Page 1

September 2021

Issue 313

inspiring success

Podcast wisdom Over the last 8 months the Dealer Support podcast, hosted by Steve Harrop, has been entertaining and educational. Here are the top insights from key industry figures

SHOWROOM BRINGS SUCCESS FOR CHRISBEON A mix of new and pre-loved stock signals success

BIG ASK What support is available to dealers as we pull out of lockdown?

DEALER SUPPORT LIVE: A GLIPMSE AT THE DAY What you can expect from our 2021 event


Join us at DS LIVE THE industry event for all UK dealers Thursday 21st October 2021 Ricoh Arena, Coventry Sign up now at



The nights are beginning to draw in and autumn is fast approaching, officially signaling the end of summer. This summer was another strange one; despite restrictions being lifted it still didn’t feel like the summers we used to know. With many events still not going ahead, foreign holidays being marred by thoughts of testing and quarantine, and the sun struggling to break through the clouds most days – it certainly didn’t feel like a proper summer much of the time. However, I hope most of you got to enjoy a break at some point, whether that be a staycation, day out or simply an afternoon in the garden when the sun did Podcast decide to put its hat on. wisdom We kick off this issue by looking at some of the highlights from our podcast, Dealer Support: TUNED IN, which features industry giants such as Raj Advani, Mark Wilkinson and Aidan McDonough. Fujitsu put their party hat on to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ScanSnap range and we take a look at why both the pre-loved and the brand new can bring success. Talking of new and old, we’ve all had to adapt to new way of living and working over the last 18 months but, as restrictions have lifted, we are finally able to return to some of our old lifestyles – such as returning to the office. So, what do employees now need in the office? We take a look! One of the most exciting articles in this issue (although we may be biased) is a glimpse of what you can expect from Dealer Support LIVE 2021. We can’t wait to see you all, and welcome you back for one of the first face-to-face events for all UK dealers – we promise we’ll be back with a bang! We have a stellar line-up of speakers we‘ll be announcing very soon! Wrapping the issue up we give you well-earned break with our LIVE IT section - which includes the good Father enjoying a heatwave and Emma Davies-Carolan who provides our FINAL WORLD in a reflective piece discussing the highs and lows of the pandemic and how it created new ways of operating for dealers. As always, don’t forget to chat to us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts and opinions: @dealersupport. September 2021

Issue 313

inspiring success

SHOWROOM BRINGS SUCCESS FOR CHRISBEON A mix of new and pre-loved stock signals success

Over the last 8 months the Dealer Support podcast, hosted by Steve Harrop, has been entertaining and educational. Here are the top insights from key industry figures

BIG ASK What support is available to dealers as we pull out of lockdown?

DEALER SUPPORT LIVE: A GLIPMSE AT THE DAY What you can expect from our 2021 event

Ellie Potter Acting editor


CREATIVE TEAM Amanda Lancaster


DIRECTOR Vicki Baloch

HEAD OF SALES Matthew Moore All email addresses are formatted

Dealer Support is the leading monthly publication for dealers in the business supplies industry. It provides information on the industry (both in the UK and overseas), information for and about the UK’s independent dealers, as well as information and advice on running a small business. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the views of the publishers. Copyright of all the material published remains with Intelligent Media Solutions Limited. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, copied, stored in an electronic retrieval or transmitted, save with written permission or in accordance with provision of the copyright designs and patent act of 1988. Printed in the UK by Buxton Press Annual subscriptions are available at a cost of £68.00 for UK and overseas by surface mail, £90.00 for airmail. Subscription enquiries should be sent to the address opposite

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

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The latest news and views from the industry

10 SURVIVING TOGETHER - SUCCEEDING TOGETHER Steve Bilton bigs up the dealer community


Highlights from the Dealer Support podcast, Tuned In



PFU celebrate the 20th anniversary of ScanSnap


What support is available to dealers as we pull out of lockdown?

DEALER SUCCESS 26 SHOWROOM BRINGS SUCCESS FOR CHRISBEON A mix of new and pre-loved stock signals success




Accommodating new working practices is key

34 DEALER SUPPORT LIVE: A GLIPMSE AT THE DAY What you can expect from our 2021 event


How to make your business more sustainable


Are you ready for the return of the office?



Why facilities supplies is a fast-growing area


Take a break and enjoy some lighthearted fun

“If we haven’t got exactly what a


customer wants, we have a range


of other options. It’s working well; if we’ve got it, we can sell it.”


How has the good Father found WFH? Our bulldog spirit



THE MONTH THAT WAS ASK Office Supplies acquires rival Exertis partners with cloud data specialist

ASK Office Supplies Ltd has acquired Office Rulers/Sovereign 2000. This is ASK’s third acquisition in the past five years. Founded in 2004, Office Rulers merged with Sovereign 2000 in 2007 and provides office supplies, industrial and interiors

Exertis has formed a partnership with specialist cloud data management

solutions. This acquisition will make ASK

solutions company, Tiger Technology, allowing reseller partners to deliver a

Office Supplies one of the largest resellers

range of hybrid cloud solutions.

in West Yorkshire, expanding ASK into

Exertis is exclusively offering Tiger Bridge software bundled with Azure

new market sectors across Yorkshire and

cloud services through its cloud platform, giving partners a simplified

the UK, while offering existing customers

ordering and billing service.

a more diverse product range.

Tiger Bridge is a software solution that connects on-premises file

ASK Office Supplies has been

systems to Azure cloud. It enables organisations to automate data

supplying businesses in the West

movement to the cloud for backup, archive, multi-site data synchronisation

Yorkshire area, and across the country,

or just to extend local file systems into Azure. It supports all Azure cloud tiers

since 1987. The firm has grown

so data can be saved in the lowest-cost tier according to its life cycle.

substantially in this time under the

“We were looking for a product that would support a number of vertical

leadership of its longstanding managing

market applications,” explained Angelo Apa, business development

director, Greg Colehan, and his team of

director at Exertis Enterprise. “The initial focus was the emerging market

account managers.

for storing CCTV video content in the cloud. This is a core application for

“When the prospect arose of

Tiger’s products and we were delighted to find they have a full integration

purchasing Office Rulers/Sovereign

with Milestone XProtect as well as supporting a range of other CCTV video

2000 it was a fantastic opportunity as I

management solutions. Tiger’s products are also widely used in media, oil

know that Tabby and Naeem Hussain

and gas, healthcare, construction and managed services providers, which fits

had built a really strong business in

perfectly with our customer profiles.

categories including consumables and

“Tiger’s software flexibility was an added bonus to this partnership.

office furniture; this has added new

They have recently announced support for the Seagate Lyve object storage

opportunities and growth potential to the

solutions, allowing businesses to tap into the benefits of object storage

ASK Group, moving forward,” said Greg.

without having to incur costly upgrades or having to plan for complex

“I am delighted to welcome the fantastic

migrations and associated downtime. This plays perfectly to Exertis’ position

Office Rulers and Sovereign 2000 into ASK

as a leading European Seagate storage provider and will enable us to add

and look forward to continue growth into

value in this area as well.”

2021 and beyond.”

[06] SEPTEMBER 2021



VOW appoints new UK operations director VOW Wholesale has appointed Steve Smith as UK operations director. Steve, who formerly worked for EVO Group, has a record of managing complex operations, including managing multi-site warehouses and large-scale distribution, as well as integrating automated and manual processes to optimise the customer experience.

Nemo and Office Club announce 2022 catalogue details Nemo and Office Club have launched details of the 2022 edition of their full range Workplace Solutions catalogue. “The team are back in full catalogue production mode. The feedback from members about this year’s publication has been fantastic throughout these challenging times and it remains an essential part of their sales kit,” said Tim Beaumont, managing director. “More than ever, dealers are having to show themselves as a serious player across a much wider range of product categories and the catalogue enables them to do just that. “For 2022 we will also be continuing with the hugely popular digital version, enabling members to share their catalogue contactless via emails, websites and social media as well as distributing hard copies. Catalogue data is also supplied via Fusion to all webstore solutions, enabling customers to order from dealers across multiple channels, maximising sales opportunities.” An additional benefit of the 550+ page publication is its unique coding. “The catalogue uses a unique code, which gives members that all-important flexibility as to where to source products from - particularly useful during these increasingly turbulent times,” explained Tim. “It also gives the dealer differentiation and a distinct advantage when it comes to

“I’m delighted that Steve is joining the business”, said Adrian Butler, VOW Wholesale’s managing director. “He has a real talent for seeing the finer details and the bigger picture; that only comes from years of experience at the very highest level.” Steve previously worked as national general manager for JB Global, overseeing 300+ employees across multiple sites and handling more than 11,000 individual products with a focus on warehouse efficiency and customer experience. “Steve has great relationships with some of the UK dealers already and really appreciates their needs,” said Adrian. “As a result, he has a unique perspective on the challenges we face together as a sector; more importantly, he sees the many opportunities before us.” Steve added that he is looking forward to joining the team at VOW Wholesale. “I will be looking to build on the work that Martin Weedall has achieved during his time in the role, and to work with resellers, suppliers and our transport team to achieve the levels of service and standards [customers] expect,” he said.

competitors making like-for-like product comparisons.” SEPTEMBER 2021 [07]



NEWS REPORT Re-writing the educational rule book A college in Liverpool is at the forefront of a learning revolution having launched a multi-million-pound blueprint to transform the dynamics of education - with the help of a Lancashirebased IT services and support specialist.


chool classroom layouts have been

collaborate on projects together. This proved you just need

largely unchanged for a century, with

a pen and the right people to work together to achieve great

generations of children sitting facing

things – in the right learning environment.”

the teacher at the front of the class who taught from a blackboard or, more


recently, interactive whiteboard.

