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DEALER SUPPORT NOVEMBER 2020

RISE TO IT

November 2020

Issue 304

WITH

ISSUE 304

Data Direct is the UK’s leading independent dealer-only distributor of printer & copier supplies, consumables, parts & workplace solutions. ALEX TATHAM HELEN WADE

Our RISE motto is based on REVENUES, INNOVATIONS, SAVINGS and EFFICIENCIES – all key to helping you with your business. We can offer credit facilities and, with a number of our award-winning services, including our no quibble warranty, we can help your business model be even more efficient.

ANDREW BEAUMONT

With more innovation to support you, including the fantastic SmartMister, the smartest way to sanitise your office, you can count on us to help you RISE TO IT and meet these challenges. Contact us today …

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SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL Why smaller bundles can lead to bigger opportunities THE HEALTHY WORKPLACE How dealers can make workplaces safer SERVICING WFH Industry experts discuss the WFH revolution


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Adapting and overcoming As we settle in to a second lockdown in England, we have all had to revert back RISE TO IT to some of the limitations we had to place on our lives back in March. Although WITH some workplaces hadn’t returned to the office since the first lockdown, some had, and were just getting back into the swing of things. Many non-essential businesses have had to shut once again, resulting in the furlough scheme being extended until March 2021. Doom and gloom abounds... But, there are glimmers of hope – not least, a vaccine has been developed which seems to be effective and, as we move closer to 2021, many people will look towards it with their fingers crossed, glad to see the end 2020. So, how is the industry adapting to, and overcoming, these new hurdles? Wake up to SmartMister Who has grasped success from the teeth of adversity? With a lot of the UK working from home for what looks like the foreseeable future, this month’s BIG ASK asks the industry how they are servicing this new working environment. Alex Tatham discusses why the office products channel must change in the wake of the pandemic, and how dealers can make the right adaptations to continue to thrive in this new world. JKL Solutions are our focus for this issues’s DEALER SUCCESS story; they tell us how embracing the challenges that COVID-19 brought, and continues to bring, have enabled them to continue trading successfully throughout the pandemic. From here, we jump into our leadership section to look at why now is the perfect time for sales leaders to remodel their management practices and how dealers can help make the workplace as safe as possible. We then have a story all about sustainability, exploring the developing concept of the ‘circular economy’ and how it can help meet the demand for sustainable print solutions. Our sales success section comprises a gaggle of articles focusing on the new working environment - including why smaller bundles are presenting big opportunities, and how dealers can capitalise on the increasing number of flexible workers. We wrap this issue up with our LIVE IT section, which offers you a well-earned break. The good Father discusses the merits of using binoculars to scout out new sales opportunities and Helen Wade, marketing director at VOW Wholesale, provides our FINAL WORD, giving her top tips on how to adapt to these challenging times and use adversity as an opportunity to thrive. As always, don’t forget to chat to us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts and opinions: @dealersupport. DEALER SUPPORT NOVEMBER 2020

November 2020

Issue 304

ISSUE 304

Data Direct is the UK’s leading independent dealer-only distributor of printer & copier supplies, consumables, parts & workplace solutions.

ALEX TATHAM HELEN WADE

Our RISE motto is based on REVENUES, INNOVATIONS, SAVINGS and EFFICIENCIES – all key to helping you with your business. We can offer credit facilities and, with a number of our award-winning services, including our no quibble warranty, we can help your business model be even more efficient.

ANDREW BEAUMONT

With more innovation to support you, including the fantastic SmartMister, the smartest way to sanitise your office, you can count on us to help you RISE TO IT and meet these challenges. Contact us today …

inspiring success

Help your customers

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL Why smaller bundles can lead to bigger opportunities

SMARTMISTER SOLUTION KILLS 99.9999% OF VIRUSES & EFFECTIVE AGAINST COVID-19

Sanitises all surfaces in the evening Come into safe, sanitised space in the morning

THE HEALTHY WORKPLACE How dealers can make workplaces safer

SERVICING WFH Industry experts discuss the WFH revolution

data-direct.co.uk | 01189 734 564 | info@data-direct.co.uk

Ellie Potter Acting editor

EDITOR Nell Walker

CREATIVE TEAM Billy Odell

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 www.buxtonpress.co.uk

All email addresses are formatted firstname.lastname@intelligentmedia.co.uk

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: info@intelligentmedia.co.uk Web: www.dealersupport.co.uk


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data-direct.co.uk | 01189 734 564 | info@data-direct.co.uk


NOVEMBER 2020

Contents INDUSTRY 06 NEWS AND VIEWS

The latest news and views from the industry

10 BIG ASK

Servicing the working from home trend

15 CHANGING TIMES

Westcoast’s Alex Tatham on who will thrive in COVID times

DEALER SUCCESS

14

22 OPEN FOR BUSINESS

JKL Solutions - still building close relationships with customers

LEADERSHIP 27 RETHINKING LEADERSHIP

It’s time to adapt and remodel your management practices

30 CLEARING THE AIR

Fellowes’ air purification systems are seeing off the airborne threat posed by COVID

22

32 THE HEALTHY WORKPLACE

How dealers can help customers - and themselves - to make workplaces safer

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y 34 GOING ROUND IN CIRCLES

The principles of the ‘circular economy’ are key to satisfying demand for sustainable print

SALES SUCCESS 36 SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL

Smaller bundles are opening up BIG sales opportunities

38 FLEXIBLE FRIENDS

32

Changes in customer demands seem set to stay. Are you cashing in?

40 LIVE IT

Take a break and enjoy some lighthearted fun

42 FATHER P. CLIP

The good Father discusses German supermarkets - among other things - in his quest to discover new sales opportunities

“In 2020 we have all had to adapt our businesses to enable us to service the industry”

11

43 FINAL WORD

Helen Wade, marketing director at VOW, talks getting back into the swing of things


INDUSTRY

T H E M O N T H T H AT W A S

THE MONTH THAT WAS IT decision-makers investing in tech to prioritise productivity

COVID-19 – furlough extended until March, Job Retention Bonus scrapped The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of March 2021, with the government continuing to cover 80% of employees’ wages at organisations affected by coronavirus restrictions. Rishi Sunak stated that employers will only be required to cover national insurance and pension contributions for employees who have been furloughed under the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which has, essentially, reverted back to the scheme that was in place between March and August 2020. However, he noted that the level

Firms will boost IT spending to tackle sluggish processes, with budgets set

of wage support offered to employers would

to increase by an average of 13%, according to research from Brother UK,

be reviewed in January, when organisations

the business technology solutions provider. Brother found that UK firms are

may be asked to contribute more depending

investing in digital infrastructure to boost their productivity in the wake of the

on how the economy is recovering.

COVID-19 pandemic. The findings, taken from interviews with 500 IT decision-makers, show that

Sunak clarified that the support will also apply to employers in Scotland, Wales and

more than eight-in-ten (84%) companies have ramped-up efforts to boost

Northern Ireland, as there had been confusion

productivity since March, with more than half saying it is now vital to deliver

surrounding whether the extended CJRS

cost savings (59%) and higher profits (54%) for their businesses.

was available to devolved nations when it

Firms are increasing digital investment to tackle their productivity challenges, with IT budgets set to rise by an average of 13% over the next 12 months. Respondents said that legacy working practices (35%), such as

was announced alongside England’s 28-day lockdown last weekend. He added that the job retention bonus –

excessive meetings and poor IT infrastructure (33%), are the biggest barriers

a £1,000, one-off payment to firms that had

businesses face.

retained previously-furloughed staff until the

Modern hardware, such as printers and tablets (98%), collaboration

end of January 2021 – would be scrapped

software, such as project management platforms and video conferencing

for now, and replaced with a new ‘retention

(98%), and remote working tools, such as cloud-based technologies (96%),

incentive’ that would be deployed at an

top IT decision-makers’ lists for technology that will deliver the greatest

‘appropriate time’.

productivity gains.

The CJRS has extended its reach, with

Brother says that an average business of 250 employees could stand

the rate of support last seen in August, and

to save nearly 52,000 hours of workers’ time a year – worth an estimated

eligibility applied to all staff, not just those

£776,000 – just by implementing simple, cost-effective updates across their IT

previously furloughed between March

operations.

and June.

[06] NOVEMBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


T H E M O N T H T H AT W A S

BOSS launches future fund grants

INDUSTRY

Antalis donates Silver Digital paper for Charity Link calendar When Antalis were asked to donate paper for the printing of a fundraising

As part of the Industry Recognition Awards - brought to you by BOSS - the BOSS

calendar, they were only too happy to

Business Supplies Charity has allocated £10k to be put towards future fund grants

help.

to help support individuals looking to progress their s in the business supplies industry. These grants, of up to £750 per person, are available to up-and-coming

The A3 format calendar is being sold by Charity Link, a fundraising organisation that provides life’s

individuals who work, or have recently worked, in the business supplies industry

essentials to vulnerable individuals

who may need financial support for professional development to further their

and families living in hardship

careers within the sector at this time, and should be used to help develop

in Leicestershire, Rutland and

recipients’ skillsets.

Northamptonshire. Each month features

Amy Hutchinson, BOSS CEO commented: “It is important that we support

a different image of the natural world,

individuals looking to further their careers in our sector, and ensure that they have

which the charity is hoping will bring

access to the training or tools needed to progress. The future fund grants will help

some cheer and optimism to 2021.

develop and retain up-and-coming talent.”

All of the photographs in the calendar have been contributed by

The grants can be used towards training or equipment that supports a qualifying

Matt Glover Photography, many of

individual’s career within the business supplies sector; examples include:

them taken during lockdown when his

• courses for personal and professional development;

wedding and business photography

• books and resources to further development;

work was postponed. Printing and

• financial support to attend events to benefit professional development.

production of the calendar has also been supplied free of charge by Antalis

Full information on how to apply can be found on the Industry Recognition Awards website. Individuals can apply themselves, or be nominated by a colleague.

customer Full Square Ltd. Antalis donated Silver Digital Matt

For any questions regarding applications to the Future Fund please contact

200gsm in SRA3 for the printing of

Helen Dunn, Senior Marketing Manager, BOSS, at helen@bossfederation.co.uk

the first 250 copies of the calendar. Susan McEniff, director of marketing and fundraising at Charity Link, said, “We’re delighted with the support we have received from Antalis, Full Square and Matt Glover Photography. All the proceeds raised will ensure that vulnerable local people and children can have the essential items to be warm, safe and fed.” Costing £15, 100% of the sale of every calendar will be used to purchase food, clothing, beds, cookers and other essential items for people in need. The calendar is available to buy from the Charity Link website.

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [07]


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

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EOS

Office

Technology

Gaming

Travel Accessories

Cleaning

Coffee & Snacks

Ergonomics


INDUSTRY

BIG ASK

HOW IS THE INDUSTRY SERVICING WORKING FROM HOME? In this month’s Big Ask we look at how the industry is adapting to the new working environment catalysed by COVID. As the number of people working from home, and working more flexibly, continues to rise it looks like it will be here to stay for the foreseeable future

Robert Harper, marketing

Throughout the year we have also evolved our key

director, Prima Software

implementation and training processes to ensure that we can

There’s no doubt that, in 2020, we

continue delivering our service, remotely and safely, to new

have all had to adapt our businesses

and existing customers, ensuring the safety of all involved.

to enable us to continue to service

Our popular webinar programmes have transformed

the industry. For Prima, it was

things in a way that has enabled us to continue to deliver

imperative that we continued to

free, informative training tips to our customers. We have

deliver the best service possible to

also invited a selection of guest presenters to join us and

our customers by ensuring that our

demonstrate the benefits of their software and integration

employees were fully equipped with the tools and information required to successfully carry out their roles remotely. Maintaining strong communication with both employees

with Prima. We are currently looking to grow our customer care team, and are already redesigning our induction and training

and customers was key. Since the initial lockdown in 2020

processes to allow us to, successfully and remotely, onboard

we have communicated regular updates via email and social

new employees into the team. It’s certainly been a challenging

media, ran daily and weekly company update meetings and

year, and we believe that adapting, working together, and

hosted various, interactive, online social events and games for

supporting each other is key to ensuring that businesses

employees.

survive and thrive throughout this pandemic.

[10] NOVEMBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


BIG ASK

Steve Bilton, MD, FusionPlus Data Working from home is not a new

INDUSTRY

from time to time. The trick for the dealer is to ensure that their customers

concept for many of us - certainly

choose them to supply those products, and not the likes of

not within our own businesses

Amazon. Dealers have access to more products now than

(FusionPlus Data and EvolutionX)

ever before and I’m pretty sure that their customers’ FD’s

- but the world has changed in a

would much prefer their staff to order from their dealer’s

pretty dramatic way for many of our

webstore - with its order authorisation features, and a monthly

customers, and those of our dealers.

consolidated invoice split by cost centre - compared to a

Now, here’s the good news; from what I see and hear, and unsurprisingly for the resilient bunch we all are, everybody appears to be rising to these challenges

gazillion receipts coming in from all and sundry because, at that point, they’ve already lost control. From our perspective, FusionPlus has seen many partners

throughout the supply chain – wholesalers, suppliers, software

improve their product offerings with new ‘home-working’

houses and dealers alike.

products, smaller pack size options, etc., while EvolutionX

The national and specialist wholesalers have been doing

has seen more end users registered, more use of the order

this for years, and are very good at it; other suppliers have

authorisation and payment gateway functions - and some

teamed up with 3PL companies to get down those cobbled

dealers investing in an additional store to go full-on B2C to

streets, and the industry software platforms have all the

‘fish’ for additional business outside of their B2B accounts.

functionality a dealer needs to manage these orders.

For the record, daily transaction values through the network

When you boil it down, a home-worker is just another

of 250+ Evolution stores is now higher than it was pre-COVID,

delivery address in the ERP, just another user login for a

and continues to climb, so it’s pretty clear that most of these

webstore and, while they probably want to order in smaller

orders are being placed online.

quantities, they need a lot of ‘stuff’ to replicate what they had

The bottom line is that working from home is not a

access to at HQ - desk, chair, laptop, laptop riser, foot rest,

temporary fad - it’s here to stay and, while it does create

wrist rest, screen, headset, mouse, keyboard, multi-functional

challenges, it undoubtedly also creates new sales and service

printer, ink/toner, shredder, pads/paper/pens, desk tidy, etc.

opportunities that are really not that difficult to solve... so go

- and some of that stuff will need replenishing (and servicing)

get ‘em!

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [11]


INDUSTRY

BIG ASK

Chris Armstrong, commercial

keeps them relevant in this new world. Our most recent

director, Office Power

developments allow dealers to segment customers by their

What we are currently witnessing

working locations and roles within a business, and then to

in the nationwide shift to flexible

personalise website banners and merchandising to push

working and working from home is a

customised offerings to specific, targeted customer segments.

mass migrating market. Customers

This offering can vary from pricing, promotions and specific

are changing where they work, how

products, to free delivery and even bespoke, in-built category

they work and, most importantly,

‘stores’, providing customers with a truly personalised

what and how they buy. It is vital

experience, driven by key data. We have been implementing

that dealers can effectively and efficiently meet these new

this new functionality across our group very actively for a

demands. By drawing on interactions with customers, using

number of weeks now, and we’ve seen significant efficiency,

data surrounding their specific situation and then configuring

ROI and increased engagement from customers who in the

websites, tools and technology to help find and cater to these

past have been quiet.

customers, dealers can stay relevant and engaged with the demands this new customer presents. Our dealer partners use a variety of tools, available in the

With a more fragmented, and widely dispersed, customer base comes the need for dealers to incorporate increased flexibility into their delivery and distribution model too. We

Office Power system, to reach and service these changing

have recently rolled out new functionality which supports

customers and, in the recent months, we have accelerated

this, enabling dealers to charge various customer segments

our investment in the areas that specifically help target

differently for their delivery. This helps our dealer partners

this migrating market. As well as flexibility and freedom

increase efficiencies as well as improve customer experience.

for dealers to choose what and how they want to sell,

Overall, technology which supports a flexible, targeted

segmentation, targeting and positioning are our key focus

offerings, underpinned by data interpreting specific customer

areas in developing these tools.

behaviours, will enable dealers to continue to offer this

Ultimately it will be the dealer’s ability to personalise what they are offering - and who they are offering to - which

Andrew Beaumont, MD, Exertis Supplies

migrating market the best possible products and service while protecting their bottom lines.

with work and also rest and playtime! The changes in working environments that we have

There is no doubt that the industry

seen the last few months has resulted in the range of

has changed at a pace we could

products consumers want changing dramatically too. As

never have imagined. At Exertis

well as supplying traditional office supplies we can also

Supplies we have seen a trend for

supply their morning coffee, mid-morning snacks, virtual

many years towards ‘dispersed

meeting rooms to catch up with colleagues and customers

delivery’, and have positioned our

and, when it’s time to relax, an Xbox or a TV to watch with

business accordingly to meet the

the kids.

delivery needs of customers and consumers. With people working from home a lot more this

I cannot comment on how well others are servicing the home user but, with the highly experienced and passionate

opens lots of new opportunities that we are able to help

staff that we have throughout Exertis Supplies, it’s business

consumers with; from breakfast to bedtime - we can help

as usual for us, in a very unusual world.

