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April 2014 Issue 226



• Guarantee your customer will receive 100% Genuine HP Products • Additional rewards & benefits when you buy from VOW • Get access to exclusive promotions & discounts • Experts in helping you maximise HP sales and margin opportunities EMBRACING THE FUTURE VOW’s forward-thinking wholesale plans email: Call: 0844 980 8000

DOES BRAND MATTER? Do end-users care about brand names? BEST OF BRITISH Flying the flag for British manufacturing


Antalis and Pioneer Paper are hoping to raise £10,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer by organising a skydive for the charity at Peterborough Airfield on Saturday 7th June 2014. Pioneer paper helps breast cancer charities in Portugal and this event will be supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer here in the UK. At some point in our lives, we will all have come into contact with people who have fought breast cancer and some of us may have lost loved ones to this tragic disease. We want to fight this and so 25 Antalis employees and customers are joining

together to take the plunge and complete this challenge! Raising around £35,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer to date, the Pioneer Skydive Challenge is the third challenge of its kind, following last year’s Cycling Challenge and the Three Peaks Challenge in 2011.

Fancy taking the challenge with us? We would love you to be involved and places are still available so please visit the following web page or scan the QR code to find out more and register… type=block&v=2954


Innovation, innovation, innovation





Getting on board with the BYOD revolution

page 10

page 48

The bring your own device (BYOD) approach to working is being eagerly embraced by more and more businesses. Jess Pike investigates what the trend means for dealers and asks the experts about the associated products dealers should be selling to maximise sales


Two of the most hotly debated news stories from the last month revolve around innovations in print. First up Samsung used the enormous CeBIT exhibition (read our review on page 20) to launch its new Cloud Print App and then, a week or so later, Epson launched its remarkable replaceable ink pack system to the media and channel partners at a flashy event in Vienna. Whatever your views on these introductions – how will your consumers react to a bag of toner that’s good for 75,000 prints and does an app that allows easy transfer of documents from device to device really do anything to encourage printing? – the point is that these two giants aren’t prepared to stand still. Innovation for these companies and the likes of Brother, which is now working hard in the world of web conferencing, means staying ahead of the curve to protect their respective positions as market leaders. Exactly the same principle applies to office product resellers. The most successful businesses are the ones that embrace change and prepare for the future by evolving from just shifting commodities into providing services. They also learn how to deal with shortening product life cycles and challenge the way they do business by asking what if? The good news is that this industry is full of great businesses and business leaders that do exactly that. Talking to dealers at the 49 VOW+ event last month it was clear to see just how many resellers are hungry for innovation and recognise the need to change in order to maintain growth. In many ways it’s classic natural selection with only the fittest surviving. In many ways that makes the coming months and years hugely exciting. I for one look forward to seeing where the next innovation comes from and how the industry embraces the development – I hope you do too.

ablets and mobile phones are infiltrating the workplace like never before, giving users greater flexibility in the way they work and where they work from. It’s now not uncommon for one colleague to be working on a laptop while another uses a tablet and a third scrolls down an email on their smartphone. Indeed, a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) survey showed that the percentage of users who printed from their mobile devices had increased dramatically in recent months and the percentage of those who don’t print will decline from almost 50% in 2012 to just 25% in 2015. The way business works is changing, and it’s changing fast. New ways of working Steve Robinson, marketing director of XPD, believes that the BYOD trend is a perfect marriage of ‘push’ and ‘pull’. “Many companies are keen to outsource as much of their cost as possible and to make their workforce costs as variable as possible,” he explains. “Hence the emergence of zero-hour contracts and companies utilising self-employed contractors more than ever before. With this outsourcing model in mind, it makes sense for companies to push individuals towards sorting out their own devices and simply providing

“Make sure you assess your skills, product and sales network to see whether this might be a market worth focusing on”

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generic but secure access.” The pull side of Robinson’s theory involves the number of devices available on the market and the emergence of cloud access. “Put simply, there’s significant user benefit to having the same content accessible on a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone and being able to access this content at any time and in any location.” Phil Jones, managing director of Brother UK, concurs: “The concept of work/life balance is being replaced with work/life blend as more and more people work out of hours and away from the office. Employees now expect to be able to use whatever technology they want, anytime and anywhere. Our research among IT buyers found that 40% operate a BYOD policy already.” In large businesses, where flexi-working and hot-desking is encouraged, the BYOD trend is in full swing, with a new concept starting to be taken on by some organisations – COPE, which stands for ‘corporately owned, personally enabled’. According to Jones, this concept overcomes BYOD’s security and data issues. “Requirements for mobile device management (MDM) will continue to grow along with peripheral requirements and applications,” he adds. Adam Diggins, technology evangelist and content development manager at Toshiba, doesn’t see the BYOD trend as impacting on the use of traditional office devices, such as laptops. “In reality, it’s CYOD (choose your own device) that has seen more success with enterprises,” he says. “A significant reason for this is that, by giving employees the ability to choose from a selection of approved devices, businesses can APRIL 2014

“If a customer wants the coffee pot switching on at 8am you should offer to do it” EDITOR Austin Clark




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PUBLISHER Vicki Baloch



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CONTENTS April 2014


INDUSTRY 10 BIG INTERVIEW Martin Weedall tells us how VOW is embracing future change 14 DOES BRAND MATTER? Do end-users care about brand names or is price a bigger factor? 20 TOMORROW’S WORLD We reveal the tech you’ll be selling in coming years

PEOPLE 24 SELLING SERVICES The reseller that sells long-term partnerships 30 SIXTY SECONDS WITH… Derek Jones, MD, Synaxon

IT GUIDE 34 ORIGINAL AND GENUINE Why should resellers focus on original ink and toner? 38 THE YEAR OF MPS Why could 2014 be the year MPS really takes off?


40 PERIPHERAL VISION Why dealers can make peripheral sales the centre of attention 44 BEATING THE COUNTERFEITERS The steps the industry is taking to defeat fraudsters

MANAGEMENT 48 GROW YOUR BUSINESS Making money from the growing BYOD trend 52 THE FUTURE OF VIDEO CONFERENCING How is the world of video conferencing developing?

USP 58 BEST OF BRITISH How salespeople can fly the flag for British manufacturing 60 REDUCING THE PAIN OF WORK How resellers can cash in on workplace ergonomic sales 63 FINAL WORD Why the industry needs a reliable and flexible support chain



NEWS Vasanta Group growth picks up pace The Vasanta Group has announced accelerated sales growth for its last financial year. After posting positive growth numbers in 2012, overall full-year Vasanta Group sales for 2013 grew by 7% compared to 2012. The VOW Wholesale business won a record number of new accounts in the UK and Ireland and continues to win market share, building on a well-established logistics platform into which investment is continuing. The Group also continues to see strong growth in newer and emerging reseller sales channels such as online and within the technology sector. From a product category perspective, sales of traditional office products advanced well despite the overall market decline; significant growth was seen in the distribution of electronic office supplies; the facilities supplies category grew strongly across all sales channels and good levels of growth in furniture were seen, particularly in the latter half of the year. Steve Haworth, Vasanta Group sales & marketing director, commented: “We continue to build on the stable platform and structure that we have developed in previous years. Our strong performance is underpinned by our ongoing development and investment into our core infrastructure and resources; maintaining good core service levels and reinforcing our customers’ confidence in us as their supply chain partner.” Haworth continued: “We finished the year with strong growth in many of our new and emerging categories such as facilities supplies (+19%). VOW attracted a record number of new reseller partners and has made significant progress with respect to its market share whilst existing VOW customers have also seen growth as a result of our sales support initiatives and the VOW+ programme. This year was further proof of our ability to seamlessly add new business and make use of the inherent capacity in our network.”

Spicers replaces CFO

Sarah Jones, CFO at Spicers, has left the wholesaler. Jones has been replaced by an interim CFO, Colman Moher, who brings financial experience gained in roles at a series of big name companies including Allied Domecq and Lloyds. Moher is regarded as an expert in corporate financial turnarounds. Jones had been with Spicers since 2010, originally joining as finance director, before moving to the CFO position when Better Capital completed its acquisition in January 2012. A supplier present at a recent Spicers meeting told Dealer Support that Jones had requested improved financial terms from vendors in the light of reduced daily sales of around £150k caused by the wholesaler’s supply issues due to problems at its Smethwick distribution hub. Newspaper reports recently stated that Better Capital, the company led by private equity veteran Jon Moulton, would have to write down the value of companies held in one of its portfolios after poor trading. The company said that Spicers would see lower revenues this year than last year due to problems at its distribution centre.

Complete Office Solutions acquires Dales Office Yorkshire’s Complete Office Solutions (COS) has completed the acquisition of Leeds-based Dales Office Supplies and Equipment. The addition of the £1.5m turnover dealer means COS is well on track to surpass the £30m sales in 2014. The deal further strengthens COS’s foothold in Leeds and the existing Dales team join COS which takes the COS sales team to 48 people across all sales divisions. Richard Coulson, MD of COS, said: “I am delighted to have finally concluded the deal as I have been chasing Bill Cowling for many years. The team at Dales is very strong and they all fit brilliantly into our structure. The company has already been relocated into our Wakefield site and we are very much looking forward to working with them all.”


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Metsä Board announces paper price rises Metsä Board has announced that prices for all its uncoated fine paper (WFU) business in Europe will increase by at least £40 per tonne. The increase will take effect for all deliveries invoiced from 14 April 2014. Following a period of sustained price pressure over the latter half of last year, Metsä Board now sees a more positive outlook in the supply demand balance for its uncoated woodfree papers into 2014. Demand is usually at its strongest in the period over the first two quarters; however the demand seems to be particularly strong this year. “Demand is strong and the outlook is more positive for our paper products right now, so we think the time is right to rebalance pricing and get profitability back to a more sustainable level going forward,” explained Mattias Kronberg, VP sales and marketing, linerboard and paper.

European Office Products joins Advantia

ECi Software acquired by asset manager ECi Software Solutions has been acquired by global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. “We are very happy to partner with The Carlyle Group to continue building our leading industry-specific business and e-commerce solutions across a variety of important industries,” said Ron Books, president and CEO of ECi Software Solutions. “Carlyle is committed to investing in ECi as we support the entrepreneurial spirit and profitable growth of small and medium size enterprises. I am confident that with Carlyle, we have made the right choice for the future of our employees, our customers and our business partners.”

XPD announces new Spicers deal

Advantia has welcomed Arundel-based European Office Products to the group, leaving behind the traditional dealer/wholesaler business model. “It was through contact with another Advantia dealer who was successfully using the Truline model that resulted in us becoming interested in the model that Advantia had developed,” commented Ian Elliott, finance director of European Office Products. “Its national logistics coverage, a keen pricing model and the opportunity to reduce overhead and stocking costs helped us make the decision that this was the best way forward for our business. As our business demands very high levels of customer service particularly in the way in which product is delivered, the dedicated fleet of Truline vehicles and drivers offered a far better solution to any other offering using third party transport and enabled us to dispense with our own fleet of vehicles.” European reports that the switch to Advantia has been very well received by its customers and successfully embraced by everyone working within the business.

“Not all 3D printers are equal” Ben Appleby, technology product manager at VOW, commenting on the introduction of iMakr 3D printers

In July 2011 XPD, on behalf of its members, agreed a three-year trading agreement with Spicers, which expires in June 2014. However, in light of the closure of SimplyOffice and the group’s trading relationship with VOW, Spicers and XPD have brought forward the negotiation of the new agreement so that XPD members can benefit from new and improved terms. XPD says the new proposition will provide increased profitability for its members, along with a new, simplified structure that makes it far easier for member resellers to understand the true net price of the products that they are buying. The new structure will make purchasing decisions clearer and setting sell prices easier, allowing members to focus on business development rather than administration. The new terms will continue to reward members on the basis of both the volume and the proportion of the spend that they place through Spicers, XPD’s exclusive wholesale partner. Alongside many price reductions and 10,000 new net prices, XPD group members will also have the opportunity to enjoy some of the highest rebates in the industry. APRIL 2014




Dealer claims friendly business recognition Commercial Group in Cheltenham was named runner-up in the Britain’s Friendliest Business Awards, a national competition sponsored by small business funder, Liberis. The company impressed judges with its strong sustainable and charity ethos and the support it gives to the local community. The company wins marketing consultancy advice from a top London agency. Commercial Group impressed the judges with its Green Angels programme which employees encourages to adopt a more active and sustainable lifestyle; staff have pool bikes and the company has achieved zero landfill waste and reduced its carbon footprint by 75%. Its 30 Angel Day scheme also gives each employee a day off to volunteer at a charity of their choice.

news in brief... DAMS TO STOCK BISLEY STORAGE SOLUTIONS DAMS, the office furniture manufacturer and wholesaler, has become a stockist of Bisley’s range of steel storage solutions. The move builds on a wide ranging storage portfolio from DAMS, which includes primary and secondary storage solutions to complement DAMS’ own-brand furniture ranges and a wide range of steel storage products including filing cabinets cupboards and tambour units.

XPD NAMES NEW DIRECTOR XPD has confirmed the appointment of Vida Barr-Jones to the role of director of business

Industry gets active for Sport Relief The office products industry got sporty last month to raise money for Sport Relief – helping raise over £51m – with money continuing to flood in. Staff from resellers up and down the country also completed a Sport Relief swim, run or cycle, while others, including Dealer Support staff, joined in Reebok’s 24-hour fundraising challenge. Staff at XPD jumped on their bikes for the charity fundraiser – covering the equivalent distance between its offices in Staines and Selby not once as planned, but twice, covering 400 miles in total. The two offices supported each other via a video link, and the course lasted the whole day with each staff member taking part in the relay. Jerry O’Sullivan, internal sales development manager at XPD, commented: “The day was a fantastic spectacle of teamwork resulting in a large amount of money being raised for charity, but without the support of the people who donated it would have meant nothing, so a big thank you to them.” Nimans’ staff meanwhile proved their sporting pedigree by being dressed for charity success for Sport Relief. Dozens of workers turned up at the company’s Manchester headquarters in sportswear depicting their favourite football team, rugby side and even retro tennis players.

DIARY 6-9 June 2014 Office Club Annual Conference The Belfry, Birmingham


APRIL 2014

19-20 June 2014 Superstat Annual Conference Oxford Belfry

development for XPD. Barr-Jones replaces Kim Gladstone who recently left the group after 15 years to head up Vasanta’s new agency business.

VASANTA LAUNCHES MARKETING AGENCY The Vasanta Group has announced the creation of a Marketing Services Division to further develop and commercialise its portfolio of value added marketing and business growth activities. The new division will commercialise the Group’s existing marketing services and create new features that will help its clients grow and develop their own businesses. Existing partner and supporter members of the VOW+ programme will continue to benefit from current programmes.


Sam Barry of VOW (pink) and Katy Granter of Office Friendly (light blue) with the Just Office team in Barnstaple.


Office Friendly has continued its ‘buy local’ drive with the latest in a series of events to connect members with their communities. The dealer group, backed by VOW, is helping independents engage with local businesses at exhibitions across the country, preparing marketing materials and product samples, as well as providing planning and on-the-day support. Following successful events in Sheffield, Leeds and Cheltenham, Devon dealer Just Office was the latest to benefit, joining 30 local companies in Barnstaple last month to showcase its diverse range of services. Mark Rostock, managing director of Just Office, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to network at events like this and show the breadth of our offering - from our bespoke cupboards and new chairs to our facilities supplies range. “One of the great strengths of local businesses is that they can be reciprocal. The team have been busy following up a string of leads and I’d urge all dealers to get out there, use the resources of Office Friendly and VOW, and build customer relationships.” Steve Harrop, managing director of Office Friendly, said: “We’re seeing more and more opportunities for local businesses to thrive. “Money spent in a community goes to that community and the importance of local service has never been more keenly felt. “Relationships are not about numbers or share prices but rather being passionate about personal, on-the-ground business. “With that sort of approach, we’re confident independents can compete with the large multi-national companies by providing outstanding service and customer care, with effective pricing.” Four Office Friendly members will next exhibit at the Office Management & PA Conference and Exhibition at London’s ExCel on 15/16 May.

For more information about Just Office visit www.just-office. or call 01271 2037508. To find out more about events in your area, contact your Office Friendly BDM.

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Yo u r O f f i c e F u r n i t u r e W h o l e s a l e r

Dams Furniture Ltd, Charley Wood Road, Knowsley Industrial Park, Knowsley, Merseyside L33 7SG Dealer_support_march_2104.indd 1

27/03/2014 11:28


QUESTION TIME Martin Weedall

Embracing the value of wholesale Austin Clark catches up with Martin Weedall, national sales director at VOW, to find out how the wholesaler is growing business, looking after dealers and preparing for the future

How is VOW developing in terms of dealer numbers and growth? While 2013 proved to be another challenging year, I’m pleased to say that we will be reporting an 8.5% growth year-on-year, which has come from various focus areas of the business and my team. Continued partner growth is key to our strategy and the focus on helping our supporters has once again delivered a positive result. Growth categories such as facilities supplies (FS) and convenience furniture has made a healthy contribution. Lastly, having over 70% capacity within our infrastructure, we need to maximise the platform we have built so winning new partners is vital and 2013 saw a record year for that with over £23m worth of annualised new dealer business added to VOW. We’re fully aware that resellers will diversify into new areas and sell products into the end-user, regardless of where they can purchase them from, so at the moment it’s really important that VOW is locked in with its key partners, drilling into the detail of what they’re purchasing elsewhere. If you look at some of the changes we made in the catalogue selection this year – adding more FS and education products for


APRIL 2014

example – that came from our resellers and looking at what they can purchase outside of what they can get from us today. How is VOW helping its resellers to grow while ensuring they stay loyal to the company? We’re continuing to refine and develop the VOW+ programme, introducing services such as the Joe Walker led Aspire training initiative that helps resellers to develop their people to ultimately sell more services and products. We’ve also just launched the marketing services agency, headed up by Kim Gladstone, which will add more tools, services and support to resellers. We’ve also invested heavily in our distribution centres, helping resellers take stock out of their businesses, releasing cash that can be spent on growing the business. The introduction of bokz also highlights our commitment to helping resellers focus on selling, by removing duplicate costs. The plan is to ensure VOW works better and smarter for our partners. You say that you’re taking cost out of dealer businesses, yet new initiatives such as Aspire have a cost attached – how does that work?

QUESTION TIME Martin Weedall

By removing the de-duplicated cost, it gives resellers the opportunity to further invest in and develop their sales force. Investing in an internal resource at VOW to offer this programme gives greater flexibility and speed of reaction and we have full control over the training ensuring that we offer the best levels of bespoke training. Walker brings a wealth of experience both from within and outside of our industry. We are putting our money where our mouth is and we are actually delivering what our customers require in terms of a service. As they say Austin, talk is cheap, which is why actions matter so much to VOW. Joe Walker brings with him knowledge of working in the office products sector. Is using industry ‘insiders’ a deliberate ploy by VOW? Yes it is. We’ve brought certain third parties in to run various VOW+ services and some worked really well. However, the feedback we got from resellers after the last round of training suggested they would prefer somebody with industry knowledge. We felt that by doing exactly that we could be in control, the reseller would be more comfortable with the relationship and this would encourage them to share sensitive

“I speak to dealers who don’t actually lead with what we would class traditional office products when selling”

information that they wouldn’t be willing to do with a third party. It means that our sales team can work with the reseller to improve any issues and create programmes that will improve reseller development. What about support for dealers that fall outside of the VOW+ remit? The VOW+ community is extremely important to us, but so too are our supporters and there’s a massive number of them. They do get access to the same tools and services and we’ll try to interact and support them as much as we can. We are constantly winning new market share from customers, so it’s only right that we look after all of our resellers. What do you think are the main reasons for VOW winning so many new customers? We’ve been very clear on what our strategy is as a wholesaler and we attribute it to the following areas: • Primarily being a wholesaler APRIL 2014



• • • • • • • • •

QUESTION TIME Martin Weedall

Picking accuracy at our distribution centre Doing what we say we are going to do Having a well-invested infrastructure that means we can fully support our customers as we continue to gain market share Offering a well-embedded culture within our business that is fully acknowledged in the industry Bringing to the table a mixture of industry knowledge and external experience where needed Ensuring resellers have confidence and knowledge of our clear strategy as a wholesaler Continuing to evolve in all areas of the business to ensure we remain at the forefront of our industry Investing in the right tools and services to help our resellers grow their business and diversify into new areas Having a focused and relationship developed sales team

Does VOW still believe in the power and reach of brand names? Absolutely. It’s still a fundamental part of our business and links in with the message of being a wholesaler. We support the manufacturers and they support us, and we will continue to work with them as their product lines and businesses evolve. How about Q-Connect – where does that fit in with the product offering? It fits in because it’s the reseller’s brand and one that’s well known and recognised. Nigel Mitchell our group merchandise director has employed Phil Allen to develop our own brand strategy that will be rolled out in 2014. The range will continue to evolve and we’re constantly looking at products that need to be added and removed. If we don’t feel that we’ve got the offering right after listening to reseller feedback we’ll look at how we can put it right. We certainly don’t treat the Q-Connect range differently to any other. What are the growth areas for resellers? We think there’s still growth in the facilities supplies range which is why we’re continuing with our FS training days, which are aimed more at salespeople than at dealer principals as they’re offering hands-on sales training on the products. VOW grew business in that sector last year and there’s still more to come – we believe it should account for 20% of our sales, so we will continue to invest. EOS is still a big category and we have a programme at group level that’s looking at managed print services. There’s also a focus at VOW to bring in more category specialists. Last year we brought in two furniture specialists and we’ve seen great growth and learnt a lot from having the knowledge on board. I think you’ll see more specialists in place later this year. We’re constantly reviewing the SKU count, looking at buying patterns and working with manufacturers to


APRIL 2014

bring products in. At the same time, from an inventory perspective, you’re removing product that isn’t shifting, all with the aim of offering the right products and the right pack sizes. Following our recent announcement of the launch of the IMakr range of 3D printers, this presents an exciting opportunity for our resellers to embrace this technology to meet the demands of the ever-changing consumer needs.

“The VOW+ community is extremely important to us, but so too are our supporters and there’s a massive number of them”

Do you think resellers will become more service led or will it always be about selling products in boxes? I do think resellers will become more service led as time goes on. I speak to dealers who don’t actually lead with what we would class traditional office products when selling. They actually lead with different added-value tools and services and pick the traditional office products business on the back of them. There are still a decent number of resellers leading with products and price but I think more and more, we as a wholesaler and our resellers are trying to reposition ourselves as business solutions providers. If a customer wants the coffee pot switching on at 8am you should offer to do it, because to some degree it locks them in and you are demonstrating that you understand their business more. Where do you see VOW a year from now? We’ll see VOW continuing to invest and growing our technology, furniture and FS offerings and sales to meet market demands. We’ll also look to work even more closely with our partners, developing new ways to communicate, embracing new technology from a customer contact point of view, which together will help us continue the journey we’ve been on for the last four years. We’re in this business for the long-haul and the backbone of what we do will be wholesaling. DS



Do matter? Big brands are desirable but generally come at higher prices so, with the economy still yet to truly recover, do buyers of office products really care about brands? Nikki Withers investigates


brand for a company is like a reputation for a person – you earn reputation by doing hard things well. However, once you’ve earned that reputation it’s definitely not plain sailing; you’ve got to continue to deliver. If you think about the three most valuable global brands – Apple, Google and Coca-Cola – they’ve all made a promise to their customers and they’ve all delivered on that promise. But why is branding important? Fiona Mills, marketing director at Avery UK, says: “A strong brand helps create and, more importantly, differentiate products and services ensuring they’re at the forefront of people’s purchasing considerations. It creates product awareness, cut through and, ultimately, sales.” She adds that a company with a strong brand base can continue to grow and expand to the next stage, innovating and offering better products, building customer loyalty and creating positive brand awareness. Who cares? While it’s easy to see the benefit of branding for companies like Apple do buyers of office products


APRIL 2014

really care about brand names? Are they bothered what make of stationery, desktop printer or toner cartridge they’re going to purchase? Mills believes they are: “You rarely come across products at the top of the customers’ purchase consideration from companies with a weak brand offering; the two go hand-in-hand. I think the reason behind this is that although there are alternatives out there, companies seek the brands they trust, having confidence in what they know will be a quality product.” Simon McLoughlin, category head, traditional office products category at VOW, agrees: “Branding isn’t a concept people care or don’t care about. It’s a reality that determines how they make product choices. Whether a consumer purchases own brand or OEM brand, the branding is an influencing part of that decision.” Alison Locke, marketing manager at Olivetti UK adds: “Some brands in the industry have been around for a very long time which demonstrates stability, both financially and in the area of support, which most customers tend to look for as part of their buying criteria. Working with brands that have a longstanding heritage is attractive to customers who are cautious about making decisions which affect their

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company’s finances. The recent economic situation has increased the need to know that suppliers of vital office equipment will be around for the foreseeable future. Therefore, it could be argued that this is why a well-established brand can often be favoured over a brand that does not have such a well-known history.” A well-branded business will know what things it’s good at and create a brand message based on these aspects. Take Coca-Cola as an example; how has this soft drink manufacturer managed to create a brand that’s recognised all around the world? Coke’s strength is that it always finds a way to connect with its current customers. To keep up with their audience they’ve had to make a lot of changes over the years, including altering their logo and thinking of creative campaigns to keep up with the times. For a brand to be successful it needs to deliver its sales message clearly, confirm the credibility of that message and, ultimately, connect with the buyer. “Branding, done correctly, will attract the right customer for your offering, allow you to engage with them and then, crucially, retain them through creating recognition and loyalty,” says Sarah Simpkins, creative director at Branding by Tonik. “With this in mind, branding ensures that you get the best possible return from your marketing spend.” Selling It’s evident there’s a case for branding in the office supplies industry but, with the economy still recovering slowly, are dealers wise to support branded products? Simpkins believes they should, “If you’re selling an own-brand product your buyer knows that they’ll get a low price for a more than

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acceptable quality. Their expectations aren’t set high and the transaction is quick and easy. However, when selling a higher value product a well-known brand should help clinch that sale. You’ve got the backing of the brand ‘promise’ and the recognition and trust in that brand name should allow you to sell great margins. The buyer knows what they’re getting for their spend and although expectations will be higher, a good brand name will deliver on that.” Kevin Wharton, marketing manager at ExaClair also sees positives in selling branded products. “It’s important that dealers continue to support brands as including them in their product portfolios will very often provide higher cash margins than unbranded products,” he says, adding that brands also need to continue to conduct consumer research in order to give the industry valuable insights into what consumers want. With regard to unbranded products, Wharton thinks there’s certainly a market for them: “There are still many buyers who are willing to support the brands that deliver the quality of goods they require. In doing so, they are supporting an industry and helping to further its development.” The only problem with branded products, according to Mills, is that if something goes wrong customers aren’t quick to forget about it. “While branded goods may have a stronger awareness, company owners also need to defend their position and stay on top of their game,” she says. So it seems that, as long as you pick the right brand, one that offers a high quality product and is true to its promise, you’ll probably attract the buyers seeking branded products. DS

For more information or samples contact your local branch or email APRIL 2011




O L I VE TT I – A LEADER IN I T AND DOCUMENT IMAGING With over a century of innovation and research experience, a brand name that’s instantly recognisable, a wide product line-up and a comprehensive dealer support programme, Olivetti is without doubt a leader in its field. Dealer Support finds out more


erformance, heritage and support are the building blocks for future success. Olivetti was established in 1908 and is still one of the world’s leading players in the information technology marketplace, with over 100 years of experience in research and innovation and a strong commercial presence around the world. Since August 2003, the company has been part of the Telecom Italia Group. In 2013 Olivetti’s revenues totalled over €265 million, with international sales accounting for 41.5% of those sales. The company has 682 employees and a direct sales organisation and indirect network of dealers and distributors in 50 countries. Olivetti’s comprehensive dealer and partner network is a major part of the company’s strength. Its dealers and key business partners supply the extensive range of highly reliable and cost-effective products, as well as offering training support, service, and consumables, to its vast client base nationwide. Exceptional quality, reliability and productivity for business and education The range of Olivetti’s digital office solutions combines performance with exceptional print quality and unsurpassed reliability. With excellent buildquality and long-life consumables the products have been designed to need very little maintenance and reduce total cost of ownership for customers. Never has this been more important than in today’s economic climate. The range comprises A3 and A4 colour and mono multi-functional devices, featuring a range of comprehensive IT management, added security and a wealth of finishing options. Also within the line-up are workgroup and single-user desktop printers and fax machines, while, for the education and training markets, Olivetti has a range of robust digital interactive whiteboards for single or dual use with a capacitive pen or they can be operated by touch.


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Olivetti also provides a line of specialised products for post office counters, including integrated weighing and franking systems and end-user ATM kiosks. In addition, Olivetti also supplies innovative electronic signature solutions for digital documentation and customer identification as well as in-branch customer information display and queue management solutions.

Dennis Woods, Olivetti UK’s MD says: “All Olivetti products comply with the very latest EU environmental standards including RoHS and WEEE directives. Users can be sure that, by installing Olivetti’s products, they are helping to protect our vulnerable planet. Olivetti has a history of innovation and technological expertise, supporting the development and marketing of business information technology.” As well as being a leader in document imaging technology, Olivetti markets these innovative solutions: • Banking and finance print; kiosk and signature systems • Interactive education solutions • Retail and hospitality EPOS and cash automation • Postal counter and queue management systems • Gaming market printing equipment • Ticket printing and validation

A one-stop shop for retail and hospitality cash solutions Olivetti offers a complete range of professional cash registers, EPOS systems and retail receipt printers for small retailers to mass merchandisers and the hospitality and leisure industries. Olivetti’s touch screen EPOS systems and its bespoke OliPOS software have been installed within shops, newsagents, bars, clubs and restaurants and are maintained by a nationwide support network.

Dennis Woods, Olivetti UK’s MD

Olivetti offers a comprehensive range of document imaging systems to meet every business need. This includes the range of colour A4 and A3 multifunctional printer/copiers (MFPs) which make up the Olivetti “d-Color MF” range, and A3 and A4 mono multifunctional devices known collectively as the Olivetti “d-Copia” range. In the business solutions portfolio Olivetti also provides A4 colour and mono desktop printers. Branching out for the future of retail and banking automation With more than 30 years’ experience in the banking sector, Olivetti is the world’s foremost vendor of front office printers and scanners. Olivetti currently holds 70% market share of the world’s teller printers installed in banks and building societies. What’s more, its broad selection of peripherals provide flexibility in the printing of passbooks, forms and slips to the management of deposits and withdrawals and, where it is still valid, the advanced printing of cheque validation.

Contact Alison Locke Tel: 01908 547980

Hands-on dealer support Olivetti offers some of the most comprehensive dealer support on the market with its ‘Channel Charter’ offering dealers a package of wide-ranging benefits that provide flexibility and opportunities for all dealers to work in partnership with Olivetti at a local level. Added value schemes such as Olivetti’s ‘Best for Colour’ programme are in place for dealers to shine in their areas of expertise. Woods highlights the importance of the programme by saying: “The Best for Colour programme enables dealers to offer their customers full colour support, with the full backing of Olivetti and only those who have reached a specific standard of technical support can be part of the scheme. It gives their customers peace of mind and gives our dealers confidence to offer the best advice to them.” The Olivetti Gateway Programme was set up in 2012 to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurial dealers into the market place. Through the Gateway Programme, Olivetti is able to assist young start-up companies by advising them through the first steps of setting up their business, establishing a cash flow plan, becoming fully trained and how to promote their company through tailored and structured marketing. “We have been astounded at how well this scheme has taken off,” adds Woods. “In the first six months of advertising the scheme, we were working closely with 11 Gateway participants. We did accept that not every company would succeed, but those who were prepared to work hard and work with us are still with us and thriving. We have now presented the Gateway model to the other Olivetti subsidiaries in Europe.” With years of heritage, high-performance products and a comprehensive support programme, Olivetti is a great addition to any dealer’s product and service line-up. DS APRIL 2014




CeBIT is one of the world’s leading technology events. Austin Clark reports on the latest business kit launches and reveals the main talking points from the show


he UK technology sector, cloud print, palm-scanning and security were among the hot topics discussed at last month’s CeBIT 2014. Visitors to the giant exhibition in Hanover, Germany, were presented with a whole host of visionary business ideas alongside exclusive glimpses of the latest research findings and exciting product innovations. The show was opened by German chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who was present to mark Great Britain’s status as official event partner country for 2014. Over 130 UK exhibitors presented their products and services, with a clear focus on the major topics facing the tech industries such as big data, security and e-Health. Exhibitors reported bulging order books following the event. “Partner country Great Britain showed its young, creative side at CeBIT and the innovative energy of our European partner really impressed us,” said Oliver Frese, member of the managing board at CeBIT organiser Deutsche Messe. “British entrepreneurs showed how well-prepared they are for the future in the CODE_n start-up competition; in fact, seven of the 50 finalists that exhibited at CeBIT came from Great Britain.” During his opening speech Cameron outlined his Spectrum Strategy for the UK’s digital future, touching on 5G mobile broadband and better use of existing wireless frequencies. “This is a world on fast forward, a world of permanent technological revolution,” he told the audience. “Countries like the UK and Germany will only succeed if we have a relentless drive for new ideas and innovations.”


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The Government reckons that improved spectrum use will lead to economic benefits of around £100bn by 2025. Key trends at CeBIT included: The Edward Snowden effect Bug-proof phones and encrypted messaging systems took centre stage in response to the Edward Snowden and phone-hacking scandals. In fact, one in seven of the 3,500 exhibitors displayed security products. Vodafone demonstrated an app that enables users to make encrypted voice calls, while T-Mobile offered a similar service with the additional ability to send and receive secure text messages. Alternatives to traditional PIN codes on mobile phones have also been getting attention; for example, LG’s knock codes a feature that allows users to tap a pattern on the screen to unlock it. Internet of things Part of the UK Government’s £45m investment in tech will go towards research into the ‘Internet of Things’, which is viewed at government level as a “new industrial revolution”. Cameron wants the UK to lead the way on new technology, from electricity meters that find users the best deals, to health monitors that keep an eye on your heart rate and water pipes that warn of a fall in pressure. Samsung reveals security-minded cloud print app Does anyone actually cable up to a printer anymore? Not if they’re kitted out with Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint or Samsung’s new alternative: Samsung Cloud Print. The service will launch with an Android app in June followed by an iOS version in


the second half of the year and possibly a Smart TV app at some point too. Regardless of platform, app users will have their data encrypted between their device and their printer and those who also use Samsung’s updated Knox service are promised “enhanced security” through a level integration between Knox and Cloud Print. Finally, the Android app will also support near field communication (NFC) pairing, allowing a compatible mobile device to be connected to “as many as 20 printers with just a few simple taps”, although that currently only applies to Samsung’s range of SME-friendly, NFC-enabled, Xpress-branded printers. Fujitsu favours palm-scanning over fingerprinting Fujitsu believes that palm vein sensing is around a thousand times more secure than conventional biometric methods such as fingerprinting; it is implementing the technology in its next range of business-focused laptops, due out this week. The machines have a sensor fitted into an area that is roughly the same size and position as the company’s existing fingerprint scanners, just below the bottom right corner of the keyboard. Users hold their hand a few inches above the sensor while the hardware quickly scans the unique arrangement of the veins on each individual palm. If it judges you to be the real deal, the computer is unlocked. Hands-free gadgetry Myriad products for business travellers made an appearance at CeBIT. At a mock-up of an Airbus aircraft cabin there was a close-up look at Bag2Go, a suitcase equipped with a SIM card, transmission

“Partner country Great Britain showed its young, creative side at CeBIT and the innovative energy of our European partner really impressed us”

module and display, to ensure it never gets lost. “You always know where the bag is because you have an app and you can control it by GPS,” said Torsten Chudobba, account executive for Airbus which, together with T-Systems and luggage company Rimowa, is behind Bag2Go. While fingertip control gloves have long been available, further good news for begloved businesspeople came in the form of Airwriting, developed by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, which allows short messages to be sent via a mobile phone without removing gloves. Short messages can simply be spelled out on the palm of the user’s hand and a sensor attached to the wrist records the hand movements for a computer to write out the message. Intelligent vehicles Finally, while unlikely to feature in a wholesaler’s catalogue anytime soon, intelligent and driverless cars made an appearance. “These vehicles are no longer restricted to the pages of science fiction,” says Volkswagen CEO Martin Winkerhorn. “I am convinced the car is on the threshold of digitalisation. If fridges and alarm clocks can be connected to digital devices, cars can do it better.” However, Winkerhorn says the intelligent car is too big a project for one manufacturer to develop alone; VW has already entered into an alliance with Google and he says other companies should contribute too. Audi is currently testing driverless cars in California. According to CeBIT’s organisers, orders placed at this year’s show totalled an incredible €25bn, cementing the exhibition’s status as one of the major events in the tech calendar. DS APRIL 2014




Embracing change at 2014 partner event This year’s VOW+ partner event addressed the changes the industry faces head-on, as Austin Clark reports


volving to meet the future head on was the clear theme of VOW’s Partner Event, which took place last month at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. The fast-paced day saw more than 280 VOW+ partners, manufacturers, dealer groups, service providers and guest speakers join forces to address industry opportunities and challenges, learn about the latest products and services in VOW’s popular Interactive Zone and hear speeches from Nev Wilshire, founder of the Save Britain Money group and star of BBC 3’s ‘The Call Centre’, Max McKeown, author of The Strategy Book and VOW MD Adrian Butler, among others. VOW+ partners were thanked for their commitment and loyalty and congratulated on their collective sales growth in 2013 by Butler, who highlighted VOW’s successes of 2013 including strong market share growth and a £5m investment in logistics. He also looked at challenges across the sector, including changing purchasing trends, price transparency and e-commerce, which all pose questions to resellers around cost to serve, people development and new business generation. VOW’s Helen Beckett introduced two key VOW+ services for 2014, namely LaunchPad Phase 2, a highly


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“The event guarantees connection with all of the UK’s biggest and most proactive resellers”

targeted new business pipeline referral service and Aspire, a new people development programme, both built by, or in collaboration with, VOW+ partners. In his entertaining session, Wilshire urged everyone to regard their people as their greatest asset and look after them, while McKeown outlined why and how everyone should shape their future and seek ‘paradise’. For the second year running VOW’s evening networking event was transformed into a black-tie gala dinner and awards ceremony to celebrate VOW+ partner successes in 2013; 11 awards were handed out to VOW+ partners as well as the Supplier Stand of the Show award. The award-winning resellers included: VOW+ Partners of the Year: Quality Office Supplies Ltd, Office is, OfficeScape and Wessex Malthouse Secure Shredding Partner of the Year: Bates Office Printreview Partner of the Year: UOE Watercoolers Partner of the Year: Whittakers FS Reseller of Year: Commercial Group Furniture Reseller of the Year: Office is EOS Reseller: Quality Office Supplies Ltd The Supplier Stand of the Year went to Newell Rubbermaid. Commenting on the event, Newell Rubbermaid’s Claire Reay, says: “Yet again VOW has pulled off the event of the year for their valued partner customers. This is an event that is essential for suppliers to attend as it guarantees connection with all of the UK’s biggest and most proactive resellers in a manner that would just not be possible for many suppliers. “This year I took away a number of leads from new contacts as well as agreeing support and promotions with the more regular crowd. This is all only possible due to the impeccable attention to detail that the VOW event team puts into every aspect of the day.” Duncan Jones from Office is, adds: “It was a really well-organised day and a good opportunity to mix with both manufacturers and VOW personnel, but the real value of many of the VOW events is the sense of community and genuine support that fellow dealers offer.” DS

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Selling a service and a long-term business partnership Ireland’s Bryan S Ryan specialises in providing business services and office supplies and was recently named one of Canon’s first European MPS partners. Austin Clark finds out more from Gerry Cheung, the company’s director of MPS


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ith a history that dates back to 1948, Ireland’s Bryan S Ryan has grown into one of the country’s largest and most successful suppliers of hardware and business services, complementing a strong standalone supplies division. As is the case with many dealers involved in business services, it’s this side of the business that has led to growth in recent years and, following a merger with Office Evolutions in 2008, Bryan S Ryan became one of the largest providers of managed print services (MPS) in Ireland. The company is also Canon’s largest and only Advanced Solutions Accredited Partner and has a host of vendor partnerships with the likes of Microsoft, Dell, Citrix and IBM. So why focus on MPS as a way of growing business? Gerry Cheung, director of MPS at Bryan S Ryan, says: “The MPS sector provides our company with long term contracts and a platform that allows us to expand and leverage our full suite of managed service offerings. Knowledge is a critical part of growing our business and that grows through winning business. It’s a domino effect.” Software and people power For Bryan S Ryan, and all other resellers seriously growing MPS business, software is critical to success, to the point where Cheung says it’s just as important, if not more so, than the hardware. “We have a very prestigious client base, and if you look at our implementations over the last decade clients will acknowledge the benefit that the enhanced workflow has brought to their individual businesses,” he explains. “The fact that a premium brand such as Canon is sitting on the end of this workflow without doubt cements our value proposition. “The success of an MPS roll-out is in the people that roll it out. Outsourcing is much talked about at the moment, so CIOs and IT directors are looking to get their IT staff involved primarily in core business projects and they really don’t want their people tied up in print and training staff. Therefore we go to market selling our ability to cover off these areas, with a consultant-based approach. It has become a strategic partnership bringing value to the client in multiple facets of their organisation.” Bryan S Ryan’s managed services proposition is underpinned by SERVO, its very own industry-acclaimed methodology which starts with an impartial consultation. SERVO MPS has been developed and fine-tuned over several years through the insight and experience of the reseller’s staff, so that it produces the most appropriate and innovative results for clients, whatever their needs and whatever their budget. It is tested, proven and traceable, with a professional services team assigned to each business to work through five levels, as shown opposite.

to define exactly what each client requires,” explains Cheung. “We actually don’t have problems converting or working with clients on MPS. They understand the concept, they understand the benefits and they understand the methodology. Whether it’s consolidation on an existing site, redeploying and maintaining part of an existing printer estate or moving to a new centralised print solution, we offer impartial advice and flexibility to achieve each client’s key objectives. That’s the key to succeeding with service offerings.” The MPS future With the number of managed print contracts in place continuing to grow, Cheung says competition is now coming from the traditional IT companies who are all looking to capture the same services but from various starting points. “We believe that it’s going to become part of a bigger portfolio,” he says. “Well-run organisations are looking to partner with vendors who can add value to their businesses, across multiple categories rather than in just one segment. If MPS providers can

Bryan S Ryan’s SERVO MPS model Scope, evaluate and discuss. First of all, the Bryan S Ryan team gets the ball rolling by working out each individual business’s needs, as well as opportunities for greater efficiency and performance. Depending on the scale of the initial audit, it can roll out specific software tools to gather the required information. The team then works with the company IT division to audit existing workflow infrastructures to ensure correct compliance and the compatibility of existing hardware and software. Typical print audits would include volumetric statistics and user surveys. Educate. The findings of the initial evaluation are presented to the client. Existing and preferred fleet design and hardware waste analysis are discussed and from that point work is put in place to create a unified print policy as part of the MPS solution. Roll out and implementation. Bryan S Ryan then draws up a Project Initiation Document (PID). This incorporates the proposed technical architecture, service model, commercial model, disposal and sanitisation of existing hardware, transition plans and ongoing training. This ‘pilot site’ will be followed by a co-ordinated deployment, installation and testing of the MPS Solution. Value. The Bryan S Ryan professional services team works to offer clients reduced costs and a very short, or instant, return on investment. Optimisation and value-added services. The service level agreement put in place provides constant monitoring and ongoing improvement of the MPS installation and workflow. Solutions have been leveraged to provide robust platforms in document management workflow projects, helping clients to maximise investment and exploit possible synergies in the managed services environment.

The challenges of MPS Back onto MPS, what are the major challenges that Bryan S Ryan comes up against when selling MPS contracts? “There’s a very highly educated workforce in Ireland and therefore, at the moment from our perspective, the only challenge is APRIL 2014




Experience tells us that large organisations and institutions are actively seeking to reduce the number of vendors that they trade with

demonstrate their credentials in a managed services environment, then it’s an easy decision for the client to make in terms of consolidation and streamlining vendors. Experience tells us that large organisations and institutions are actively seeking to reduce the number of vendors that they trade with. “We see a big demand in Ireland at the moment for on-site support, which cannot be justified on MPS alone. Add in desktop support, server/infrastructure maintenance, document management and migration to the Cloud or similar platforms like these and you make it easy for IT directors to hire you. Our focus is without doubt transitioning to holistic managed services. However, there is caution from the team at Bryan S Ryan. “We want to be experts and market leaders in what we do and invest in our staff to ensure that our specific offerings are met with the highest quality of services over the life of a contract. We have to keep evolving in line with the developments in the sector. Interestingly, Cheung says this ties in with the likes of Canon also moving into the provision of services, including areas such as bundled software and even mail and facilities services. “This highlights the growth opportunity that’s there for resellers,” he says. Business pedigree One area that’s often overlooked when it comes to MPS is business pedigree, with resellers all-too-often failing to talk up the longstanding pedigree and internal expertise that their businesses have. “Companies want to know that they’re dealing with a safe pair of hands,” explains Cheung. “As a company Bryan S Ryan is dynamic and ambitious, but on the other side we have demonstrated over decades that we are a reliable and an extremely competent organisation. We have a proven track-record and we are happy to let potential customers talk to our existing clients. Trust is a big issue – give customers the information they need without hiding anything and straight away you’re demonstrating that you’re there to help.” Well placed in 2014 Bryan S Ryan is well-placed to take advantage of the growing Irish economy and changing workplace trends, with 2014 set to be another year of growth. “When I think about our future goals I get really excited,” says Cheung. “There are a lot of really good staff at Bryan S Ryan and the foundations are in place to move forward. While 2013 proved to be a very challenging year, our team secured some notable successes both locally and in Europe. Our expansion into the UK market with the opening of our London office further enhances our offering to our global client base, meaning we’re confident of a successful year ahead.” DS


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Not all papers are equal

A new paper manufacturer has arrived on the scene in Britain bringing with it a fresh new approach. Austin Clark finds out more about Double A Paper and reveals why this paper industry giant is set to make waves


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hile the name Double A may be new to you, it’s one office supplies dealers everywhere will soon get used to hearing. That’s because this new entrant into the paper sector, far from being a young upstart is in fact a globally successful paper manufacturing company with a strong pedigree. Founded in Thailand in 1991, the company produces 1.12 million tons of paper at its four mills which, at the last count, was sold in 120 countries worldwide. Combined paper and pulp sales last year totalled in excess of £330m. That makes Double A a serious player. Those familiar with the Double A name may have first heard of the company back in January 2013, when it completed the purchase of the Alizay paper mill in France. It’s that purchase and the subsequent restarting of production that has led to the company expanding sales into the UK and Ireland with its brands that include Smart Copy and Hi Plus as well as Double A. “The proximity of the Alizay Mill to the UK and Ireland, along with the quality of the paper produced there, means that targeting consumers in these areas makes total sense,” says Thirawit Leetavorn, Double A’s senior executive vice president (pictured). “The investment in Alizay opens up opportunities for Double A in Europe, enhancing our brand strength and allowing Double A to be responsive to the needs of our customers.” Taking a different view While Double A’s first ‘made in Alizay’ paper debuted at the Paperworld Exhibition this year, the company is about more than just putting paper on shelves. “We view the paper market differently to other manufacturers,” explains Leetavorn. “Our view is that end-users of paper are under-informed about what they’re buying. They really don’t always know the difference in quality between papers. For example, high moisture content in paper can lead to more paper jams and therefore loss of efficiency, especially in island nations, including the UK and Ireland. Therefore, we work with researchers to find the best pulp for individual markets.” Having invested in paper quality, it follows that Double A should shout about the fact that not all papers are equal. Leetavorn says: “We put a vast amount of work into informing the trade and end-users about the enhanced qualities of our brands. In fact we pride ourselves in producing the very best promotional campaigns for our papers, with our current mainland European campaign picking up three marketing excellence awards. Dealers that sell Double A paper are all backed by support from the global company to help them get the right messages about paper across to their customers – it’s all part of the service we offer.”

We put a vast amount of work into informing the trade and endusers about the enhanced qualities of our brands


Supporting the environment Growing in importance once again with British businesses is sustainability, never more so in an office than with paper. Recognising this, Double A employs a comprehensive sustainability programme that includes its own paper from KHAN-NA – trees grown for paper on the vacant strips of land between rice paddies in Thailand. Approximately 1.5 million farmers have taken advantage of the scheme so far. “Most of the issues when it comes to paper and the environment are to do with the fact that material comes from trees,” explains Leetavorn. “That’s why we grow trees in the otherwise unused strips of land between rice paddies. The farmers receive extra revenue which totals 8% and we have trees grown specifically for us.” The scheme reduces carbon dioxide, preserves natural forests with no need for tree logging, no land clearing takes place to farm the trees, farmers are in charge of their own land and neither planting nor harvesting destroys animal habitats. This story is just part of the sustainability measures that Double A utilises – more can be found at – although one more project worth mentioning is the development of biomass power at the Alizay Mill. The investment in the pulp mill includes funding of a 50MWh biomass power plant that produces renewable green energy from the residual waste of Alizay pulping processes. The pulping process of course uses wood from Double A’s own sustainable Paper-Trees from Thailand. Quality matters Returning to theme of quality and Double A’s belief that quality really does matter, by growing its own trees, the quality of the wood fibres used in the production of paper can be controlled. Double A’s Paper-Trees have the highest fibre count per gram of all the hardwood species commonly used in making paper, resulting in a uniformly distributed fibre that creates a paper with an even and smooth surface that’s ideal for high quality print and excellent copying with no jams. In fact, Double A has passed an independent ‘no jam runnability test’ for continuous copying of 100,000 sheets of Double A 80gsm paper through a high speed machine without jamming. With high opacity a welcome feature given the rise of duplex printing, Double A offers a highquality solution. In conclusion Leetavorn says: “We believe that Double A paper can make a difference to consumers and to office product dealers. All I can do is encourage dealers to give us a try so that they can see for themselves the difference we can make.” DS APRIL 2014




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This month Derek Jones, MD of tech-focused dealer group Synaxon, shares his thoughts on how dealers need to adapt in order to survive and what sales messages are the most important when selling IT products

1. In no more than 50 words, what does your job involve? Making sure that Synaxon helps its members buy better, sell more and reduce costs every day. In practice, that means managing a great team, working on new ideas and services and, most important of all, talking, listening and responding to the needs of our member resellers. 2. What’s the best day’s work you’ve ever done? The aim for the whole team is always to make today’s work the very best we’ve ever done. For us, a successful day is one where we help our members to do business better, become more effective at selling and increase their profits. We always want tomorrow to be even better than today. 3. What do you think is the best office product ever invented? It has to be the personal computer and all it has led to – the web, email and mobile


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computing. It’s totally changed the way we work, communicate and interact and the industry that has built up around it is largely what sustains our members to this day.

an even bigger shift towards managed services and the monthly recurring revenues model. However, like every development, it will be an evolution, not a revolution.

4. How do you think office supplies/ services resellers need to adapt over the coming year? Resellers need to embrace changes in working practices that enable people to work in a more mobile, flexible and dynamic way and put more new ideas in front of customers more often. They need to work as part of the industry to market new concepts like collaboration and cloud computing.

6. Why should dealers look to dealer groups for support? Being part of an effective dealer group means dealers can buy on better terms, reduce costs by accessing a wider range of services and sell more through efficient, regular and automated marketing activity and their own web store.

5. What office technology(ies) do you think will have the biggest impact on the way businesses work? The drive by software vendors to increase the subscription model is now starting to get serious. Once that takes hold it is going to change attitudes – I believe we will see

7. What sales messages are most important when selling IT equipment? The message should always be tuned to customer needs; salespeople must always be aware of the issues or challenges customers face in their businesses and only then offer a solution. Technology can transform businesses and lives, but listening and hearing what the customer says remains paramount to successful solution selling. DS


g u ide


April 2014


The latest news, views and stats

ORIGINAL AND GENUINE Why should resellers focus on original ink and toner?


Could 2014 be the year MPS really takes off?


How can dealers make peripheral sales the centre of attention


The steps the industry is taking to defeat fraudsters

Thinking of the total solution? Think Ingram Micro Contact us today on 0871 973 3338 or email MARCH 2012





Welcome to the Dealer Support IT Guide. Sponsored by Ingram Micro, this indispensible guide asks why originals should be the number one choice when buying print consumables, discusses why this year could be the year when MPS really takes off, investigates how dealers can sell more IT peripherals and investigates the steps manufacturers are taking to beat counterfeiting. We hope you enjoy the guide.


Ingram Micro is the world’s largest technology distributor and a leading supplier of print, peripherals and supplies in the UK, offering the broadest portfolio of vendors for print hardware, supplies and peripherals from vendors such as Brother, HP, Xerox, Kensington, Logitech and Belkin. This broad range of vendors is supported by Ingram Micro’s experienced team of business managers, product managers and vendor specialists who can guide you through the diverse spectrum of solutions from protecting, charging and securing tablets and mobile devices to providing a fully integrated managed print solution (MPS). PrintSense is the service developed by Ingram Micro that helps you make sense of – and make money from – MPS for your customers. It lets you capitalise on your existing relationship with your customers, and to strengthen them with a valuable service they’ll appreciate. Yet you’ll still have the time and the resources to concentrate on staying hands-on with your core business. Ingram Micro’s specialists can also provide in-depth knowledge on total cost of ownership (TCO), environmental requirements, workgroup solutions and the latest technologies to provide a solution to meet your customers’ requirements while giving you the best margin opportunities.

NEWS Gartner predicts IT trends IT analysts at Gartner have revealed 70 IT trends that it predicts the industry will see between now and 2017. The analysts predict that the social media bubble will burst in late 2014, the development of mobile apps will exceed the development of PC applications by 2015 and the cost of cloud storage will rise as providers deal with increasing energy costs. The research also states that IT departments will delegate more and more responsibilities to other departments by 2015 as IT projects increasingly become business projects funded by other departments within a business.



The percentage rise in tablet shipments expected in 2014 versus a year earlier, with 270.7 million units expected to be shipped.years.

Epson launches revolutionary toner system Epson has released details of a radical new toner solution called RIPS Replaceable Ink Pack System. Leveraging its industrial inkjet print head technology, PrecisionCore, Epson has developed the WorkForce Pro RIPS range to offer businesses a series of inkjet products that deliver uninterrupted printing for up to 75,000 pages without the need for a consumables change. The RIPS model range includes an A3 model that addresses a gap in the market for A3 business inkjet printers. The RIPS model has been designed for sale through channel partners and includes the option to lock access panels to the toner packs – ensuring only MPS providers have access. This brings the added bonus of helping to stamp out counterfeiting.


Samsung unveils cloud print innovation Samsung has launched its new Cloud Print app, which provides complete and easy-to-use mobile cloud printing capabilities to business users and mobile workers, particularly in Small and Mediumsized Enterprises (SMEs). The app is compatible with KNOX – the mobile security system developed by Samsung – and, for mobile print users who do not have KNOX devices, their content is secured through data encryption. Furthermore, users can control which printer does the print job and at what time, using the NFC tap abd print functions. The app will be available for free download on the Android operating system via ‘Google Play’ and ‘Samsung Apps’ in June 2014. The iOS-version will follow in the second half of the year.

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A comprehensive comparison was done by TĂœV Rheinland between genuine KYOCERA toners and three third party compatible toners available in the UK, here are the results‌.




Why use original ink and toner? Several print experts from the EOS sector share their thoughts on why originals will


always be the best

GRAHAM LOWES, marketing director, OKI “From an end-user perspective, people don’t understand the complexity of toner. Most people only see toner if they have a bad experience such as a spill, and all they see is a black, cyan, yellow or magenta dust. Yet as much goes into developing the toner and its composition as goes into the printer itself, so we know what the toner composition has to be in order to get the most out of our machines. “Sometimes, what appears to be a cheap proposition up front isn’t as cost-effective in the long-term and this has been backed up by independent research. Yes, there are some good compatibles out there but there are also some poor quality ones. Buying original guarantees consistency. “If you had a high-performance engine you wouldn’t put cheap oil in it, so why do it with printers?”

“As businesses attempt to keep costs down they continue to look for reliable printers that offer value for money. When your customer invests in a printer he or she expects the best results possible. Yet by using cheaper compatible inks and toners, they sometimes get sub-quality print outs and could even be causing lasting damage to their printers, costing much more in the long run. “Original consumables are designed to work with manufacturers’ printers, guaranteeing performance. They undergo rigorous testing for optimum print quality. Brother Original Supplies use an advanced colour-matching process to produce images that are true-to-life. They’re also specifically formulated to limit the risk of smudges and smears and the cartridges use the latest colour management technology to make sure the print doesn’t lose colour over time. In addition, they guarantee a consistent yield so your customers benefit from good value for money. “By using originals, there’s no risk of an impact on printer warranty. If hardware faults can be attributed to using compatibles it could result in people being charged for the repairs. We’ve recently launched a campaign entitled ‘The Incompatibles’ to highlight the potential problems caused by using non-original inks and toners. The new campaign features a range of characters, including ‘The Blur’ and ‘The Destructor’, to illustrate the types of problems end users can run into if they continue to use non-original inks and toners.”

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LEONIE DAVIS, PR and social media manager, EPSON “The printing system is a complex combination of printer, ink and driver technology that work together to produce the results that our customers tell us they expect from our equipment. Quality is of the upmost importance to Epson and that’s one of the reasons we invest $2m per day into research and development that ensures these standards are maintained. Epson can only guarantee top printer performance (output quality, trouble-free use, printer life) when used together with Epson ink. “Epson does not provide technical assistance to customers if their non-genuine cartridges do not work properly on Epson printers. They must seek technical support from the cartridge manufacturer. If the printer develops a fault that is unrelated to the use of non-genuine cartridges – for example a paper feed issue – then the printer will not void its warranty. “There are many so called ‘compatible’ ink cartridges available on the market at varying prices and of very varying quality. Ultimately, the choice about which products to buy is up to the consumer. Unfortunately, the low prices of some non-original and refilled cartridges lead consumers to believe that the purchase of these cartridges can save them money. However, this can often be a false economy as it can lead to lower printer quality and reliability problems and ultimately require the printer to be replaced before the end of its normal life. Fortunately, most consumers recognise and appreciate the quality of Epson products and we will continue to produce products that meet these standards and deliver the performance and reliability that our customers say they expect from us.”

PATRICK DE JONG, European marketing manager, XEROX “From a reseller perspective, when it comes to consumables such as ink and toner you’re not just selling the product, you’re selling the quality of the resulting image on the page as well as the highest uptime for the device. “It goes without saying that if your value proposition is around quality you need to sell quality brands across all of your product lines. With original, high quality consumables you can be certain of continuous funding and investment in the technical capabilities behind the product’s development, resources for ongoing testing and validation of performance and know that the right people are in place to support and satisfy customers. This means that equipment is protected and years of reliable operation and quality output are assured. “Essentially, relying on a trusted brand for consumables such as Xerox will ensure maximum uptime and less time between service calls and so a lower cost of ownership. Most importantly, it will ensure the best image quality possible for your customers’ mission critical documents.”

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STEVE MITCHELL, group product marketing manager, KYOCERA DOCUMENT SOLUTIONS UK

TIM GLIFFE, HP laserjet supplies director, EMEA

“As businesses attempt to keep costs down they continue to look for reliable printers that offer value for money. When your customer invests in a printer he or she expects the best results possible. Yet by using cheaper compatible inks and toners, they sometimes get sub-quality print outs and could even be causing lasting damage to their printers, costing much more in the long run. “Original consumables are designed to work with manufacturers’ printers, guaranteeing performance. They undergo rigorous testing for optimum print quality. Brother Original Supplies use an advanced colour-matching process to produce images that are true-to-life. They’re also specifically formulated to limit the risk of smudges and smears and the cartridges use the latest colour management technology to make sure the print doesn’t lose colour over time. In addition, they guarantee a consistent yield so your customers benefit from good value for money. “By using originals, there’s no risk of an impact on printer warranty. If hardware faults can be attributed to using compatibles it could result in people being charged for the repairs. We’ve recently launched a campaign entitled ‘The Incompatibles’ to highlight the potential problems caused by using non-original inks and toners. The new campaign features a range of characters, including ‘The Blur’ and ‘The Destructor’, to illustrate the types of problems end users can run into if they continue to use non-original inks and toners.”

“If you had a high-performance engine you wouldn’t put cheap oil in it, so why do it with printers”


“Many customers are not aware of the value of the technology packed into original supplies. It is commonly assumed that all of the intelligence is in the printer when, in fact, nearly 70% of the imaging system is contained in the cartridge itself. “A SpencerLab study at the end of 2013 found that Original HP monochrome LaserJet cartridges worked straight away, every time (1). In contrast, over half (53%) of the non-HP toner cartridges tested were unreliable or faulty leading to increased costs of printing and more time spent dealing with issues as a result. Original cartridges provide better value in the long-term because any savings made from purchasing non-HP brands at a lower price can be lost as a result of issues with print quality or the functionality of the cartridge. “Recent BuyersLab research also shows that HP original ink cartridges provide better reliability and page yields than refilled and remanufactured alternatives. More than 40% of tested refilled ink cartridges failed during use or were faulty when they came out of the box. The research also showed that HP Original ink cartridges print up to 50% more pages – on average – than the refilled cartridges tested (2).” (1) A SpencerLab 2013 study, commissioned by HP, compared Original HP LaserJet mono toner cartridges with eight major brands of non-HP toner cartridges available in Europe, Middle East, and Africa for the HP LaserJet P2035 and P1102 printers, HP 05A and 85A cartridges. For details, see HP-Reliability-EMEA-2013.pdf. (2) A Buyers Laboratory Inc. 2013 study, commissioned by HP, compared Original HP ink cartridges (21, 21XL, 22, 22XL, 56, 57, 140XL, 141XL, 300XL, 350, 350XL, 351, 351XL) with on-average performance of refilled and remanufactured cartridges sold in EMEA. For details see: Cartridges-vs-EMEA-Refilled-Cartridges.pdf

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The year of MPS

According to Graham Lowes, marketing director at OKI, 2014 will be the year when managed print services (MPS) makes the transition from hotly-debated talking point to tangible commercial success. Austin Clark finds out why


anaged print services (MPS) has long been talked about in the office reseller world as one of the ‘next big things’. However, only a small percentage of dealers have really started to get behind the initiative and turn talk into profits – until now that is. Those in the know, such as Graham Lowes, marketing director at OKI, are proclaiming that 2014 is the year that really will see MPS take off and head for the heights. “Print as a service is becoming accepted as a utility,” he says. “Customers – at corporate and SME level – are asking, ‘do I need the assets on the books or can I handle the cost of print separately and do I really want the problems of purchasing consumables and ensuring I have stocks in the cupboard?’ We seem to have reached the stage where there’s a lot more acceptance of MPS.” Lowes also states that the market has matured, with vendors now offering propositions that are suitable for the mass-market rather than just corporates. He explains, “Up until a couple of years ago MPS was very much the domain of copier-focused resellers, so much of the MPS philosophy was based around massive consolidation of devices - from multiple desktop devices into a centralised print hub. More recently we’ve seen push back from that approach because, from an employee perspective, that was a huge change that often didn’t result in better productivity. In reality, the best approach is to have the appropriate device for the operation which may actually mean taking 20 desktops and consolidating them down to 10, rather than one or two, which manufacturers have realised. Manufacturers now focus on customer needs rather than being product driven.”


“Behaviour is changing and decision-makers in businesses are now starting to ask whether they actually need to own a device”

Cultural change Lowes also reckons that technology such as the cloud is changing the culture of the workplace and how people look at office equipment. “Behaviour is changing and decision-makers in businesses are now starting to ask whether they actually need to own a device or if they should just be paying for usage. There’s a changing approach to IT, some of it in the sexier space such as cloud and software, but there’s a spin-off into the more traditional areas such as print. “There used to be a phrase about print being the last uncontrolled bastion of cost within a business, or something like that. Companies have been forced to look at every bit of expenditure and, as a result, IT departments are leaner and meaner. With reduced IT infrastructures these days going down the MPS route is attractive, not least because it allows staff to look at gaining efficiencies elsewhere. Plus, of course, financial directors (FDs) often now control print budgets and for resellers, the interesting route into organisations is via FDs rather than the IT department.” Lowes concludes by saying: “Historically, organisations spent a lot of time selecting PCs or laptops to deliver the best performance and then just said, ‘by the way, we need a printer’ and purchased hardware without much thought. However, nine times out of 10, it’s the print hardware that produces the customer-facing documents on which a company will be judged. MPS, if done correctly, with a consultative approach and sold with a full understanding of what an organisation needs print for, can deliver the appropriate products in the appropriate places, driving print standards forward. The more this happens, the more MPS will become the business norm, which is why the service will take off this year.” DS

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Sounds good to us. Work less, earn more. It’s easy with on-going profits from print services – and PrintSense. PrintSense helps you tap into a new revenue stream which is entirely vendor independent, easy to sign up for, and totally managed on your behalf by Ingram Micro.

