Page 1

Summer 2021

CASH REWARDS FOR EVERY MONITOR ARM YOU SELL

Issue 312

inspiring success

Plus, Elevated Earnings on Height Adjustable Desks

WHEREVER I LAY MY LAPTOP, THAT’S MY WORKSPACE Hybrid working is set to be a major business trend this year

Email salesadmin@fellowes.com or contact your Fellowes representative for more details

BIG ASK Post-COVID – what does the structure of the OP sector look like?

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES D3 Office Group on how to grasp new opportunities * Rewards Programme subject to Terms & Conditions. We reserve the right to withdraw the programme without giving prior notice.


2021

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


FROM THE EDITOR

Continuing to evolve DEALER SUPPORT SUMMER 2021 ISSUE 312 AIDAN MCDONOUGH RICHARD COULSON TIM BROWNING

A lot of the past year has been about evolving as an industry and overcoming the challenges the sector has faced. Integra’s CEO Aidan McDonough tells us how they have weathered the storm, and which issues he thinks are facing the industry now. Our BIG ASK follows this theme and asks the industry what they think the structure of the OP sector will look like, post-COVID. The pandemic has certainly presented us with new challenges, CASH REWARDS FOR EVERY MONITOR ARE YOU SELL but it has also brought new opportunities to be discovered and capitalised on. D3 Office Group tells us how it has grasped these chances with both hands - turning a tumultuous time into a positive one. Being successful in switching a negative into a positive has a lot to do with mental outlook; we explore how one Japanese philosophy could help dealers with continuous improvement. In this issue’s look at tech we explore how technology could help increase efficiency – which, along with reliability, is key for dealers when looking at new products and services. With this in mind, we discuss how dealers are responding to the challenges of printer performance and reliability. Due to the pandemic, product lines have had to adapt – meaning advice about new products is crucial as technology evolves. In these recent, crazy months products have adapted to the changes brought by the pandemic, and the way we work has had to adapt too. We explore the trend of hybrid working - expected to be one of the dominant ways of working in the second half of the year; what might this mean for dealers? Our LIVE IT section brings a bit of lighthearted relief - and the good Father tells us how he and his team have been getting on working from home! We wrap the issue up with our FINAL WORD, which discusses the ‘bulldog spirit’ of the industry and how it continues to face challenges head on. As always, don’t forget to chat to us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts and opinions: @dealersupport. Summer 2021

Plus, Elevated Earnings on Height Adjustable Desks

Issue 312

inspiring success

WHEREVER I LAY MY LAPTOP, THAT’S MY WORKSPACE Hybrid working is set to be a major business trend this year

BIG ASK Post-COVID – what does the structure of the OP sector look like?

Email salesadmin@fellowes.com or contact your Fellowes repersentitive for more details

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES D3 Office Group on how to grasp new opportunities

* Rewards Programme subject to Terms & Conditions. We reserve the right to withdraw the programme without giving prior notice.

Ellie Potter Acting editor

ACTING EDITOR Ellie Potter

CREATIVE TEAM Amanda Lancaster

FEATURES EDITOR Dan Parton

DIRECTOR Vicki Baloch

HEAD OF SALES Matthew Moore hello@dealersupport.co.uk All email addresses are formatted firstname.lastname@intelligentmedia.co.uk

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

Intelligent Media Solutions We Work Building, 115 Mare Street, London, E8 4RU Tel: 0203 794 8555 Fax: 0203 794 8554 Email: info@intelligentmedia.co.uk Web: www.dealersupport.co.uk


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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FOR MORE INFORMATION: Email: contact@kensington.com


SUMMER 2021

Contents INDUSTRY 06 NEWS AND VIEWS

The latest news and views from the industry

10 OFFICE PRODUCTS SECTOR: EVOLVING AND OVERCOMING

Integra’s CEO on the issues facing the sector

12 KAIZEN CHIEFS

How a Japanese philosophy could help dealers

20

18 HOW SCANNERS CAN REVOLUTIONISE THE ‘ACCOUNTS PAYABLE’ FUNCTION Fujitsu on how to work smarter, not harder

20 BIG ASK

Post-COVID – what does the structure of the OP sector look like?

24 DEALER SUPPORT LIVE

Join us for one of the first face-to-face dealer events to happen this year – Dealer Support LIVE 2021!

DEALER SUCCESS 28 TAKING ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES D3 Office Group on how to grasp new opportunities

32

LEADERSHIP 32 EFFICIENCY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

The ways in which technology can increase efficiency

36 PRINTERS: RELIABILITY IS KEY

Are dealers responding to the challenge of printer performance?

SALES SUCCESS 38 WHEREVER I LAY MY LAPTOP, THAT’S MY WORKSPACE

38 “The market is too dynamic now to look at five-year business cycles – you are now looking at 12-18 months, and event that is a best guestimate.”

11

Hybrid working is set to be a major business trend this year

42 BINDING AND LAMINATING: GOOD ADVICE IS KEY The adaptations being made, post-pandemic

LIVE IT 44 LIVE IT

Take a break and enjoy some lighthearted fun

46 FATHER P. CLIP

How has the good Father found WFH?

47 FINAL WORD Our bulldog spirit


INDUSTRY

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

THE MONTH THAT WAS The Stationers’ Company Warrants recipients 2021 The seven recipients of the 2021 Stationers’ Company Warrants have been announced. The Stationers’ Warrant was launched in 2014 as a mark of recognition highlighting excellence. Winning entries have the honour of using the Company Warrant on their product or for promoting their service. Many

commented: “Despite the unprecedented year we have just had, the

Antalis gets dynamic

company was delighted to receive so many impressive applications from

Dynamic Office Solutions has teamed up with

such a broad cross-section of the communications and content industries.”

UK distributor Antalis to provide a new office

companies have now been recognised, and the programme is being developed year-on-year. Chris Geer, in her first year as chairman of the Warrants Committee,

The new Stationers’ Warrants for 2021 are: • Baddeley Brothers, for their elegant and distinctive labels that use

interiors solution. Paper, packaging and visual

flawless design technology for Pirates Grog Number 13 labelling.

communications products distributor Antalis

• Downey for their luxury design and print services that marry modern

has formed a strategic alliance with Dynamic

sustainability with 100 years of tradition. • Incontrol Marketing for the personalisation and tailoring of their marketing portal, and its emphasis on continuous improvement. • The Jolly Savage Company for their sustainable concept for putting unused consumables back into the supply chain. • printIQ for their continuous development approach, with the sustainable

that will see it offering customers the bestselling seating options in the Dynamic stable. “We have admired the Antalis business, and know it is very popular with dealers and etailers alike,” said Dynamic non-executive director, David Orr. “The pressure on resellers

focus on remotely trained and installed software in their Print Workflow

to improve margins in the big profit sector

Management Software.

of interiors is there, especially as the office

• Renz UK for their Air2Color product demonstrating the pivot to using existing expertise in responding to the market demands of the past year.

products sales landscape shifts; the Dynamic business has recorded record sales for the

• Two Sides for their proven goals of promoting sustainability in the print,

past difficult year. It will be an alliance able to

paper and paper packing supply chain, combined with an innovative

help dealers in exceptionally difficult times.”

campaigning and information-led programme. Three companies that demonstrated to the judging panel further

The new partnership will see dealers able to access hundreds of posture, heavy-duty,

innovation and development of their warranted products have had their

task, operator, executive, visitor, conference,

warrants extended. These are EO Group for the Office Power dealer network

homeworking and soft seating chair

programme, Victor Stationery for the Rhino Notebook, and Brown Fox for

solutions, all delivered by the award-winning

their fine stationery range.

dropship Dynamic programme to dealers or

Details of the 2022 Stationers’ Warrant will be announced soon.

[06] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk

direct to consumers.


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

VOW announces new directors VOW Wholesale has appointed Debbie Nice to the new role of business development director as part of its commitment on focusing on new growth categories, ranges and suppliers. Investing in new product areas is a major part of VOW’s vision moving forward post-lockdown. Nice has worked within VOW for 25 years in senior supply chain, commercial and marketing roles, and has previous experience working within the medical and janitorial industry. With the market continuing to evolve, post-lockdown, the new business development director position benefits both resellers and suppliers with the expansion of new and existing product ranges. “We are seeing some really interesting developments as suppliers are embracing the opportunities that have been created by changes to the workplace and supply chain,” said Debbie. VOW has also promoted Simon McLoughlin to the role of merchandising director to take forward the product management, inventory and purchasing teams. McLoughlin, who came to VOW with experience of manufacturing, distribution and reseller businesses, has been with the company for almost 10 years and has led multiple product categories, including, stationery, paper, furniture, facilities supplies and traditional technology.

Integra announces electronic trading with EOS Integra Business Solutions has

additional functionality is fantastic

announced that members on Oasis,

news for members who will now be

Prima and Horizon back office

able to send EDI purchase orders

systems can now trade electronically

and receive acknowledgements and

with key partner European Office

a daily stock feed, together with

Supplies (EOS).

collect cost price terms, invoices and

EOS has been working on developing its EDI integration to further improve its offering to

BOSS announces Charity Day return The 2021 BOSS Business Supplies Charity Day will return to Belton Woods, Grantham, Lincolnshire on Wednesday 15th September. There are two activities to choose from - golf or spa - and both are open to all. Following the activities everyone will come together for an early dinner, followed by a charity auction and raffle – as well as the opportunity to network with industry professionals. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic, at a time when the charity was granting many more people funding to help in the crisis. The 2019 event raised about £12,000 – essential funds for the industry’s charity to use to support the 70-80 families a year who need help. Costs (both prices include networking dinner) • Golf team of four – Early Bird price (until 21st July) £400; after 22nd July £600. • Spa £140 per person.

credit notes. It just makes the whole process much more efficient.” EDI trading will also ensure

members in order to enable a more

dealers have easy access to Initiative

efficient solution for the procurement

compatible toners, exclusive to

of Initiative toners.

members of Integra. New and

“European has been an important

INDUSTRY

improved packaging was introduced

partner of the group for over five

earlier this year together with more

years,” said Bob Davies, Integra’s

than 2,500 new lines, additional

commercial director – EOS. “This

pricing and marketing support.

www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [07]


INDUSTRY

THE MONTH THAT WAS

NEWS REPORT

Security begins at home Cybersecurity attacks increased markedly last year alongside the growth in homeworking. This is something dealers and customers alike need to address

W

hile homeworking has increased significantly

Respondents also reported that, of the businesses that

in the past year, and many employees look

experienced a cyberattack, they had an average of 2.35

set to work from home for at least part of

breaches per year. These breaches were significant; 80% of

the week in the future, businesses are

cases involved material being accessed and was reported to

being warned to not overlook the security

regulators or the incident response team.

of the IT they are using. Things such as employees using poorly protected

This ties in with data from Atlas VPN, which reported that more than five billion personal records were leaked in the first

personal devices on inadequately protected home networks,

three months of this year, on top of 37 billion data records

or accessing unsecured websites, can create opportunities

leaked last year, which was an increase of 140% on 2019.

for hackers to strike; indeed, the increase in home working appears to have led to an increase in cyberattacks.

These figures should serve as a warning to dealers, many of which will still have many employees working from home.

Workload protection services provider Carbon Black

If they haven’t already reviewed and upgraded the security of

surveyed 3,542 CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs from 14 countries in

the equipment home working employees are using, then it is

a variety of sectors to find out if working from home led to an

advisable to do so as soon as possible.

increase in cyberattacks. The results of the survey, published

However, this sorry state of affairs also presents an

in June, showed that 86% of UK businesses saw an increase in

opportunity for dealers that provide technological products

cyberattacks in the past 12 months.

and services. Customers may be unaware of some of the

The UK’s figures were appreciably above the average

cybersecurity issues that working from home can present, and

of 78% of businesses reporting an increase in cyberattacks,

may need to review and upgrade their software and related

and only behind France (96%) and Australia (89%) in terms of

products – not just for laptops, but also connected products

countries affected by increases.

such as scanners.

There were other worrying trends highlighted by the

Atlas VPN recommends some simple measures to reduce

Carbon Black survey. For instance, 79% of respondents

the likelihood of an attack occurring. These include not

reported that cyberattacks had become more sophisticated

delaying implementing software updates, always using a VPN

in the past year, which means that hackers are investing time

– and not turning it off, even when using a device for personal

to create attacks targeted at specific businesses. Such attacks

matters – being vigilant for phishing scams contained in

are designed to disarm the security measures the target has

emails, and enabling multi-factor authentication for online

put in place.

accounts or networks.

[08] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [09]

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INDUSTRY

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

Office products sector: Aidan McDonough tells all Integra Business Solutions’ CEO AIDAN MCDONOUGH discusses the issues facing the sector, why five-year plans are useless, and predicts a slew of M&A activity in the next year

W

ith 27 years in the office products

- that’s where there was most closure - but the recovery

sector, latterly as CEO of Integra

was pretty quick, in fairness; the guys got on board with

Business Solutions, Aidan

the COVID-secure products, and it was looking ok.”

McDonough is an experienced head who knows that the sector will always

Despite this, Aidan reckons the second lockdown was harder than the first. “First time you have the

evolve and overcome whatever problems are thrown at

adrenaline; you are making quick decisions and you are

it – such as a global pandemic and its aftermath.

not sure what is going on,” he explains. “The second

“The first lockdown, in mid-March, was a huge shock; nobody had anticipated anything like it,” he says. “We had three months of closure. You are sitting

one was just tortuous. I don’t know if it was the weather, or the consistency of it.” Nevertheless, Integra fared well through the

there doing financial projections; the furlough scheme

pandemic, and has focused on several key areas during

was coming in and nobody was sure of the detail, and

that time - including diversifying the product mix,

you think ‘This is catastrophic! This will be the end as

something the company has been working on for about

we’ll all run out of money.’

two and a half years.

“Integra is intrinsically linked to its members. If they

“We brought in medical supplies, which was in no way

are doing badly, we are doing badly - that’s how the

related to COVID, it was about the fact could we get into

model works. The second quarter of 2020 was really tough

care homes, dentists and GP surgeries,” he says.

[10] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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

“The workwear side was going well, and the other

found that five-year business

side that has been good for us is our own brand. This

planning is a load of nonsense

performed well throughout 2020, principally because we

when I look at what I thought

had the demise of Spicers in the middle of this.”

we thought we were going to

Integra also helped its members during the first lockdown with HR issues and applying for government

INDUSTRY

generate in the period. “The market is too dynamic

schemes, as well as things like deal with furlough

now to look at five-year business

paperwork. “The guys did a brilliant job getting the

cycles - you are now looking at

message across.”

12-18 months, and even that is best guestimate. Next 18 months?

Listen to the full Aidan McDonough interview by Steve Harrop @ www. dealersupport.co.uk

Consolidation will be the big

The challenge, moving forward, is how do you value a business, and based on what metric?

driver in my view in every aspect.” CONSOLIDATION Indeed, Aidan believes that, as we move to a postpandemic economic phase, there will be consolidation activity in every part of the office products sector – from ERPs, to vendor communities, to independents –

SUPPORT NEEDED Despite the recovery in recent months, Aidan believes

although this won’t be without its difficulties. “But the challenge, moving forward, is how do you

the sector will need more support from the government,

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

going forward. “I’m a master of doom and gloom but,

“Even if you are doing forecasts moving forward for the

to be honest, the number one problem in my mind is

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

liquidity - more so now than ever before. My concern is

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

we are going to get to a situation where people who run

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

January-December accounts are going to start posting

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

2020 results by September, and the issue is how the credit

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

agencies will view those figures, and what credit facilities dealers are going to be given by the lending community.” He hopes that a new tranche of government-backed

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

lending will be put in place to head off any potential

expertise in the business and the customer base. “It

problems. “I think it will be a progressive wind-down, as

isn’t really the tangible or fixed assets like property or

you’ll have the gradual withdrawal of furlough from July,

vans – those can be bought tomorrow – it’s who are the

and I am hoping it won’t be a brick wall we hit.”

key guys who are going to drive the business? This is

However, this is conjecture, and Aidan knows very well

one of the biggest challenges with M&A activity; in a lot

that looking to the future is just guesswork – and always

of instances the primary driver in the business is the guy

has been; indeed, he has come to realise that five-year

that wants to leave. He is the guy who set it up, is the

business plans aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

driving force, the one who has the customer contacts,

Integra is moving offices soon and, as part of the process,

but he is also the one who wants to live in Portugal.

Aidan is going through 20-plus years of paperwork. “I

That’s where it becomes difficult to push these through

have found all the five-year business plans, and I have

and you have to be really careful.”

www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [11]


INDUSTRY

KAIZEN PHILOSOPHY

Kaizen chiefs Kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement, provides dealers with the opportunity to improve their practices – and sell products to others who subscribe to it

J

Japanese automobile manufacturer

“In essence, Kaizen is quite simple. It involves

Toyota was a name largely unknown

creating a company culture that revolves around the

outside its home country until the

business continually improving systems, processes and

1960s; since then, the company

working methodologies using a PDCA cycle (Plan, Do,

become the biggest selling

Check, Act).

manufacturer of automobiles in the world, according to 2020 figures.

Key to its success is how leaders create an environment where employees are actively encouraged

One of the key pillars of the company’s success has

to question things and identify ways to improve. People

been its adherence to Kaizen. Kaizen is one of the core

will stop raising issues if they feel they aren’t listened to

principles of ‘The Toyota Production System’ and sums

or if they fear consequences, which leaves sub-optimal

up Toyota’s ‘Always a Better Way’ slogan as it helps to

systems and processes which result in the same failures

ensure maximum quality, eliminate waste, and improve

again, and again.”

efficiency in terms of equipment and work procedures.

Phil stresses that Kaizen thinking needs to be ingrained into a company’s values for it to truly work.

CREATING COMPANY CULTURE

“Three values we have at Brother UK are:

Phil Jones MBE, managing director at Brother UK, is a

• PRIDE: personal responsibility in delivering excellence

long-time devotee of the philosophy. “Working for a Japanese company, I’ve been exposed to Kaizen for nearly 30 years,” he says. “While it feels very normal to my colleagues at Brother, it can feel very new to those looking into the philosophy for the first time.

[12] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk

(improving your work); • TEAM: together everyone achieves more (the value of shared knowledge); • AT YOUR SIDE: our focus on customers and colleagues (being supportive).


KAIZEN PHILOSOPHY

INDUSTRY

the need for Kaizen working and invite employees to

Employees will have some great ideas of where improvements could be made

suggest their own ideas and processes. Start with small changes, and break down the process of change into manageable chunks. “Employees will have some great ideas of where improvements could be made. Giving employees the autonomy to implement change will increase their buyin and develop their motivation.

“It’s like a plug-and-socket approach; these values

“As the Kaizen culture begins to take hold, regularly

‘plug into’ Kaizen, which powers our company culture by

review progress, award milestones with praise and

shaping the day-to-day actions of colleagues and ensuring

encouragement, and document the benefits.

that key issues are raised, and feedback welcomed. “A saying we have at Brother UK is ‘Bring bad news

Whilst it takes time and effort to make a cultural change, the benefits in efficiency and employee

early’. Encouraging colleagues to flag issues early means

development are a brilliant incentive to get started

we have more time to think and react – to turn the

with Kaizen.”

situation around, or limit any damage. Then, once the immediate matter is resolved, we can look at any systemic

COLLABORATIVE OFFICE DESIGN

issues later to prevent any future recurrence through

Simon Howarth, marketing and design manager at

effective post-event analysis and process improvement

DAMS International, agrees that it is about helping to

activity. It’s a continuous cycle.”

get the best out of each employee at a company. “Each employee has a unique set of needs, many of which

IMPLEMENTING KAIZEN

are not always apparent,” he says. “And businesses

However, as Andrew Cowling, senior channel marketing

are now challenged with creating a work environment

specialist at PFU (EMEA) Ltd – a Fujitsu company,

that is all-inclusive for a diverse range of employees.

admits, realising a Kaizen culture can be difficult, with

Companies that are committed to competing in today’s

staff resistant to change and reluctant to adjust to a

dynamic marketplace focus on building a culture that

new way of working. “Fujitsu has embraced a Kaizen

includes engagement, productivity and collaboration.”

way of working, which has increased productivity and offered improved business processes,” he says.

This extends to how offices are designed; they should be all-inclusive, and position all users at the

“As with any change, great communication is at

centre, he adds. “They should function in a way that

the heart of the process. Leaders first need to explain

makes it easier for employees to perform their jobs

www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [13]


INDUSTRY

KAIZEN PHILOSOPHY

efficiently and effectively and, to get the best from your team, create a safe and open environment where everyone feels comfortable to have their say.

5S METHOD OF WORKPLACE ORGANISATION:

engagement and enhances job satisfaction.” OPPORTUNITIES FOR DEALERS

• SORT

While office furniture provides a sales

styles and needs that inclusive design

• SET IN ORDER

opportunity for dealers, there are

should, ideally, support. Therefore, a

• SHINE

other products that dealers can sell to

collaborative design process is needed

• STANDARDISE

help customers to implement Kaizen

from the very start, one where the

• SUSTAIN

philosophy, says Steve Plaistowe,

employees are part of the consultation

The sixth ‘S’ in 6S

business development manager

process, and an evaluation is carried

is ‘Safety’

within the Op channel at Spectrum

out of the possible staff demographics.

Want to know more?

International. “As we know, Kaizen

Whether it is the renovation of the

Try 5S: The Basics of

theory, the 5S method of workplace

entire office, or a specific space

Workplace Organization

organisation, lean manufacturing etc.

inside the office, include employees

I Better MRO

are all the same. Spectrum Industrial

in the decision-making process from

(mscdirect.com)

provide a product known as ‘shadow

“As unique individuals, we all have

boards’,” he says. “Shadow boards

the start. “The wellbeing of employees in the workplace is becoming more vital, and office furniture

cover the 6S principal, not 5S, and are a key tool in the lean manager’s armoury.”

can play a huge part in helping to keep people happy

Shadow boards are used to organise certain

and healthy when they’re working. An inclusive office

products, for example, cleaning items - so everyone

design nurtures a solid company culture, improves

knows where they are. They can also be customised to house things like tools, machinery or parts. “We have some standard cleaning shadow boards stocked in the channel, but this is probably one of the products we are

A collaborative design process is needed from the very start

struggling to get the market to understand,” adds Steve. “Dealers can use this product as an opportunity to sell to their customers to help with Kaizen, 5S or lean manufacturing processes, which are big in manufacturing and industrial companies.”

[14] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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T O N E R S

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INDUSTRY

SPONSORED

How scanners can revolutionise the ‘accounts payable’ function

N

o matter how

Manual data entry takes a lot of time

Fujitsu Scanners are enabling those who work in accounts payable - in organisations from SMEs to large corporates - to work smarter, whether they are based at home or in the office storing them effectively. It can also result

large or small

and increases possibility of errors - and

in a lack of traceability and reporting,

an organisation

manually finding and rectifying errors

which can make compliance with data

is, they all need

wastes even more time for people who

regulations difficult, and bring other

an ‘accounts

work in accounts payable; lost time and

unwelcome problems to a business.

payable’ function

incorrect payments have a negative

to pay suppliers and keep their business moving - but, while many

effect on a business’s finances. A 2020 report by INVU found that

Meanwhile, approval processes can be cumbersome; passing invoices to key individuals for approval is a frequent

areas of business have embraced

72% of UK businesses still require

payments bottleneck, especially if the

digitisation, accounts payable is still

employees to print out invoices received

person needed is not there to sign an

often characterised by inefficient,

as email attachments, but physical

invoice off. In Ardent Partners’ The State

manual processes that add complexity

storage of documents can be expensive,

of ePayables report, from 2019, 33% of

and delay to the role, that can end up

and the rise in remote working over

respondents said that bottlenecks in

costing a company money. Indeed, 72%

the past 15 months has presented new

the invoice approval process were a

of UK accounting departments listed

problems for employees in the accounts

top cause of exceptions. If payments

‘Too much manual data entry’ as a top

payable department, especially those

are delayed, late payment penalties

accounts payable process challenge,

who work remotely, who can experience

may be incurred, or early payment

according to a 2021 survey by Ephesoft.

difficulties in retrieving documents and

discounts lost.

[18] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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INDUSTRY

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Organisations moving from paper-based processes to digital can

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at 200 or 300dpi. With an ADF capacity

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Embrace digital transformation at a time, and scan up to 9,000 sheets a day. The fi-7160 also comes with a with Fujitsu Document Scanners www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [19]


INDUSTRY

BIG ASK

Post-COVID - what does the structure of the OP sector look like? The pandemic has created a seismic shift, not only in the way we work but also in the way OP businesses within the channel work. Many office product businesses have evolved and started selling new categories and new manufacturers and disities are entering the market. We have seen mergers and acquisitions. Some organisations have gone out of business and there are some entrants. What will the sector look like in a couple of years? Richard Coulson, chief

scheme has ended, so working practices will continue to evolve

executive, Complete

and adapt which, ultimately, means that the future will be very

I think the reality is that no one really

different to the ‘normal’ we all remember.

knows what it will actually look like;

The core OP sector will, no doubt, contract further overall

there is no historical ‘playbook‘

so, in order to survive and thrive in the future, companies

for what has happened, or what

simply have to diversify. However, that takes time, focus and

happens next. However, the sector

investment - and not everyone in the traditional dealer market

at a macroeconomic level has been

has the appetite for the investment needed, especially at a time

irreversibly impacted because the COVID crisis has triggered

when there will be even more investment pressures thrust upon

a huge change in the way companies operate. I believe hybrid

companies to trade sustainably on zero emissions transport to

working will be around for at least 18-24 months after the furlough

protect the environment.

[20] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk


BIG ASK

Mike James, MD,

INDUSTRY

The dealer groups will evolve and, in 2025, we will not see the

Dundale Associates

same number, as mergers and acquisitions continue - and do not

I was once told that the people

be surprised to see Paragon or Endless as potential buyers.

and companies that cope best and

There will be a changing role for the ‘back office’ providers,

quickest with change are those

with Prima leading the way (I have a vested interest) as, whilst

that have no choice. For those

they are certainly not a dealer group, they are a group of dealers,

that have survived COVID this has

and the engagement of all providers with manufacturers, new

been absolutely true. We have had

suppliers, wholesalers and dealer groups will continue.

to change and adapt at a pace that exceeds anything we

One final point is that BOSS (and BPGI) together with The

imagined pre-COVID and, as we emerge from the pandemic, I

Stationers Company will continue to grow in importance for both

doubt if this rate of change will decline.

networking, lobbying and legal advice.

So what will the OP sector look like in 2025? The demise of the independent commercial dealer has been

Tim Browning, director, Blake

predicted for decades (if not centuries). Many have not only

Due to the pandemic, there has been

survived Viking, Staples, Amazon, COVID, etc., but have

a sizeable change in the way that the

flourished. Product ranges have changed, routes to markets

office products (OP) sector is operating.

have changed, end-user service levels have increased, but the

Some have suggested this may see a

good dealer continues to grow as they remain close to their

drop off for office product businesses;

customer base.

however will this really be the case?

Large dealer and manufacturer sales forces will decline as

Many OP sector businesses have

great data becomes a key factor in growing sales, especially

begun to diversify product categories and ranges to cater for

via Amazon.

changes in customer behaviour. This is taking the form of creating

The dealer’s dependence on the wholesaler will decrease

product packs that are suitable for at-home use as well as office

as more suppliers look at different routes to the dealer and

use - although one key challenge that OP businesses will face is

I anticipate more manufacturers using a 3PL option. The

that of understanding the true change in consumer behaviour

wholesalers will continue to develop their own unique brands,

because this will, ultimately, effect the level of demand of each

and offer these to dealer groups who do not have the volumes

sales channel.

to source their own label offerings.

Additionally, one could argue that OP businesses will

During COVID there has been a growth of new suppliers to

see an increase in demand, with direct mailings becoming

the dealer channel and this trend will accelerate; the downside is

favoured by the consumer compared to digital campaigns;

that the High Street ‘stationer’ is, in many parts of the UK, already

87% of consumers consider direct mail to be more believable

a thing of the past and, unfortunately, this trend will continue.

than email. Alongside this businesses implementing direct

The upside is that I believe we will see the continued

mail campaigns would see increased conversion as 25%

emergence of ‘niche’ dealers with a strong e-commerce

of consumers purchased from a business having received

platform, concentrating on being the expert on a limited

mail in the past 12 months. Due to the increase in consumer

range - Boards Direct,The Notebook Company, Cult Pens

preference for receiving physical marketing campaigns, many

etc are good examples. The end-user still likes experts and,

businesses will look to harness this, enacting direct mail

as many of us are now partly home workers, we will demand

communications over the coming months, increasing demand

quality branded products.

for OP businesses in need of envelopes and mailing bags.

www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [21]


INDUSTRY

BIG ASK

Another key point is that many businesses will also choose to return to a working environment that matches that of the pre-COVID environment, insofar that staff remain in the office full-time - key reasoning for this being that many businesses will feel that, in order to ensure that performance and creativity are continued, staff will need to have the

As the product portfolio expands, so does the supply chain

face-to-face contact that enables informal creativity to occur - as opposed to a more regimented and formalised Teams or Zoom call that may not allow for the same relaxed,

warehouse operations, which means greater investment in

brainstorming spaces that many modern offices have. In turn,

their warehouse work environment and not just the office. This

this will have a knock-on effect for OP businesses to continue

is definitely the market that the OP industry should be shifting

sales channels with existing customers.

its sights towards.

There is no doubt that, post-COVID, there will be some level

Same business model - new decision maker

of change for all businesses within the OP sector and how they

An OP dealer is perfectly suited to supply to warehouses.

are able to operate. Yet, innovation and the ability to diversify,

Using the same business model, it’s about adopting the

are key to any business success. Here at Blake we thrive on

approach to talk to different decision-makers, such as the

innovation - whether that be new product ranges or tailored

facilities manager, the warehouse manager and the health and

services, providing the customer with the solution that works

safety manager.

best for them is our goal.

Selling products that are simple to sell Marketing and selling a simple range of innovative products Jeroen Van Den Berge, group

- which require little or no technical expertise - is also the

CEO, Beaverswood

future for the OP market. Office product resellers don’t have

The warehouse is the new office

the resources to become specialists in new sectors and they

Now is the right time to adopt

don’t have to; with a range of simple, yet innovative, products,

diversification, bring new products

dealers can enjoy a new line of revenue from new products in

to existing customers and use new

a new market.

products to break into new markets.

Working in partnership with new suppliers

Not only is the logistics and

As the product portfolio expands, so does the supply chain.

warehousing sector booming - thanks to the acceleration

Resellers will be opting to work smartly with manufacturers

of online retail - but businesses in general are seeing ever-

and suppliers who can truly support the agile business model

increasing demand for efficiency and productivity in their

of an office products reseller.

[22] SUMMER 2021 www.dealersupport.co.uk


Data Direct becomes the exclusive master distributor for Pelikan branded printer consumables PRPS is proud to announce that Data Direct will be the dedicated master distributor providing world-class products and loyalty recognition to channel partners and resellers across the whole of the UK and Ireland. Steve Weedon (PRPS, CEO) commented on the partnership: “Partnerships are all about the opportunity and the people you want to work with, making it a win-win for everyone, including end user customers, and that is why this new partnership will be rewarding for all”. The Pelikan brand delivers high quality and high levels of brand recognition with End Users and Dealers across Western Europe, the Americas and a number of other important regions. The brand itself was established in 1838 and has become synonymous with reliability, dependability, and trustworthiness. As a distribution partner to many hundreds of businesses in the UK, Data Direct will continue to offer multiple solutions and opportunities to their dealer customer base. The announcement of being the exclusive master distributor of Pelikan branded printer consumables provides opportunity with exciting innovation and newness along with the brilliant rewards programme that will resonate among end users. Together with the Bio-Based range, there is huge relevancy in today’s sustainability-seeking world. Peter Cowan, Procurement Director: “This is another exciting addition to our growing portfolio of brands, providing excellent products and margin opportunities for our core office equipment/IT channel dealer customer base. The package from Pelikan is impressive – with significant end-user activity and a rewards programme that will create demand throughout the chain. As brand loyalty and trends in consumption change, Pelikan from Data Direct will also attract new users looking for relevant Eco-Friendly products and solutions for when working from home”. As part of the partnership resellers and end users can join the “Rewards Club” where each product, including the new Bio-Based cartridge range, have Rewards Points attached to them. Each time you purchase a Pelikan branded product, loyalty points may be claimed and then used to purchase a wide variety of gifts and benefits from the Rewards Club online catalogue. Join thousands of other businesses and organisations across Europe who are already using Bio-Based cartridges in their printers to save money and even more importantly, to help reduce their impact on the environment. To register (free of charge) and claim your 200 bonus reward points visit www.pelikan-rewards. com.

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It pays to partner with us for your printer supplies


INDUSTRY

DEALER SUPPORT LIVE

2021

DESIGNED FOR DEALERS Join us for one of the first face-to-face dealer events to happen this year – Dealer Support LIVE 2021!

N

e are so excited to currently be planning

you are eager to have conversations that aren’t marred by poor

for our 2021 event at the RICOH Arena,

wi-fi, or interrupting family members!

Coventry on 21st October after more than

Following more than a year of lockdowns, and ‘stay at home’

18 months of social distancing, lockdowns,

messages, we now, more than ever, understand the value of face-

cancellations and postponements of

to-face interaction, networking and collaboration. As well as a

countless events. As one of the first face-

chance to socialise and catch-up with your fellow dealers (and we

to-face, post-lockdown, dealer events, we promise to make it a

know there is a LOT to catch up on!) the day will be packed with

reunion you won’t forget, and a day that will be worth the (very

opportunities to learn, share experiences and meet like-minded

long) wait. We look forward to seeing your faces, and we’re sure

individuals - and will, as usual, be topped off with a tipple.

[24] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk


DEALER SUPPORT LIVE

INDUSTRY

“The venue was great; brilliant location and very accessible”

WHAT IS DEALER SUPPORT LIVE?

attendees are encouraged to engage with both

Dealer Support LIVE is an event specifically aimed at

content and speakers – after all, Dealer Support

dealers and resellers of workplace supplies – an interactive

LIVE is all about active learning.

learning and networking experience, quite different from

Led by sector experts

other events currently on offer. You’ll experience tangible,

• Speakers include sector-leading specialists, renowned

targeted, relevant information that makes a difference to your role and your business. We have a stellar line-up of expert speakers confirmed, presenting on a broad range of topics and issues facing dealers. This will be our sixth Dealer Support LIVE year and the event only continues to grow in popularity and success. So, what is our winning formula for a truly

dealers, independent consultants and commercial experts – all with proven experience in the industry. • A dealer is a ‘jack of all trades’; we invite speakers who can drill down into pain points and use their expertise to help you skill-up. • You can expect to see some popular, familiar faces, as well as new faces too!

beneficial experience, and what can you expect from

Networking opportunities

our upcoming event?

• You will be able to network with a cohort of fellow dealers – in their many different guises – representing the whole

WHY ATTEND? New year, new challenges, new content • All-new seminars – expert-led – addressing the topics

spectrum of the industry. • We have made sure that there’s plenty of time – over coffee and a delicious hot lunch – to meet and speak with

most pertinent to dealers today; how to sell in 2022,

colleagues and peers, continuing the conversation and

automated marketing, evolution of the dealer, how to

forging mutually beneficial relationships.

get sustainability right, hygiene and catering, tech for

• More exhibitors and supplier partners means more

successful hybrid working, how to get more from your

opportunities for you to see new product solutions, what’s

software systems, and more…

evolving in the market and discover and compare what

• Make it work for you – you choose your own seminars which enables you to curate your own day and create your own timetable. • Whether workshop, presentation or panel debate,

fellow dealers are using to streamline their organisations and improve sales and customer satisfaction. • Plus, stay and continue the talk over post-conference drinks – always a winner!

www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [25]


INDUSTRY

DEALER SUPPORT LIVE

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU After a year of getting your business through the pandemic, there’s never been a better time to focus on your business model and direction which, in turn, will contribute to sales and growth.

“The exhibitors were of a really high standard”

can be sure that your day will be filled with information and learning that will be directly relevant to you and your company’s current requirements. It’s always difficult to take a day out of the office, but the question is - can you afford to miss out on this event?

Think of the event as a live version of our magazine; you will be presented with a huge variety

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

of relevant information and tangible advice that you can actually

Dealer Support is known for championing the success of dealers, so

use to your advantage back in your business. Our seminars are

the content is tailored to deliver the information most relevant to you–

dedicated to the issues that affect you the most, offering the

and brought to life in the live event! You know the challenges you and

latest thinking on topics such as sales, marketing, leadership,

your company face better than anyone, so we provide you with the

diversification and insights into the future of your industry.

opportunity to learn more about the areas you need to skill up on in order to further the improvement of your business.