An initial £500,000 investment spanning 15 rooms is planned

But Hugh Baird College in Bootle is seeking to ‘re-write

to be just the start. The college has about 250 rooms and is

the education rule book’ by using technology as part of a

prioritising and rolling out the programme on a step-by-step

groundbreaking vision to create more compelling, inviting

basis. Eventually it plans to move to a purpose-built more

and engaging lessons for the more than 5,000 students on

cost-effective site.

some 300 courses who attend. The concept involves creating collaboration walls with giant touchscreen displays, handheld mobile devices and

Blue Orange has installed 65- and 75-inch Sharp touchscreens in a series of refurbished classrooms. “The screens are used as interactive touchscreens,

more flexible room layouts where the traditional teacher isn’t

which are complemented by the writing walls,” said Blue

always stood at the front of the class. It’s being hailed as a

Orange director Darren Hanley. “The screens are all network


connected to enable many web-based applications that

The multi-party ‘team effort’ includes support from IT

further bring education to life. We’ve installed over 100

specialist Blue Orange, which plays a leading role installing

screens on site over the years, but this latest project was even

the high-quality displays from electronics giant Sharp.

more special. The initial 15 screens are being followed by

“In many ways classroom layouts haven’t changed in over a century,” said facilities and technical services manager at

another 13.” John added that the look and feel of the rooms is crucial.

Hugh Baird College, John Billington. “In my opinion this is

“The students adore the collaboration walls and the use

a groundbreaking vision of education for the future, which is

of mobile devices particularly,” he said. “Blue Orange is

destined to be followed by other learning establishments too.

a growing, very flexible and amenable company. They are

“One of the first areas we moved forward was the

helping us achieve our goals. We like the robust nature of the

collaboration walls – finished in specialist paint to transform

Sharp screens as well as their exceptional clarity and quality

them into whiteboards which can be wiped down. It was

of image. They came out on top after a very comprehensive

brought in as a trial at first and quickly made a great

tender. Overall everyone is delighted by the project. Learning

impact. The entire wall was rebuilt, an inspirational message

is best when people work together. We’re almost re-writing

was included and they enable students to stand up and

the education rulebook!”

[08] SEPTEMBER 2021

VOW Wholesale’s premier incentive, Whiteout, is back. After what has been a difficult 18 months for the industry, and as we begin to return to some sort of normality, VOW Wholesale wants to provide its valued customers with the chance to win a place on a luxury, no-expensespared trip to Meribél, France. The incentive commenced on 1st July and will run until 24th December 2021. All customers need to do to win is drive sales of the supporting brands throughout the incentive period. Not only will there be a chance to win a place on the amazing Whiteout trip, but customers also have the opportunity to win monthly prizes for every supporting brand! Supporting brands for Whiteout 2022 are: ACCO Brands, Tork, BIC, Newell Brands, Canon,

Fellowes, Henkel, Q-Connect Toners, Jiffy, Avery, Safescan, Nescafé, Bong, Pukka Pad and Brother. VOW Wholesale customers will be able to keep track of their progress throughout the incentive via the bespoke website Updated bi-weekly, customers

Home Office Furniture to live with

will be able to view their targets and current performance as well as other information about the incentive and supporting brands. Click here to watch our promotional video. If you would like more information about this incentive, please get in touch with your VOW Wholesale account contact.



Surviving together – succeeding together FusionPlus Data’s STEVE BILTON was impressed by how the office supplies industry responded to the pandemic by pulling together, and sees a bright future for the sector.


teve Bilton has built a 30-plus year

buying when lockdown one

career in the office products sector,

was announced, then it

latterly as managing director of

plummeted to about £160,000

FusionPlus Data - but it could have

per day. Since April-May time

been so different, as he admits

this year we have seen this steady, slow, climb back up; this

that he ‘hated’ his first job in the customer support

is only the value of transactions going through the stores,

department of Todds.

not necessarily the dealers’ overall turnover, so many

Fortunately, he quickly moved into a trainer role –

dealers are possibly still down on what they got previously,

where he would go out to dealers and train them how to

but there is a much higher proportion of orders coming

use the Todds software system – which he much preferred

through the webstores. Today, there is about £450,000-

and, gradually, he got to learn about, and love, the office

£460,000 going through the stores each day.”

supplies industry. Since then, he has worked in various roles, but has settled on the software side. His involvement in software, including FusionData’a

Steve adds that, perhaps surprisingly, sales of traditional office supplies - such as paper and envelopes - are still strong. “There is no massive run away from the

Evolution X B2B ecommerce platform, allows him to see

traditional products per se,” he says. “There has been a

how dealers are faring through the volume of transactions

decline in the trad side as there have been a lot of closed

going through the webstores it supports. After the

offices but we have also seen, having spoken to a lot of

rollercoaster of the past 18, COVID-affected, months, sales

partners, software houses and dealers, that what they lost

volumes are now getting back to where they were at the

in stuff they would have sent out to an office has been

start of 2020, he says.

partially replaced by the shift to hybrid and working from

“In January-February last year there was about

home. It is a huge opportunity; some have grabbed it,

£400,000 per day going through that network of 200-

hammered it and done really well while others have stuck

odd stores,” he says. “There was a little spike of panic

their heads in the sand.”

[10] SEPTEMBER 2021



in the whole supply chain, the

Now, rather than COVID, there are other challenges

wholesalers, dealer groups,

facing suppliers, such as the struggle to get hold of some

manufacturers, software houses,

stock items – or the components to make them – due to

data companies , everyone has dug

container issues and the shortage of delivery drivers.

in deep. Everyone in the industry

Steve reckons these problems are going to be with us for some time, which makes things like live stock balances,

deserves a big pat on the back.” Looking to the future, while


Listen to the full Steve Bilton interview by Steve Harrop @www.dealersupport.

and regularly updated discontinued lists, really important.

most businesses are still getting

“For B2C dealers, if someone has gone onto their site,

back to where they were pre-

placed an order and paid with a credit card - and they

pandemic, Steve expects some

can’t get the product - it is a nightmare for everybody

redundancies when furlough ends

concerned. A lot of suppliers have been putting more

– but there will be other job opportunities as some

effort into getting more regular information out to

dealers will be looking to expand.

people like us for discontinued – perhaps temporarily – products and live stock enquiries.” The pandemic also highlighted the importance

There will also be further evolution in the categories of products offered. “We are starting to see industrial and safety-type products coming into the industry,”

of well-designed and user-friendly webstores for

he says. “We have seen success stories like Spectrum

dealers. “Ten years ago it was just important to have a

Industrial and Beaverswood – they are looking to

webstore,” says Steve. “But now having a webstore that

engage with dealers.”

caters for everything any customer can throw at you is vital, as is the look and feel side of things. Buyers are a

Steve reckons there will be a move to providing not just office supplies and equipment, but also products for

lot younger than they used to be. It used to be some old fuddy-duddy guy whose job it was to be horrible and get the best price; now, it’s the younger generation finding products on their ‘phones and making the transaction on the webstore using their mobile.” DEALER PRAISE

Having a webstore that caters for everything any customer can throw at you is vital

Ecommerce has been embraced by the sector, and this has helped many dealers to weather the past 18 months; Steve has nothing but praise for how they have coped. “The dealers, across the board, have done a remarkable

the warehouse and outside spaces. “The utopia for any

job,” he says. “There is no standout stat that says the

dealer should be to – when you are allowed to – walk

bigger guys have fared better than the medium or

into any building and say ‘I can do everything! Office

smaller guys, but the fact that the vast majority of them

supplies, print, furniture. Take me to the warehouse; let’s

have survived, and are back on the path to growth, is

see what we can do for you there. Then take me outside;

remarkable and I tip my hat to all of them.

let’s see what we can do for you out there too.’

“Everyone has had a part to play in this. We are

“We are going to see more of that - and more

focused on the dealers - they are at the coalface, shifting

dealers with that mentality to do business supplies,

the products and bringing in the money - but everybody

managed services, the whole kit and caboodle.” SEPTEMBER 2021 [11]


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Listen up Over the course of this year, listeners to Dealer Support’s podcast have received the benefit of the wisdom of some experienced players in the industry – here are some of the highlights.


ome of the great and good of the

“It breeds complacency; the wholesaler doesn’t

office supplies world have been

have to work to get your business - they have already

interviewed for Dealer Support’s

got it so they can do what they want with the price, they

podcast, Tuned In, this year by Steve

can limit the range, they can change it.”

Harrop; they have covered a wide

The market, and its relationship with wholesalers,

range of topics in that time, from the pandemic, to the

is changing, as Mark Wilkinson, Acco’s regional vice

changing sector, to what the future might hold.

president, UK & Ireland, outlined in March. Back in

For instance, in February’s podcast Raj Advani, ex-

2009-10, after the financial crisis, Acco in Europe

managing director of Exertis Supplies, advised dealers

decided to simplify its market strategy and stepped

to spread their risk, and not commit too much spend to

away from the dealer community. However, the

one wholesaler. “To me, that is inherently risky,” he said.

company has now reversed that policy.

“We have been saying for a long time there should be

The reason behind the move, Mark explained, is

more competition in the distribution model. Coming

that wholesalers generally only carry about 20% of

from an EOS background, we have been in a very low

Acco’s portfolio of some 5,000 products, and some

margin business with lots of competitors and you have

dealers want to source other Acco products directly

to fight every day for your share. Since we entered the

from the company in order to complement their

office products arena, it is a slightly different model

wholesale sourcing strategy.

where dealers seem to give five-year contracts to one

Mark is careful to emphasise that this move

wholesaler, guaranteeing 80% of their spend. That

isn’t about taking business from wholesalers, but

makes the wholesaler king and not the customer, and I

complementing it. “We are trying to ensure that the

have always believed the customer should be king.

wholesaler sells the products they stock and market on

[14] SEPTEMBER 2021



our behalf - but the other 80% of products are available to our dealers at a competitive price, with the right content, the right data and the right service level.” ALWAYS LEARNING

You have to be different and have to have that unique selling point

Being in business is about learning, and this is something that Mike James, managing director of Dundale Associates, and non-executive chairman of

top tip for young people starting out in the industry is

Prima Software, has done throughout his career. Today,

to get involved with the company they work for, and the

Mike says he learns a lot from Ian Buckley, managing

industry associations. “If you look at it as just a 9-to-5

director of Prima Software. “I am old enough to be

job you can do ok, potentially - but get involved and

his father – probably his grandfather – but I am still

recognise the people who can mentor you.”

learning from him,” he said. “He has this brilliant talent…of being a mate to the people who work for him


but, occasionally, turning that key and they recognise

As well as learning, the right attitude is crucial, as Martin

you are the boss. That’s a difficult one to do, but Ian

Reid, managing director of Egan Reid, explained as

has got that talent. So I am still learning at my greatly

he talked about the future of the company. He has the

advanced age.”

attitude of ‘If you need it, we can supply it’ and plans to

Mike believes that senior people in the industry should do what they can to help and mentor young people who are making their way through the ranks. Meanwhile, his

open up supply chains in more new markets, hoping to replicate the success of the PPE lines of last year. For Martin, it’s about constant evolution. “If you SEPTEMBER 2021 [15]



have a winning formula, it goes so far, and you have to keep refining it and changing it,” he says. “You have to be different and have to have that unique selling point. We just want to be unique, and sell something

I am still learning at my greatly advanced age

different, as a lot of the market is the same.” For instance, Egan Reid’s acquisition of Todds helped the company move into new markets. “We

rest of the year, what are you going to take as being

supplied all the office furnishings but now we are

indicative? Q1 last year? Q2, which was closed? Q1 this

getting involved in fit-out as well. We are doing

year? There is no comparator in this list that has any

mezzanine floors, partitioning, air-conditioning,

basis in reality. I have heard people say, ‘Do we go back

lighting, plumbing - this has added another string to

to 2019?’ Is that a like-for-like comparison?’

our bow and, with our large database, we can exploit this. It is working well.”

That’s not the only problem which potential acquirers will face, Aidan believes. For instance, when acquirers target a business, they usually want two


things; the expertise in the business and the customer

Coming right up-to-date, in July’s pod Integra Business

base. “This is one of the biggest challenges with M&A

Solutions’ CEO Aidan McDonough looked forward,

activity; in a lot of instances the primary driver in the

saying he believes that, as we move to a post-pandemic

business is the guy who wants to leave. That’s where it

economic phase, there will be consolidation activity in

becomes difficult to push these through, and you have

every part of the office products sector, although this

to be really careful.”

won’t be without its difficulties.

Remember, you can still listen back to all Tuned

“The challenge, moving forward, is how do you

In podcasts at your leisure. Check out the Dealer

value a business, and based on what metric?” he asks.

Support website [] for

“Even if you are doing forecasts moving forward for the

more information.

[16] SEPTEMBER 2021

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Celebrating 20 years of making office work easier PFU is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its ScanSnap range of document scanners this year and, as part of the festivities, has some tempting offers for customers, as well as the chance to win a strictly limited edition scanner


or tech fans,


experiences. The iX1400 is also secure,

2001 was a

To coincide with the 20th anniversary

with world-class cloud infrastructure

notable year; in

of the ScanSnap range PFU EMEA Ltd

and controls.

January, Apple’s

has extended offers on some of its most

iTunes was

popular models. Until September 30,

at small teams and business owners

Meanwhile, the iX1600 is aimed

launched, which

customers can receive a free, 12-month,

seeking maximum performance; it’s also

went on to revolutionise how music was

subscription for Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

ideal for customers who work regularly

consumed. That same month, Wikipedia

when they purchase a new ScanSnap

at home and don’t have the access to

went live, which has gone on to be a

iX1400 or iX1600.

office scanners they would need for

vast global reference source. Also in that year, a product was

The iX1400 document scanner has been designed to be simple to

their role. It has been designed to be compact

launched into the office world that

set up and make one-touch scanning

while still delivering all the functionality

has also helped revolutionise how it

of paperwork effortless. The software

people need and expect. It is easy to

works too – PFU’s ScanSnap range of

provided with it means users can scan,

install and configure, requiring little

document scanners. These scanners

save and share straight to the apps they

technical know-how. in addition, the

have helped to automate traditionally

know and use regularly. It scans all kinds

iX1600 has been designed to be

time-consuming tasks and boost

of documents without missing a page.

flexible – it can be set up anywhere and

productivity as a result. The ScanSnap range has gone on

In addition, the iX1400 in

send scans to anywhere – and easy to

conjunction with the Adobe Pro DC

use; the controls are intuitive, and

to sell 6 million units across the world

software enables users to collaborate

scanning can be done with one touch

over the past 20 years; PFU has

with others wherever they are – by

on the 4.3’’ screen. It also features

constantly updated and improved the

collecting comments, sharing responses,

colour-coded, pre-defined, scanning

range as new software and technology

signing forms and tracking progress

buttons for up to five users.

has been developed, helping to

in real time. PDFs can be embedded

improve efficiency in the office

into any digital workflow, helping to

a greater speed than previous models

even further.

streamline forms and deliver better user

and boasts automated productivity

[18] SEPTEMBER 2021

The iX1600 can scan and organise at



– it can scan, optimise and save up to 50 sheets to the cloud, PC-free and the software it comes with makes it easy to search, manage and retrieve scanned documents.

The IX1600 can scan and organise at a greater speed than previous models

MORE THAN VIEWING PDFS There are many advantages for office workers in using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Players can log their sales, earn more

showroom that will provide a

with the ScanSnap iX1400 and iX1600 –

Imaging Rewards points and earn

great talking point for attracting

and it means users can do much more

tokens to play and, as a result, chances

customer interest!

than view PDF files. They can:

to win in special monthly prize draws.

• Edit, create, export and sign PDFs

Everyone who has earned a token through Imaging Rewards will be in with


the chance to win one of these great

store and share PDFs in the cloud,

There are other ways PFU EMEA LTD are

limited edition ScanSnap iX1600s, the

and access them when they’re on

celebrating ScanSnaps 20th anniversary;

draw will take place in early October so

the move

the company has created a strictly

get logging your sales.

• Use Adobe Document Cloud to

• Convert scanned paper documents

limited-edition version of the ScanSnap

To be in with a further chance of

into searchable, editable PDFs

iX1600. The ‘Kanazawa Leaf’ iX1600 uses

winning, partners need to submit their

a traditional foil processing technique

best case study showing how ScanSnap

devices, enabling them to edit text

created 450 years ago. It originated

has revolutionised the way a customer

and images, reorder, delete and

in Kanazawa, in Japan’s Ishikawa

works. The winning case study will

rotate PDF pages and e-sign PDFs

prefecture, where Fujitsu was founded.

feature across the company’s website,

The scanner features images of the

social media channels, digital and live

Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, or

four seasons, echoing the company’s

events, as well as email marketing -

image formats such as JPG,

Japanese heritage and reflecting the

plus, the winner will be invited to speak


growth and maturity of the

at an in-person event or participate in a

ScanSnap brand.

Fujitsu’s webinar.

• Extend editing to their mobile

• Convert PDFs to editable Microsoft


Just 22 of the Kanazawa Leaf

For further information around

As part of the celebrations, Fujitsu’s

ScanSnap iX1600s have been

how to enter the competitions, sign

Be Entertained with Imaging Rewards

produced and two are up for grabs

up today to their portal - https://

game, one of its partner initiatives,

in the competition - certainly an an


has been extended to September 30.

eye-catching asset for a sales floor or

com/prm/English/c/scansnap20years SEPTEMBER 2021 [19]



What support is available to dealers as we pull out of lockdown?

After a year and a half of living under restrictions, we are now finally experiencing something like our lives before - but how can dealers seek support in the new normal?

Mike James, MD, Dundale Asssociates The traditional OP independent stationery and business supplies channel has seen significant changes in recent years; the switch-to-digital, disruptions to the wholesale supply chain, Brexit and, of course, the COVID pandemic have speeded up these changes. The dealer community has seen winners and, unfortunately, losers; however, there is plenty of support - and a desire from many to see the channel prosper. Whatever problem a dealer faces it will probably not be unique, and others will be in the same boat, or have faced similar issues in the past. My advice would be to network and talk to others; whilst dealer groups offer regular contact opportunities, there are other organisations that can support the dealer if they are prepared to join and get involved, namely: • BPIF/BOSS ( - they have done a good job over the past year, sharing crucial information. The Brexit situation potentially becomes even more complex over the next year and you need to be ahead of the game • The Stationers’ Company ( - both your suppliers and competitors are possibly already members. The events give you the opportunity to learn from the experts in both the OP and allied trades. The dinners allow you to get to know your suppliers • The Society of Old Friends ( purely an OP social organisation, but there have been many times in my career where problems have been solved over a pie and a pint. Dealers often tell me that they do not have time to get involved in external business activities; however, it’s interesting that most of the successful, growing dealers are members of these organisations, all of which have regional events outside London. It often amazes me that when dealers join a group some never utilise the services. The level of support - including promotions, intros to new suppliers and enhanced data - is growing by the day. Prima Marketplace is another initiative that provides business supplies resellers with the ability to quickly identify, compare and source a vast array of diverse products from a growing range of suppliers, most with edi capability. In times of uncertainty and change it is essential that they have access to a

[20] SEPTEMBER 2021



varied and extensive selection of enriched product data at the

the schemes released by government and passing this

click of a button. By providing your customers with this level of

knowledge onto members via our coronavirus hub. Over

service, Prima Marketplace enables business supplies resellers

the last 18 months they have been advising businesses on

to compete with Amazon.

how to manage a remote workforce, key employment law

When I was sales director at Esselte we offered a range of

considerations for the CJRS, and how to ensure employees’

tools to the dealer to help grow sales and today most suppliers

mental health is safeguarded. They’ve provided support for

are still very keen to support you - hence the success of Fusion

businesses looking to restructure and helped them consider

and Prima Market Place.

their options, protecting companies from tribunal claims when

As a former dealer I have been passionate about the

cash flow is tight. This practical, tailored approach to solving

dealer channel for 40 years, and if any dealer needs any

HR problems has allowed members to manage with confidence

clarification on my views, or information on The Stationers

and be assured they are complying with the law.

Company or The Old Friends, then please email me (mjames@

Our legal team has been on hand to assist members, providing advice and input both strategic and day-to-day. At gold level companies can call our commercial lawyers for

Amy Hutchinson, CEO, BOSS

telephone advice when they need a quick check on a legal issue


affecting the businesses while, at platinum level, they are also


covered for representation should the business be taken to an

Since the beginning of the COVID-19

employment tribunal*.

pandemic the team at BOSS has been

Our H&S team has been helping members understand

working hard to support the sector.

exactly the measures they need to take to be COVID-secure.

It’s our job as the industry’s trade

They have created a simple, eight-stage, ‘road map’ to walk

association to help government and

companies, step-by-step, through the whole process - including

those in authority understand the specific needs our sector has,

how to assess vulnerable employees, implement social distancing

and the implications of decisions they’re considering.

effectively and undertake a risk assessment - ultimately leading to certification as a COVID-secure business.

AMPLIFYING THE INDUSTRY’S VOICE Through our business impact surveys we’ve been able to amplify the industry’s voice, reporting both anecdotal and statistical feedback throughout the pandemic to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to lobby for core business support to enable access to finance and promote job retention. In addition, we sought to bring

The team at BOSS has been working hard to support the sector

recognition to the crucial work the business supplies industry does in supporting critical businesses, such as hospitals, care homes and government, and also its role in ensuring

As Mandy Robson, BOSS’ head of HS&E, explains: “As

the UK remains productive by delivering essential supplies

employees return to the workplace we can help businesses create

to homes and businesses.

a compliant and trusted environment. We have a wealth of online templates to support you through health, safety, environmental


and human resources, and our experts are just a ‘phone call away

In addition to representation BOSS has been supporting its

at all times to guide you through current legislation, best practice

members with cost-effective, impartial business guidance to

communication, and to certify excellence where demonstrated.”

help companies navigate through this challenging period and, as the industry emerges from lockdown, this support continues


to be available to our members.

The BOSS training team can help members recruit and expand

Our HR and legal teams have been tirelessly interpreting

their teams and provide support with apprenticeships in terms SEPTEMBER 2021 [21]



of upskilling existing team members - developing


their leadership skills - or recruiting new blood. They provide


training and qualifications at all levels so staff can realise

Traditionally, the BOSS Business Supplies Charity has existed to

their true potential.

support those in the industry that are financially in need due to

Recently they have been enabling resellers to access and benefit from the government’s Kickstart Scheme meaning

ill health, disability or other circumstances. At the start of lockdown, in anticipation of support

businesses can get free young talent for six-month placements

being needed - potentially quite rapidly - the charity created

and a £1,500 grant for training and set-up costs; BOSS training

emergency care packages designed to support individuals

will take care of the administration and application.

in urgent need of financial assistance due to COVID-19. To date the charity has helped numerous individuals with these

CONNECTING YOU Throughout the pandemic BOSS has held numerous webinars

packages, and continues to offer its support. Last year the charity launched its Future Fund grants for

and events to ensure the industry stays connected. In March

individuals looking to undertake training to further their careers

2021 BOSS formed a Resellers Forum, United, chaired by Darren

within our sector. If you know of an industry colleague who needs

Lloyd, with the following objectives:

support please direct them to

• CONNECT – create a community of passionate contributors

business-supplies-charity/ or email

enabling resellers to connect and share insights/ideas

*Terms and conditions apply.

• VOICE – provide a fair and effective voice, a platform to give feedback from resellers to the wider supply chain • SUPPORT – provide relevant/impartial support and guidance


to the reseller community to enable growth and future-proof

We spoke to Graeme Lipman,

their businesses

BTG, regarding cash flow

• CHAMPION EXCELLENCE – advocate the highest quality

pressures facing companies:

and environmental standards, fostering pride in being a

The coronavirus pandemic has caused

BOSS reseller.

unprecedented levels of business

The forum will be hosting their first live event prior to

disruption to companies across the

the BOSS Industry Awards on November 25 at the Kimpton

UK; barely any sector has found itself immune to its devastating

Clocktower, Manchester.

impact and, even with restrictions on trade now lifted, the ripple

So, if your company is looking for support in creating a safe and productive environment for your employees to return to, if

effect of COVID-19 is set to be long-lasting. What we’re seeing at present is the start of a perfect

you need expert guidance in how you go about restructuring

storm, with accrued liabilities all rearing their collective

your teams, or would like to join the BOSS Resellers Forum,

heads at the same time; be it bounce back loan repayments,

please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss membership.

CBILS repayments, deferred VAT, deferred landlord and


rent payments and, soon, the end of the furlough scheme.

[22] SEPTEMBER 2021



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We speak to company directors every single day who are

Barely any sector has found itself immune to [COVID’s] devastating impact

still feeling the effects of the pandemic. We take the time to understand your current situation and work alongside you to put a plan in place which will give your company the very best possible chance of turning around its fortunes, and looking ahead to a brighter future. We’re already seeing some green shoots of recovery since trading restrictions were lifted in April, but we’re also seeing a

All these measures were put in place to act as a crutch for

rise in liquidations too, so directors need to take stock of their

businesses throughout the pandemic and, while COVID is

financial situation.

here to stay, we know that government support certainly isn’t. As welcome as those initiatives were, for many businesses,

Graeme Lipman, director at Begbies Traynor, commented: “While many businesses opened their doors in April, and

it’s now a case of factoring in these additional repayments on

started getting back on their feet, this led to a decrease in

top of trying to get business going again - which is proving

levels of significant distress - but some businesses quickly

to be challenging. Although many had no choice at the time,

realised they couldn’t manage the accrued liabilities over

loading borrowing onto an already struggling company is

the previous 12-15 months. Many SMEs saw arrears building

often a recipe for disaster. If you are unable to meet the

up throughout the pandemic, such as landlord and rent

monthly repayments on your bounce back loans - or any other

payments, VAT, PAYE and, on top of this, we saw bounce back

form of finance you took out to get your business through the

loan repayments beginning in May.

COVID pandemic - you need to seek expert advice. Even if you didn’t take on additional borrowing to

“You can understand why an increasing number of SMEs were simply unable to cope with the heightened cash flow

help survive the crisis, you may still be suffering from the

pressure upon re-opening which has led to a rise in voluntary

lasting effects. Perhaps sales have never fully bounced

liquidation processes. So, the overall picture since April is

back to pre-COVID levels, or maybe your cash flow is still

healthier but with the caveat that some businesses, which

feeling the squeeze after months of limited trade, or maybe

just about kept their heads above water throughout the

the upcoming VAT bill is filling you with dread. Whatever

pandemic, are now starting to fall away.

problems you are facing, rest assured you are not alone. While the COVID pandemic caused unprecedented business disruption, almost overnight, recovery is not going to be as quick; however, there are a number of

“We can provide the early advice you need to help put in place a rescue process that can, hopefully, steer your business away from closure.” Graeme Lipman is a finance specialist and director at

business rescue and turnaround solutions that could

BTG Advisory, with a wealth of experience in business

put you on the right track.

rescue and turnaround.