[12] NOVEMBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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JOIN US BOSS is your Trade Association. Since the beginning of COVID-19 the team at BOSS have been working hard to amplify the industries voice to the UK government and support the sector with cost effective, impartial business guidance to help members navigate through this challenging period. They’ve been providing online events and webinars to bring the industry together to share and collaborate. While the BOSS Business Supplies Charity has been providing grants for individuals who have been financially affected.

BOSS membership connects people and gives access to a network of leading ideas, insight and business support.

To discuss how BOSS could support your business visit: www.bossfederation.com/joinus Contact Cheryl@bossfederation.co.uk or on 07384 215282.


S T R AT E G Y I N T E R V I E W

INDUSTRY

Listen to full interview here

Times are a-changing The office products channel must change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and those companies that do this most effectively will be the ones that thrive, says Westcoast’s managing director, ALEX TATHAM

A

Alex Tatham

s Alex readily admits, it has been an

to do their job – from comfortable chairs to printers – wherever

extraordinary eight months - not only for

they may be, even if it is local coffee shop.

Westcoast, but the office products sector

This future vision does present opportunities for dealers.

in general; it is a time that is going to

For instance, Alex gives the example of Prudential, which has

fundamentally change how the sector

recently given their staff £400 each to spend on home office

operates.

equipment. “They need a compartmentalised catalogue;

“There is no question that this particular crisis will change

Westcoast will provide all of the back end for the products

the way the sector works forever,” he says. “Offices will still be in

that Prudential staff can buy - effectively, acting as an

existence – everybody isn’t going to work from home for ever. I

approved list of products.”

know how much our people here at Westcoast value coming to

This has the advantage that orders will come in together,

the office - and the camaraderie and energy it gives them - and

so Westcoast will know the products needed and can,

I’m certain lots of other people will feel that too. But there will

therefore, buy them in bulk. “This is the way dealers will

be much more working from home. There is no question there

have to manage their businesses; I think they need to make

are changes to be made in terms of being able to do what you

sure they can deliver that kind of programme. There is an

need to do in the office, and do the same thing at home.” Alex

opportunity there, but you have to be intimate with your

adds that employees have to have all the equipment they need

customers because, otherwise, Amazon will do it for you.”

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [15]


INDUSTRY

S T R AT E G Y I N T E R V I E W

TECH CHANGES

“That is a huge change in the comms channel. Many

Another opportunity that this change to homeworking will

of the comms dealers are supported by large renewals of

bring in the coming months is upgrades, Alex notes. “Six

PBX systems; we are going to see a huge change in that.

months ago, when everyone ran home and started trying to

Westcoast may be slightly progressive in this instance, and

work from there, we found that lots of products we sold at

there are some very large call centre areas that won’t be

that point were only just fit for purpose,” he says. “Now we

able to move into this, but this represents a huge digital

are going to see an upgrade of those particular products – at

transformation that has been happening at a snail’s pace

a time when there is a little more calm and planning taking

over the past 20 years and has now crashed together. The IT

place - and large companies will standardise on better quality

dealers, in particular, will do well here. I recommend starting

machines.

selling headsets, as it is going to be a huge area of growth.”

“So there are lots of upgrade machines to come over the next period and, therefore, there will be lots of refurbishment;

CONTROLLING COSTS

a lot of this will then lead to more devices of service, so end-

Moving from ‘phone systems to online tools can also help

user customers can trade up and trade down in terms of their

to save costs - and saving money will be a priority for many

head counts and being able to recycle machines, as opposed

distributors in the office products channel. “They will have

to having a large capital cost.”

to take costs out of the business, not put them in. Of course,

Indeed, IT is going to be something that dealers and

competition will keep prices down, and keep everything at

customers should be investing in, including bandwidth –

a reasonable level, but cost is everything in distribution –

especially with the rise of video conferencing solutions such

taking cost out is the key to survival and success. It’s the key

as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, Alex points out.

to Westcoast’s success and our ability to compete with global

Increasing use of video conferencing will lead to another trend – businesses getting rid of their ‘phone systems. “In the

players. “In the office products dealer channel it will also be

past six months Westcoast has thrown away its PBX ‘phone

important as, no doubt, there will be significant changes in

system. Nobody has a handset on their desk, they all use

the way that distribution does business with dealers; I can see

Teams on their mobiles and PCs as their ‘phone; you can dial

the - very expensive - costs of deliveries which currently exist

out using your Teams device,” he says.

must change. I’ve been saying that for many years.

[16] NOVEMBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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INDUSTRY

S T R AT E G Y I N T E R V I E W

“If you look at the expensive way that distribution runs

Change is inevitable, he adds. “Office products dealers

in the office products channels, versus how it runs in the IT

have had almost the same business model for a long time.

channel, it couldn’t be more different. I think this will force

This is going to change. Dealers that survive, and do well,

some change on the dealer channel.”

will be those agile ones that can move into different areas and solve their customers’ problems quickly. If they do that

AGILE

they will find they have a much longer future, and an ability to

As well as controlling costs, the businesses that will

supply them more products, not fewer.”

successfully see out the pandemic are those that are agile,

Alex also warns that businesses shouldn’t hold out in the

and can react quickly to the changing demands of their

hope of receiving assistance from the government – other

customers, Alex says. “If you are doing the same thing you

than the furlough scheme, which has been extended to March

always did, and expecting a different outcome, that is the

2021. “Businesses must help themselves,” he says. “Is it about

definition of madness,” he laughs. “You must be agile with

survival, or pivoting the business to do something different? I

customers, and understand - at a senior level - what your

think dealers in our channel are sufficiently agile, and nimble

customers are doing. For many office products dealers,

enough, to be able to do the latter because some of those

their customer is quite likely to be the office manager - and

changes will be enforced.

the office manager isn’t going to be part of that strategic conversation! So dealers must push up into the management

“If you want to survive, you must change, as opposed to waiting for the government to bail you out.”

of their customer base, really understand what they are doing, and then see if they can fix their problems for them. Don’t

You can hear more of Alex’s views in the first episode of

think you can’t as you can pivot your business.”

Dealer Support’s new podcast. Click here to listen now.

[18] NOVEMBER 2020

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DEALER SUCCESS

VENDOR PROFILE

OPEN FOR BUSINESS JKL Solutions has been a fixture in the office supplies market for some years, and has achieved impressive growth – which is down to the company’s ethos of building close relationships with customers and providing exactly what they need, when they need it.

W

hen the COVID-19

because it’s not about just the stationery or

pandemic hit

general office products – it’s about what do

earlier this year

customers need, and can we supply it?

some businesses in

“We have a great infrastructure here,

the office supplies

so it doesn’t matter what the product is; it’s

market shut up

identifying what customers really need and

shop and furloughed their workforces - but

supplying those products at a competitive

others, such as JKL Solutions, embraced the

price to where they need them.”

challenge that the pandemic brought and

This response to adversity is a good

responded to their customers’ changing

indication of the philosophy of the company

demands.

– it’s all about developing relationships

During lockdown, JKL Solutions

with customers, listening to what they want

diversified into supplying a range of PPE

and then supplying it. JKL Solutions has

and cleaning materials. “We supplied masks,

a structure that allows the company to be

gloves, hand sanitiser and antiseptic wipes,

agile enough to respond to rapidly changing

and then we moved on to sanitising stations,

customer demands.

deep cleaning and antibody testing,” says

“We are able to change tack very quickly

Nathan Rice, one of the co-founders of the

because the business is owned by myself and

business. “We talk to our customers and

Nathan, and we are in the office day-to-day,”

find out what they need, then source it and

says Nick Miles, the other co-founder of

provide it.

the company. “We don’t have to go to board

“We called ourselves JKL Solutions

level and have meetings to make any kind

because we never wanted to be JKL

of decisions; we sit round a table and say,

Office Supplies, or JKL Business Supplies,

‘Should we do this?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Right, let’s do it’.”

[22] NOVEMBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


VENDOR PROFILE

DEALER SUCCESS

TRACK RECORD The ethos that Nathan and Nick have created in JKL Solutions has been developed over more than 25 years in the office supplies industry. They made their name at the independent supplier PADs, rising through the ranks to senior management positions. However, the seeds of their departure - and the establishment of JKL Solutions in 2009 came a year earlier, when the company they worked for was taken over by OyezStraker. After the takeover, Nathan and Nick felt the company lost its way, and abandoned its traditional focus on developing customer relationships – something they had always placed great emphasis on – instead, focusing on squeezing every last pound out of each customer. “In that 12 months I think the idea of being an independent was lost. We felt, and our customers felt, that they wanted to get back to that more personal service,” says Nathan, “so we decided to set up on our own.” Going it alone was a risk – the economy was in the middle of a recession – but Nathan says the pair felt they had no option. “Our customers were coming to us and saying, ‘Either you guys do something about it, or we are going to find another supplier’,” he recalls. “We had great relationships with a number of customers already, and a clear image of how we believed business should be done in our industry. From day one we had customers come over to us, and we haven’t looked back from there.”

We are more focused on getting the right people, rather than a certain number of people

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [23]


YOU SPRAY... MR MUSCLE ® KILLS*

Nick adds that the pair decided from the start to have an open and honest approach with customers. “You could sit round a table with us and we would say, ‘Our business needs to make money, and your company wants to save money, so let’s work out a structure of how we go forward.’ I think this approach helped massively, and it’s surprising how much customers appreciate it. I don’t think the larger nationals understand this – it is all a case of, ‘Look at these fantastic contract prices we can give you’ and then they try to make as much money as possible. We have never been interested in that; we are happy to sit down and talk to customers. “It is having that dialogue with customers and them understanding that we want to make a profit, but it will be a small, reasonable profit among all the products, so they will always pay a competitive price. Will we be the cheapest in everything? No. But we don’t want to be the cheapest in everything because that is a race to the bottom. We give a very good level of service, and charge a very competitive price; these things combined, we believe, is an industry-leading proposition.” THRIVING IN THE PANDEMIC This approach to customers has paid off, especially during the pandemic; indeed, the company has posted record turnover and profits in the past six months. “We have picked up more customers than I’ve known in a six-month period,” says Nick. “It’s purely because of the attitude that we are going out to market with – What do you need? Where do you need it? We will ensure we can do it at the right price point for you.

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“Diversification is a huge part of our growth strategy. We have more than 1,000 customers that spend on a monthly basis. If you can find more products for those customers, it makes it easier than going out and getting new customers. That said, we are picking new customers, as so many dealers are unable to provide their end-users with what they need right now. It is no good just handing out a catalogue and saying, ‘This is what we do’ – that’s

PROFESSIONAL

no good to anyone; you need to be agile enough to provide the products required.”

R DE AY OR OD T

www.scjp.com


The company has posted record turnover and profits in the past six months Of course, the pandemic – and the rise in home working as a result – has changed customer demand

MR MUSCLE® KILLS 99.99% OF BACTERIA AND VIRUSES*

significantly. “Desktop items, even big sellers like large tins of coffee, and things like that, aren’t going to be required anymore as they are going to individual’s home addresses rather than large offices. Again, it is supplying what the customers really need, not what you have always done. It’s about understanding their situation, and making sure you’re supplying what they need; they will find it somewhere else if you don’t.” Nathan adds that JKL Solutions’ sales team have worked hard on building awareness among customers about what the company can supply them with, be this general office supplies or other products. “Customers have said, ‘Can you get this for us? It would be a lot easier to come through a single source.’ We say, ‘Of course we can, that’s what we’re here for’.” DEVELOPING THE TEAM The pandemic has also changed the salesperson’s role; no longer are they on the road, meeting people faceto-face; it’s currently done via telephone and/or video conferencing facilities such as Zoom – and, as a result, Nathan and Nick are focusing on developing the telesales team. However, they stress they aren’t looking for just anyone to fill the roles. “We are more focused on getting the right people, rather than a certain number of people,” says Nathan. “We would rather have five really good salespeople, who come into the business with the right ethos and work ethic, rather than get 20 salespeople who just go through the motions. We want the best to work at JKL.” “I know its corny,” Nick add, “but it is like a close family, and everybody understands their part to play

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DISINFECTANT

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in it, and supports and helps each other. They have got

www.scjp.com

OR TO D DA ER Y

to have that mentality to work here.”


RETHINKING LEADERSHIP

LEADERSHIP

Why sales leaders need to rethink how they lead Every new twist and turn in business creates unseen challenges for staff. What is important is that leaders recognise these challenges and adapt and remodel their management practices to ensure they help provide solutions. For sales teams, this has never been more important than it is right now

T

he fourth edition of

culture and skills have been far more difficult

Saleforce’s State of

to manage and mould. Salesforce’s research

Sales report, which

shows it’s time for a new approach by

environment will democratise leadership;

evolved from a survey

leaders, one that better suits the new reality

in other words, they will accept that every

of almost 6,000

of a post-COVID market.

member of their team is now, by necessity, a

sales professionals

them to get it done. The successful sales leader in today’s

leader. As such, they must be provided with

worldwide in May and June 2020, revealed

LEADERSHIP IS NO LONGER ABOUT

the right tools, offered powerful motivation,

that just 26% of sales leaders feel completely

AUTHORITY

and then encouraged to add value to the

capable of adapting team culture, and 28%

What is that new reality? It is one in

business in an environment of collective

say the same about staff skills.

which the, typically co-existing and

power and responsibility.

These stats, on their own, reveal an

complementary, concepts of leadership

enormous chasm between the expectations

and authority have been decoupled. It is

level? In terms of providing their people

What does this mean on a practical

of senior management and the reality closer

one in which the structure the office once

with the right tools, it means sales leaders

to the ground.

gave to relationships, and channels of

must accelerate digital transformation and

As individuals in sales teams have

communication, have been shattered. And

ensure their people are confident with using

been physically separated by work-from-

it’s one in which trust and capability walk

the new systems.

home orders, and as customers in that

hand-in-hand – the leader’s job is to ensure

The State of Sales report showed

environment have begun to expect greater

their people have the necessary capabilities

that 77% of sales leaders say their digital

empathy, trust and personalisation, team

to do the required work, and then to trust

transformation has accelerated since

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [27]


LEADERSHIP

RETHINKING LEADERSHIP

2019. This is an excellent sign, as it means

communications methods, it means that

of Sales report tells us, comes from a mix of

members of sales teams will be better

those which do not continually train teams

national, local and industry news sources

equipped to build relationships with

to adapt to new conditions will be left

and internal insights, such as customer

customers, independently and effortlessly.

behind.

communication and purchase activity.

of previously manual processes – logging

SALES LEADERS MUST TAKE A

GETTING COMFORTABLE AT THE

sales data, generating quotes and proposals,

REALITY CHECK

BIG TABLE

prioritising leads, reporting progress, etc. –

Is it any wonder that sales leaders are

The big-picture shift lies in the fact that the

will free sales team members to focus more

having a difficult time managing culture,

strategic importance of sales operations is

on increasingly important issues, such as

when sales reps themselves are struggling

increasing.

building trust with customers.

with having to adapt to new ways of selling?

In fact, digital technology’s automation

The report also points to the necessity

To experience success, sales leaders must

In fact, 79% of sales reps told Salesforce

not only focus more clearly on the changing

for greater training of sales staff. Tellingly,

they’ve had to adapt to new ways of selling

market and on their own, individual, staff

their research said high performing sales

very quickly.

members; they must also focus upwards, on

leaders are 4.8 times more confident

In this case, the leader’s task changes

in their training abilities than their

from one of setting performance goals

underperforming peers.

to that of enabling success through

With 70% of businesses currently

the organisation’s strategies, to ensure their own goals and processes are aligned. This is clearly happening right now,

empowerment and training. This

since 75% of sales operations professionals

retraining their field reps to sell from

empowerment comes through a mix of

say they have new responsibilities and 85%

home using new tech, and different

technology, new responsibilities, changing

sales professionals agree sales operations is

sales metrics and a shifting focus – to

increasingly strategic.

the building of trust with customers, for example. Importantly, the expectations of leaders must change. Salesforce’s research

growing the business. To navigate uncharted territory,

revealed that just 54% of outside reps feel

organisations have to become tighter units,

expectations from sales leadership match

all sharing a clear understanding of a

the current selling reality, and only 46%

common goal. Sales teams, with silo walls

feel their relationships with customers are

removed, have become a vital part of this

stronger than they were in 2019.

goal becoming a reality.

Becoming familiar with the reality of

[28] NOVEMBER 2020

Further, 89% of sales professionals say sales operations plays a critical role in

Find out the latest sales trends and

the market, and aligning expectations with

insights guiding sales professionals to

that reality, are vital ingredients for sales

recover and grow in the fourth edition of

leadership success. This familiarity, the State

the State of Sales report. 

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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LEADERSHIP

SPONSORED

CLEARING THE AIR

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many office purchasing habits change – and one of the most pronounced has been the desire for air purification solutions.

people were educated about the need to have a good hand sanitisation programme in place, and enhanced cleaning regimes in offices. “But as things have progressed people have recognised there is an airborne threat as well and, as a result, there is a need to clear the air of harmful germs and viruses.”

M

aking offices as safe as possible for

Having an air purification system can also help reassure

employees to return to has been a

employees who are nervous about returning to the office, Tim

challenge for business owners and office

explains. “AeraMax models with PureView technology have a

managers across the UK for the past few

digital display screen that informs you how clean the air is. It is

months. While hand sanitisation has been

a real morale booster – having that positive reinforcement that

at the top of many do-to lists, buyers are also thinking about cleaning the air too, and this is presenting opportunities for air purification manufacturers in the sector such as Fellowes. “Like everyone else, some of our more traditional office categories took a large downturn as many businesses closed, or reduced in capacity, during lockdown but we

you can see that the air you share is clean is of massive benefit.” But it isn’t just about removing germs and viruses; air purifiers can also remove things like odours and volatile organic compounds – particles that can cause allergic reactions or trigger an asthma attack. The AeraMax Professional brand has been in operation

have seen growth in other areas - none more so than our

for four years but has been most widely used for washroom

air treatment category,” says Tim Browning, head of sales –

environments because part of the filtration process removes

business development at Fellowes. “Sales of our AeraMax

odours. “Since COVID-19 it has become more universally

brand has grown more than 10 times as a result of people’s

accepted in non-washroom environments such as offices.

heightened awareness of the need to create a healthy working

People have a heightened awareness of the need to provide a

environment for staff, customers or patients.”

happy, healthy working environment.”

Tim adds that, from an early stage of the pandemic, many

[30] NOVEMBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk

Fellowes has recently made its AeraMax Professional


SPONSORED

commercial-grade air purifiers

LEADERSHIP

Being able to recreate their office space at home, and vice

available to dealers on the Fusion

versa, with portable equipment is also important. “Having

Data platform. These commercial air

that consistency about your work in both the commercial and

purifiers provide maximum protection

home environment is of great benefit.”

and ultimate peace of mind with True HEPA filters that can capture 99.97%

OPPORTUNITIES

of all airborne contaminants, including

Tim says that, in common with many organisations in the

airborne viruses and germs - and, in

industry, Fellowes is taking an agile approach and reacting

the current climate, there’s certainly

quickly to changes in customer demand – although some

no shortage of demand for this line of

changes may turn into long-term trends.

products.

“In the air treatment category we think there is massive opportunity for continuing growth - not just because of the

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

ability to remove germs and viruses from the air - but long

However, the emphasis on providing a

after COVID has been dealt with there will be heightened

healthy working environment extends

awareness of the need to clean the air that we share. People

to more than just air quality, with the

may also be concerned that there may be another pandemic.

ergonomics of workstations under

Rather than offices being reactive, if they already have robust

serious consideration, especially for those working from home.

air purification solutions in their facilities they are going to

“The industry has come a long way in terms of healthy

be on the front foot in terms of defence against any future

working habits and the need for employees to be as productive and as happy as possible in the workplace, as

issues.” Likewise, Tim believes that homeworking is set to stay.

demonstrated by things like regular sit-stand intervals. One of

“Short-term, throughout COVID, people have had to work

the things we have focused on is ensuring that those positive

from home, but it has been well-publicised that a cultural shift

habits that have been instilled in recent years aren’t lost as

has taken place, and more organisations will have people

more people work from home. We don’t want people working

working from home permanently - or at least some of the time

at the dining table, or on their sofa, hunched over, as we know

- when they didn’t before.

this can cause a lot of health and productivity issues. “As a result, we have seen an uplift in sales of our sit-

“Companies have a responsibility to staff whether they are in the office or at home, and a duty to carry out a display

stand workstations, height-adjustable desks, monitor arms,

screen equipment assessment wherever they work. We can

monitor risers, wrist rests, mouse mats and supports – all the

help educate organisations on their responsibilities to their

ergonomic solutions that can make a positive impact. What is

employees and, by doing this, we can help provide the right

right for one individual isn’t necessarily right for the next, so

solutions to enable their employees to be as happy, healthy

being able to make your working environment specific to your

and productive as they can be, whether they are working at

needs is critical.

home or in the office.”

“There are lots of nuances between working from home versus working in a commercial office. For example, a lot of people will have a different desk at home to that in the workplace, so having the ability to have free-standing monitor arms that can sit on your desk or be taken into work, if need be, is important. It is simple solutions like this which can have a positive and lasting impact.”

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [31]


LEADERSHIP

H E A LT H & S A F E T Y

The Healthy Workplace While many formerly office-based employees now work from home, it isn’t for everyone; some people need – or prefer – to work in an office setting. Obviously, COVID-19 makes this difficult, but suppliers can help to make offices as safe as possible to work in.

F

lexible working and

expected to go back to the office, but many

has put a new spotlight on the opportunities

working from home

will, understandably, have some reticence

within PPE and cleaning and hygiene,

strategies have been

about this, especially as COVID-19 will still

together with ergonomic solutions for the

implemented like

be a threat.

home office. As remote working becomes a

never before this year, and it seems that the

Businesses can do numerous things to

more permanent set up for many, ergonomic

make offices as COVID-safe as possible, and

solutions that meet health and safety

trend for many office workers to work in

suppliers and wholesalers have a crucial role

requirements will be essential rather than a

places other than the office is set to remain –

to play in this. As Sian Haskell, director of

‘nice-to-have.

especially with parts of the UK going into a

marketing at office supplies dealer group

second lockdown in October and November.

Integra Business Solutions, points out, most

clean materials - together with minimalist,

But working from home is not for

“Clean air, anti-viral and easy-to-

businesses are currently firefighting their

adaptable spaces - will be important elements

everyone – some struggle to find quiet or

way through the pandemic, with immediate

in the design of the future workplace.”

appropriate places to work in their homes,

requirements being sanitising equipment,

for instance – and many businesses want

PPE, social distancing signage and home

SANITISATION

their employees to return to the office. By

office solutions. “As the dust starts to settle,

Jeremy Cooper, of office and technology

July only 34% of UK employees had started

the demands of the future office will begin to

accessories manufacturer Fellowes, agrees

commuting again, according to information

crystallise,” she says.

that cleaning and hygiene will be the

from US bank Morgan Stanley’s research

“The office of the future will become a

watchwords for office managers in the

unit, AlphaWise – way behind European

more thought through space for office-based

short-to-medium term. “The rapid spread

counterparts such as France, where 83%

and remote-based staff to access. Technology

of COVID-19 forces us to reimagine the

had gone back. However, this figure

for teams to collaborate will continue to be

meaning of a ‘safe facility’ and this is an

was steadily climbing before the second

enhanced, and offices will need to adapt in

area where Fellowes can provide dealers

lockdown was announced.

order to cater for this.

with a profitable, new opportunity,”

Of course, once this latest lockdown is over, many employees will again be

[32] NOVEMBER 2020

“Employee health and wellbeing were buzzwords pre-COVID, but the pandemic

www.dealersupport.co.uk

he says. “A complete hygiene solution should comprise hand-washing, surface


H E A LT H & S A F E T Y E

LEADERSHIP

sanitisation and air cleaning to fully

the ‘death of the traditional office’ and

day tasks being undertaken at home or

protect against person-to-person virus

how office workers will fail to return to a

remotely, and office spaces being used to

transmission.

physical workplace,” he says. “Offices will

connect, on a weekly basis, face-to-face

still exist - but in a different capacity. The

with managers and colleagues.

“Fellowes has recently made its AeraMax Professional commercial-grade air purifiers

1980s and 90s’ office format of a central

available to dealers on the Fusion Data

place where workers had allocated desks,

three-to-five years in both size and location

“We will see a seismic shift in the next

platform. These commercial air purifiers

and worked nine-to-five is, for many

of offices. Companies currently based in

provide maximum protection and ultimate

companies, going to be a thing of the

city centres - with high rents, difficult and

peace of mind, with True HEPA filters

past. The office ‘purpose’, going forward,

lengthy commuting times and space for

that can capture 99.97% of all airborne

is likely to take on a more collaborative

tens or hundreds of employees - will be the

contaminants - including airborne viruses

and connection-based feel, with day-to-

first to change and be replaced by more

and germs. In the current climate, there’s

accessible, and perhaps more numerous,

certainly no shortage of demand for this line

office and meeting hubs for use once or

of products.”

twice a week.

DEATH OF THE OFFICE? Looking further forward, will all this mean the traditional office will be in terminal decline – and what would that mean for dealers? Simon Williams, 3M’s North Europe shopper marketing lead for office, education and e-commerce channels, thinks there are fundamental changes ahead which could present opportunities for dealers. “There is, naturally, a lot of talk about

Here is where proactive dealers have a great opportunity to engage now with their customers

“Here is where proactive dealers have a great opportunity to engage with their customers now about their mediumterm strategies, helping to provide local knowledge and guidance on how to set up these new spaces. We are already seeing a move to lower pack size office products, a rise in demand for desk dispensers and ergonomic products, organisation tools such as tabs and flexible white board solutions, as well as growth in shipping products.”

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [33]


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

CIRCULAR ECONOMY

Making Print Sustainable As demand for green print solutions rises, all eyes are on the developing concept of the circular economy and how it can help

A

s the need for sustainable solutions

eliminating waste – composting biodegradable waste or, if

continues to grow, broaden and evolve,

it’s a transformed and non-biodegradable waste, reusing,

so does the way being greener has

remanufacturing and, finally, recycling it. On the other hand, it

shifted into processes – not just products.

also means cutting off the use of chemical substances (a way

Many dealers have got as far as stocking

to help regenerate natural systems) and betting on renewable

recycled paper and cartridges and

energy’.

eco-friendly stationery items - and are coming up with better

The Ellen McArthur Foundation’s definition digs a little

packaging solutions - but office machinery and IT processes

deeper. ‘Looking beyond the current take-make-dispose

are sometimes overlooked. Why?

extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to

Perhaps it’s because their impact on the environment

redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits.

is less obvious, or this doesn’t seem quite as pressing as

It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the

reducing physical waste. However, the vendors of these

consumption of finite resources and designing waste out of

products and services have their ears to the ground and

the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy

are ready for the next step in sustainable solutions. Print,

sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and

in particular, has a huge part of play when it comes to the

social capital’.

future of sustainable solutions in the office – in fact, the latest Quocirca executive briefing – Sustainability: How the print

Most interestingly, the Foundation breaks the circular

industry is applying circular economy principles – suggests

economy down into three simple principles:

that the key to meeting growing demand for sustainable print

• design out waste and pollution;

products lies in circular economy principles – a buzz term

• keep products and materials in use;

you’re likely to be aware of, if not yet involved with.

• regenerate natural systems.

First, we should explain what this means. We delved into the circular economy when we interviewed Paper Round a

APPLYING THE IDEA

year ago. MD Gary Tremaine’s business works on the circular

This concept continues to grow in influence. Quocirca’s

economy theory of recycling customers’ paper and, six

new briefing states that a leap in demand for sustainable

weeks later, delivering bright white, freshly-recycled paper to

print solutions is prompting manufacturers and managed

those same customers. The simple definition of the circular

print services (MPS) providers to build circular economy

economy, according to youmatter.world, is:

principles into their core business models in order to position

‘In the linear economy, raw natural resources are taken,

themselves for success in a changing market. It examines how

transformed into products and then disposed of. A circular

leading print manufacturers are applying circular economy

economy model, however, aims to close the gap between

principles to their supply chains, and how MPS can help

our cycle of production and the natural ecosystems’ cycle, as

customers lower the environmental burden of their print

we ultimately depend on this. This means, on the one hand,

networks and introduce circularity into their own operations.

[34] NOVEMBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


CIRCULAR ECONOMY

While this idea may seem new, and a little intimidating, to

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

for longevity and resilience, to using AI-powered big data

some, the demand for a broader environmental solution in the

analysis to monitor product performance and maintenance and

print sector is more than clear – as well as being overdue.

innovative take-back and recycling programmes.”

Quocirca’s Print 2025 market insight study found that

Print manufacturers have been working away, in the

76% of IT decision-makers say sustainability issues are

background, to make themselves – and you – greener. The

important to their organisations today; specifically, reducing

circular economy is, now, firmly part of this, and dealers should

the environmental impact came out as the biggest challenge

reflect on their partnerships to ensure they’re teamed up with

associated with managing the print network - rating higher

the best possible options for both their own image and their

than reducing costs or improving security. The study also

customers. Educating yourself on these developments is vital,

found that a fifth of businesses expect to invest in additional

as customers are always keen to know what’s next so that they

measures to improve sustainability in the next 12 months.

can make their own informed choices.

Looking further ahead, 57% of IT decision-makers expect that having a leading position on sustainability will be a key print supplier selection criterion by 2025. This demand for sustainable solutions makes it less than surprising that print manufacturers are beginning to implement circular economy principles within the industry. “The print industry has a long history of working to address sustainability challenges, predominantly driven by CSR initiatives and recycling obligations. However, what we see now is a level of consumer demand that means there are also powerful commercial opportunities to be seized by adopting circular economy principles,” explains Louella Fernandes, research director at Quocirca. “Several leading manufacturers now attribute significant new revenue directly to sustainability programmes. “Manufacturers are looking at every step of the product

Quocirca’s executive briefing explores how the industry is working to reject the linear ‘take, make, waste’ economy and includes recommendations for those wanting to achieve environmental improvements in their print networks. It can be purchased here: www.print2025.com/reports/quocircasustinability-circular-economy/

lifecycle,” she continues, “from substituting raw materials with post-consumer recycled plastics, through design improvements

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [35]


SALES SUCCESS

BUNDLES

Small is beautiful

As working from home becomes an option for many more employees, businesses are purchasing office products differently- and often wanting smaller bundles; this presents opportunities for savvy suppliers

F

or many years those in charge of buying office

calmness and clarity of thought - so recommending office stationery

products at businesses bought in bulk, to

in these on-trend colours is ideal. Additionally, with employee

keep supplies well-stocked for their numerous

safety very much a prominent factor in these unprecedented times,

employees and to benefit from the economics

products that are treated with antimicrobial additives to protect

of scale that large orders brought. But now

against bacteria, viruses, mould and fungi are very much in demand.”

that many more employees are working from home – and this is set to become standard for many, even after the

OFFICE FURNITURE

pandemic is over – traditional bulk buying is not always the option

Meanwhile, some office furniture providers are now providing

of choice.

smaller packages designed specifically for the home office. For

This doesn’t mean customers don’t still want stationery, and

instance, at the start of the pandemic, furniture manufacturer’s

other consumable products, but they do want a more flexible

Bisley’s CEO, Richard Costin, asked four of the company’s in-house

approach to purchasing, says Lawrence Savage, marketing manager

designers to propose ideas for products that would work well in a

at Exaclair, a manufacturer and wholesaler of stationery products.

flexible home office scenario. The result is the newly launched Belong

“More companies are now giving extra options for ordering smaller pack sizes, or specialised bundle packs, to satisfy these changes in purchasing behaviour,” he says.

collection, an office furniture portfolio designed with home working in mind, including being customisable and simple to assemble. “It was immediately obvious that we needed to pivot from our