E: T: 0871 973 3786

Strengthen your customer relationships with PrintSense customer contracts that automate print supplies, deliver a Cost Per Page service or support hardware refreshes. See how we do all the work and you collect all the profits:



Smart dealers know that IT peripherals can boost profits and contribute to customer satisfaction, as Austin Clark reports


ne of the maxims of marketing is that the easiest sale is to a current customer. It therefore figures that peripherals are a fairly easy, efficient means of bringing in sales. Once a customer is sold say, a laptop, selling peripherals such as a carrying case, mouse, extended warranty, extra battery, DVD burner or external USB drive takes a relatively small amount of effort. “It’s very difficult for solution providers to recruit new customers, so most want to cultivate great relationships with their current ones,” says Sam Colgan, field sales executive at Esselte. Broadly defined as a range of secondary products and services that include keyboards, mice, printers, scanners, print management software, power backups, warranties and the like, peripherals allow solution providers to boost profit margins, contribute to customer satisfaction and bring in additional revenue. Higher margins for add-on sales Every reseller knows that commodity gear such as desktops, laptops and servers typically has single-digit profit margins. Peripherals, though, often come with margins well into double digits. One reason for this is that customers usually spend a lot more time researching primary purchases than they do add-ons, meaning price transparency


and competition is less of an issue. Another potential reason is the fact that, next to the high-value purchase of a laptop or tablet, the price of peripherals seems cheap in comparison – especially when sold together. Gemma Glen, head of category for print, peripherals and supplies at Ingram Micro commented: “To maximise the sale of mobile devices, tablets and laptops we advise resellers to always ask their customers how they will protect, charge and secure these expensive products. Protect – many users think about device protection even before the device is purchased and protection does not have to be bulky or boring. Charge – is second nature in today’s corporate and consumer world and with it comes panic! Secure – physical security of all devices is a must, whether at the office, on the move, at school or at home and of course, when on display in store. “The market has many products available to do all these things and will enable you to tune in and increase your margins considerably. By demonstrating this online and then showing the benefits to the customer with bundle offers, educating will only serve to enhance the customer experience.” Of course, product needs to be effectively merchandised on a website, with high quality visuals and features clearly listed. As well as the classic combinations – think mouse with laptop, case with

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smartphone and DVD/Blu-Ray player with the latest chromebooks for example – extended warranties also make the sale of often lowmargin IT hardware worthwhile. Selling peripherals makes for a good solution set, creating stickiness between customer and solution provider. According to an IDC/Dataquest Industry-wide study customers who buy printers sold without a warranty came back for repeat purchases from the same reseller 62% of the time; those who bought a warranty returned 85% of the time. An IDC spokesperson adds: “Especially during tough times, providing your customer with the right products to meet their needs creates customer satisfaction and will win repeat business.” Selling Strategies In order to sell peripherals effectively it helps to understand why peripheral sales are often overlooked. Salespeople are rushed for time and may not understand peripherals or what the customer is trying to accomplish. Another reason is the salesperson’s focus on the big-ticket items and concern about scaring away the customer by running up the price. The antidote is educating salespeople that peripherals are worthwhile and that appropriate, useful and attractive peripherals will make a customer happier with the sale. Questions to ask peripheral prospects include: • Who are you buying the equipment for? (This will help you understand user requirements.) • Who else will be using it? (If more than one user will be sharing the device, offer peripherals like networking and removable storage.) • Where will it be used? (If in a network, for example, wireless connectivity might be appropriate. If in a dusty environment, recommend a dust protector for keyboard or screen.) • What equipment do you currently use? (This helps you understand the purchaser’s current technology comfort level and assess the possibility of add-on sales.) The influence of BYOD Of course, one of the main IT usage changes the industry is witnessing is the seemingly never-ending growth of bring your own device (BYOD) which, of course, impacts on related peripherals. Many people are now using iPads at work to complement their existing PC system. Instead of taking a notepad into a meeting they will take an iPad and write notes that way, or they will use an iPad, rather than a laptop and projector, to present to smaller workgroups. A lot of people still need a laptop, PC and monitor as part of their normal working day as tablet screens are too small and the range of software packages is too limited for them to be a viable alternative to PCs. Just think how many peripherals these people could use! Selling peripherals is not hard but it is not automatic. Salespeople must be trained in selling them and appreciate the value they bring to the solution provider. When this is accomplished, peripherals can be a gateway to enhanced profit margins, additional revenue and improved customer satisfaction. DS


“We advise resellers to always ask their customers how they will protect, charge and secure these expensive products” GEMMA GLEN, Head of Category Print, Supplies and Peripherals, INGRAM MICRO UK

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Meet the Print & Peripherals Team

Top left to right: Kieran Ebanks, Adam Lake, Craig Stringer, Mark Blunt, Jacob Holt, Evelien Haels, Jim Redman, Will Benzie Bottom left to right: Lisa Barrs, Nicole Hardiman, Sarah Taylor, Gemma Glen, Angela McGlone, Rachael Preston, Dean Wootton

At Ingram Micro we strive to engage closely with our customers. We’d like to introduce you to our Print and Peripherals team, a key division to our business. This team excels in providing you with printing solutions and attach opportunities across all major vendors such as HP, Xerox, Logitech and Kensington. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our many Vendor Specialists, Product Managers, and Business Managers for expert advice. Below you can find the details of some of our key commercial contacts in this division.

Gemma Glen

Head of Category Print, Supplies & Peripherals Division T: 0871 973 3784 E:

Jim Redman

Programme Manager Managed Print T: 0871 973 3808 E:

Mark Blunt

Business Manager HP Print T: 0871 973 3995 E:

Will Benzie

Business Manager Canon T: 0871 973 3229 E:

Dean Wootton

Business Manager Brother, Epson, Kyocera T: 0871 973 3996 E:

Andrew Steel

Business Manager Peripherals T: 0871 973 3490 E:

Rachael Preston

Senior Product Manager Canon Document Scanners T: 0871 973 3786 E:

Contact our print team on 0871 973 3338 or visit



Beating the counterfeiters Counterfeit toner costs manufacturers billions of pounds every year, so what is the industry doing to fight back against the fraudsters? Austin Clark reports


ne of the major talking points of this year’s Paperworld exhibition were the raids conducted on exhibitors suspected of selling counterfeit goods. Many of these raids focused on ink and toner supply because counterfeiting is costing manufacturers an estimated $3bn in revenue each year according to figures released by the Imaging Supplies Coalition (ISC). For consumers and manufacturers alike, counterfeit toner cartridges are a costly problem. Manufacturers may lose a fortune in lost sales but, for end-users, the price can be even higher. Fraudulent products sold illegally as new, original cartridges produce low quality prints, have high failure rates, often lead to more paper jams and can lead to potential printer damage. What’s more, counterfeits often don’t work at all and, if they do, print far fewer pages than originals. Xerox, for example, invests millions of dollars in research and expertise to produce top-quality toner cartridges and another sizeable sum protecting those products from counterfeiters. “Counterfeiters don’t worry about Xerox’s product standards,” says Randall Nelson, Xerox’s general manager for consumables brand protection. “So customers who buy counterfeit cartridges often end up with poor image quality or substandard performance from their printer.”


“If we let counterfeiters get away with it,” agrees George Parry, Xerox’s security manager for brand protection, “they’d create havoc in the marketplace – and cost our customers time and money.” Fighting back With counterfeit toner harming manufacturers, resellers and end-users alike, the industry is fighting back in a number of ways. The Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East and Africa (ICCE) is a non-profit making association which is leading the fight . It has nine members, namely Brother, Canon, Epson, Hewlett Packard, Kyocera, Lexmark, OKI, Samsung and Xerox. Across the Atlantic, the Imaging Supplies Coalition (ISC) is a non-profit trade association comprised of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of consumable imaging supplies and equipment that have joined together to protect their customers by combating illegal activities in the imaging supplies industry. ISC members include Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Lexmark, Samsung, Toshiba and Xerox. As a result of this collaboration and support structure, legitimate manufacturers are increasingly embroiled in legal actions against manufacturers and distributors/resellers of fraudulent imaging supplies. Last year a dispute between Seiko Epson Corporation (SEC) and Dynamic Cassette International

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Doug’s never too far away

Meet Doug. When you’ve got to be everywhere onsite at once, you can’t always be plugged in. That’s where Doug comes in. Send photos, documents or emails through from your phone or tablet and he’ll print them for you – without any wires getting in the way. He calls it mobile printing. We call him handy to have around. Canon printers. What will you call yours?



(DCI), in which SEC had alleged that DCI had infringed certain patents of SEC, was resolved prior to a scheduled High Court trial, with DCI ceasing to manufacture new cartridges which are compatible with Epson printers. Robert Clark, VP of Epson Europe, said: “We invest heavily in research and development to ensure our customers receive the best possible imaging results from our products. As a business we are committed to protecting our investments, assets and our resulting products and technologies the world over.” Manufacturers are also going to great lengths to introduce ways to distinguish genuine supplies from copies, supported by advertising campaigns that dealers are urged to get behind. Sophisticated holographic security labels, clearly sealed packaging which includes an individual unit serial number and barcode are being used, while dealers are encouraged to report to manufacturers any ‘too good to be true’ offers from unfamiliar, unknown or no-name sellers. It’s worth remembering here that it’s not illegal to buy counterfeit goods but it certainly is to sell them, with various dealers across the globe being caught out. A spokesperson from Canon adds, “As well as quality benefits, the genuine OEM ink and toner cartridges manufactured by Canon comply with European laws such as the WEEE directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment, the RoHS directive (restriction on the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment) and the REACH regulation. Counterfeit products are unlikely to comply with these laws as their origin ingredients and production are unknown and therefore present a greater risk to the environment. “What’s more, those responsible for the production and sale of counterfeits are often found to have links to other illegal activities, including the funding of crimes such as drug dealing, people trafficking, arms smuggling, identity theft, money laundering and terrorism, so fighting back against counterfeiters is about more than just a loss in revenue.”

“Fighting back against counterfeiters is about more than just a loss in revenue”

Safety risks As Canon points out, counterfeiting affects more than just ink and toner – batteries are also posing a safety risk. “Counterfeit products have not been manufactured and tested to the strict quality standards of genuine Canon products and can cause harm to a person or product if used. Counterfeit batteries, for example, can generate excessive heat, leak or explode when used, causing serious personal injury or irreparable damage to a product. Only last month the Civil Aviation Authority issued a warning regarding the fire risk posed by poor quality lithium-ion batteries.” Counterfeiting is a major issue for the IT industry and one that needs full support at all levels of the industry if the fraudsters are to be beaten. DS

More information on how to spot a fake can be found on the leading OEM websites. Some great information can also be found at


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Don’t get your fingers burnt. Non-HP toners cost you more in the long run. They hurt business. Over 50% cause some kind of problem, 28% are dead on arrival, and 43% of printed pages are of limited or no use.* That all adds up to a lot of wasted time and money. So choose genuine HP LaserJet cartridges from Ingram Micro – with their 95% satisfaction rating. For genuinely cool HP cartridges, call 0871 973 3338, contact or join our HP rewards programme at Read the full SpencerLab cartridge reliability comparison study here: *Source: SpencerLab 2013 study



Getting on board with the BYOD revolution The bring your own device (BYOD) approach to working is being eagerly embraced by more and more businesses. Jess Pike investigates what the trend means for dealers and asks the experts about the associated products dealers should be selling to maximise sales


APRIL 2014



ablets and mobile phones are infiltrating the workplace like never before, giving users greater flexibility in the way they work and where they work from. It’s now not uncommon for one colleague to be working on a laptop while another uses a tablet and a third scrolls down an email on their smartphone. Indeed, a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) survey showed that the percentage of users who printed from their mobile devices had increased dramatically in recent months and the percentage of those who don’t print will decline from almost 50% in 2012 to just 25% in 2015. The way business works is changing, and it’s changing fast. New ways of working Steve Robinson, marketing director of XPD, believes that the BYOD trend is a perfect marriage of ‘push’ and ‘pull’. “Many companies are keen to outsource as much of their cost as possible and to make their workforce costs as variable as possible,” he explains. “Hence the emergence of zero-hour contracts and companies utilising self-employed contractors more than ever before. With this outsourcing model in mind, it makes sense for companies to push individuals towards sorting out their own devices and simply providing

“Make sure you assess your skills, product and sales network to see whether this might be a market worth focusing on”

generic but secure access.” The pull side of Robinson’s theory involves the number of devices available on the market and the emergence of cloud access. “Put simply, there’s significant user benefit to having the same content accessible on a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone and being able to access this content at any time and in any location.” Phil Jones, managing director of Brother UK, concurs: “The concept of work/life balance is being replaced with work/life blend as more and more people work out of hours and away from the office. Employees now expect to be able to use whatever technology they want, anytime and anywhere. Our research among IT buyers found that 40% operate a BYOD policy already.” In large businesses, where flexi-working and hot-desking is encouraged, the BYOD trend is in full swing, with a new concept starting to be taken on by some organisations – COPE, which stands for ‘corporately owned, personally enabled’. According to Jones, this concept overcomes BYOD’s security and data issues. “Requirements for mobile device management (MDM) will continue to grow along with peripheral requirements and applications,” he adds. Adam Diggins, technology evangelist and content development manager at Toshiba, doesn’t see the BYOD trend as impacting on the use of traditional office devices, such as laptops. “In reality, it’s CYOD (choose your own device) that has seen more success with enterprises,” he says. “A significant reason for this is that, by giving employees the ability to choose from a selection of approved devices, businesses can APRIL 2014




minimise risk and rest assured that employees can function safely and securely within a business’s IT policies and infrastructure.” BYOD, as Jones also points out, lacks this regulated safeguard and can, therefore, potentially present IT departments with security headaches. Data loss – both company and personal – is high on the list of concerns and there are also serious misgivings around who takes responsibility for data loss, the device being lost or stolen, or malfunctioning. To BYOD or not to BYOD? Today, more dealers are diversifying their offering and moving into sectors like education and facilities management but, while some experts believe that BYOD is a market dealers can tap in to, others aren’t so sure. Robinson believes that the clue’s in the name: “It’s not easy for a dealer to develop a strategy to access BYOD,” he says. “BYOD implies an individual consumer purchase and dealers are more likely to have a strategic focus on business to business, rather than business to consumer.” Products involved in BYOD – mainly tablets and smartphones – are tricky for dealers to sell. Many won’t have supply line relationships in place to be able to compete on price and may not have the right customer base either. “Make sure you assess your skills, product and sales network to see whether this might be a market worth focusing on,” Robinson advises. “Then ask whether you’ll be able to make any money in this market when prices are so tightly controlled.” To exemplify his point he highlights the risks attached to tendering for multi-million pound contracts. “The work involved in trying to win a tender for this size of business may be huge and, if the dealer wins the business, the additional resource required to manage the new account and the opportunity to make money may be limited to how well the dealer can manipulate the product mix within the contract.” Jones disagrees; he sees BYOD as a great sales opportunity for those dealers who are able to adapt to their markets. He recommends dealers look to offer technology with finance or extended credit, enhanced insurance and/or repair schemes and to hone their service in event of a crisis. The endless possibilities of mobile printing Office workers now expect to be able to store, print and access documents as quickly as possible and are willing to use consumer technology at work to speed up their essential processes. As tablets continue to infiltrate the workplace demand for mobile printing will continue to rise. Matthew Searle, director of the Canon Partner Channel, Canon UK and Ireland, believes that mobile printing represents a great opportunity for resellers to increase revenue. He says, “Printers with a range of connectivity options that provide solutions for mobile workers are already out


APRIL 2014

“While some experts believe that BYOD is a market dealers can tap in to, others aren’t so sure”

there for resellers to offer their customers; however, the challenge will be educating customers on the benefits, such as improved productivity, ease of use, or enhanced security.” Brother’s recent research found that half of corporate IT buyers think that being able to print from anywhere, from any device, to any printer, will become increasingly important in business document management over the next decade. “This is where resellers can add value,” explains Jones. “They can identify products, such as mobile printers and scanners, with a range of connectivity options, to create a complete ‘office in your pocket’. This will truly enable workforces to be more agile in the mobile space, while also contributing to workflow and, of course, productivity.” As mobile printing becomes more popular dealers can also look to provide other IT solutions and services such as network management and enhanced device management. “New ways of working also bring a new set of IT challenges,” says Searle. “These include data security. Information is often a company’s most valuable asset and protecting information now presents a different challenge from the days when a firewall and secure laptop was enough. Mobile devices have changed the office security landscape; data is more readily accessible and sharable by staff outside the confines of the firewall. This places dealers in prime position to help their customers by leveraging their expertise in managing and securing traditional output and applying the same approach to managing a wider range of print and image capture devices outside the firewall.” Expanding your offering Adding data management to your offering also links to a point that Diggins makes about dealers being well-placed to offer intelligence and advice about different devices. The dealer can become a quasiconsultant – someone with knowledge across the various different technology platforms. The uptake of BYOD could also impact in other ways on the office workspace itself, namely hot desking. This, in turn, could provide increased opportunity for flexible desking and storage solutions. With the benefits of remote and smart working increasingly evident, unified communications solutions, such as headsets that enable voice collaboration, are proving more and more popular. It seems, then, that the BYOD revolution could be viewed as a platform from which dealers can dive into other product and service areas. It heralds the beginning of a new era for office working and, as such, could mean new markets and new business for dealers willing to adapt their offering and hone their skills in different areas. So what are you waiting for? Dive in and find out what BYOD working could do for your sales margins. DS

Does this look familiar?

Lost and broken tapes. Poor quality sound. Backlogs.

Everything you need to make your life easier The Olympus Office Starter Kit Includes the DS-2500 Digital Voice Recorder and AS-2400 Transcription Kit Going digital saves you money with near minimal running costs and no broken tapes. Digital improves the sound quality of your recordings to help transcriptionists type clear and accurate documents. The Olympus Transcription Kit controls playback and includes a footswitch, headset and software, ready to go. On top of all that, the Olympus Digital Voice Recorder is a breeze to use as you will find compared to your old tape machine, the controls are reassuringly familiar. For a demonstration, quote or product brochure please email or visit




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l i e e ving b s i g









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Despite a rise in mobile and desktop video conferencing devices Ian Carter from supply specialist Videonations says only room-based systems can deliver a genuinely natural meeting room experience


tar Trek-style technology is helping businesses across the country gain a competitive market advantage by embracing the latest video conferencing innovations. Experts, including Videonation’s Ian Carter, are predicting that almost every company in the country will be using video conferencing (VC) in the next five years, following similar trends to the popularity of fax machines in the past. “If you watched Star Trek 20 years ago they were delivering video in the same way we do today,” Carter explains. “VC in the past did not always keep its promises, particularly around the ease of use, set-up and overall user experience. But that’s not the case now. “If a customer comes to me today I don’t mention specific technology; it’s about delivering a natural meeting room experience. This is based on five


APRIL 2014

components I need to deliver for it to be considered a serious alternative to always having to travel. VC isn’t going to stop travel altogether, but it’s a viable alternative. It can improve communication, reduce security challenges (including terrorism) and even get you home in time for tea or the football instead of being stuck in hours of motorway congestion or airport delays. VC can save businesses much more than just significant time and money.” Carter’s blueprint for success comprises: 1 – I must be able to see you and your body language as clearly as if we were in the same room. The reason I can do that is because I’m delivering up to a 1080p high definition picture at 60 frames per second, as good as our eyes can see. In the past, bandwidth constraints have been a problem.

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2 – This is the most important… the audio experience. Desktop audio conferencing devices are fairly popular but they have limited capacity. We need to be able to interact and see and hear each other in a natural way. Full duplex two-way conversations are vital. You also need automatic gain control which means that, if people are quiet, they don’t have to shout to be heard. Automatic noise suppression is another important factor, helping to drown out background white noise such as air conditioning. Wideband audio allows you to hear things clearly. If you have great audio and a slightly crackly picture you can still communicate; if it’s a great picture and distorted audio, forget it. 3 – Presentations and PC information can be shared as if in the same room from a laptop, room PC or mobile device, with full interaction. 4 – Ease of use and reliability. Meetings need to start on time. Many existing conferencing units in boardrooms have a dust cover over them because they never get used. They are too complex, things go missing and they never work on time. People need to come in, everything is on and the meeting starts. This can be managed centrally. People don’t care about the technology, they just want to sit down and commence the meeting. 5 – Cost, price and return on investment. Is it going to deliver a value for money solution that’s a true alternative to catching a plane, train or travelling by car? When I first started, a single system with a big TV used to cost £45,000 and take two days to set up; now you can have a simple system for less than £2,000. There’s no reason why people shouldn’t consider an alternative to travelling somewhere, based on this criterion. Carter says only one in every 10 meeting rooms, until recently, had a video conferencing device but that’s now risen to two in every 10. However, in the last 18 months sales of room systems have dropped by 20% across the industry. “Why has there been a slump in room sales over the last few years? I think it’s because the market has demanded desktop conferencing. Too many people have thought, ‘why spend £10,000 on a room system when I can buy a webcam for £40 and do it that way?’


APRIL 2014

“While customers still want prices that are competitive, they no longer expect them to be too good to be true”

The problem is that this doesn’t deliver the natural meeting experience described above. “There’s been talk that smartphones are reshaping the VC world. There’s a place for them but I wouldn’t want a three-hour meeting looking at a small screen and, if you’re on a train, you could lose signal. 4G will help, of course.” Carter says these modern mobility trends create a good and bad perception of video conferencing as a whole. “It’s a video experience but it’s not natural so, in terms of VC user perception, it’s good and bad. It allows people to have video wherever they are, but it doesn’t always generate a great experience.” However, it’s the emergence of HD picture quality that has really elevated VC to a new level; HD is key to a renaissance of room-based solutions. “HD video conferencing was first introduced about six years ago and it was like going from a black-and-white to a colour TV ‘wow factor’ experience,” explains Carter. “There are hundreds of thousands of systems out there today still using standard definition. It would be nice to think you could easily get them to upgrade but you need to persuade them it will be a more productive experience. The key is not to sell video conferencing but a natural meeting room experience because that’s the ultimate objective.” Carter says there are so many market segments where VC is ideally suited. “The technology is essentially the same but there are so many uses and applications – from medical to courts to the building and construction industry and even human resources. It’s not always about a face-to-face meeting. It could be checking the quality of a manufactured part from a supplier in a foreign country or a doctor viewing an X-ray. We can share data but we can also fully interact via a smartboard or whiteboard to perhaps design a new product. VC can be thought about in a different way. Interaction adds a new dimension.” “VC shouldn’t just be used to communicate with staff; think about customers, suppliers and other third parties. I suspect that any company that doesn’t have it now will acquire it over the next five years. If they don’t they will be out of line with everyone else and will lose out competitively, a bit like the emergence of fax machines 20 years ago. “VC is a delivery mechanism to foster collaboration rather than just data sharing – a smarter technology for smarter ways of working if you like.” DS

Best of British Flying the flag for

British manufacturing



APR 2014


Cash in with workplace ergonomic products FINAL WORD

The need for a flexible support chain


VOW reveals Aspire programme detail VOW has announced the details of Aspire, its new flagship VOW+ service, designed to deliver tailor-made people development training to VOW+ partners and supporters. The first courses to be introduced include two five-day workshops, Consultative Selling, for people relatively new to sales and Consultative Selling Pro, for more advanced sales professionals. Each of these is held in one-and two day stages, with individual coaching and mentoring for participants in between sessions. The programme also includes a two-day Leadership Coaching workshop for managers and leaders and three one-day power learning sessions; Presenting with Confidence, Effective Negotiations and Managing Pressure and Performance. Created to meet the specific demands of the reseller community, the details of the six main courses will be adapted to suit the needs of different participants and reseller businesses at each workshop. Joe Walker, head of reseller training and development at VOW (pictured), said: “In developing Aspire we’ve spoken to many resellers, identified a range of needs and pressures and believe

that we are now offering a powerful programme designed to raise individual and team performance more effectively than any other people development training course currently available. “Aspire is a clear step ahead because it is bespoke to the business product community and it engages not only with professionals early in their career, but also at management and leadership level. Generic courses don’t meet the needs of the reseller and as a result it is often difficult for resellers to show the return on this kind of investment.”

Steljes opens Wolverhampton demo centre Technology distributor Steljes has opened a new solutions briefing centre to keep up with demand from its resellers to have a state-of-the-art demonstration facility in the Midlands region. This is the second new facility Steljes has opened in recent months following the launch of its Moorgate solutions centre situated in the heart of the City of London. Located in the Control Centre in Wolverhampton Business Park, the facility is strategically positioned off junction 2 of the M54 motorway and provides excellent access to all major motorway systems. It has two demonstration rooms - one dedicated to the world of education and the other dedicated to the needs of the corporate environment. These facilities are free of charge for Steljes’ resellers to use and offer them a convenient location to demonstrate the latest technologies to their customers.

APRIL 2014

Dell’s Trade to Save promo extended Exertis Micro-P has announced that it is making the benefits of Dell’s Trade to Save promotion available to its reseller community. The promotion, which was previously restricted to customers buying direct from Dell, encourages end-user customers to trade in old devices for new Dell servers, printers, notebooks, laptops, desktop PCs and workstations and rewards them with up to £250 cashback against standard list pricing. Commenting on the broadening of the Dell’s Trade to Save promotion, Simon Barnard, computing general manager at Exertis Micro-P said: “The promotion is a win-win for end-user customers. They get to buy award-winning products from Dell at a reduced price that are configured and delivered to their door within 24 hours. The promotion is an easy upgrade path for anyone looking to refresh their existing IT equipment with high performance, energyefficient solutions from Dell.”


Premier Paper expands in North East Just two years after opening its branch in Washington, Tyne and Wear, independent paper merchant Premier Paper is moving to bigger premises. The new sales office and warehouse, some 9,000 sq ft in size, is sited within the town’s NEP Business Park. Two new members of staff have also joined the team to help meet the growing service demands of an increasing customer base and order volumes. The new larger premises will enable Premier to hold up to 900 pallets of paper locally, supporting its commitment to deliver next-day and to offer a same-day delivery service on its locally stocked lines. Customers also have access to a further 20,000 tonnes of papers which are held

throughout the Premier branch network, all available for next-day delivery. Washington’s branch sales manager, Mike Banks, said: “In each of our 16 branches we tailor our stock holding to meet local demand. The move to new larger premises and the additional resources in the North East will allow us to offer more choice to customers across the region; together with greater service flexibility and product availability, in order to support future growth.” The move will also include an increase in Premier’s local delivery fleet; the merchant will have six vehicles and drivers operating throughout the region further supported by Premier’s national fleet of around a hundred trucks.

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Promo campaign launched by Pilot The Pilot Pen Company is investing in a national campaign to encourage people to rediscover a passion for putting pen to paper. The #HappyWriting campaign aims to remind consumers that while digital developments have enhanced the way we live, handwriting shouldn’t be forgotten or underestimated when it comes to creativity. With a focus on the FriXion Clicker erasable rollerball pen, the campaign kicks off with a major push in London and other high population cities across the UK to incorporate taxi wraps, railway station advertising and outdoor ad campaigns. Pilot’s #HappyWriting campaign is designed to show that traditional handwriting can go hand-in-hand with new technologies; and to demonstrate that, the business will be promoting the #HappyWriting message across social media platforms, print and ambient media.

Esselte Challenge proves popular with dealers Over 75 dealers have signed up to dealer group XPD’s challenge with Esselte, which offers members the chance to win £350 simply by growing their sales of the Esselte branded products. The XPD member that grows Esselte business by the highest percentage during March and April 2014, versus the same period in 2013, will be named the winner. The campaign introduces end customers to the latest office trends from the Esselte range, and also gives them the chance to win some fantastic Leitz products, such as a Leitz Complete Multicharger & Rotating Desk Stand, a fantastic WOW desk makeover, and Leitz ‘Click & Store’ boxes when they purchase selected items from the Esselte range. Sam Colgan, field sales executive at Esselte, commented: “We are absolutely delighted with the number of dealers signed up to our new campaign with XPD. There are incentives for both the dealer and the consumer, so it’s a win-win all round! All the dealer has to do is grow their sales with the Esselte range to win big, which is easy with these products.”

Stat of the month


The number of pages that can be printed from one toner pack with Epson’s all-new replaceable ink pack system APRIL 2014



British manufacturing

With demand for British-made products still high, Austin Clark finds out how dealer salespeople can maximise revenue from this all-important product group

espite the often-heard cries that UK manufacturing is on its way out numerous products for the office continue to be made in the UK. Companies such as Pukka Filing Products, AF International, OKI and DAMS all have strong manufacturing bases in Britain, with recent investment in extended production facilities cementing their home country presence. Does this trend mean that demand for the ‘best of British’ is increasing? Do buyers actually think about the origin of their products or is price the key factor? Bradley Hollingworth, account manager DCI/Jet Tec, the remanufactured and compatible print consumable specialist, says: “While some buyers will opt for the cheapest products, which tend to be imported and usually of a poorer quality, we’ve noticed that an increasing amount of customers do care where their items originate from because there has been a slight shift of emphasis from price to quality. British-made products have a reputation for being of higher-quality compared to imported goods and, as a wholly British manufacturer, DCI/Jet Tec can say with some confidence that more and more buyers do prefer their products to be made in Britain. “Our industry is, unfortunately, saturated with poorly-made imported products, and consumers have not always been interested in or aware of the origin of the ink cartridges they are purchasing because price alone has been a decisive factor in the buying process. Ironically, it is because of these poorly-made products that consumers are now taking the time to do some research before they buy and the desire to secure


APRIL 2014

reliability and quality from a product often means that a consumer will purchase a little closer to home.” Kevin Wharton, marketing manager at ExaClair, adds: “Today’s buyers, first and foremost, value good quality and value for money in their office products; where the product is manufactured generally comes further down the list of priorities. Where provenance does influence purchasing is in the increasing appeal of environmentally conscious products. Procurement policies, especially in large corporations and government offices, are becoming increasingly green and more and more are starting to consider product carbon footprints. The environmental credentials of ExaClair’s products are of great importance to us and this is one of the reasons we continue to support our factory in King’s Lynn, as well as sourcing materials and using processes that comply with the most respected independent environmental accreditations.” One company enhancing its manufacturing presence in the UK is OKI, who recently announced investment in a new factory close to its existing plant in Cumbernauld, Scotland, where the consumables manufacturing business will relocate at the end of March 2014. “The investment made in the new location is a really tangible sign of the company’s continued commitment to local manufacturing,” says UK MD Takaaki Hagiwara. “The level of knowledge and expertise at our existing facility is extremely high and, while we could make our products cheaper, we would be compromising our standards. You can’t put a price on


BUYING BRITISH MEANS SHORTER LEAD TIMES, MORE FLEXIBILITY ON BESPOKE ORDERS AND A RELIABLE SUPPLY CHAIN ” knowledge and experience and the new facility will help us to maximise the potential of the existing human resource.”

CLOSE PROXIMITY While some buyers of office products will be patriotic enough to make a purchasing decision based purely on the country of origin, others need more convincing and subsequent aftercare, which brings us nicely on to another of British manufacturing’s big advantages – proximity to the home market. Debbie Nice, VOW’s category head for facilities supplies, explains: “For a wholesaler, the big plus of buying British is the ability to visit suppliers regularly to check on production and working conditions; this supports the local economy and delivers shorter lead times. Plus, while prices are sometimes higher, we are seeing some bulky products like bubble bags, catering disposables and paper disposables becoming more economical to manufacture and distribute in Britain. An increase in transport costs and legislative requirements has helped the UK to seem a more attractive option once again.” Chris Scott, MD at furniture manufacturer and wholesaler DAMS, agrees: “Buying British means shorter lead times, more flexibility on bespoke orders and a reliable supply chain. If there’s a problem it can be rectified quickly and more easily and if an end-user wants to add matching items at a later date it’s much easier to source those items from the same UK manufacturer. “We’re also seeing environmental considerations come into play, with so many end users now reporting on their sustainability performance. As a result, chain of custody of board FSC certification is another benefit for the marketplace. Social sustainability is also a benefit of buying British because it creates employment in the UK, not just within furniture manufacturing, but across the whole supply chain, which is something buyers do appreciate.”

THE PRICE BARRIER With end-users beginning to appreciate the social, environmental, quality and location benefits of British products, price remains one of the final hurdles for salespeople to overcome. Scott says: “Buyers do care about a product being British-made, but they will only buy British if the product is price comparable to furniture manufactured overseas and of a similar quality. The market won’t pay a premium for something just because it was made in Britain – purchasing decisions have to stack up commercially too. Price comparisons between British products and imports often depend on the type of product involved, with items that require a more labour-intensive manufacturing process sometimes costing more to produce in Britain. However, that situation is

British manufacturing

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changing quite quickly: lean manufacturing approaches in the UK versus increasing labour costs in the tiger economies are making British-made products more price-competitive. Meanwhile, the mounting costs of shipping items around the world is also increasing the unit cost on items brought in from overseas and this affects the big ticket, heavier and bulkier items the most.” Karen Harrison, group marketing manager at HK Wentworth, owner of the AF International brand, which has a manufacturing plant in Leicestershire, adds,: “I think the manufacturing costs are greatly different but the RRP pricing tend to be similar if it’s a branded item purchased in this country. Of course online shopping allows items to be quickly purchased from anywhere, making product standardising more difficult.”

MORE THAN SIMPLE RRP As Wharton points out, the true price value of a product goes deeper than simple ticket price. “If we look at British-made filing products like Guildhall, for example, they do not cost more than their imported counterparts when all the benefits of buying British are taken into consideration; products are made to suit a known specification and carbon footprints are reduced.” Hollingworth adds: “There will always be a market for cheap products in any industry and inkjets and toners manufactured overseas are generally cheaper than their British-made equivalents. However, low prices do not always translate into high quality and, although British manufactured products may not be the cheapest to buy, when it comes to the crunch, consumers are much more likely to receive high levels of reliability, quality and satisfaction. Our focus, therefore, is to ensure that the customer feels satisfied that by buying our products they are safe in the knowledge that they have purchased an item that has been manufactured to the highest quality. We emphasise that product support is easily accessible so that customers feel confident that they will always be able to speak with one of our team directly should they need to. There is also the added benefit of helping to reduce the impact on the environment by buying a recycled cartridge and many of our products have our exclusive Extra Life technology, meaning they can print up to 100% more pages when compared to buying an OEM. Those are the sales messages dealers should be using.” Other messages salespeople can deploy when selling British products include how they support the UK economy, the fact that manufacturing is generally carried out to BSI standards, with ISO 14001 environmental and recycling standards met. Companies like OKI even invite dealers to take their customers along to manufacturing facilities. Wharton concludes: “There are practical benefits to buying British and salespeople should make sure their customers are aware of these. An important example is in purchasing in bulk; UK-based manufacturers are far more likely to offer flexibility in quantities purchased, allowing customers to buy in smaller amounts when required. Rather than just looking at the specifics and practicalities of buying British it is a good idea to focus on the bigger picture; investing in British manufacturing will not only help the British economy, it will fund further research into what consumers want, further investment in the best quality materials and manufacturing processes and, as is increasingly important, boost investment in ensuring that products use the world’s resources in the most responsible way.” Together, all of these positive messages provide dealer salespeople with a powerful combination of sales tools – helping sales of British products soar. APRIL 2014




Reducing the pain of work In an average week office workers will often spend longer at their desk looking at a screen than they will at home. That means comfort matters. Austin Clark takes a look at the products that make life in the office comfortable and finds out how salespeople can sell more of them ccording to research conducted by Fellowes, badly chosen furniture causes 83% of employees to spend time rearranging their desks to get comfortable. What’s more, the problem is getting worse; that figure was much lower – just 70% – a year ago. This rearranging, of course, leads to reduced productivity and, what’s worse, absence-causing back problems with one in five Europeans taking time off work as a result of bad working habits. These figures provide office product resellers with a truly compelling message to take to organisations, with investment in the latest ergonomic desktop solutions leading to cost-savings. In fact, a


A £200 INVESTMENT IN DESKTOP ERGONOMIC SOLUTIONS IS ESTIMATED TO PAY FOR ITSELF IN JUST SIX MONTHS ” £200 investment in desktop ergonomic solutions is estimated to be paid for in terms of reduced absenteeism and increased productivity within just six months. Further help for resellers is available from Fellowes, which has just launched its ‘Getting the Nation Working Well’ campaign to raise awareness of how the right ergonomic products can easily make life at work more comfortable. The company is looking at four key zones and related products, which include:


Back supports, foot rests, portable lumbar supports


Gel wrist supports, keyboard wrist supports, separate keyboards


Monitor risers, laptop/monitor supports


Letter trays, file sorters, machine organisers, document holders

APRIL 2014

The main reasons for discomfort in the workplace are cited as slouching in seats and poor posture or improper support, impacting on productivity as well as overall health and wellbeing. To avoid strain when in the office, it’s important to sit in a neutral posture, sitting back into the chair with legs parallel to the floor. This position encourages movement, improves circulation and enhances overall comfort. Following a number of simple steps can help to prevent shortand long-term pain, which provides salespeople with handy ways to sell more office ergonomic products. Messages to pass on to customers include: 1. Adopt a neutral posture. A back support will give firm support to the back’s natural curve, encouraging people to sit in a position that requires the smallest amount of muscle activity, helping to reduce muscle strain and discomfort. 2. One in four people suffer from pain or injury caused by pressure on the wrists. Wrist supports help to relieve this pressure and prevent potential injuries. 3. To prevent severe neck pain (which accounts for almost a third of all absences from work), sit approximately an arm’s length away from your screen, which should be at a correct height for comfortable viewing (eye level is recommended). A laptop or monitor riser will help. 4. Accessories used frequently should be within easy reach – work smart and stay organised. 5. Take regular breaks – ideally away from your desk and technology.

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The best way to spend your free time and money


Out 18 April

“I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka”

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 After a bumper period of great films earlier this year, the star turn in an ordinary line-up sees Andrew Garfield swing back into action in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which picks up with Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy as they prepare to graduate. The web-slinging, wisecracking superhero is struggling to keep his promise to stay away from Gwen. Meanwhile, he has a bunch of hulking new baddies to scare off, including The Rhino (Paul Giamatti). But the real threat comes from super-charged enemy Electro (Jamie Foxx), an Oscorp employee who gains powers of electrokinesis. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will also feature Dane DeHaan as a young Harry Osborn.

MUSIC KAISER CHIEFS Fresh from his stint on The Voice, Ricky Wilson and his fellow Kaiser Chiefs return with an album called Education, Education, Education & War. Referencing Tony Blair’s infamous speech the album is described as ‘taking the temperature of a nation living through seven years of economic troubles while questioning the role and importance of modern conflict, the wars waged in Afghanistan and Iraq’. The Kaiser Chiefs emerged from near-collapse in 2012 and appear re-galvanised, bolstered by the addition of a new drummer, Vijay Mistry. The result is an album that is their most considered, literate, and impassioned record to date.

PU B QU IZ Q1: In which sport would you find the terms madhouse, bed and leg? Q2: What is the biggest lake in Canada? Q3: Where would you find the ‘ocean of storms’? Q4: What colour is zero on a roulette wheel? Q5: How many litres of wine are there in a Salmanazar?

APRIL 2014


Ron White, American comedian

Out now


Fan power Science students have proved that the belief that food is still good to consume if it has been dropped on the floor for fewer than six seconds – a belief commonly known as the five-second rule – is true. Final year biology students at Birmingham’s Aston University found that time is a ‘significant factor’ in the transfer of bacteria from the floor to a piece of food. As well as providing some evidence to support the five-second rule, they also found that the type of flooring is crucial in the transfer of bacteria, with carpet surprisingly the safest.

Dog days A British woman has found true love… with her dog, marrying her loyal pet terrier called Sheba. Amanda Rodgers and the loving terrier became a couple in front of 200 people in Split, Croatia. “I know the wedding to Sheba wasn’t real in the legal sense,” says the blushing bride, “but it was a nice way to mark what Sheba means to me.” Rodgers married a man 20 years ago but the relationship ended within a few months.


A1: Darts A2: Lake Bear A3: On the moon A4: Green A5: Nine

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Chris Scott

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CHRIS SCOTT, MD of office furniture manufacturer and distributor DAMS, discusses the importance of a reliable and flexible support chain in meeting customer requirements


fter a challenging few years for the furniture market and 12 months of optimism about growth, the sector’s recovery is still fragile. Sales are up but buying decisions take longer and customer expectations are more demanding than ever before. Contrary to some popular opinion, however, buying choices are not being made purely on a price basis. In fact, the shortage of cash in many businesses over the past few years has not only made companies more cautious about spending, but also more discerning when they do spend. What this means for the office furniture sector is that customers are less likely to look upon office furniture as a cost-based item with a limited shelf life and are more likely to make a considered purchase based on value for money, durability and future flexibility. It’s all great news for UK manufacturers like DAMS because it means that we’re no longer going head-to-head with cheap imports. Instead, customers are much more willing to see their office furniture as an investment and, while they still want prices that are competitive, they no longer expect them to be too good to be true. What they do expect, however, is the right product at the right price and the right time. This may seem pretty basic stuff, but actually providing all of that is a supply chain issue that can only be accommodated by using a UK manufacturer. For larger companies, who may upgrade their office furniture one floor, department or site at a time, being able to purchase a consistent design and colour from a single manufacturing source is key and this cannot be reliably controlled when dealing with suppliers overseas. Even when larger companies upgrade their furniture in a single order problems can still arise when dealing with an overseas manufacturer or even a UK distributor. With manufacturing lead times to manage and limited storage space, a wholesale-only supplier may have to stagger the delivery whereas a supplier with manufacturing capabilities can cope with spikes in orders and replenish stock at the same time. Between the financial climate and the sustainability agenda, the market has a growing appetite for office furniture products that will provide both years of service and the flexibility to adapt to changing needs. We may still live in a consumerist society but we no longer live in a disposable age, so furniture build, design and supply chain relationships all have to be made to last. APRIL 2014

Dealer Support April 2014  
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