[24] SEPTEMBER 2021

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Chrisbeon has been a stalwart name in office supplies in Shropshire for nearly half a century and, with its mix of new and pre-loved stock, it looks set to continue for many years to come


Showroom brings success for Chrisbeon

or more than 32

he says. “My son works for us and is out on

the lockdowns as an opportunity to make

years Richard Hughes

deliveries every day; as he still lives at home,

some improvements to the business such

has done almost every

me and him ended up doing deliveries

as installing a new ‘phone system – which

job going at Telford-

together as we could both go out in the van.

helped staff work from home – and

based Chrisbeon

I loved it – it keeps your hand in, and you get

switching to a cloud-based server rather

– from making deliveries, to stocking the

to know how long it takes to deliver things

than a physical one in the office.

warehouse, to running the business – so,

or assemble furniture – things you can forget

when the pandemic hit, he was more than

when you’re sat in the office all day.”

able to muck-in during the lockdowns. “During the first lockdown I was a delivery driver again for a couple of months,”

[26] SEPTEMBER 2021

As well as gaining a fresh perspective

STOCKING UP The team also used the time to reconfigure

on how aspects of the business run,

Chrisbeon’s warehouse and add some

Richard used the quiet times created by

additional racking, a decision that is paying



dividends now. “At one time holding lots of stock wasn’t quite so important as the manufacturers and importers were bringing their lead times down and you could get products within a few days,” he says. “But now, with all the shipping problems and containers having become expensive to ship into the UK, there are long lead times on things, so we are trying to have desks and chairs in stock. If we haven’t got exactly what a customer wants, we have a range of other options. It’s working well

We score over some of the bigger contract stationers in the industry – if we’ve got it, we can sell it.” Having a well-stocked warehouse also helps to keep Chrisbeon’s showroom full of products too. This has been shut for large parts of the past 18 months but it’s now open again, and customers are returning in good numbers, according to Richard. “A lot of business customers are coming back with the normal enquiries we had before lockdown – stationery orders have picked back up again as people are back at work; they took a big hit when people were out of the office.” The showroom is important to how Chrisbeon works and gains sales leads, Richard says. “On small orders, where customers want to pick up some stationery or the odd desk or chair, it is important for the showroom to be open to get those enquiries,” he says. “But some of those people who come in we can get talking to and it can lead to a salesperson going out to them and getting a bigger furniture renewal job. When it was shut, we weren’t getting those leads.” SEPTEMBER 2021 [27]





It can lead to a salesperson going out to them and getting a bigger furniture renewal job

Chrisbeon doesn’t just deal in new furniture, it also sells a lot of used furniture too – what the company calls ‘pre-loved’ – in its showroom. The company sources its pre-loved stock through part exchange; when a customer orders new office furniture Chrisbeon will offer to take the old desks,

enables Chrisbeon to give customers is also important to the company’s success over the years. A family business – Richard runs it with his brother Craig, who took over when their parents, who set the business up in the 1970s, retired

chairs etc. in part exchange. “It enables us to win a lot of new

The personal touch that the showroom

– many of the staff have been with the if they have a little office, and just want a

company for more than 20 years too,

furniture projects,” Richard explains. “Where

couple of chairs, desks and filing cabinets,

which means they really get to know their

we might be up against someone else quoting

it’s perfect, as they haven’t got big set-up

customers, some of whom have been

for the job, we might be able to give the

costs. We also have a lot of builders. If they

buying from Chrisbeon for just as long.

customer x amount back depending on what

are renting a portacabin for a site office for

“That’s where we score over some of

they are buying from us – and that means our

six-to-12 months while they build a housing

the bigger contract stationers in the

new price is better than our competitor.

estate, the builders don’t want to put new

industry,” says Richard. “We have the

“Plus, it’s less hassle for the customer

desks in, because it is on a dirty and dusty

continuity. The customers know us, we

because they get rid of all their old furniture

site; they’ll buy up a few desks and chairs,

know them, and we try not to let them

in one go to one person. We go in, take all

use it for the length of the contract, and

down because we want them to come

the old furniture out and then go back and

either move it on somewhere else or

back again and again – a lot of our

put the new in; it’s all managed by us.”

dispose of it.”

business is repeat business. Also, a lot

There is a large market for the pre-loved

Richard adds that it’s also good for

furniture too, and many people come to the

companies that are environmentally aware

showroom to view it, according to Richard.

– they can prove their furniture has been

“We get quite a few people from start-ups;

re-used rather than thrown in a skip.

[28] SEPTEMBER 2021

of our business comes from word-ofmouth referrals. “If you do a good job for one person, they tell others in the same market.”

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In with the new

With the directive to work from home now revoked, many people are returning to the office – but it won’t be business as normal, and many employers are reconfiguring their workspaces to accommodate new working practices


hile the number of

offices is Brother UK, as Liam Fitzgerald,

customers with the equipment and technology

people who have

head of reseller and distribution sales at the

they need to ensure their people continue to

been working in

company, explains. “We are adopting a hybrid

work productively, efficiently and securely.

the office for at least

working model to give our people the option of

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to

some of the time

flexible working, while ensuring we continue to

hybrid working; different policies, as defined

has been rising since

nurture our culture with an office that provides

by each customer, will require bespoke

the end of the third lockdown earlier this year,

space for conversation, group working, mental

support from partners to meet businesses’ new

many people have still been working at home.

wellbeing and social cohesion,” he says.

technology needs.

Since the government lifted social

“For example, we’ve transformed our

Dealers now have a chance to make

distancing measures in July, along with the

HQ in Greater Manchester by introducing a

the most of this opportunity by supplying

directive to work from home if possible, many

hot-desking policy and new breakout spaces to

printers and products purposefully

more people will be heading back to the office

help colleagues make the most of face-to-face

designed for hybrid working.”

in the coming weeks. It will not be business as

contact and collaboration; other businesses

it was; more hybrid working is expected, and

may choose to downsize, or open smaller

the pain point of the need for smaller devices

there will be a greater emphasis on meeting and

hub offices, which would require a significant

in home offices, the channel can also support

breakout spaces in offices, rather than fitting as

overhaul of their infrastructure.

with other teething issues created by the shift

many desks in as possible. One company currently reworking its

[30] SEPTEMBER 2021

“This provides us with the perspective to support our channel partners in supplying

Liam adds that, while this helps to solve

to hybrid models. “IT managers are now responsible for decentralised technology in

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potentially thousands of locations - not just

“Multi-functional spaces enable

requirements,” she says.

one office,” he says. “This is where solutions

employees to get back to the grind together

like managed print services will thrive, where

with their colleagues and enjoy exchanging

Interiors range, our design team can help

cloud-connected technology can give IT leads

ideas once more, while still keeping track of

create dynamic environments that lend

the oversite to easily service and manage

social distancing. Employees will need spaces

themselves to the new world and ways of

products, delivering device reliability, security

designed for collaborative meetings, areas for

working. Our in-house design team is there

and cost efficiency.”

agile working and opportunities to relax, as well

to support resellers in working with their

as places to escape to focus on individual tasks.”

customers to redesign or repurpose their


Vanessa Warne, category director

“Utilising products from the VOW

workspaces with a range of options that don’t

Dealers, with the support of manufacturers

for furniture at VOW Wholesale, agrees,

such as Dams, also have opportunities to

adding that the government Super-tax

help businesses design physical workplaces

Deduction Scheme offers a great


and specify furniture to support new ways

opportunity for businesses wishing to

Another way dealers can assist employers

of working, as Simon Howorth from Dams

reconfigure their workspaces.

that are reconfiguring their office space is

have to cost a fortune.”

explains. “If they haven’t done so already,

with safety solutions, according to Marianne

businesses should begin to take steps to

Chamberlain, sales director at Data Direct.

consider what the workplace will look like when their employees are welcomed back to the office. Companies that don’t provide workers with the types of spaces they need to manage the demands and intensity of work will find that this can have a negative impact on employee wellbeing,” he says. “The future office needs to serve as a hub for productivity, collaboration,

We are adopting a hybrid working model to give our people the option of flexible working

socialising and in-person connectivity.

“Dealers can really deliver customer solutions by providing relevant and adapted products for a new, safer and better working environment,” she says. “Data Direct has launched new printers, cabinets and desks which all help businesses return to productivity - the long-term and sustainable safety of employees is as greater priority as ever. “COVID will continue to be a disruptor

“While we may work in new ways, and in

in the workplace and, along with ‘flu, E-coli,

new spaces, some things never change. We all

“For anyone looking to create an

MRSA and Norovirus, these disruptors can be

need connection with other people, comfort

environment where staff can feel safe - one

overcome through a multi-pronged approach.

and flexibility. There still needs to be a space

that facilitates new ways of working such

Data Direct provides the full range of AeraMax

for focused work, calls or video meetings - but

as videoconferencing and hybrid working,

air purifiers from Fellowes, along with

this can’t override the desire for collaboration,

alongside the requirement for areas where

SmartMister and the SmartMister Solution.”

or replace the social aspect of the working day.

colleagues can safely come together to

The most effective and modern office spaces are

collaborate and socialise, and quiet zones

opportunities for dealers who know how to

characterised by division into different zones,

for more solitary working - our in-house

capitalise on the changing business landscape

with furniture that supports employees as they

workspace design team can help support our

as we emerge from COVID – hopefully,

perform particular tasks.

resellers in creating designs that fulfil these

once and for all.

[32] SEPTEMBER 2021

Hybrid working opens up a host of new

The Ultraclean Workplace As organisations in every sector eye a return to normality after a year of pandemic restrictions, it is clear that safety is the issue on everyone’s minds for the next few months. This past year, Kensington has continually adapted to provide customers with a range of solutions for maintaining health and safety. Our latest innovation for safety in the new normal is the Kensington UVStand™ Monitor Stand with UV-C Sanitisation Compartment. This desktop monitor stand has a built-in sanitisation compartment complete with fully-contained UV LEDs that safely most handheld devices. When in use, the UV-C technology is able to eliminate up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses within just 10 minutes and without the use of chemicals, liquids or wipes. This makes it quick and easy for organisations to maintain cleanliness in the office environment. This product complements other sanitation-focused products born from the pandemic, including washable keyboards, mouse and desk screens.

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A GLIMPSE AT THE DAY Finally Dealer Support Live 2021 is coming - and the event will be a must-not-miss for leaders in the sector!


e’re back!


We are so excited to be planning for our

The day has been designed to

2021 event at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry

include all corners of the industry;

on 21st October after more than 18

advanced priority tickets are still

months of social distancing, lockdowns,

free (terms and conditions apply)

cancellations and postponements of


countless events. We’ve been working really hard, and going pedal to the metal, to make sure this event is one of the best yet. As one of the first face-to-face, post-lockdown, dealer events, we promise to make it a reunion you won’t forget, and a day that will be worth the (very long) wait. We look forward to seeing your faces, and we’re sure you are eager to have conversations that aren’t marred by poor wifi, or interrupting family members! Dealer Support’s 2021 event boasts more opportunities to learn via in-depth seminars, an even broader spectrum of exhibitors, and an opportunity to network with peers - along with the popular Q&A session for delegates to get involved with. This year’s panel includes: • Steve Haworth, group CEO, EVO Group • Martin Shaw, MD, D3 Office Group Ltd • Steve Bilton, MD, FusionPlus Data • Vida Barr-Jones, CEO, Focus 7 • Mark Wilkinson, regional vice president Ireland, ACCO Brands EMEA ...and Steve Harrop, MD, HB Associates–our everpopular compère!

[34] SEPTEMBER 2021

– UK &

book. Tickets include attendance at all



seminars and talks, the exhibition, lunch and refreshments; the


aim is that these added extras make it much more attractive for

See the latest innovative products coming to market - the

dealers to take a day out of the office and join us.

exhibition will be in full swing between 11:00am and 3:00pm. Be the first to discover what’s new, get your hands on it before the


competition does, and find out how to convert new products

The event will open at 8:30am for delegates to get their

into increased sales.

bearings, grab a coffee and have initial conversations with exhibitors before the seminars get going.

A TOUGH AND TREACHEROUS MARKET These workshops will run at 11:15am, 12:00pm, 1:30pm and


2:15pm. They are quick-fire, information download sessions to


keep you abreast of what is trending and what you need to be

Seminars will start at 09:15am and 10:15am. These will be a mix

aware of to protect your business.

of aspirational case studies and practical advice – all of it valuable information for your business. The future is still uncertain; after a year-and-a-half of battling

Q&A The ever-popular Q&A session will be compèred by Steve

unprecedented challenges, we’ve come to

Harrop; he’ll pose hard-hitting questions to a strong leadership

expect the unexpected and prepare for worst

team comprising Steve Haworth, VOW; Vida Barr-Jones, Focus

case scenarios. As such, we’re focusing on championing the success of the dealer in a

7; Steve Bilton, Independent Software; Martin Shaw, D3 and Mark Wilkinson, ACCO.

variety of ways – from managing change, to marketing, remaining competitive, learning


the hard way, and beyond.

No-one knows the benefits and challenges of running a reseller business better than those who do it. As well as practical learning at the seminars, Dealer Support LIVE is a fantastic opportunity to network with others business leaders in the sector - sharing experiences and solutions and forging long-lasting, professional relationships that will benefit delegates and their businesses. FOOD AND DRINK Finally, as with every Dealer Support Live event, you’ll be well fed and watered through the day. Lunch will be served at 12:45pm and everybody is invited to networking drinks after the Q&A session.

BOOK TODAY Get your FREE* ticket for 21st October at *Terms and conditions apply and will be made available at time of booking. Late cancellation and no-show fees apply. Contact for the full Ts&Cs. SEPTEMBER 2021 [35]



Time for more action! Businesses are under increasing obligation to make their businesses more sustainable. DR LIZ WILKS outlines some ways that this can be achieved


ast year the

if you’re serious about establishing your

and working hours. Another key part of

Global Resources

sustainability credentials – if you haven’t

these guidelines is the protection of the

Initiative Taskforce,

done this already. Make sure they are up to

environment - for example, ensuring

convened by the

scratch in order to meet consumer demands

compliance with relevant environmental

UK government,

and changing legislation.

laws, regulations and standards.

recommended that

a ‘mandatory due diligence obligation’ be introduced. This would require companies to analyse the presence of environmental and human rights risks and impacts within their



The first step to ensuring that your supply



Communicating internally is about making

supply chains, to take action to prevent or

chain is sustainable is to establish a code of

sure you have an open and transparent

mitigate those risks, and to publicly report on

conduct that outlines what you expect from

method of reporting - after all, that’s the

actions taken and planned.

your suppliers. Knowing your suppliers

best way to find out more about a particular

is critical; for example, where they source

product and how it is produced. However,

Union’s mid-2022 Sustainable Corporate

their products from, and whether their

it’s important that these guidelines are

Governance Policy and will be applicable to

sustainability ambitions align with yours.

discussed with suppliers and put in place

This has been echoed in the European

both large and small organisations – though giving smaller organisations time to ‘get ready’. Here are some key areas to look at

[36] SEPTEMBER 2021

Generally, in this set of guidelines,

within the supply chain, as well as being

you should explore health and safety and

proactively communicated to customers.

the company’s approach to human rights

Many customers will naturally be



looking to fulfil their own sustainability goals through a certain product; by

Establish a code of conduct that outlines what you expect from your suppliers

showcasing that a product is sustainably produced the customer base of a company can be reassured and widened.


CERTIFICATION MATTERS Certification is a tried and tested method of communicating your

sustainability standards to customers. We know that customers are willing to pay more for sustainable products – in

are echoed throughout the business itself.

fact, our research found that three-in-five

Whatever the size of business, large or

adults (61%) said they would be willing

small, there is a commercial, financial and

to pay more for food products packaged

ethical value – and soon a mandatory need –

in sustainable materials, with 35% saying

in implementing some sustainable measures

they would be open to paying up to 10%

in the supply chain and the business itself.

more. Providing certified paper, packaging and labelling such as PEFC provides

Here are just a few ideas for the workplace: •

independent reassurance.


Green up your office space: make it energy-efficient, choose LED lamps,


turn off the lights off after hours, use

Last in this list, but by no means

re-useable towels and cutlery and focus

least, is to review your own

on employee wellbeing

business. Conscious consumerism is

continuing to grow, particularly during

friendly facility and store items in re-

COVID, and it seems this is set to stay. Establishing a sustainable supply chain

Sustainable storage: choose an ecouseable, ‘green’ containers

Use green delivery methods: use certified,

will not only make your products more

recyclable or compostable bags, and offer

attractive to customers, it will also shore

reductions for bulk orders

up your business in the long-term. A truly

Reduce waste: reduce, re-use, recycle

sustainable business supports the full eco-

Involve your employees: give them the

system that surrounds both the running of

option of remote working, and incentivise

your business and the creation of a product.

environmentally friendly habits

Not only is this a good approach for

Make charitable donations: donate

the environment, it also makes commercial

to environmental programmes, and,

sense. Customers expect – and increasingly

perhaps, link these actions to the

now demand – products that are made

products you sell with a logo or %

in an environmentally sustainable way, and reward brands that fulfil their wishes. Businesses should also look to take this

contribution •

Find environmental certifications. By Dr Liz Wilks, sustainability and

further, ensuring that products and supply

stakeholder director, Asia Pulp & Paper

chains are sustainable and that these values

UK and Europe SEPTEMBER 2021 [37]



Back to the office

The work from home directive has ended in England and many employees are heading back to the office. What do employers need to buy to ensure they are ready for this?


hen the government


easy, step-by-step ‘getting your workplace

ended social

Steve Plaistowe, business development

back’, allows the dealers to see where the

restrictions in

manager OP channel for Spectrum

opportunities are – and to be proactive with

England on July

Industrial, breaks the checklist for buyers

their customers using this approach, as well

19 it also removed

down into several zones. This includes the

as selling more products!”

the directive for

office zone, where buyers should consider

employees to work from home if possible. As a result, many employees are

things like social distancing equipment, fire equipment and guillotines for cutting paper. Then there are shared zones, where

returning to the office for the first time in

SAFETY FIRST – DISRUPTING THE DISRUPTORS Lawrence Savage, marketing manager at

nearly 18 months. The Office of National

things like provisions for hand hygiene in

ExaClair, agrees that safety will be uppermost in

Statistics reported that 40% of businesses

washrooms and kitchens/canteens should

many buyers’ minds for the return to the office.

expect 75% of their workforce to return to

be considered, along with first aid kits and

their normal place of work, going forward,

janitorial supplies/cupboards and, finally,

measures wanted by the working population

although 85% of those currently operating

there are operation zones where hazard

as they migrate back to the office,” he notes.

from home are anticipating a greater

warnings should be considered, such as signs

“Social distancing, enhanced hygiene

balance between office-based and remote

for fire doors and fire action notices.

precautions and having effective PPE

working in the future.

“After safety, you can then move on to the

Those responsible for purchasing office

“There are still a number of safety

available are the key concerns listed, along

next step, which might be reviewing furniture,

with the need for additional health and

supplies are going to have to consider what

hot-desking, putting pods in place, reviewing

wellbeing facilities in place.

is needed and ensure that everything is in

stocks of stationery and tea and coffee, for

place when most employees return.

example,” he says. “Breaking it down into an

[38] SEPTEMBER 2021

“It’s expected that the demand for items such as screens, sanitising stations and social

International Paper enters fifth successful year championing HP Office Pink Ream


nited Kingdom,

pink packaging for reams of HP Office

Pink Europe. In the UK, a percentage of

September 2021

paper. This year, the Pink Ream will also

funds raised will continue to go to the

— International

be available in HP Everyday 75gsm, a

Pink Ribbon Foundation.

Paper, a global

lighter alternative to HP Office which

leader in fibre-

delivers quality, reliability and value, as a

Pink Ream visit

based packaging,

multifunctional paper for everyday use.


pulp and paper, has entered into its

For each Pink Ream sold,

fifth year in supporting the fight against

International Paper donate £0.10 to UK

breast cancer with the HP Office Pink

programmes focusing on breast cancer

Ream campaign in partnership with

research, awareness and prevention.

Think Pink Europe.

The campaign has previously been

Since the launch of the initiative in 2017, over €450k has been raised across Europe, with the UK percentage

honoured as ‘Initiative of the Year’ at the European Office Products Awards. The HP Pink Ream will be available

of funds supporting over 200 local,

to consumers throughout October

regional and national projects through

(worldwide Breast Cancer Awareness

the support of Pink Ribbon Foundation.

Month) and November. The money

The Pink Ream is instantly recognisable with its specially designed

For more information about HP

raised will support a variety of European breast cancer projects through Think

The NEW semi permanent anti-microbial adhesive vinyl that stops bacterial growth to help protect surfaces and people.

Can be applied to ANY high contact surface of ANY size! Ideal for use on walls, floors, door plates, trolley handles, pallet truck handles, elevator buttons, desk tops and many more! +44 (0) 118 979 6096



distancing and safety signage will continue to remain, as will the need for antimicrobial products.” Marianne Chamberlain, sales director at Data Direct, points out that hygiene measures should not just address the risks posed by COVID-19; there are many other potential workplace disruptors, such as ‘flu, E-coli, MRSE and Norovirus. “All of these can affect your reputation, productivity and continuity,” she warns. Marianne recommends that businesses look to implement complete hygiene solutions that reach every touch point in a room, meaning that business owners can operate with peace of mind. This includes things such as SmartMister which, when combined with SmartMister Solution, kills 99.99% of harmful germs, viruses and spores, including COVID-19. “This can help to keep your

pressure to the envelope flap when closed,

All of these can affect your reputation, productivity and continuity

business going, employees productive and customers loyal,” she adds.

which activates the adhesive properties along the seal strip,” she explains.

DEALER ROLE Dealers have an important role in ensuring a successful return to the office; they should take a more consultative approach with customers to create solutions tailored to the business’ needs,

Finally, floor markers to communicate instructions to staff, such as directing walk

Lawrence Savage explains. “An increasing number of dealers are


ways, with highly visible, clear instructions and

now utilising office layout design software to

Jim Roberts, commercial manager at

safety messages, are becoming increasingly

help them demonstrate how the customer can

Beaverswood, adds that there are other

important. Jim recommends ones with strong

integrate their product recommendations into

measures employers can use to help

adhesive backing as these are a safer option

their office spaces effectively,” he says.

reduce personal contact between colleagues

than cheaper alternatives which can peel off or

and visitors and, in turn, reduce the spread

tear easily.

of airborne viruses.

However, Lawrence admits that, with varying restrictions still in place in different parts of the UK, it may take a time for


the market to return to where it was pre-

adhesive vinyl products, such as Visuclean®,

Keeping employees safe will require making

pandemic. It’s not all bad news though. “In

that protect people and surfaces. “This semi-

changes to all sorts of existing practices

addition to the antimicrobial and PPE market

permanent adhesive vinyl can be applied to

you may not initially think of – for example,

trends, we have seen a continued shift with

any surface of any size including door handles,

how they seal envelopes!

consumers increasingly looking towards more

For instance, there are anti-microbial

push door plates, trolley handles and other

“Historically many people have sealed

innovative products that form part of a circular

high-contact surfaces,” says Jim. “It inhibits the

envelopes by licking them,” explains

economy, especially as they are becoming

transfer of germs and bacteria.”

India Broad, marketing manager at Blake

more ecologically aware. For example, a

Envelopes. “However, in the midst of

recent survey shows that 62% of members of

modular shadow boards can be used as hygiene

COVID, many have become concerned

Generation Z prefer to buy more sustainably

stations, fitted with equipment like hand gel and

about spreading or contracting the virus. As a

sourced products.

disinfectant wipe dispensers. “These shadow

result, people are now searching for alternate

boards are simple-to-store, simple-to-transport

methods for sealing envelopes.

In addition, things like Modulean®

and simple to install,” explains Jim. “You can

“Peel & Seal envelopes have a tear-away

“With a growing number of people from this demographic cohort now integrating into the workforce, this is set

easily customise your workstation as the system

strip which uncovers an adhesive seal strip,

to become an increasingly greater influence

is designed to be modular.”

while Self-Seal envelopes work by applying

on purchasing decisions.”

[40] SEPTEMBER 2021


AY 25 NOVEMBER 2021 CATEGORIES FOR 2021: Brand Manufacturer


Professional of the Year

Business Leader of the Year

Independent Retailer

Rising Star of the Year

Campaign of the Year

New Product of the Year

Service Provider of the Year

Dealer Excellence

Outstanding Achievement

Sustainable Leadership

Diversity and Inclusion

Outstanding Team Effort of the Year

Unsung Hero





Facilities supplies is a fast-growing area for many dealers, with increasing numbers of customers looking for sanjan, signs and catering supplies, as well as more traditional office supplies


he COVID-19 pandemic provided

operations, too. What this showed many office supplies

an ever-rising number of nomadic workers, it’s key for dealers to expand upon their

many lessons for

companies was that they could establish new

traditional selection to offer products that

office products

product lines – and the supply chain behind

are more adaptable and eco-friendlier

suppliers, and one of

it – quickly; these lines often bring them into

without compromising on quality,” he says.

the most important

contact with new customers in previously

“Initially the pandemic drove a surge

for many was the necessity of a diverse

untapped sectors and, most significantly, add

in PPE and antimicrobial equipment -

portfolio of products – outside of traditional

to their bottom line. In pandemic times, this

which is a trend set to continue as

office supplies – to offer to existing

was often crucial to a business’ survival.

businesses continue to adapt to the modern

customers and help attract new ones. When the first lockdown was announced

working environment.


“In addition to these categories, the

in March 2020 many dealers quickly set up

As Lawrence Savage, marketing manager at

industry has seen an uptake in office product

lines of PPE and sanitising products, which

ExaClair, notes, it is increasingly important

suppliers looking to broaden their scope into

were welcomed by customers and often

for dealers to be able to offer a more diverse

areas such as safety and social distancing

bought in large quantities. Since then these

portfolio as they continue their post-

signage, print services, waste management

lines have become established sellers and are

pandemic recovery.

and promotional merchandise.”

now standard products for many companies.

“With a greater emphasis on the

Lawrence adds that these trends

It wasn’t just regular office customers who

growing consumer demand for more

prompted ExaClair to develop and launch

bought these products, but other businesses,

product innovation, especially in relation

the new range of Exacompta signage and

such as those involved in warehouse-based

to sustainability and equipment suited to

display products.

[42] SEPTEMBER 2021




new supplier relationships and new product

As we move to a post-pandemic economic

areas – and the price is right – we really open

phase, with all social distancing requirements

up a new land of opportunity.”

abandoned – at the time of writing – and more people return to the office, Lawrence


believes these trends will continue.