“Being able to offer the consumer choice is key, as well as

planned 2020 workflow and innovate, fast,” says Richard. “We have

products that can complement each other. For instance, with office

entered a new era where our industry has to adapt to a different way

stationery, it’s important to have a selection of colour and model

of working. I asked our design team to think, ‘If you had free rein

options available, especially for items such as storage drawers and other desktop accessories.” Lawrence adds that certain products are suited to be added into home working bundles. “It’s vital for dealers to supply products that offer the user the ability to create an ergonomic, structured home office in order to maintain a high level of efficiency, whilst also being designed to suit the modern living environment. “With this in mind, recent studies in colour psychology indicate that incorporating fresh pastel colours can inspire imagination,

[36] NOVEMBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk

We have entered a new era where our industry has to adapt to a different way of working


BUNDLES

SALES SUCCESS

this is simply too many to buy - so Pentel is promoting a range of

Suppliers have the opportunity to sell more and different products than they previously might have done

wallets containing two, three or four products, a far more realistic quantity for most end-users. “An individual working from home, with a budget for purchasing their own stationery supplies, is going to be looking for several things,” Pentel’s marketing manager, Wendy Vickery, explains. “Small, more convenient, pack sizes, best value for money and, let’s not forget, more sustainable products and packaging.” For instance, Pentel offers an Essentials Collection, which includes an EnerGel pen, two ballpoint pens, a mechanical pencil, an

over new products within our steel and wood factories…what would they be?’ They came back with some wonderful ideas, and the result

eraser, highlighter and a ruler, Wendy notes. She adds that customers are also still looking for

of that is the Belong Collection. It’s times like this that we have the

environmentally-friendly options when they order in small bundles.

opportunity to thrive; our team has really worked hard, and have used

“We’re seeing as many requests as ever, through our social media

their talents and skills to come up with something really beautiful.”

pages, for information on refillable products and environmentfriendly packaging,” she says. “So, it’s reassuring to note that, as

SMALL BUNDLES

consumers, we’re not all suddenly backtracking on the progressive

Some companies are now offering office bundles to customers.

steps we’ve taken to reduce our consumption of virgin or non-

Jeremy Cooper, from Fellows, says that while demand for products

recyclable materials.”

such as laptop risers, wrist supports, footrests and such has increased in recent months, these products can be packaged as bundle offers

LONG-TERM TREND

to provide customers with home-working kits for their employees to

Exaclair’s Lawrence believes this trend will continue long into

maximise opportunities for dealers.

the future as more businesses discover the benefits that flexible

“Storage solutions are also being offered in smaller pack sizes to

working, and working from home offers, in relation to increasing

suit market needs, with,for example, the market-leading BANKERS

employee productivity and wellbeing. As a result, suppliers have the

BOX Premium Boxes now available in new 5-pack options,” he adds.

opportunity to sell more and different products than they previously might have done.

THE PEN IS STILL MIGHTY

“Many businesses are using this shift in consumer requirements

Stationery companies, such as Pentel, are also reacting to market

to explore cross-selling initiatives, which can not only nurture sales

demand. For instance, the standard pack size for pens used in the

for slower moving items when paired with more popular lines, but

office is 12 or 10 but, for an individual working at their kitchen table,

also aid the development of brand awareness.”

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [37]


SALES SUCCESS

FLEXIBLE WORKING

Fl

ds

e

f e r l i e b i n x

The increase in flexible working over the past seven months is set to stay, which means that changes in customer demands are also looking more permanent. This presents opportunities for suppliers and dealers to increase revenue from new channels

[38] NOVEMBER 2020

E

ven before the

said they would be retaining increased home

country headed into a

working after the pandemic. Furthermore,

second lockdown on

more than half of those polled said their

November 5, due to the

organisations intended to reduce their

COVID-19 pandemic,

long-term use of workplaces, and more than

when workers were

one-in-five reported their usage would be

again advised to work from home if they could, the recent rise in home working was set to become a fixture in UK businesses. A survey of nearly 1,000 company

significantly reduced. This means that more people than ever can work wherever they want to, be it a home office, the kitchen table or even

directors, conducted by the Institute of

in a pub – some landlords and ladies are

Directors in September, reported that 74%

offering workers a desk for a day, complete

www.dealersupport.co.uk


FLEXIBLE WORKING

with power sockets, wifi access, lunch and

from home has also seen a huge spike in

unlimited tea and coffee (but not pints) for

Fellowes’ range of personal and SOHO paper

a small fee.

shredders – whilst empty office blocks has

However, employees working in such

meant a big drop in demand for multi-user

differing spaces also means that employees

commercial shredders,” Jeremy explains.

require different products to those needed in

This trend for smaller, more portable,

a traditional office setting, as Jeremy Cooper

hardware has been observed across the

from office and technology manufacturer

industry, and some companies have seen a

Fellowes explains. “To facilitate the new

surge in demand for newer products.

way of working, leading manufacturers

SALES SUCCESS

People are completely rethinking their relationship with work

Rubber stamp manufacturer COLOP

have seen a huge rise in demand for home-

UK is a case in point. The company’s

CHALLENGE OR OPPORTUNITY?

working solutions such as laptop risers, wrist

traditional rubber stamp products have been

However, when employees finally return

supports, footrests and even sit-stand desk

in decline for some time and Kiran Mistry,

to the office, vendors will face another

converters,” he says.

managing director of COLOP UK, admits

challenge – or opportunity, “Depending on

that COVID-19 has accelerated the decline

how you see it,” notes Mike.

Jeremy adds that the need for businesses to provide their people with appropriate

in the use of traditional stamps in offices,

home-working solutions has been further

banks etc., as workers were encouraged to

relationship with work, and this will drive

fuelled by the latest Health and Safety

work from home.

a systemic shift in how businesses operate,

Executive guidelines (www.hse.gov.uk/

On the flipside, COVID-19 has

“People are completely rethinking their

moving forward. A mix of office and home

toolbox/workers/home.htm) which state

increased demand for its newer products,

working will become a permanent fixture, in

that employers should provide workers

such as hand-held mobile inkjet printers

many cases, and vendors will need to adapt

with advice on completing their own basic

which serve as a sophisticated stamp - ideal

their approach to meet this desire for greater

assessment at home. “With the start of

for employees working at home. “Our

flexibility,” he explains.

the second lockdown, and the renewed

COLOP e-mark is an app operated, multi-

instruction to work from home, now’s the

colour printer which, in fact, is a limitless

to adapt their managed print service contracts,

time to help customers look after their

number of different stamps in one portable

moving away from solely centralised locations

employees at home by providing HSE

device,” says Kiran.

to a hybrid solution that covers both home

assessments and the correct equipment for healthy, safe and productive working.”

He adds that the shift in working

“For example, many businesses may look

and office printing under one, easy-to-manage

trends has also led to a move into online

agreement. This will not only provide them

sales. “We have had to invest in online

with the reassurance that they can deliver

PORTABLE PRODUCTS

e-commerce platforms to help market and

efficiencies in how they operate, but will also

Some employees will be moving between

sell our products; this is a strategic change

ensure they have the best security measures in

workspaces, meaning that customers

in direction, having previously been a trade-

place in multiple locations, regardless of where

want more portable products. “Working

only supplier,” he says.

their people are working from.

Mike Anderson, head of marketing

There’s a clear opportunity for suppliers to adapt and expand their service-based portfolios

“Moving forward, I think there’s a clear

at business technology solutions provider

opportunity for suppliers to adapt and

Brother UK, agrees that customers are

expand their service-based portfolios to

increasingly looking for smaller products.

provide viable, value-add solutions to any

“The company saw a huge surge in demand

working environment, be that home-based,

for compact printers and scanners back

office-based or, most likely, a hybrid of the

in March, as businesses reacted to the

two. And it won’t just be limited to printing.

lockdown by equipping their employees

As businesses extend their responsibilities

with the tech they needed to work from

for technology, security and wellbeing, there

home. We expect this to continue as more

will be growing demand for managed service

people strive to create more productive and

bundles covering many of the products we

sophisticated home workspaces.”

have all become accustomed to in offices.”

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [39]


SALES SUCCESS

LIVE IT

LIVE IT Life hack Research conducted at the University of California found that, for most people, focus begins to rise at 11am and peaks between two and three pm, after which attention span drops significantly. By setting aside this afternoon hour for your most important, most challenging tasks, you’ll be able to capitalise on your brain’s natural height of concentration.