YOUR DAY, YOUR WAY Dealer Support LIVE is one of the only events that allows you to build your own itinerary and select

Some things are universal to all dealers at the moment – COVID has had a huge impact on traditional sales, and online retailers continue to be an increasing threat. Dealer Support LIVE aims

only those seminars that are of interest to you

to bring together innovative solutions that will

and your business, ensuring maximum

help you strengthen your company’s position –

personal value from the event – so you

now and for the future.

“As always, the seminars and workshops were very good”

[26] SUMMER 2021 www.dealersupport.co.uk


DEALER SUPPORT LIVE

INDUSTRY

“Great networking opportunity”

No-one knows the difficulties of running a business better

them adapt and overcome this challenge. Our live event

than those who do it, but we know how hard it is for you to

will continue to give dealers a balanced view of the current

find the opportunity to leave the office. Dealer Support LIVE

marketplace in order to help bulletproof their operations,

is well worth the effort because it’s a fantastic opportunity to

preparing them for whatever the future might hold.

network with other professionals, sharing experiences and solutions and forging long-lasting relationships which will

OPEN Q&A

benefit you and your company both now and in the future.

Once again we will host a Q&A panel where delegates have the chance to ask direct questions, openly, to a group of key

DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT

industry figures with a variety of specialisms.

One of the things we most pride ourselves on is the fantastic feedback we receive after ourevents each year. Find just some

EXHIBITION

of the positive comments we had following our 2019 events

The exhibition will remain a key part of the day – in fact, we’re

in the quote bubbles.

increasing the focus opening it after the first block of seminars is over, ensuring that guests and exhibitors get plenty of face-

DEALER SUCCESS

to-face time without sacrificing any other part of the event.

The future has never been more uncertain. At past events we’ve spoken about how Brexit was likely to be the biggest

INFORMATION TO GO

challenge that dealers would be facing in coming years and,

Dealer Support LIVE offers marketplace insights and business

although it has been a challenge, no challenge has been

solutions that will help dealers make informed decisions about

quite as big or unexpected as the COVID pandemic. This

the direction of their businesses. There will be quick and easy

year we focus on how dealers can thrive in this current climate

wins that can be applied to your business straight away, as

and we will help to provide the tools they will need to help

well as more in-depth business modifications.

BOOK TICKETS email hello@dealersupport.co.uk to reserve your place Learn more at www.dealersupport.co.uk/dealer-support-live/

www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [27]


DEALER SUCCESS

D3 OFFICE GROUP

Taking advantage of opportunities The past 15 months have been challenging for dealers like D3 Office Group - and while the traditional market may have changed for good because of it, there are new opportunities out there to be grasped

W

hen lockdown was

is optimistic about the future, having

with us as their other options closed down

first introduced in

weathered the pandemic and with plans to

to say; ‘We need PPE. We need sanitiser. We

March 2020 Martin

take advantage of new opportunities in the

need lots of other products we’ve not asked

Shaw, D3 Office

sector. “Like many dealers in our sector, we

for before.’

Group’s managing

furloughed a good percentage of the team,

director, felt like they

“Because we were a regular support

initially,” says Martin. “But then we were

network for them we picked up a lot of

were ‘staring into the abyss’ as businesses

lucky, in a sense; a high proportion of our

enquiries and that got us into PPE and

shut their doors overnight. D3 was not

customer base is industrial manufacturing

janitorial products - which proved to be a

alone; many other dealers felt the same.

and distribution, and a lot of those

significant boost to the business. D3 enjoyed

businesses were still active and were in touch

sales of £2.5 million in these areas in 2020.”

Fast forward 15 months, and Martin

[28] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk


D3 OFFICE GROUP

WHOLESALE PROBLEMS

This leads Martin to wonder if the close

DEALER SUCCESS

“Wholesalers still have a great

Another shock to the market during the

relationship that wholesalers and dealers

opportunity to work closely with dealers

past year has also affected how D3 and

had in the past will return as we move to

but, if they make it difficult, dealers have

others do business; Martin says that the

a post-pandemic economic phase. “This is

proven themselves to be very nimble over

demise of Spicers has led to an erosion of

something they have really got to look at,” he

the past 12 months, and could start looking

wholesale choice for dealers - which is,

says. “Wholesalers need to start becoming

at other opportunities.”

in some ways, shocking, but maybe not

more externally-focused again - focusing on

entirely surprising.

the customer rather than their own woes.

“The wholesalers are very inwardly-

“We can see that their sales are down

TECH DRIVE Another effect of the pandemic has been

focused at the moment,” he says. “This,

to speed up the decline of the traditional

plus their introduction of delivery charges,

core office supplies market, Martin notes;

huge price increases, and an increasingly haphazard delivery service have tested the dealer-wholesaler relationship; I think many dealers will acknowledge that.” For instance, Martin says that there are many mornings when he is not sure

That got us into PPE and janitorial products - which proved to be a significant boost to the business

“but there are still lots of opportunities out there.” One of those opportunities is selling technology products. “Technology has moved forward massively over the past 18 months because people’s uptake of it,

when the wholesale delivery which, in

and skillset in it, has had to move quickly

turn, enables D3 to get its deliveries out to

too,” he says. “People who, perhaps, had

customers, will arrive. “Mostly, the latest

and they cannot operate on the same

Microsoft Teams on their computer, but

delivery we get is 9.30am, but we have many

footing they used to, but they have to be

never used it, now have to. The world is

days when drivers are hanging around

careful they don’t kill the golden goose!

quickly becoming more electronic - young

waiting from 8am for the goods to arrive

We dealers live on our service and, if the

people barely print anything out, and are

- that wholesale delivery used to arrive at

service isn’t good enough, it puts us at

using multiple screen devices. It’s a shift to a

7am every morning.”

a disadvantage.

different product mix, and selling different

www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [29]


DEALER SUCCESS

D3 OFFICE GROUP

products to our customer base.” Another pandemic-related opportunity

on Monday and by Tuesday we have bought

PPE, with can do it with things like tools or

the products and are selling it!” he says. “We

technology products too.”

Martin points out is that many employers

don’t have to wait to manage these areas; we

have considered that – since so many people

can innovate extremely quickly.

are working at home - now is the ideal time

“We have an amazing team at D3

to refit their workspaces. “The furniture and

which has really pulled together, and had

DEALER COLLABORATION Martin intends to expand D3’s product offering further in the coming months – and

fit-out market is booming at the moment,

knows that others in the sector are doing

with many people gearing up to provide

similar. “March last year was a scary time,

a new working space for their employees before they come back,” he says. “Breakout spaces and meeting rooms are the priority over how many desks there are, and whether someone has their own desk if they are going

Wholesalers need to start...focusing on the customer rather than their own woes

to be partially working from home.”

but we have proved to be not only resilient but also grow the business. It showed that a lot of our customers value our service and that gives us a passion for looking after them and finding new things to supply to them. “Over the last 18 months, the dealer community pulled together as a team,

DIVERSIFICATION IS KEY

some brilliant ideas for new products. We

sharing ideas, successes and failures. As we

Opportunities such as these are there to

have developed new suppliers at pace -

move out of these frenetic times, there is an

be taken and, as the past 18 months have

and a whole new way of working - over the

amazing opportunity for dealers to work

shown, dealers can be very nimble and

past 15 months.

together collaboratively on product category

innovative. “That’s one of the benefits of the dealer market – we can hear about an idea

[30] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk

“Innovation into new product areas has given us a real hunger; if we can do it with

management and IT systems and take a leading position in the market.”


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delivering service


LEADERSHIP

EFFICIENCY THROUGH TECH

Dealers are always looking for ways to become more efficient, and technology can help them to do this – as well as providing opportunities to sell to customers

T

Efficiency through technology

he COVID-19

identify more opportunities, and move

human error. Keying in the wrong information

pandemic squeezed

fast within the marketplace,” he says. “You

is easily done, but it can be costly - and your

revenues – which

shouldn’t have to do anything more after

team doesn’t want to spend time entering the

are still down on

that initial set-up, and that time saved is now

same information repeatedly; they want to get

2019 levels - and

yours to focus on other areas of the business.

on with serving the next customer, making the

profits for dealers

“Similarly, mobile apps, built for your

next call. They want to do their jobs.”

and customers alike and, as the economy

drivers, sales team and those always on-the-

gradually opens up again, many are still

go, present a way to keep everyone in contact.

E-COMMERCE

focused on improving efficiency.

They deliver the irresistible flexibility to get

The pandemic has seen many dealers seek to

the work done when it needs doing, no matter

strengthen their websites, as more customers

can help. As Rob Harper, marketing

where users are - all with real-time data

have moved to online ordering although, as

director at Prima Software, notes, as we

synchronisation between your systems.

Rob Harrison, head of development at ECI

This is where specialist technology

grow increasingly comfortable with using

“An automated system can also allow

Software Solutions, notes, dealers still want to

technology, now is the perfect time to

you to send out personalised messages to

consider how the right tools can help increase

your customers at key points in their buying

efficiency, deliver an effective customer

journey – meaning that all-important

important area for our independent dealers,

experience and out-perform competitors.

client experience improves while also

and the ability to compete with larger retailers

providing your business with increased sales

is a focal point for our industry,” he says.

provide a personalised customer service. “E-commerce continues to be a really

AUTOMATION

opportunities and customer loyalty – and

Rob believes that automation is crucial for

having correct information means you know

customers with better website design and

efficiency. “By removing manual processes

where the business is most effective.

e-commerce content.

across your business you’re better placed to deploy resources where they’re needed,

[32] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk

“When you rely on your staff to process data, you potentially leave yourself open to

“We’ve focused on helping our

For example, transparent product and pricing information, clear shipping guidance


LEADERSHIP

EFFICIENCY THROUGH TECH

and being able to access customer service

lead generation and help the marketing and

departments are all immensely important.

sales team to work in unison.

“Dealers want to move into different

All these platforms are readily available

should be well.” Chris adds that the dealer’s job is not to simply provide what is asked for, but to show

categories, and diversify into new markets, and

for dealers to use, but they could also get into

customers the art of the possible. “They can use

need to be able to get these products on their

selling them. Some of the more successful

their years of industry experience to provide

websites as quickly and efficiently as possible -

businesses I know of have morphed from pure

solid, reliable solutions that are easy to use, and

while making sure that product content flows

product sales organisations into managed

provide the best experience for the user in and

straight through from the wholesaler.”

service companies to create stickiness and

out of the office. One of the biggest things they

increase revenues with their customers and

can then provide is ongoing support - now,

more opportunities to find new ones.”

more than ever, the lack of downtime and

INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS Efficiency isn’t just about external

efficiency of businesses will be key to their

communications; Steve Bilton, managing

survival and future growth.”

director of FusionPlus Data points out thattechnological solutions can also help with the flow of internal information. “With Microsoft Teams, if you are used to chatting at the watercooler when you have something to discuss, the next best thing you have is video calls as, psychologically, you still get that visual connection with the person you

When you rely on your staff to process data, you potentially leave yourself open to human error

speak to. It really does help. I would advise dealers have video calls

Andrew Cowling, senior channel marketing specialist, PFU (EMEA) Ltd – a Fujitsu company, adds that customers are not always aware of what solutions are available. “Regular, relevant communication from the dealer is essential in order to provide information on what is available, and what benefits new technology can offer,” he says. “Communication could take the

NEW WAYS OF WORKING

form of a newsletter, email, brochure or

with staff as often as possible as it’s as close

Chris Southern, general sales manager,

catch-up ‘phone call.

to normal as you can get. That’s so

enterprise solutions at Midwich, agrees that

important now.”

customers are looking for solutions to help

communication, dealers should be aware

Steve adds that dealers can benefit from

“To make the most of the

them adapt to new ways of working which fit

of market trends to ensure that the contact

specialist technology, not only by making

with existing infrastructure and platforms such

is timely and relevant. Upgrades to existing

their operations more efficient, but also by

as Microsoft, Zoom or Cisco. “They need to

equipment are an evergreen trend – whether

providing sales opportunities.

move quite quickly once the decision is made

it’s a computer, ‘phone system or scanner,

to bring staff back to the office, even if it is a

anything over three years old is due for an

a dealer is that we are selling technology,

“The difference between ourselves and

phased approach,” he says. “Digital strategies

upgrade. New equipment offers benefits

websites and data enhancement services;

will not allow for a lot of testing, or creating a

such as greater speed, increased security,

however, we also have a customer base we

test room where they can see what does and

more storage and a 12-month guarantee.

want to keep happy, and a leads database we

doesn’t work. As a result, they are shopping

want to contact to find more opportunities

for hardware by looking at certified solutions

artificial intelligence and cloud-based

from. The platforms we employ are usable by

where they know the testing has been done

storage. This has dovetailed perfectly

any type of business in any marketplace.

for them. IT will not be able to turn around

with the mix of home and office working,

“For instance, on the sales side, we use

“Currently, there is a huge trend for

and say, ‘I’m not sure how that will perform’;

and satisfies the need to have access to

Hubspot as our CRM and ZoomInfo provides

however, if they are a MS Teams house, and the

information on a variety of platforms, and

prospect information that we tap into to drive

hardware has been approved by MS, then all

from any location.”

[34] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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LEADERSHIP

I NE FL O R I ARBML A E TPI O R IN N TSIENCGU RS IOT LYUITNI OSN C SH O O L S

Printers: reliability is key With many printers constantly in use throughout the day reliability and performance are key - and OEMs and dealers are responding to this challenge.

W

hile the COVID-19

headache-free. In response to customer

remotely monitored by IT managers, or

pandemic changed

demand for smaller printers, Brother UK

channel partners, for diagnostics and repair,

how many people

will be launching a range of robust, compact

and to manage supplies.”

work, one of the

and cost-effective devices later this summer.”

things that didn’t change was the

Andy adds that the rise of cloud-enabled

Deyon Antoine, product manager for Toshiba Tec UK, agrees that demand for

solutions has also helped facilitate the shift to

smaller personal printers, or small MFPs for

importance of the printed page and, whether

remote working. “The rollout of cloud native

home office use, has increased, along with

employees are at home or in the office,

printing under Microsoft Universal Print will

demand for mobile cloud-printing solutions

physical paperwork will continue to be a

make it easier for workers to print remotely

where customers can walk up to any MFP

central part of working life.

while being connected to workplace systems,”

and release their print jobs from their

he says. “Under a managed print service

mobile devices. “Solutions that replicate

the new norm, businesses are investing in

This means that, with hybrid working

contract remote devices that are connected

the MFP’s user-interface are also useful for

infrastructure that allows employees to have

to a company network via the cloud can be

this – enabling users to do more than just

a remote workstation that mirrors the quality

release print jobs as they can scan, copy and

of technology available in offices, says Andy

change settings using the touchscreen on

Johnson, solutions and alliance partner

their mobile devices,” he explains.

development manager at Brother UK. “This is shaping demand for smaller devices that users and IT managers can trust as being reliable and cost-effective, in order to make flexible working arrangements

[36] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk

Non-original cartridges can end up in landfill

Deyon also believes that size is an important factor because space is at a premium in a home office. “Our customers are looking for access to a similar feature set to their main print infrastructure – for


RELIABLE PRINTING SOLUTIONS

example, scanning into workflows from home – so the performance of home

LEADERSHIP

intervention with inkjet, and even a lower eco

over 4.9 billion ink and toner cartridges using

footprint from manufacturing them.”

125,000 tonnes of recycled plastic, including

devices, and their integration with office-

empty HP cartridges. This has kept 5 billion

based systems, has been critical. In addition,

SECURITY

plastic bottles, and 916 million original HP

customers are also looking for low running

Security is also an important factor when

cartridges, out of landfills and oceans.”

costs, as well as easy–to-service devices

working away from the office, as Neil

with user-replaceable parts should

Sawyer, channel director UK&I, HP Inc,

marketing at Kyocera Document Solutions

anything go wrong.”

notes. “Print industry strategic market

(UK) Ltd, agrees that off-brand toner

insight and intelligence provider, Quocirca,

does not meet OEM standards. “A recent

SUSTAINABILITY

found that home workers print equal, if not

Sustainability is also increasingly valued

larger, volumes whilst working remotely - yet

by consumers, says Richard Wells, head

without the security infrastructure of the

of business sales at Epson UK. “Recent

office environment and dedicated IT teams.

Epson research showed that 83% believe

Home devices can be more susceptible to

the environmental credentials of products

attacks,” he says.

and services is important,” he says. “Printers

“It is, therefore, crucial that customers

with strong eco credentials will be those that

prioritise security when it comes to choosing

appeal the most.

a print solution. HP+ is a new, cloud-based,

“Epson invented cartridge-free printing

Michele Mabilia, head of product

Home workers print equal, if not larger, volumes whilst working remotely

printing ecosystem that’s designed for the way

for homes in its EcoTank model, providing

we work now. Features include the HP Wolf

comparative performance test carried out by

ultra-high ink yields to minimise the need for

Essential Security, helping users to stay ahead

Independent Research Bodies demonstrated

buying new ink. This offers consumers the cost-

of hackers and prevent malware attacks.”

that non-original toner cartridges significantly

effective, reliable, and sustainable print option they are now demanding.” Sustainability concerns are also leading

affect reliability and image quality,” he says. INK AND TONER

“Moreover, on average, third-party toners did

Homeworkers can also look to cheaper

not achieve the rated yield/page volumes. In

some consumers to switch away from laser

alternatives for ink and toner - but Neil warns

fact, non-original cartridges caused damages to

printing, which requires toner. “This is outdated

against this. “Though off-brand products can

the printer fuses. Kyocera devices come with a

and unsustainable,” Richard says. “Switching

be appealing, their quality is unpredictable,

no quibble, two-year, warranty; however, any

from laser printing to heat-free inkjet

and usage can cause performance and

damage caused by third party cartridge may

technology reduces running costs and lowers

reliability issues. It is always advised to

invalidate such warranty, leading to downtime

environmental impact without compromise.

use branded cartridges, which meet strict

and productivity loss.

“Heat-free business inkjet printers can help cut energy consumption and costs significantly, consuming up to 83% less

quality standards and benefit from superior performance and results. “What’s more, non-original cartridges

“Overall, end-users must be able to assess what their priorities may be. Original parts and cartridges come with peace of mind,

energy than an equivalent laser printer - plus,

can end up in landfill as they don’t always

reliability and quality, leading to higher

with far fewer replacement and total parts

come with a closed-loop recycling process.

employee productivity, time savings and,

overall than laser, there’s minimal need for

Throughout 2020, HP has manufactured

ultimately, cost savings.”

www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [37]


SALES SUCCESS

HYBRID WORKING

Wherever I lay my laptop, that’s my workspace

Hybrid working is set to be a major business trend in the second half of this year, and dealers can help employers ensure they have the right equipment for this

he COVID-19

webcams and high-speed internet

pandemic changed the

connections continue to offer seamless

potential, allowing the digital information

way many people work,

communication between home and

to be shared on mobile devices, tablets

with home working

base, access to information is a concern.

and PCs – enabling access whenever, and

increasingly significant.

“Employees are looking for solutions to have

wherever they are required. This also offers the

These changes look set

business continuity between work and home,

combined benefits of being able to organise,

to stay as we move towards a post-pandemic

through shared online access to documents

analyse, search and share information, quickly

phase, with many people wanting to work at

and paperwork,” says Andrew Cowling,

and easily, saving time and money whilst

home for at least some of the time.

senior channel marketing specialist at PFU

improving efficiency for customers. Dealers

(EMEA) Ltd – a Fujitsu company.

can educate customers on scanning benefits in

T

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that of those currently working

“Paper-based information can be stored

“Scanning these documents unlocks their

order to help open up this market opportunity.”

from home, 85% want to use a ‘hybrid’

in filing cabinets, desks, storage boxes and

approach of both home and office working in

archives, which makes it difficult to share

VIDEO SOLUTIONS

future. This means that hybrid working is set

and access. Moving documents between

Jeff May, UK sales director at conferencing

to become increasingly common and presents

home and work also increases the risk of loss,

specialist Konftel, agrees that dealers have an

opportunities to dealers.

damage or theft, increasing the risk of data

important role in educating customers on the

loss and potential of fines.

flexible solutions available to enable hybrid

For instance, while mobile ‘phones,

[38] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk


HP Papers launches NEW HP Home & Office three ream box

T

he transition to

artwork and assignments, the home

code which links to FREE homeschooling

remote working has

office has become a busy office - one

downloads - providing access to great

meant that many

that requires a paper that will perform.

educational activities to support hard-

people have had to

In a home office environment

adapt their homes

organisation is key, as is ample space

to accommodate

to aid productivity. Heavy boxes of

a ‘home office’ set up. This has brought

stacked copy paper are not practical for

with it a variety of challenges - involving

a multi-tasking home worker, so HP has

not only the need for a suitable

introduced a new HP Home & Office

workspace with storage but, for many

three ream box. Designed to take up less

families, the necessity to also create a

space - and smaller and lighter than the

home schooling environment.

usual five ream box - HP Home & Office

While laptops, printers and devices

is engineered for every home and

became essential to the remote working

office need, perfectly

and learning experience during lockdown,

combining optimal cost

so did paper - and its uses have become

with high quality.

more diverse than ever before. From draft Word documents, emails and presentations to timetables, projects,

What’s more, every box of HP Home & Office includes a QR

Home Office Furniture to live with

pressed families.


SALES SUCCESS

QUESTION TIME

working. “New opportunities will continue to

notes are accessible to my colleagues and any

be created as businesses take a more balanced

physical copies needed are safely stored in

and safety issues that need to be considered.

and agile approach. Diversity is key for dealers;

my eco-eco Stud Wallet, which is perfect for

“With wheeled products, weight can be

one size doesn’t fit all,” he says.

keeping things sustainable.”

put on the ground and not carried or using

“We will see over the next six-to-12

Tim points out that there are also health

backpacks puts the weight across both

months major growth in hybrid video

SAFE STORAGE

shoulders, so it is more evenly distributed,

solutions, suitable for boardrooms and huddle

However, hybrid working is not just about the

which is better for your back.

rooms, and also dedicated home working

equipment needed; thought has to be given

environments, where users demand the highest

to how it is carried around, as Tim Bonnett,

dialogue with the customer, rather than

quality audio and video experience. COVID

VP sales and marketing at monolith Global

letting them just go online and order for

has shown that some people want to work

GmbH, explains.

themselves. The dealer can engage with, and

“This is where dealers need to have a

permanently from home, while others prefer

influence, the decision and be a point of

the office while many want a mixture of both.

advice and work with the consumer to find

“Hardware and software that ticks all the boxes across all three categories will accelerate – based on technology that’s easy to install and easy to use, wherever people are working. More video meetings will take place across more room environments.” Jeff adds that business travel is likely to take up to three years to reach pre-COVID levels, as video and audio-conferencing sales continue to accelerate.

There is a wider range of products that people will start to work out they need for their new working practices

the best solution. “There has been a lot of discussion about people needing office furniture at home, but there is a wider range of products that people will start to work out they need for their new working practices. This is what we are seeing with the business luggage side – people have, perhaps, been borrowing a bag off the kids to go to and from the office - but that isn’t a long-term solution. Now people are getting their heads around new working

TAKING TABLETS

“With hybrid working people need to take

practices, and what they need. Employers are

Jade Clifford, of eco-eco Stationery, believes

their offices with them wherever they go,” he

asking, from a health and safety perspective,

that devices such as tablets can help to increase

says. “There is a whole new customer base as

what they need to provide to teams to enable

efficiency in a hybrid set-up, which is an angle

we see it; people who used to work five days a

them to work safely, happily, and at their

dealers could use. “I avoid using the printer

week at their desks never used to take anything

maximum capability.

by substituting a tablet alongside my laptop;

home with them, as they never needed to.

“We are seeing a range of companies

“We are seeing demand for all sorts of

looking for business backpacks, wheeled

I load up the document needed and make notes using an ePen - this way I can save my

bags, depending on what they are moving

products and environmental solutions.

document with notes, as needed, and save

around, whether this is laptops plus paperwork

They all have different criteria but, with

for others to read/respond to. This reduces

or a tablet. It depends also on whether they are

our breadth of range, hopefully we can help

needless paper waste as well as making the

carrying confidential material, which means

the dealer community to take advantage of

printer redundant in my WFH setup. My

the bag needs to be lockable.”

those opportunities.”

[40] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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SALES SUCCESS

B I N D I N G A N D L A M I N AT I N G

Binding and laminating:

advice is key as technology evolves Binding and laminating machines continue to play an important role in many offices but, post-pandemic, they are being adapted and dealers can help customers to find the right products

W

hile the idea of the

bacteria and viruses,” explains Lawrence

biocide, an organic antimicrobial additive,”

‘paperless office’ has

Savage, marketing manager at ExaClair.

says Lawrence. “The benefits of using this

been around since the

“Based on silver ion technologies, which

type of antimicrobial technology includes

turn of the century, and

have previously been used in a number of

that the protection lasts for the life-time of

the principle behind it

industries - including the medical, food and

the product, and won’t affect the recyclability

– to reduce the amount

water sectors - the Exacompta® Clean’Safe®

of the products.”

of paper used to zero, or as close to it as possible

FSC® certified filing and recycled desktop

– is laudable, the practicalities mean it has

accessories feature an organic antimicrobial

ENVIRONMENTAL DEMAND

remained largely an aspiration.

additive within the materials used,

This last point is important, as consumers

protecting against the spread of bacteria,

increasingly demand products that are

documents and, often, these require binding

viruses, mould and fungi, eliminating them

recyclable and environmentally-friendly –

or laminating - but, post-pandemic, this is

by more than 99.9%.”

and they are prepared to pay a premium for

Many people still require printed

changing. Bound or laminated products are

He adds that information from market

this “Recent reports show that consumers

now seen as touch points that can, potentially,

research company Technavio indicates

are increasingly willing to pay up to 5% more

spread viruses, and manufacturers are

that demand for products utilising this

for environmentally-friendly items, whilst

responding by introducing products that have

technology will continue to grow, with a

additional research highlights that 74% of

antimicrobial properties.

CAGR greater than the 7% growth originally

consumers would pay more for sustainable

predicted up until 2025.

packaging,” Lawrence says.

ANTIMICROBIAL TECHNOLOGY

“A surge in demand for these types of

“As modern production facilities

“From the outset of the pandemic, a

items has seen the introduction of other

have been able to drive down the cost of

comprehensive range of antimicrobial

stationery items, such as the Clairefontaine®

developing more sustainable manufacturing

items has been launched across the office

Clean’Safe® notebooks, which feature covers

techniques, we are continuing to see the

product market to combat the spread of

treated with a quaternary ammonium-based

augmentation of ecological products and

[42] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk


B I N D I N G A N D L A M I N AT I N G

SALES SUCCESS

packaging materials, including cellogreen, PLA and oxo-biodegradable plastics - as well as more efficient processes that create less excess waste.”

GREAT ADDITION Consumers have increasingly high expectations of what binding and laminating machines can do, says Jeremy Cooper, UK marketing manager at Fellowes. “Consumer studies tell us that end-users are looking for laminators that offer a fast, jam-free, performance and a durable finish that protects documents and enables them to be wiped clean after use. Jeremy says that Fellowes has responded this need; its products now include Instaheat™, which heats the laminator in as little as 60 seconds, has auto-reverse jam prevention and AutoSense automation for sensing pouch thickness, and instantly adjusting the speed for a high-quality finish. He adds that consumers are also seeking laminators that are user-friendly. “With many people moving away from large-run, commercial printing to self-print, needs-must solutions, laminating provides a professional touch to one-off requirements and adds longevity of the document, thus reducing the amount of paper being printed.” Meanwhile, binding machines are going

solution that best suits their client’s individual

An ever-growing number of dealers are seeking to enhance their scope of support

through something of a revolution, according

requirements,” says Lawrence. “With this in mind, an ever-growing number of dealers are seeking to enhance their scope of support beyond simply advising on available product choices, with many now also offering guidance on the design layout of the customer’s office space in relation to staff circulation patterns, social distancing signage and PPE

to Jeremy, with the development of one

equipment locations and COVID-19 staff

machine to undertake the functions of three

achieve perfectly accurate results. The hole

testing stations, as well as the placement of

tools. “The recently launched Lyra™ 3-in-1

punch has a 30-sheet capacity, and the comb

dedicated employee wellbeing areas.

Binding Centre enhances and simplifies

binding punches up to 20 sheets at a time,

document binding productivity by combining

and binds up to 300 sheets.”

the functions of comb binding, stapling,

“Dealers should be able to construct more focused product proposals that are built around the needs of their customers.

and two and four-hole punching in a

BESPOKE APPROACH

In the industry today there are several

single machine.

Dealers have an important role to play in

ecologically aware and sustainable product

advising customers on the right products for

solutions that benefit from innovative, yet

edge guide and the patented EasyPress™

“It staples up to 30 sheets using the staple

their businesses, guiding them through the

cost effective, manufacturing processes.

double-action stapler. The comb binding and

recent developments in binding and laminating

hole punching start with the easy vertical

technology. “Acting as a consultant to their

training, and related marketing collateral,

document loading for aligned pages and clean

customers, dealers should take a more bespoke

dealers can highlight those relevant

punching. The Lyra™ also features document

approach, rather than a ‘one size fits all’

items that will chime with their clients’

and comb measurement guides to help users

angle, enabling them to create a personalised

environmental values.”

“With the help of supplier product

www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [43]


SALES SUCCESS

TEABREAK

LIVE IT Life hack Drilling into the ceiling? Attach the base of a plastic cup to the drill to prevent dust and debris from getting in your eyes.

I would THUMBS UP! walk 5,000 miles BBC News has reported that a woman has completed a 5,000-mile walk from Ukraine to Wales. Ursula Martin arrived back in Llanidloes, Powys, on Sunday - nearly three years

CAPTION COMPETITION

after setting off from the Ukrainian capital Kiev. The trek was to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, which she was diagnosed with 10 years ago. At the time of her diagnosis, she was due to walk back to the UK after kayaking the length of the River Danube, which runs from Germany to Romania. “I ended up in Bulgaria about to walk back to Britain, and I got ovarian cancer,” she said. “I wasn’t ready to go back and do the big tough journeys, so I did a 3,500

TWEET CAPTIONS TO @DEALERSUPPORT

mile walk in Wales which was very much a ‘symptoms of

Quote of the month The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing WALT DISNEY

[44] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk

ovarian cancer awarenessraising journey’. Then I had this sense of ‘Where was I? What was I doing?’ and I was about to walk across Europe - I just wanted to finish what I started.”


TEABREAK

SALES SUCCESS

?

Did you know? Did you know that each insect is a host to ten bacterial species? There are around two billion species on planet Earth - with 6.8m likely to be species of insects - and up to 10 types of bacteria live inside of each of these insects! 

Released into the wild The 1,000th captive-bred hazel dormouse has been released into the wild in a UK-wide

PUB QUIZ

1. Continental United States has four time zones; can you name them? 2. What was the Turkish city of Istanbul called before 1930?

threatened mammals, according

3. From which US city does the band The Killers originate?

to BBC News. Big-eyed and

4. Name the coffee shop in US sitcom Friends.

famously sleepy, the dormouse is a woodland and fairy tale icon, but it is a species in decline. Once widespread, the animals

5. How many human players are there on each side in a polo match? Answers: 1. Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern 2. Constantinople 3. Las Vegas 4. Central Perk 5. Four

reintroduction scheme for these

have now disappeared from 17 English counties. Reintroduction, scientists say, is the only way to bring dormice back to habitats from which they have been lost.

Knock me down with a feather Runaway monkey reunited with family A runaway monkey has been reunited with its

The project - a collaboration

owners after being found at a train station near

between wildlife charity People’s

Glasgow, Sky News has reported. Scotrail put out an appeal on

Trust for Endangered Species,

social media after the primate was found at Cambuslang train

Natural England and the

station on Saturday afternoon, calling for its owners to get in touch. “I’ve dealt with lost ‘phones, handbags and glasses over the

University of Cumbria - brought

years, but this is definitely a first,” the operator tweeted. “If

15 breeding pairs to a secret

you’ve lost your monkey...it’s waiting on the next service from

location in the Arnside and

Cambuslang into the town.” Hours later, the owners had been

Silverdale area of outstanding

found, and the monkey - believed to be a marmoset - was taken home again.

natural beauty in Lancashire.

www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [45]


SALES SUCCESS

QAUTEHSETRI OP.N CTLI IMP E F

Bringing hope, peace and unity to the good brethren of business supplies WFH – three letters we all know very well now - but how are the good Father and his team holding up in the home office?

I

t’s a funny old thing,

from room to room making a sandwich

time off during the lockdown, so they are

setting up a home

or having a quick snooze, and others have

very envious of the rest of the staff who

office; different

asked for a sit/stand desk so that they can

seem to be having a great time of it while

people require

sit and stand at the same time.

they are out and about every day. They

different things to

I tend to spend most of my day

aren’t actually allowed into customers’

make themselves more comfortable

sitting at the kitchen table staring at the

premises to leave the stuff off and, for

or more productive. Some people just

computer screen until the ‘phone rings

some of them, this is a bit disheartening

ask for the basic necessities like an

when I then do laps of the garden while

because they were used to getting a

operator’s chair and a desk and maybe

I’m on the call - it’s like a starting pistol

biscuit and a cup of tea at reception.

a few desktop accessories - whereas

for me to get up and immediately start

According to them, the lockdown has

others compile a list which may be

walking round in circles. I’m happy

affected them the most as they have lost

important to them, but certainly doesn’t

enough about it, because it’s exercise,

all of the nice things about their jobs. I

read like a basic office set up.

but I often see other people doing the

tend to think it might not be that bad

same thing and wonder why it happens.

for them as they are only delivering a

CRM, HR, IT, EORI and PONI - does

Is it a throwback to the old days when

quarter of what they used to.

everything from a hot tub, so anything she

we had to walk around the place to get

uses has to be waterproof. Other people

a signal, or could it be a way of making

afternoon in Mrs O’ Reilly’s hot tub

have requested posture chairs, even

ourselves seem busier than we are?

or, if they are, I hope they’re all

Mrs O’ Reilly - who looks after our

though half of their day is spent moving

[46] SUMMER 2021

www.dealersupport.co.uk

Our drivers have never really had

...I hope they aren’t spending the

wearing a mask.


FINAL WORD

SALES SUCCESS

Our bulldog spirit ALISON HALEY, director at Tangerine Design and PR, explains that, after a rollercoaster of a year, dealers are still as resilient as ever

T

here appears to be

ships. What’s more, for office equipment

a general feeling

manufacturers relying on their stock

among people I have

being held in warehouses outside the

spoken to recently

UK, their logistics started to feel the

that, if Brexit or the

impact of stock shortages, and estimated

pandemic had happened in isolation,

delivery dates were thrown into disarray.

the office equipment marketplace would

There was also the added question

probably be continuing along its path

of what effect Brexit would have on

without too much disruption. However,

deliveries to the UK and Ireland.

with both of these events occurring at the

Well, we all know what happened, and

Alison Haley TANGERINE DESIGN AND PR Director the industry dealers I have spoken to,

same time, some areas of the industry have

it was nothing short of a disaster for some

without exception, say they have come

seen significant casualties but, as they say,

manufacturers and their dealers - stock

too far to give up now and are managing

‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’.

simply vanished into thin air. There were

the changes by taking evasive action, as

growing reports of cargo ships bypassing

quickly as possible, and taking advantage

and the furlough scheme started, dealers

the UK completely, the cost of delivery

what is being set up by manufacturers and

were quick to adopt the ‘Keep calm and

increasing by 40%, vital containers not

distributors in the UK to ensure speedy

carry on’ notion that the economy would

available because they were returning

delivery of vital spares and consumables.

survive the issues created by people not

empty to China to be filled with fast-

According to a Buyers’ Lab (BLi)

working because of initiatives that were

moving consumer goods, drivers from

report, looking at what’s trending in the

put in place by the government. It was

the continent struggling to enter the UK

industry right now, it seems that renting

also really encouraging to see that many

under the new Brexit rules and, on top of

and leasing of A3 and A4 print equipment

dealers started to diversify into PPE

all of this, news that the Kent variant of the

is on the increase thanks to the wider

products and to focus on home

virus was threatening to halt continental

availability of managed print solutions,

working solutions.

deliveries. Things just could not have felt

with a rise in the number of SMEs looking

worse at that moment.

for solutions based around scanning and

When the pandemic hit last March,

What really didn’t help the cause, though, was the surge of almost a whole

Admittedly, some aspects of the office

nation buying absolutely everything online

equipment market struggled but did the

during the lockdown period, leaving office

industry sink? No.

equipment, spare parts and consumables

If there’s one message that has come

data capture. What is more, early signs indicate that the market is growing at a steady rate, and this growth is expected to continue

manufactured in the Far East stranded

out of this, it’s that there is one heck of

for the next five years. The future does

there because of the shortage of container

a strong ‘Can do’ spirit in the UK. All

indeed look bright.

www.dealersupport.co.uk SUMMER 2021 [47]


2021

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

Profile for Intelligent Media Solutions

Dealer Support Summer 2021  

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