Another route is to offer restaurant-style

“Many dealers are now developing

food for staff in businesses based in offices

how they assist customers with varying

without a canteen. While many office

technological support,” he says. “With more

supplies companies have provided things like

employees returning to work a number of

tea and coffee for years, few have extended to

dealers are looking to offer extra solutions in

full food offerings, but this now could create

relation to touchless technologies, smart PPE,

an opportunity for some.

temperature sensors and UV cleaning for air filtration systems.” Martin Shaw, managing director of D3 Office Group, agrees that the trend of dealers

There are already online providers such as Feedr, which provides a range of services, from daily canteen services to event catering and even home deliveries to businesses in London, Manchester and Dublin. Their daily service allows employees to choose their own

The industry has seen an uptake in office product suppliers looking to broaden their scope

meals, and they are delivered in eco-friendly packaging. The company was acquired by Compass Group last year. “Catering is an extremely competitive area, and there is a rising demand for more ecologically aware products,” says Lawrence. However, he warns that dealers should be wary of diversifying too much. “The key for dealers is to not spread themselves too thinly when diversifying, and to concentrate

broadening their product range will continue.

on those products which might be suited to

His own company moved successfully into

current customers, as well as being ideal for

PPE and janitorial products supply during

opening up to new customer groups,” he says.

the pandemic and is now keen to broaden the

Diversifying their product range into

product mix further, looking at everything

different sectors, and offering a more facilities

from tech products, to tools, to signage.

supplies-style service can help dealers to

“The pandemic has sped up the decline

maximise their sales - but it can also provide

of the traditional core office supplies market

an opportunity to build a more fruitful

a bit, but there are still lots of opportunities

relationship with their customers that has

and one of those is selling technology

greater longevity, Lawrence says.

products,” he says. “It’s a shift to a different

“By offering a more ‘one-stop shop’

product mix we are looking at, and selling

package to their clients, a dealer can more

different products to our customer base.

effectively access the advantages of cross-selling

“The concept of wide aisle is there for

products and services,” he says. “For instance, if

us to grasp. We aren’t going to become

they are a specialist in office furniture, why not

the ‘Amazon’ to business but, rather, the

look to include items such as stationery, water

knowledgeable centre of buying whatever

coolers, signage and other complementary

you want to get. As long as we open up those

equipment that can complete the bundle?” SEPTEMBER 2021 [43]



LIVE IT Life hack To put a shelf up straight, use masking tape to template it first by sticking the tape to the back of the shelf and marking where the screws will go. Then, using a spirit level, stick that tape to the wall and drill holes where the marks are.

Two trips THUMBS UP! down the aisle results in a smile As reported by BBC News, when Kirsty Thomas realised her 81-year-old grandmother could not go to her wedding, she was devastated. Determined to have her in the wedding photos, the new bride put on


her dress to recreate part of the big day at Val Peddle’s care home in Bridgend. Kirsty said staff at Ty Ynysawdre home were amazing, transforming the garden for the family’s photos. As well as added complications due to pandemic, dental nurse Kirsty said her grandmother had dementia and could find changes in routine upsetting - but she was determined to have her play a part in the special day. Kirsty was ushered into a side room to change into her wedding dress before making


an appearance. “As I got closer, her face lit up and she said, ‘Oh, it’s Kirsty!’ She was crying, I was

Quote of the month When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

[44] SEPTEMBER 2021

crying - so yes she realised then that it was me in my wedding dress. She was just saying ‘You look amazing’ and she offered to carry my train! She said ‘This is the day I have been waiting for.’”


Did you know?



Did you know that the 100 folds in a chef’s hat represent 100 ways to cook an egg? Yes, that tall, pleated white hat that chefs wear — technically called a toque — has 100 folds for a reason! According to Reluctant Gourmet, the pleats used to signify a chef’s level of experience, such as the number of ways he or she knew how to prepare eggs.

According to BBC News a frog which has been extinct in England since the 1990s has been reintroduced to its original habitat after some were flown over from Sweden. The northern pool frog was last found at Thompson Common, in Norfolk. The Swedish specimens were

PUB QUIZ 1. In what year did Tony Blair become British Prime Minister? 2. How many times has England won the men’s football World Cup? 3. What is the capital of New Zealand? 4. Street artist Banksy is originally associated with which British city? 5. From what grain is the Japanese spirit Sake made? Answers: 1.1997 2.Once (1966) 3.Wellington 4.Bristol 5.Rice

Hopping back again

introduced to a secret site in Norfolk in 2005 and tadpoles have since been successfully moved back to ponds at the common. “This means we can reverse extinction, and

Knock me down with a feather Brilliant birds and bins Cockatoos have worked out how to open bin lids by watching others do the trick says Sky News.

it’s not often you can say that

Ornithologist Richard Major first observed Australian sulphur-

for an animal,” a conservation

crested cockatoos opening the lids of bins to scavenge for food a

group said. Jim Foster, director of Amphibian and Reptile

number of years ago by. Impressed by their ingenuity Major, and researchers in Germany, studied how many cockatoos had learned this trick. The team documented the phenomenon in three suburbs

Conservation, said the frog

of Sydney in early 2018, and found that it had spread to 44 suburbs

became extinct in England as

by late 2019. After analysing videos of 160 of the clever birds lifting

declining water levels made their breeding ponds unsuitable.

bin lids, and assessing the geographic spread, they decided most birds learned by watching others. SEPTEMBER 2021 [45]



Bringing hope, peace and unity to the good brethren of business supplies The good Father on ponds full of filing cabinets and feeling hot, hot, hot! don’t know about

in there for years. I know it’s not very

you, but we’ve been

environmentally friendly but I never

experiencing a bit

thought that anyone would ever be

ago and even though we have about 100

of a heatwave in

jumping in, and its products that are

of them on back order we refuse to tell

the village recently,

either faulty or unsellable - things like

the customers that they will never arrive,

something none of us are used to. Pens

filing cabinets that we told customers we

hoping that, when they do get delivered

are drying up, letter trays are melting

couldn’t get keys for so that they would

in November, they’ll keep them for next

and the guys in the warehouse have

buy new ones, and empty ink cartridges,

year. We’ve used this tactic in the past

been picking the goods without any

which no-one has ever found out how to

and sometimes products don’t come

clothes on, which is a health and safety

dispose of properly.

into stock until the next year when they


nightmare. If some of the customers

Mrs O’ Reilly, who looks after our

as she chucked it back in. We ran out of fans about a month

need ordering again; I can’t tell you how

knew they would be appalled, but

green, environmentally friendly, goods

it’s cheaper than having to install air

department, jumped in and jammed her

conditioning that would probably

toe into an old typewriter, which she

be putting on my winter cassock and

never be used again.

then retrieved from the pond. She was

waterproof sandals again so I don’t

absolutely devastated to find out that’s

get too stressed about the heatwave.

are starting to jump into to cool down

what I’ve been doing and, given her

Everything changes in life and in

- this creates a slight problem for me

green credentials, she made me sign an

the stationery world, quicker than

because we’ve been dumping products

agreement that it would stop happening

you might think.

We’ve got a village pond that people

[46] SEPTEMBER 2021

simple that makes things. We know that by next week I’ll



New challenges, new opportunities EMMA DAVIES-CAROLAN, director of marketing, EMEA and APAC at ECI Software Solutions, discusses the highs and lows of the pandemic – including how its challenges opened up news ways of operating for dealers


he pandemic created

As well as PPE and janitorial

both challenges and

equipment, the demand for specialised

opportunities for

work equipment has presented a real and

businesses; many

ongoing opportunity, with 65% of our

were forced to

customers incorporating workwear

adapt and diversify in line with changing consumer demand, quickly

ranges into their business.

Emma DaviesCarolan ECI SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS Director of marketing

In these instances our

moving into new markets and

entrepreneurial dealers – those with the

expanding product lines.

right infrastructure in place - managed

to help import extra data from new

to seize the opportunity and shift

suppliers, a change in the way orders are


their focus, almost overnight, helping

processed and handled, and ensuring

Back in March 2020 it was unclear how

a great number to balance the books

that customers can display options

long the majority of offices would remain

throughout the pandemic.

for colour, custom text added, image

closed for. Over this time the demand for

upload and embroidery locations. This is

conventional office supplies was severely


especially important as, more than ever,

disrupted, forcing many dealers to change


organisations are seeking to boost their

their ‘roadmap’ and branch out into


profiles, often with branded products

new markets - as demand for two major

There are some product ranges that

bearing logos and company slogans.

product ranges shot up.

present more technical challenges to

Interestingly, 70% of our customers

enter, and our main focus at ECI has been

have added or expanded their sales of

added personal protective equipment

ensuring that we can deliver enhanced

promotional gifts.

(PPE) to their product portfolio - creating

features and new developments to support

a major opportunity for dealers to

this diversification. We have tackled three

supplies industry has had to evolve

adapt and bring transferable skills and

key areas to help customers expand the

and adapt, with workwear presenting

technologies with them into new markets.

products they’re able to offer, focusing

new and exciting opportunities for

Similarly, 76% now deal in janitorial

specifically on the unique challenges

entrepreneurial dealers. It’s been

ranges as the demand for hygiene products

that come with dealing in customised

amazing to see the role technology has

such as hand sanitiser, face masks, visors

workwear and promotional products.

played in helping dealers shift, swiftly

A staggering 85% of our customers

and gloves also surged.

These include expanded options

There’s no doubt that the office

and effectively, into new arenas. SEPTEMBER 2021 [47]


Join us at DS LIVE THE industry event for all UK dealers Thursday 21st October 2021 Ricoh Arena, Coventry Sign up now at

Profile for Intelligent Media Solutions

Dealer Support September 2021  

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