THUMBS UP Baffle the badger gets a blue plaque As reported by BBC News, a badger that fell through the ceiling of a Superdrug store while sheltering from a storm has got its own blue plaque

CAPTION COMPETITION

to commemorate the misadventure. Now named Baffle, the female toppled into Northampton’s Grosvenor Centre during Storm Ciara, in February. She was rescued, unharmed, from beneath the perfume counter and released into a safe place in the wild. A plaque, and artwork featuring badgers, has now been unveiled at the centre.

Quote of the month “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela –

[40] NOVEMBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


LIVE IT

Did you know? Daniel Radcliffe was allergic to his Harry Potter glasses. He had an allergy to nickel, and they were quickly replaced with hypoallergenic specs. Also, did you know that his glasses had no lenses? This was to stop the reflection from anything happening behind the scenes the glass lenses were added in post-production.

Knock me down with a feather Nappy-wearing pet geese join man on pub trips A man who adopted two pet geese during lockdown started to take them to his local pub wearing nappies, Metro has reported. Sven Kirby, 34, was regularly spotted walking the birds, named Norbert and Beep Beep,

SALES SUCCESS

?

PUB QUIZ 1. In what year was the first iPhone released? 2. The tallest building in the world is located in which city? 3. Who directed Pulp Fiction? 4. Where is the original Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh housed? 5. 5. How many actors have played the role of James Bond?

around the streets of Leeds, but he Answers: 1.2007 2.Dubai 3.Quentin Tarantino 4.Museum of Modern Art, New York 5.Nine

then began to take them to his local. Sven, an admin assistant, hand-reared the birds from five days old after buying them for £40 each in June. He lets them have free rein of the house when he’s at home, and he keeps them

Weird world

in a pen in the garden when he’s out. “I know a goose is a strange pet but it’s

Diving whale breaks record

something different that I have wanted

According to Sky News, a whale has stunned scientists after hunting

for a while,” said Sven, who lives on

squid for three hours and 42 minutes - without coming up for air once.

his own. “I could have got a dog but,

The average dive for Cuvier’s beaked whales usually lasts around one

as I work full-time, I didn’t think

hour, at a depth of 1,400m, according to Duke University in the US.

that was very fair. Geese require

But one of the mammals left scientists astonished after disappearing

much less attention. I love the

under water for three hours and 42 minutes, without coming up for air

two of them; they’re brilliant

once. The previous record, set in 2014 by the same whale species, was

characters and great fun

around two hours.

to keep as pets.”

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [41]


SALES SUCCESS

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 discusses German supermarkets, selling fishing waders and using binoculars to scout out new sales opporunities e are fast getting

convinced a lot of people that COVID can be

guess what they might need next. She’s been

the reputation of

contracted from your bare ankles - and those

reprimanded a couple of times by the police

being the German

waders have been flying out of here. People are

but, as she says herself, “If you don’t take

supermarket of the

wearing them in their offices and, although

risks, you don’t sell stationery”. Don’t forget,

office supplies world.

they are uncomfortable, and can get quite

at one stage people questioned why a pencil

We’re selling products

hot, we’ve been told that they are really safe

sharpener would be any use in the days

we wouldn’t have dreamed of back in the days

in the current circumstances. She has them

before pencils were invented.

of traditional office supplies; the warehouse

advertised with fly fishing vests as a good value

is packed with everything from boy scout

combo; the vests can hold your sanitisers and

Standoffish, are not too keen on us finding

uniforms to lava lamps.

masks and gloves all in the same place - and

new products as they then have to go

there is a magnet at the back to hold acrylic

and source them. It means they have to

COVID desk screens with metal edging.

make enquiries with suppliers from other

W

We managed to secure a job lot of fishing waders in 2017 which have been at the back of the warehouse and rather than let them

Sometimes we have to take a good look

Our dealer buying group, Office

industries and it can be very scary; they tell

stay there any longer Mrs O’ Reilly, who looks

at the world around us, and step out of

me that the people in other places talk very

after our HR, warehousing, distribution,

our stationery shoes, to see some real sales

professionally, and know what they have in

administration hygiene and catering, decided

opportunities. Mrs O’ Reilly regularly goes

stock, and can help them straight away.

to offer them at a discount as part of our

for long walks around the village - with

COVID range. Somehow, she has successfully

her binoculars - just to look at people and

I hope that sort of behaviour doesn’t spread itself into our company.

Two office supplies reps are sitting in the office when one says to the other: “I’m fed up with this. I bet I can get the boss to let me go home.”

JOKE OF THE MONTH

Pretty soon after this the boss walks in and the same rep climbs up to the ceiling and hangs upside down. “What are you doing up there?” says the boss. “I’m a lightbulb,” says the rep. “I think you’ve lost it completely,” says the boss. “I think you need to go home.” So, the rep leaves and shortly afterwards the other rep gets up and starts packing his briefcase to go home as well. “Where do you think you’re going?” says the boss. “Well you can’t expect me to work in the dark,” says the rep.

[42] NOVEMBER 2020 www.dealersupport.co.uk


FINAL WORD

SALES SUCCESS

Finding your work mojo in uncertain times Helen Wade, marketing director at VOW Wholesale, gives her top tips on how to get into the swing of things despite facing challenging times

I

f you are feeling your

home’, or ‘I have time to read/relax/listen to

work mojo fading,

music’ rather than ‘I can’t go out socialising’.

you’re probably not

Author Linda Bloom believes that by

alone. For many

shifting our thinking about a situation, we

employees across the

change the emotional tone and the meaning

UK, life has been far

we give to our life circumstances, and we can

from settled in 2020. From adapting to remote working or

move the experience from a negative frame

Helen Wade Marketing director at VOW Wholesale

to a more hopeful one.

switching between home and office, to going back to home working as lockdowns and tier

PERSONAL GROWTH

restrictions come into effect, it is probably

Difficult times can bring positive change,

be useful in our current circumstances.

no surprise to hear that these changing

according to model and charity founder Katie

Psychologist James F Zender says that

circumstances can affect wellbeing.

Piper, who has in-depth experience of being

creating a place of safety, practising self-care

housebound for long periods as a result of

and maintaining positive relationships are all

Survey has been looking at the impact

her injuries. In a BBC interview at the start

crucial to our mental health, sense of well-

of the coronavirus pandemic on people,

of lockdown in March 2020, she said, “I did

being and overall wellness.

households and communities in the UK

experience a lot of growth in what, on paper,

since early April. Some of the most common

would have been dark times. I had started to

diet and staying positive by remembering

issues people have reported include feeling

write (to help) my mental health and stress and

that we will get through this. Professor

worried about the future, feeling stressed

just to offload my thoughts and that ended up

Zender believes that by focussing on a

or anxious (62%), followed by feeling bored

becoming a career and I published a book.

positive outcome, we can enhance our

The weekly ONS’ Opinions and Lifestyle

(57%). Here’s how to tackle these feelings and find your work mojo again:

“I think that period gave me the currency of time. It gave me the luxury to

Self-care includes exercise and a healthy

immune system response. When it comes to the working day, make

press the pause button. Of course I worried

sure you look after yourself by taking regular

REFRAMING

about money and mental health, but it still

breaks, getting up and walking around

Reframing can help to redefine any problem

gave me that time to focus on things I might

and doing stretches. Working comfortably

as a challenge. By changing our point of view

not have done before.”

matters. Equipment that will help you work

on a situation, the facts remain the same, but we deliberately change the way we see it. Examples might include thinking ‘I am safe at home’ rather than ‘I am trapped at

safely and healthily includes an ergonomic SELF-CARE

office chair, back, wrist and foot supports,

Some of the psychotherapy tools used to help

and a monitor riser to ensure the top of your

people who have been through trauma could

screen is level with your eyes.

www.dealersupport.co.uk NOVEMBER 2020 [43]


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MADE FOR

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

EDUCATION

new products and category trends

Issue 296

STEVE MCKEEVER

MARKETING

DRIVING CHANGE

2020 VISION

2020 VISION New products and categories

More Shredding. Zero Jamming.

February 2020

TRANSFORMING THE CHANNEL

PHIL JONES

OEMS AND MPS

IT PREDICTIONS

2020 VISION

inspiring success

Next Generation Shredders

ISSUE 296

January 2020

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DEALER SUPPORT JANUARY 2020

DEALER SUPPORT DECEMBER 2019

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

www.fellowes.com

MARKETING Why now is the time

0203 794 8555 info@intelligentmedia.co.uk

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 November 2020