32] DECEMBER 2020



A New Perspective As Keeley Shepherd steps into a new role as 3M’s key account manager for consumer business she shares the things she’s learned from the past – and what she sees on the horizon for the months to come WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT

that meets their ever-changing needs. Over


the years I’ve seen them adapt their business


models to sell products like facilities supplies


and workwear. This has been exemplified

After 16 years of working with the dealer

recently in their reaction to COVID, where

community – five with Vow/Kingfield

they had to remodel their businesses

Heath and 11 with Office Friendly - I’m

overnight utilising the wholesaler more for

immensely excited to be working for one

direct deliveries, sourcing high demand

of our industry’s leading manufacturers,

products, changing their sales processes and

learning about new product innovation and

moving with the pace of the digital world.

having an impact on the customer journey.

I’m proud to say so many did this, and have

Being able to support the range portfolios

seen record sales and profit margins.

with our key customers - driving sales

Keeley Shepherd


and marketing campaigns, and ensuring



our customers sales teams have enhanced



product knowledge to be able to drive brand


I believe that dealers are in a great position

sales and enhance their margins – represents

One of the major trends will be the continual

at the moment to diversify quickly, pick up

an exciting challenge.

growth of e-commerce; as we emerge out

new products and react to the changing

of COVID some employees will continue

market - what they need most from


to work from home, resulting in the need

manufacturers is both insight and stats,


for smaller pack sizes, cost-effective direct

based on real trends, to help them create


deliveries and environmentally friendly

powerful sales stories for their end users.


packaging solutions. As others return to the

Dealers are also very welcoming of ready-to-

That dealers are extremely agile, proactive

workplace there will be a need to encourage

go marketing materials, videos, social media

and driven in relation to their customers

collaboration and teamwork again, and some

content and anything that they can utilise

in order to give them exceptional customer

business may move to smaller premises,

very simply without needing to amend or

service and bring them a range of products

creating re-fit and interiors opportunities.

recreate themselves. DECEMBER 2020 [33]

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




EVERY KIND OF CUSTOMER Sustainable, straightforward, long-lasting products trusted by customers at home and in the workplace for over 100 years; BANKERS BOX® is better in every way. A household name, and a family business since 1917, built on enduring values and manufactured with advanced techniques. Backed by engaging omni-channel marketing, effective customer support and a range intended to make category management simple. They’re much more than just boxes – they’re made for life.

OEMS AND MPS How are OEMS helping sell MPS? DRIVING CHANGE Inside the newly-launched Go2


new products and category trends

Issue 296





2020 VISION New products and categories

More Shredding. Zero Jamming.

February 2020






inspiring success

Next Generation Shredders


January 2020


Issue 294



Decemebr 2019

inspiring success

IT PREDICTIONS FOR 2020 What to expect for the year ahead

PHIL JONES Brother UK’s MD talks learning and leadership

MARKETING Why now is the time

0203 794 8555

inspiring success

Fellowes new LX Series micro-cut shredders are thoughtfully designed with patented IntelliBar™ responsive technology.

TRANSFORMING THE CHANNEL IN 2020 Predictions from Phil Jones

Shred 100% jam free Shred with maximum micro-cut security S hred more, empty less with a waste bin capacity of up to 150% more sheets Shred with optimal efficiency The next level of performance and robust quality from the global leader in shredders.

DELIVERING WHAT’S BEEN PROMISED Steve McKeever’s advice for dealers BREAKING INTO EDUCATION Making your way in a lucrative sector

Profile for Intelligent Media Solutions

Dealer Support December 2020  

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded