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DEALER SUPPORT OCTOBER 2020

October 2020

Issue 303

ISSUE 303 JIM BROWN LIZ HALE STEVE BILTON

inspiring success

EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IN A CRISIS The qualities you need to succeed OWNING PRINT EQUIPMENT VS. MPS To MPS or not to MPS – that is the question UPPING YOUR CSR GAME CSR is more than just a buzz term


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inspiring success

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

EDUCATION

new products and category trends

Issue 296

STEVE MCKEEVER

MARKETING

DRIVING CHANGE

2020 VISION

2020 VISION New products and categories

More Shredding. Zero Jamming.

February 2020

TRANSFORMING THE CHANNEL

PHIL JONES

OEMS AND MPS

IT PREDICTIONS

2020 VISION

inspiring success

Next Generation Shredders

ISSUE 296

January 2020

DEALER SUPPORT FEBRUARY 2020

Issue 294

DEALER SUPPORT JANUARY 2020

DEALER SUPPORT DECEMBER 2019

Decemebr 2019

inspiring success

IT PREDICTIONS FOR 2020 What to expect for the year ahead

PHIL JONES Brother UK’s MD talks learning and leadership

www.fellowes.com

MARKETING Why now is the time

0203 794 8555 info@intelligentmedia.co.uk

inspiring success

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

TRANSFORMING THE CHANNEL IN 2020 Predictions from Phil Jones

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


FROM THE EDITOR

Facing challenges head on DEALER SUCCESS

PA P E R S T O N E

BEST JUDGEMENT FOR BUSINESS

CREATIVE TEAM Billy Odell

HEAD OF SALES Matthew Moore

DIRECTOR Vicki Baloch

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

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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

P

aperstone is an on

with an interestin

unique ethos. Lau 16 years ago, as a

products alone, fo

CEO and co-own

expect his customers to start asking for t

products – but they did! Despite plans to

supplier, people soon began requesting p

and, soon, Paperstone had to find itself a

But it’s not as if Jim and his business

researched what people wanted in the fir

Paperstone in my friend’s flat, and we did

research about what people wanted – an

was cheap toner cartridges,” says Jim. “So

suppliers, launched a business – without

website – and used the flat’s landline as a - customers would ring up and have my

flatmates answering sometimes! But we k

catalogue and a website up-and-running and upwards from there. The customers

stationery, so that’s what we gravitated to became an OP business.”

John Philips, sales manager, joined J

founder, Max, two years in. By that poin

had a decent-sized office in the west end

had been in office products since 1997. “

when I exited the industry, thinking ther than stationery – I was wrong!” he says.

2006, left again to do some project work

dealer in Essex, and then re-joined Pape “We dragged him back, kicking and

Jim. “We struggled without him because

[18] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk

Ellie Potter Acting editor

EDITOR Nell Walker

Way back in March Pape JOHN PHILLIPS told N passion for staff autonom Read what they told us th strange months

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

Page 20

If it wasn’t for the temperature dropping, and the leaves beginning to brown, you’d be forgiven for thinking it can’t possibly be October yet. This year has flown by and, for many of us, it has been a blur - full of battling constant change and overcoming a variety challenges. As we head into the winter months it’s predicted that COVID cases will continue to rise and, as a result, further restrictions and limitations will again be placed on our lives. But, as our working lives evolve to a fit in with this new way of living, so does the office products industry. With this in mind our BIG ASK this month focuses on effective leadership in a crisis and discusses the qualities needed to guide your team through a difficult time. We look into the future as we cover the Future Focus online conference and learn why many believe the busines supplies industry will come out of these unprecedented times even stronger. For our DEALER SUCCESS story, we speak to Paperstone’s Jim Brown, Sarah Mewett and John Phillips. We first spoke to them back in March, before lockdown, and we’ve caught up with them again to see how they have found business since then. There’s an ongoing debate about the benefits of owning print equipment vs MPS; we explore which is the best option for dealers. Liz Hale, of EVO Group, tells us about Leaders of the Future - and why the OP industry is the Marmite of industries! We then discuss how to up your CSR game, keep your data safe and make sure you’re focusing on ergonomics. To round this issue off our LIVE IT section offers a well-earned break, the good Father looks back to the golden era of stationery reps and Steve Bilton, MD at FusionPlus Data, provides our FINAL WORD, explaining why we should use the adversity we have all faced this year to create opportunities, moving forward. It is a packed issue which will, hopefully, help you to continue to overcome and thrive in this current climate. As always, don’t forget to chat to us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts and opinions: @dealersupport.

good knowledge of product and industry the same without him driving that area,

him back.” John says that the pace of dec

growth, within many other OP dealers is

to Paperstone to regain the kind of profe thrives on.


Join BOSS and the business supplies industry on the 26.11.20 for a night of virtual celebrations.

Recognise the individuals and teams in your business who have gone above and beyond this year.

Host your team at a private ‘virtual table’ exclusively for you.

Connect with those you haven’t had a chance to meet before.

Network one to one via private video message.

Raise a toast to the industry. Come Together. Network. Connect. View all categories at www.bossawards.co.uk Deadline for entries: 23.10.2020

Thank you to our sponsors and supporters: C R E AT I V E D I G I TA L I N D U ST R I E S


OCTOBER 2020

Contents INDUSTRY 08 NEWS AND VIEWS

The latest news and views from the industry

12 EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IN A CRISIS

The qualities of successful leadership in the current climate

15 THE MARMITE OF INDUSTRIES

Liz Hale of EVO Group tells us about what drew her to join Leaders of the Future

16 FUTURE PERFECT?

26

The Future Focus online conference finds many reasons to be cheerful

DEALER SUCCESS 20 BEST JUDGEMENT FOR BUSINESS

Paperstone – then and now. Pre and post-COVID reflections on successful dealership

LEADERSHIP 26 OWNING PRINT EQUIPMENT VS. MPS

32

Is MPS always the right option for dealers - or are fleets a better bet?

SALES SUCCESS 28 UPPING YOUR CSR GAME

How can dealers up their CSR game – and how can industry accreditation help?

32 PLAY IT SAFE

Security on multiple sites – how do you make sure levels are maintained?

36 COMFORT IN WORK

Wellbeing - productive workforce – ergonomics...a powerful mix

40 LIVE IT

36

Take a break and enjoy some lighthearted fun

42 FATHER P. CLIP

The good Father looks back, wistfully, on a time when stationery reps were the rock stars of the industry – and wonders what became of them all

43 FINAL WORD

“30 years in this industry has taught me many things, but none more so than what a bloody resilient bunch we can all be when push comes to shove”

43

Steve Bilton MD of FusionPlus Data explains why adversity creates opportunity


INDUSTRY

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

THE MONTH THAT WAS The BOSS Future Focus conference The BOSS Future Focus conference – held virtually on 16th

The panel discussed key questions such as:

September in conjunction with the BPIF and VMC to address

Q: What will the winners and losers in the BS industry look

the post COVID-19 environment – was more than a virtual

like, post-COVID?

success. With a range of topics to choose from, and the ability

A: Move online, be able to handle more small picks and have

to Zoom in and out of the conference as delegates’ needs

the ability to deliver to homes as well as to offices.

dictated, this was one of the most flexible and wide-ranging

Q: How can salespeople create added value if they cannot

events that the Federation has held.

meet customers face-to-face?

A day of wide-ranging input, from an array excellent

A: Have COVID–secure meetings, understand customers’

speakers, was kicked off by Jonathan Geldart, the director of

business strategies by speaking less with the transactional

the Institute of Directors, who used his personal experience

contact and more with the strategic contact within their

of walking to the North Pole to both challenge and assure his

organisations.

audience. “Is it true that the world is never going to be the

In the afternoon the second panel session, entitled

same again?” he asked, pointing out that the lessons learned

“COVID-19 and Its global impact on business supplies”, was

from the Spanish ‘Flu of a century ago was that such events

chaired by Steve Hilleard (OPI) and featured an impressive

accelerate existing trends, rather than create new ones.

cast of international speakers: Brad O’Brien (Office Choice),

Explaining that, “people are at their best when their backs are

Beth Wright (Fellowes) and Kenneth Borup (Lomax). The

to the wall”, Geldart noted that the response that was needed

panel’s extensive discussion showed that the impact and

right now from UK business leaders was:

effects of the pandemic on the OP industries in other

• Leadership: a clarity of purpose and direction.

countries had not been dissimilar to our own.

• Communication: we must communicate with, listen to and understand our teams.

Wright and others explained what actions their businesses are taking - make decisions quickly, improve communication,

• Responsibility: we must take responsibility for our actions.

look after the safety of staff, shift further to digital and the

• Agility: what we have always done may not be what we

mass market, become a viable supplier of PPE. Looking

need to do in the future, so we must have the ability

further ahead, the panellists believed that the ‘new normal’

to respond to change by doing things that we had not

would be a hybrid of home and office-based working and

previously thought we could do.

that sustainability would, eventually, return to the top of the business agenda, with dealers possibly providing a collection

During the day there were also two panel sessions aimed specifically at the business supplies industry: “The future of

service for single use items such as face masks. Amy Hutchinson, BOSS CEO, commented, “With physical

the UK business supplies industry” was led by BOSS chairman

events not possible we were delighted to welcome just under

Simon Drakeford, and featured Steve Haworth (EVO Group),

400 delegates to our first virtual Future Focus Conference.

Darren Lloyd (United), Richard Coulson (Complete Business

It was encouraging that so many took advantage of the

Supplies), Alex Tatham (Westcoast) and Anna Chalmers (HP).

networking facilities available, making new connections as a result of attending.”

[08] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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

INDUSTRY

Integra releases 2021 Initiative catalogue programme A comprehensive marketing support programme is also available incorporating email, web and social media content, designed to help members grow their own brand sales and achieve impressive profit margins. To further help promote the range, members receive a free-ofcharge Initiative insert within their VOW Wholesale catalogues. With fewer own brands in the industry, Initiative provides Integra members with an important point of differentiation. Additional pricing support and promotions are planned

Antalis: replacing plastic packaging

for 2021, together with continued

An innovative business card box designed by Antalis is helping Commercial

challenging year. With multiple sources,

Foundation to reach its goal of no plastic.

including Antalis and VOW together

Business cards are just one of the digital and wide format print and

benchmarking, so members can offer their customers a competitively priced, high quality range. A price freeze has also been in place throughout 2020 to further support dealers in what has been an incredibly

with Integra’s EOS partner, and direct

promotional merchandise offerings from WE DO. Print whose workers are young

availability from suppliers, Initiative is also

people attending the #NoLimits course run by Commercial Foundation. This

easily accessible.

social enterprise was established in 2015 and supports disadvantaged young people to develop practical skills to help them find a job or future career. Commercial Foundation were packing their orders for business cards into

“The Initiative brand has provided members with a consistently high quality range for over 22 years now,” Aidan

standard, 70 mm-high plastic business card boxes, which were then packed in a

McDonough, Integra’s CEO, commented.

bubble-lined mailing bag for posting. As well as not being very environmentally

“Despite the decline in demand for

friendly, the packages were also too big to fit through letterboxes.

general office products, it has managed

A drive to reduce its use of plastics prompted the Commercial Foundation to seek a more user and environmentally-friendly alternative. After taking the time to understand the complete process around WE DO. Print’s business card service, Antalis Smart Packaging Centre came up with workable solution. Using the information provided, Antalis’s packaging technologists put forward

to hold its own as an office essentials range, and continues to provide our members with a unique proposition. “Through continual benchmarking, the brand is consistently competitive and this, alongside additional pricing support,

three options: a box and lid design and two variations based on the 0427 pizza

gives members the best possible

box structure. The team also advised on the possibilities of printing the box to

opportunity to be profitable.”

enhance the customer experience.

www.dealersupport.co.uk OCTOBER 2020 [09]


INDUSTRY

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

Prima earns designation as a Great Place to WorkCertified™

COVID-19 – Job Support Scheme update On 24 September 2020 the government announced the introduction of a new Job Support Scheme (JSS), which will be available to eligible employers from 1 November 2020. On 25 September the BOSS Federation employment law team put together a skeleton communication based on what they knew to date about the JSS for all their members. They expect further guidance on the mechanics of the JSS to be published shortly,

Using validated employee feedback, gathered using Great Place to Work’s

and will update members when this is available.

rigorous, data-driven for all methodology, certification confirms that at least

Until then, they have set down their guidance

65% of employees have a consistently positive experience at Prima. Great

focusing on whether the JSS can, or will, assist

Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture, employee

any of their member businesses to save jobs

experience and the leadership behaviours proven to deliver market-leading

once the CJRS comes to an end on 31 October

revenue and increased innovation.

2020.

“We are absolutely delighted to be Great Place to Work-Certified™,”

To view this guidance please visit the BOSS

says Ian Buckley, MD. “It has always been important to our business to make

Coronavirus hub to download the BOSS JSS

employee experience a priority every day, building an amazing workplace

guidance document (please note that to access

culture, and future, together with our colleagues.

this information you’ll need to be a member).

“We are extremely proud that our team have a consistently positive experience with their co-workers and leaders, and find personal satisfaction

For more information on how to become a

in their jobs. We strongly believe that having a happy, positive working

member go to: www.bossfederation.com/

environment helps Prima to provide the best level of service that we can for

become-a-member/boss-membership

our customers.” “We congratulate Prima, on achieving their certification,” said Benedict Gautrey, MD of Great Place to Work® UK. “Organisations which put the employee experience at the heart of their business gain their employees’ trust and, in turn, are truly able to build a great workplace culture that delivers outstanding business results.” Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. Since 1992, they have surveyed more than 100 million employees around the world, and have used those deep insights to define what element makes a great workplace. Great Place to Work® UK helps organisations quantify their culture and produce better business results by creating a high-trust work experience for all employees. Their unparalleled benchmark data is used to recognise Great Place to Work-Certified™organisations, as well as the acclaimed UK’s Best Workplaces™, UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Women and UK’s Best Workplaces™ in Tech lists. Everything they do is driven by the mission to build a better world by helping every organisation become a truly great place to work.

[10] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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INDUSTRY

BIG ASK

EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IN A CRISIS In this month’s Big Ask we review what qualities are needed for successful leadership in the current climate, and look for grounded insights, clear thinking and plausible suggestions for dealers to keep their business successful through the next six months

Emma Davies-Carolan, European

between a number of locations. We’d always suggest finding

director of marketing at ECI

an ecommerce partner you can work with to take some of

Never before have we been so reliant

that pressure off, and enable your business to become more

on online systems and ecommerce

adaptable.

to help keep the economy and

An effective customer relationship management (CRM)

businesses afloat. While it’s certainly

tool can also help businesses better respond to customer

been a challenge, the ability to

demand, creating increased satisfaction and loyalty by

evolve and adapt to sudden changes

helping you better manage leads in your sales pipeline and

in customer demand has been key

effectively monitor sales and margin opportunities.

throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Often, the implementation of a CRM system will motivate

At ECI we encourage our customers to keep a close

sales teams, as they can efficiently prioritise initiatives

eye on market trends; in order to maintain the competitive

and create meaningful plans to help them reach their

advantage, retain existing customers and attract new ones,

goals - perhaps leading to a monetary bonus or reward. As

it’s important you can quickly react to difficult situations or

businesses redefine sales targets and KPIs, in the wake of the

product shortages.

pandemic, we believe CRM systems will play an important

For example, in the early days of the pandemic, we witnessed a huge surge in the number of businesses looking for cleaning and PPE products. This then shifted to home

role in helping dealers motivate their sales teams and drive growth. For those returning from furlough, a return to work might

working equipment and, as people slowly begin to return to

be daunting. It’s important that business leaders take this into

offices, demand continues to change. In order to capitalise

account, and look to empower their teams and allow them

on this, dealers must keep their website up-to-date, quickly

time to re-familiarise themselves with their roles. By giving

altering pricing and marking certain product lines as ‘out of

staff access to important data, they’ll be better equipped to

stock’ to avoid disappointment.

serve your customers and often, with the full picture available,

Of course, it’s hard to be flexible when you have a limited number of people and resources, or your team is split

[12] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk

sales teams can upsell or cross-sell certain product lines - all helping to drive growth.


BIG ASK

INDUSTRY

Phil Jones MBE, MD at Brother UK

in uncertain times like these, clear direction is needed. The risk

I suspect that most of today’s leaders

of failing to communicate effectively is that your people panic

have rarely been more tested at any

and begin to worry – which risks triggering their emotional

stage of their careers than they are

response mechanisms, rather than their rational ones.

being right now - and there will be

Whether you have monthly company get-togethers, daily

many more challenges on the horizon.

calls or weekly email updates, make sure anything you’ve

Their focus should be on re-shaping

diarised on a regular basis happens on time, every time. Your

and future-proofing their businesses,

people will know these communications are coming, and will

and there are five key routes to

look forward to them as a stabilising event – as long as each

consider: re-organise (business

serves a distinct, well-understood, purpose. That purpose

model/cost structure), enhance (do what you did before,

could be socialising to help maintain a sense of community

but better), pivot (re-invent), create (start something new) or

while social distancing measures and home working are still in

capitalise (grow exponentially from what is).

place, or it could be providing practical, operational or financial

Successful companies are agile ones, with leaders who aren’t afraid of change. To manage change effectively, there

information. Whenever you communicate – even when you’re sharing

needs to be good decision-making ability at leadership level,

practical updates – try to be clear, concise, useful and human.

supported by strong relationships with colleagues across the

Let empathy be your guide; avoid managerial speak, and keep

business to ensure everyone’s pulling in the same direction.

it real. And don’t forget to look after your people as individuals,

We make decisions directed by the acronym, ‘CALM’ which stands for Communication, Action-Orientation, LevelHeadedness and Mindfulness. The key to remaining calm – in

as well as looking after the business – it’s about being honest and compassionate at all times. The more time you put into getting your comms right, the

both senses of the word – is effective delegation. Delegation

happier your people will be. In our experience, discretionary

doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and when the going

effort from your people can appear in the middle of a crisis –

gets tough, it’s tempting to keep every task as close to you

just when you need it most.

as possible. But that’s not feasible in the long run, and it’s

By now, most businesses will already have adapted to

unsustainable in a prolonged crisis - it’s likely to end up doing

the new reality; adapting business models and operations to

more harm than good.

address health and safety needs, implementing processes

The key to best practice delegation is ‘specificity’. If you

to secure and strengthen logistics and supply chains from

clearly define the boundaries you expect people to operate

shocks, and adjusting to more nimble decision-making amid

within, and provide a tight brief for what you’d like them to

uncertainty.

deliver, they can be empowered to work out how to achieve

These are some of our insights from navigating a pulp and

the outcome you’re looking for. Whether you’re briefing people

paper business through a crisis which we would like to share

on work, or simply keeping them in the loop on developments,

with you, and which may be useful in the coming months.

www.dealersupport.co.uk OCTOBER 2020 [13]


INDUSTRY

BIG ASK

Dr Liz Wilks, European director

If sustainability is already part of your strategy there is no

of sustainability at Asia Pulp and

reason not to continue this, as we are seeing that consumers

Paper (APP)

are more ready than ever for these products and services.

We now know that consumer

If you haven’t embarked on this journey already, now is the

behaviour can be predicted based

time!

on behaviours in radically different

You can also often prevent a crisis from occurring by being

markets. The run on toilet paper rolls

aware, and having a plan of action in place, in case something

was first seen in China and Hong

does go awry. Sit down with your team, talk about potential

Kong, as fearful consumers rushed

obstacles, and map out a crisis plan in advance. Revisit it

to hoard daily essentials. This same behaviour then emerged in other cities around the world over the weeks and, in some places, continues today.

regularly for modifications and additions. Furthermore, embracing continuing education as a leader is critical. Remember that improving yourself improves your

Ensuring that you have a diverse product range which

team and the company as a whole. Maybe it’s a software class,

has, and will, include hygiene products, among other things,

or a workshop series on stress management. Lifelong learning

is a way to help ride the storm - as is storing some products

doesn’t just help improve the business, but also improves

more than others, and not relying on lean deliveries in case of

you by keeping you sharp and up-to-date on the latest best

supply chain delays.

practice. As a visiting professor this is something I’m seeing

Crises are, inevitably, also opportunities. As a producer

a lot; however, I also recently took a coaching course to

of essential products, our operations were not disrupted as

understand better what makes me tick and certainly, during

much as other industries were; however, many of the other

lockdown, have begun reading a lot more.

functions within our business had to adapt. Sustainability is

Some crises involve fast and long action. Adrenaline from

an integral part of our business and we need to continue this

discovering the crisis can give you a lot of energy, and clarity,

work, even amid local restrictions on travel. Our sustainability

to start dismantling it right away - but the biggest crises can

team has had to explore alternative means for conducting

take time. Leaders know when to pause for both themselves

ground verifications, using remote monitoring technologies

and their teams.

or working through emplaced teams. Some of these advances

The journey we are all on is not an overnight one and,

were already planned as part of a broader modernisation

sometimes, it is ‘the journey that teaches you a lot about your

effort, but the pandemic presented an opportunity to fast

destination’ – Drake. So, hopefully, some of these insights

track some of these initiatives.

from our own experience will help you along the way.

[14] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


LEADERS OF THE FUTURE

LEADERSHIP

The Marmite of industries We spoke to Liz Hale, group head of data for EVO Group, about her career and what drew her to join the committee DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT ROLE

I find it very rewarding to see how we can

Steve Haworth to attend. I found the day

AND WHAT LED YOU INTO IT.

alter a process and update the way we do

exciting, and was very interested to meet

My current role for the company is group

something to bring in a more fluid way of

new people, listen to inspirational speakers

head of data for EVO; this encompasses all

working. Having been in the industry for

and learn from the views of people who had

data and content that is collated, maintained,

over 20 years, I have seen so many changes

been in the industry for different lengths of

validated and shared with VOW, Banner and

and so many mergers and acquisitions occur

time. I then decided that I would offer to get

subsequent unique websites. My department

within our group. This industry, as much as

involved directly with the group because,

is a group function and we are here to make

it is such a long-standing one, if you look at

although I have been in the industry for

sure all data from suppliers is correct and fed

it properly, it’s certainly not standing still! I

a while, I feel I am in the middle ground

effectively downstream; other areas of the

often say this industry is like Marmite – you

between people who have been here just

business can then put their own spin on it,

either love it or hate it.

a few years and those who people may be

dependent upon unique voice. I have a fabulous team who work

nervous to approach because of their status WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT

within a company

tirelessly to deliver this to the groups.

OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER

Without my team. and the improvements

SO FAR?

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR BEST PIECE

which we have implemented into the group

I think the highlight of my career is my

OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE WHO

in the last few years, we wouldn’t have

current role. I worked for a great manager,

HAS JUST JOINED THE INDUSTRY?

seen such a pivotal movement in data that

when I got this role, and what I learnt from

Ask questions – always ask questions. I

suppliers, dealers and end-users are now so

10 years working for one boss taught me well

think everyone you meet who has been

passionately commenting on.

when I came to manage such a large, diverse

in the industry for any length of time has

team. What I now get to learn from a very

something to offer and, if you are keen to

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS INDUSTRY

different boss has helped shape me into the

learn and know more, then you will go

WHICH FUELS YOU ON A DAY-TO-

person I am today, managing my team.

far. Attitude is everything; you can train anyone up on anything if they have the right

DAY BASIS? Diversity. I love the excitement and

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH

attitude.

demands that we are challenged with every

THE LEADERS OF THE FUTURE?

day. As a strong leader in change, I enjoy

I was selected as a leader within our

To see how you or your team can get

being in the detail as I have a great eye

company a long time ago, when Robert

involved with Leaders of the Future,

for inefficiencies and can conceptualise

Baldrey worked for EVO. A few years later

contact Amy Hutchinson on

new solutions to problems as they occur.

this group started, and I was asked again by

amy@bossfederation.co.uk

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


INDUSTRY

FUTURE FOCUS

FUTURE FUTURE PERFECT? PERFECT? The Future Focus online conference featured a seminar that asked industry experts what the UK business supplies sector might look like once the COVID-19 pandemic is over – and found that there is much to be optimistic about he COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge

T

impact on the business supplies industry, as it has on many other sectors in the UK. But what will the sector look like going forward? This is something the seminar, The Future of UK Business Supplies Post

COVID-19, held virtually on September 16 as part of the ‘Future Focus’ conference, looked to get a handle on with a panel of industry experts. The first question, asked by the panel’s chair, Simon Drakeford, CEO of EO Group, got straight to the heart of the matter; what will the business supplies industry look like post COVID-19? Alex Tatham, managing director of Westcoast Ltd, said that the COVID crisis is accelerating change, as opposed to creating it. “As we move [forward] vast quantities of products are now going to be sold online,” he said. “That was happening anyway, but you are going to see that happening across the IT and supplies channels too, I believe. “Having an online offering, and an ability to deliver that online offering, is going to be a really important factor. Of course, as business supplies resellers you are going to be delivering to offices - but you are going to be delivering less to offices, and more to homes, so you are going to rely on distribution to do more of that for you. You are going to see more warehousing and more focus on dark retailers to ensure that, effectively, that’s where all the sales are going to be made - and they are going to be delivered by vast wholesalers on your behalf as you move more online.”

[16] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


FUTURE FOCUS

Steve Haworth, CEO of EVO Group, agreed. “We have

INDUSTRY

FACE-TO-FACE CONTACT

seen some clear trends – a trend to direct delivery is clear

The conversation then moved onto what the future of the

to see; it was there before the pandemic hit and has been

person-to-person sales model could be. Coulson noted that his

accelerated.”

business has had to create a temporary sales operation which

He saw the pandemic as a catalyst. “[There will be] an even

involves not being in the field. “If customers want to see us we

faster move to small pick, lower average order values and some

are available to go out, but there is a lot of rigmarole around

level of fragmentation,” he said. “But I don’t see only see a

COVID-friendly meetings - such as health and safety forms.”

move to online; the concept of online being the most efficient

Haworth agreed, adding that any significant sales will

way to transact has been the case for a long time. We have also

still require some face-to-face, physical input at some stage.

seen a robust presence from local value-added resellers and

“I think there will be more face-to-face contact, but it will be

local purchasing. The emotional connection to people’s locality

digital, rather than an analogue ‘phone call,” he said. “We

has seen a much more robust performance from value added

need to move away from the face-to-face transactional, ‘Come

resellers than we would have imagined.

and have a coffee; what are your issues?’ and go towards

“The ability to win business, look after business and

solution-based selling. Understand what people’s real needs

support business through relationships and community is

are, rather than just being transactional. It is becoming more

bigger now than it has been for a number of years.”

remote.”

Richard Coulson, chief executive of Complete Office

This new working environment also presents problems

Solutions, added that lockdown has accelerated the take-up

for those trying to win new business, with Lloyd noting that it

of digital by probably by five-to-10 years. “But I believe we

can be difficult to convey messages to new clients via Zoom

are in a temporary world – people are still working on dining

or other video conferencing software. He added that some

room tables – and I think we will stay in that state for another

companies also have a lack of digital sales tools, and these

six months. But we know there is going to be a surge to home

need to be developed quickly in order to compete. “All the

users, and we are going to have to re-engineer our models to

traditional and in-built sales skills are lost in this environment

deliver to people’s houses. Probably, order value will drop - but

so we have to enhance how we project ourselves, and how we

as long as your operations are agile enough to deal with them

convey our messages digitally.”

then I believe everyone can survive. “We have to change what we sell to our customer base.

WHAT WINNERS NEED

The opportunity for diversification is vast. If you have the right

Finally, the conversation turned to what attributes organisations

model and ability to get goods and services to customers,

that are going to emerge from the other side of the pandemic

there is no reason for you to let this [pandemic] finish you.”

will need – and why others are failing.

Darren Lloyd, CEO of United Managed Office Services also

“One of the big drives for us is data analytics,” Anna

believes there are opportunities ahead, including for a regional

Chalmers, supplies and transactional print channel sales

“resale renaissance.”

director at HP Ins, said.” “We are really pushing that side as

“You are going to have to think of which clients you are

part of some of our new programmes launching to the reseller

going to go after, the opportunity for value added and to build

base. It is about collaboration and using the data analytics – we

relationships with those customers. Those value added might

have a wealth of information between reseller, distributor and

be different for each reseller regionally, or depending on the

vendor. How we use that to help is going to be critical in the

skill sets they have, or if they find a niche or an opportunity they

future.”

can expand upon.” Agility and the ability to adapt was mentioned by Lloyd,

Meanwhile, Haworth summed up the situation succinctly. “Businesses which have thrived through this period have

among others – and the importance of differentiating your

looked outward of their business, seen the opportunity in what

business from the competition, such as how they are going to

was happening, and pivoted based on where their existing

add value, or what they will do to tie a client in for 10-20 years.

points of strengths were and carried on,” he said. “The losers

It was also noted that it is important to differentiate a business

were the people who stuck their heads in the sand, shut the

from the ecommerce or online courier sectors too.

door and hoped it would go away.”

www.dealersupport.co.uk OCTOBER 2020 [17]


INDUSTRY

FUJITSU

DIGITISE TO MAXIMISE EFFICIENCY IN HR From multinationals to sole traders, there’s a HR function in every business - but people with HR responsibility are often time-poor multitaskers looking to improve productivity and save their business money

T

hose working in HR want to make admin

paper-based data also takes too much time as manually

easier, quicker, and more efficient. With

monitoring diversity, pay transparency and benchmarking for

the rise in homeworking, the digitisation

compliance is difficult. Further to this, managing version control

and management of information has

and keeping employees updated across multiple locations is

never been so important. HR is moving

difficult which leads to 74% of employees feeling disconnected.

towards digital transformation and scanning is the critical first step.

BENEFITS OF A DIGITAL HR FUNCTION More accessible data will strengthen employee engagement

CHALLENGES FACED BY NON-DIGITISED HR FUNCTIONS

and regulatory compliance. Digitising HR makes employee

There are many challenges which occur when HR is non-

data and records accessible from anywhere with user access

digitised. Processing information through admin-heavy,

rights. It increases security and compliance by making it

paper-based systems leads to inefficient record keeping.

easier to secure digital files and set automatic data-retention

As well as this, centrally-stored files inhibit remote access

rules for GDPR compliance, which is an imperative for all

and can be a security risk. Storage and access limitations

businesses. Workflow efficiency will also improve as it will make

also makes data-handling laborious, expensive and prone

data storage and processing more efficient with fewer errors.

to human error. This has a great impact on efficiency as 21%

Engaging with employees therefore becomes a simple task

of an organisation’s productivity is lost due to information

needing less admin time and employees are better informed.

management inefficiencies, this is because 71% of HR managers struggle to access data or analytics. Processing information manually is also very time-

A MORE INTELLIGENT WAY OF WORKING Scanning technology has a big role to play in creating the

consuming. In fact, 120 days every year are spent on admin by

digital HR function as 54% of companies see scanning and

SMEs. This is because handling and storing employee paper-

image capture as the first step of the digital transformation

based data is complex and takes time to navigate. Analysing

journey. A reduction of paper processes is a way to make HR workflows leaner, reduce storage space and free employees from tedious tasks. Central electronic storage of employee data, CVs, training and certification and so on makes it easier to access, easier to secure and easier to ensure compliance. This in turn helps to lower costs and create a more productive work force. It also opens the doors for new ways of thinking and future proofing the business.

[18] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


FUJITSU

FUJITSU SCANNERS

INDUSTRY

CUSTOMER PURCHASING CONSIDERATIONS When customers are considering an upgrade to a dedicated scanner they should evaluate: • Capacity – what scanning throughput is required?

THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR HR

• Integration – how well will it integrate with existing hardware, applications and processes? • Software – what will the scanner be used for and are there any complimentary HR applications which would be required? • Size – where will it be located and are there any size constraints or mobility requirements? • Costs – what is the overall budget and the most costeffective solution for the purpose? • Reliability – how reliable is the solution? Upgrades and maintenance – what are the ongoing costs and servicing plans? FUJITSU SP-1130N

HOW FUJITSU MEETS CUSTOMER HR NEEDS

THE IDEAL CUSTOMER

Fujitsu scanning technology gives you an opportunity to

A dedicated scanning solution can help all industry sectors

help customers that are striving to adopt new HR working

and company sizes, but the ideal businesses to target will

practices to achieve workflow efficiencies, accessibility,

have at least some of the following characteristics:

security and compliance. Dependable, high quality scanning

• A small HR function or HR being taken care of by

makes capturing paper-based HR data effortless. Digitising

individuals with other responsibilities too.

HR processes and streamlining workflows will also deliver

• HR processes are predominantly paper based.

efficiencies and cost savings as less time spent on admin

• Keen to move towards digitisation but not sure where to

means more time to focus on core activities.

start. • Worried about GDPR compliance.

ACTION PLAN FOR YOUR SUCCESS

• Lack a dedicated scanner capable of high throughput.

1. Understand the proposition to HR 2. Identify opportunities in your base

CUSTOMER TRIGGERS / OPPORTUNITIES TO SELL

3. Target opportunities via email and phone

Look out for businesses that:

4. Arrange a webinar/ virtual event

• Have a lot of HR activity, such as hiring new staff,

5. Follow up opportunities.

managing furlough arrangements or running training programs. • Have a growing number of staff working from home who require remote access to HR files. • Are downsizing office space and need to cut down on physical storage. • Are worried about GDPR compliance and penalties. • Need to upgrade/replace their multifunction printer/ scanner. • Are interested in digitisation but have a limited budget and see scanning as a good first step.

Access Fujitsu’s FREE Imaging Channel Program for a wealth of sales enablement tools around the scan opportunity View webinars, download crib sheets and utilise toolkits at www.imaging-channel-program.com

www.dealersupport.co.uk OCTOBER 2020 [19]


DEALER SUCCESS

PA P E R S T O N E

BEST JUDGEMENT FOR BUSINESS

[20] OCTOBER 2020

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PA P E R S T O N E

DEALER SUCCESS

Way back in March Paperstone’s JIM BROWN, SARAH MEWETT and JOHN PHILLIPS told NELL WALKER all about the company’s history, its passion for staff autonomy, the importance of being honest with customers. Read what they told us then – and find out how they fared over the last few strange months

P

aperstone is an online-only dealer

Another key cog in the Paperstone team is Sarah

with an interesting history and a

Mewett, head of marketing, who’s helped shape the image of

unique ethos. Launched nearly

the business and spread the word about its innovative way

16 years ago, as a reseller of EOS

of operating. While she had no prior experience in office

products alone, forward-thinking

products she’s brimming with experience in marketing, and

CEO and co-owner, Jim Brown, didn’t

this has allowed her to shape and refine what the business

expect his customers to start asking for traditional office

already has, and develop it into what it could be.

products – but they did! Despite plans to be a major cartridge

“I found there were so many great things going on, from

supplier, people soon began requesting paper, then stationery

the brand’s point-of-view, which hadn’t been clearly defined,

and, soon, Paperstone had to find itself a wholesaler.

and people weren’t totally aligned with the values of the

But it’s not as if Jim and his business partner hadn’t

company,” Sarah explains. “I wanted to solidify what made

researched what people wanted in the first place. “We started

Paperstone different from everybody else, so we started

Paperstone in my friend’s flat, and we did a lot of market

e-mail marketing, supporting the sales team in how they

research about what people wanted – and what they wanted

communicate – anything which, for a brand where people

was cheap toner cartridges,” says Jim. “So we found some

are predominantly finding us online, would humanise the

suppliers, launched a business – without a catalogue or a

brand.”

website – and used the flat’s landline as a ‘phone number - customers would ring up and have my friend’s hungover

THE JOURNEY

flatmates answering sometimes! But we kept growing, got a

Paperstone has enjoyed extraordinary levels of growth and

catalogue and a website up-and-running, and it was onwards

development over the years – and so much of this is down to

and upwards from there. The customers were asking for

the people behind-the-scenes. “I would say that Paperstone

stationery, so that’s what we gravitated towards, and we

is driven a lot by Jim’s personality, drive and human

became an OP business.”

connection,” says Sarah. “Over time, people have joined the

John Philips, sales manager, joined Jim and his co-

business and become ‘Paperstone people’. We’re a group that

founder, Max, two years in. By that point, Paperstone already

solves problems; we’re a team – there’s a real sense of support

had a decent-sized office in the west end of London. John

and family.”

had been in office products since 1997. “Except for one year

For Jim, it helps that the company’s humble beginnings

when I exited the industry, thinking there was more to life

remain an important aspect of the team. “We started as a

than stationery – I was wrong!” he says. “So I joined Jim in

small business and, in many ways, we’ve stayed that way.

2006, left again to do some project work for a traditional

We’re quick and agile - and aren’t driven by money or ego.

dealer in Essex, and then re-joined Paperstone.”

We just want to do a nice job for customers, even if that

“We dragged him back, kicking and screaming,” says Jim. “We struggled without him because John’s got such a

means sometimes making decisions that aren’t the most sensible, commercially, in order to keep them for longer.”

good knowledge of product and industry; it wasn’t quite the same without him driving that area, so we poached

TEAM AUTONOMY

him back.” John says that the pace of decision-making, and

Another important aspect of the business is simply allowing

growth, within many other OP dealers is slow; he returned

the various members of the Paperstone team to make

to Paperstone to regain the kind of professional energy he

decisions for themselves – not just follow orders. “When we

thrives on.

were writing our brand values we did some research on

www.dealersupport.co.uk OCTOBER 2020 [21]


other companies that inspired us; one of the values we adopted was for staff to use their best judgement,” says John. “We want them to be able to make a decision and stick by it - meaning that if we ask them why, they can explain themselves. Either it works out, or it doesn’t, but it allows them autonomy either way.” This ethos inevitably leads to happier staff - which creates happier customers. It can be challenging for an online dealer to ensure it still maintains a positive ongoing relationship with customers but, ultimately, everything Paperstone does is to impress – whether that be impressing customers or staff. The business is still based around service, and the customer still comes first. “If we don’t put the customer first, we’re just a

KILLS

99.99% OF BACTERIA

website and a FedEx driver – nothing else,” says Jim. “We’re not just another faceless internet company – although, of course, there are some customers who come to us because they don’t want their supplier talking to, or checking up on, them! But we still ring our customers and make sure their orders are correct and that they’re happy, because that’s how we hold onto them. We’re open and honest – part of our training is, ‘Don’t lie to the customers’!” THE BENEFITS OF ONLINE There are major benefits to having been an online dealer from the start, most notably that it gave Paperstone a foot in the door earlier than most resellers and it also allows for additional flexibility and agility. Paperstone has an in-house tech team that can support customers immediately with any problems they might be having with the website – helped further by the fact that the business is independent, so nobody has to jump through hoops to make changes. Paperstone is also stockless, so it never has to try to get rid of stock that nobody wants. The company is able to react to customer wants and needs very quickly, enabling it to get involved in

AVAILABLE NOW

some of the more unusual product segments, which have proven lucrative. “Originally, when we launched, we were a bit niche,” says Jim. “Because we grew out of the internet, the big stationery companies were already covering the mass market and we were there to pick up

www.scjp.com

lots of sales in the weird and wonderful segments. “Over time we grew stronger at the general


offering, but we can still fill the gaps in-between as well. Surprisingly, our more recent growth areas have been in core office supplies products – like desktop filing and paper – which goes against the market, and is ironic for a business that started off the way we did.” It helps that Paperstone caters to a huge range of verticals and sectors, and recognises the patterns and demographics within them. The business keeps getting smarter, and more and more customers respond to that – Paperstone has between 50 and 100 new businesses

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buy from it every day, whilst also still catering to customers who have been with it since 2004. So, with a seemingly perfect formula already in place, what does the future hold for Paperstone? “We don’t plan too far in advance,” says Jim. “We don’t plan a whole year – more like two quarters. We do what we want, when we want, and we’re looking at what challenges we face right now. We storyboard it all, map it out, and leave gaps in our schedule for inevitable changes. But, really, our future holds more of the same – we know how to grow, we have what we need, and we have a great system. “We’ll keep doing what works well, and pushing forward.” THAT WAS THEN, AND THIS IS NOW...HOW

* Organisms tested: Influenza

HAVE THINGS BEEN FOR PAPERSTONE?

H1N1 virus & Murine Norovirus

Has the flexibility of being an online-only dealer

(EN14476). Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

helped since COVID hit? Being online has been very fortunate for us during the current crisis. More and more people started shopping online - and we were in a fantastic position to service their requirements. We saw a staggering 100% uplift in new customer sales during the first six weeks of lockdown. We were glad to be able to help as they were very scary times for everyone, but we were also fortunate to be very profitable as well - we even had customers doing a weekly food shop with us for a while! How has business changed? A few things have changed as a direct result of COVID. We already had a ‘phone and computer system that allowed the team to work normally from anywhere - we just hadn’t tested it with the entire company working remotely! Fortunately, it held

AVAILABLE NOW


DEALER SUCCESS

PA P E R S T O N E

perfectly, and productivity was great, so now you are no

What are the latest products categories - have you any

longer required to come into the office – ever!

predictions for the near future?

Most people have returned, as they prefer the team

Nothing that isn’t obvious! Hand towels and hand sanitiser,

environment, but around 25% haven’t come back to the office

of course! For office-based workers more individual products

at all. This hasn’t caused any issues so far and, hopefully, we

- like having your own label printer, which would never have

can continue as we are indefinitely.

happened before. In the kitchen it’s now sachets of coffee and

Sales have been adversely affected; our current daily

sugar, and no tins. For home workers its office chairs and

run rate is 25% down from January. This is due to the drop

desks, coupled with your traditional OP items, just in smaller

in demand and the fact that remote workers, generally,

pack sizes.

consume less OP - although we have plans in place to help better serve home users, so watch this space!

Are there any key lessons you could share? Manage your cash and your costs. We watched cash very closely as we didn’t know when we would be paid - if at all - by our customers. Luckily, our worst predictions haven’t materialised and we’ve had minimal bad debt (less than £4k so far). We were also fortunate to have made a strategic change in September last year; we reduced our head count by 20% so our cost base, going into this, was already fairly low. That change was driven by the realisation that more people didn’t mean more output for us. We were spending more and more time managing people, and that was getting in the way of progress. We needed to do more with less; fewer people doing jobs so more people could add value. It has worked very well and productively, and staff satisfaction has increased since. Have you made any operational changes to the business? Sadly, despite our best efforts, we still had to make four roles redundant. The changing OP landscape, and uncertain economic outlook, meant we needed to adjust to be ready for whatever COVID and winter 2020 throws at us. We’re still operating the full optional remote working policy, as mentioned above. Perhaps the biggest change has been that, in April, we also changed wholesaler due to the demise of Spicers. Previously 90% of our spend went to Spicers, so switching to VOW was never going to be without challenges. That said VOW, and Kath Briggs in particular, have been brilliant and, despite the challenges, they have been right by our side from day one. Without them, this would have been a very different interview, for which I am very, very grateful!

[24] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


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LEADERSHIP

EQUIPMENT VS. MPS

Owning print equipment vs. MPS

MPS is a growth market for many dealers, as end-users look to their suppliers for increased support. But is this always the right option for them, or should they be holding onto their fleet of machines? We asked the experts

ith dealers

partners to establish how the businesses they

supplies are not readily available. Small to

diversifying,

work with can benefit from the offering,”

medium-sized businesses may not even be

expanding and

says Peter Silcock, business manager for

aware of MPS, or may dismiss it as a solution

growing their

business imaging at Epson UK. “The value

suitable only for large organisations. This is

knowledge all the

of choice and peace of mind that MPS

where resellers can show added value and

time, in order to

can deliver for clients can provide a great

improve customer relationships by providing

better serve their customers, managed

competitive advantage that should not be

consultancy and guiding SME customers

print services (MPS) has become a popular

ignored. Whether large or small, businesses

through the process of adopting MPS.”

market to be part of. Offering managed

are always looking at ways to become more

print allows customers to outsource all

efficient and productive - an MPS can

who are concerned that MPS isn’t for them

their print requirements to one supplier;

help them on this journey by streamlining

because of their size, that it is not just for

they are time poor, as is the dealer, and

everyday processes and freeing-up resources

large organisations. “Resellers should be

they want a one-stop solution. Conversely,

that can be redeployed elsewhere.”

aware of existing solutions on the market

W

some customers don’t want or need a full

It’s important to emphasis, for customers

that are specifically targeted at SMEs,” Peter

MPS offering, and simply require individual

THE ARGUMENT FOR MPS

continues. “These propositions have been

hardware and software products – or, at

Peter believes that a major selling point for

designed for end-users who require printers

least, they think they do. It might simply

dealers to communicate to their customers

that won’t burden their limited office

be that the concept of MPS is intimidating

is that document management and managed

resources, but can still offer the desired MPS

for them.

services go hand-in-hand - and that MPS

benefits, such as better device reliability,

is required for efficient organisation. “For

lower printing costs, improved document

dealers, but it’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ service

many companies print is an unmanaged

security and lower environmental impact.”

- it needs to be adapted for the individual

function, yet the potential savings could be

customer. “As the demand for managed

significant – not only in terms of reducing

accountability throughout the process.

print services continues to increase, we are

printing and energy costs, but also time,

“It tracks customer usage through remote

working more closely with our channel

which can, too easily, be wasted when print

monitoring, making it clear where the

MPS is proving a positive thing for

[26] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk

Another major benefit of MPS is full


EQUIPMENT VS. MPS

For many companies, print is an unmanaged function bottlenecks and excess capacity lie, finding new ways to make cost savings,” says Nicola

LEADERSHIP

resellers, as they provide an easy learning

specifically for transactional customers

experience on how to incorporate MPS

which aims to reduce costs and cut

into their portfolios and generate an

downtime – benefits normally reserved for

additional, recurring revenue stream for

MPS users.

their businesses,” adds Peter. “Without

“If a company believes that it can save

any previous experience, resellers can

cost on printing by running everything in-

help their customers minimise concerns

house then, of course, it is better to take this

over the running costs and installation of

route,” Peter adds. “Owning the print fleet

their printer fleets which, in turn, helps

can come with a feeling of greater control

strengthen their relationships and future-

over managing and predicting costs. Other

proof their businesses.”

end-users may have the resource to ensure

Other benefits of MPS include cloud

the maintenance of their printers, and might

Williams, senior business manager at

storage, which improves organisation

not feel MPS would provide the same peace

Brother UK.

and and increases security, providing

of mind.

“It connects all devices to one

transparency of sustainability and reducing

“While there are many great MPS

monitoring system to give immediate

carbon footprint without compromising on

products readily available on the market,

access to support and repairs and the

productivity.

the key to success is for resellers to truly

auto-replenishing of supplies. It not only

understand what their customers are looking

saves employee time, but also opens up new

THE ARGUMENT FOR OWNING

for and to propose the best possible solution

economies of scale.” It also allows customers

EQUIPMENT

that will match their needs.”

the opportunity to pay for the amount of

However, this service still isn’t for everybody.

pages they actually print, which can prove

“Buying printers outright is naturally

an MPS service, or owning their own

more cost-effective than investing in a fleet

flexible and can prove a quick fix to solving

equipment, should be judged on a case-by-

of print devices and consumables.

a business’s printer pain points,” Nicola

case basis, which will only be achieved by

explains; Brother has a special service

discussing the topic in-depth with them.

“These solutions are great for

Whether a customer should be using

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


SALES SUCCESS

CSR

UPPING YOUR CSR GAME Corporate social responsibility is more than just a buzz term – it’s incredibly important to consumers and potential staff the world over. So how can dealers up their CSR game – and how can the industry’s available accreditation help?

C

orporate social

and will soon make the difference between

responsibility – or

business failure or success. How? You’d

CSR – is not a new

struggle to find someone not exposed to

keeping them happy is paramount and,

concept. As defined

today’s environmental activism, which is

to do that, you need a good team that

by Principal People,

only gaining momentum.

understands the importance of an ethical

‘Corporate social

“The sense of responsibility felt by

with a history of sustainability.” The customers hold all the cards, so

image – but getting and keeping people on

responsibility is a mechanism for businesses

businesses to modify their products, services

board to implement can also be challenging.

to assess the impact they have on society and

and infrastructure around supporting -

According to research by Perkbox, a tenth

consider putting responsible, ethical policies

rather than impairing - this movement is

of people have considered changing their

in place to support individuals, the local

being increasingly mirrored by a similarly

jobs because of the environmental impact of

community and the environment. Despite

aligned consumer mentality on the (green)

their employer, and 61% of those surveyed

its relatively new name...some businesses

choices they are empowered to make.

said they experience guilt because of the

already had ethical and social aims in place

Consumers are now more aware of the

environmental impact of the industry or job

before CSR became a phenomenon’.

impact of their purchasing choices than ever

they work in.

This means that businesses which don’t

before, so it’s no surprise that a company’s

This sensation has been dubbed ‘green

have a CSR strategy in place are lagging

green policies are rising up the corporate

guilt’. The research also found that 23% of

behind, and this will, without doubt, have

agenda.”

adults say their workplace doesn’t focus on

an impact on how those businesses are seen

Ross Penman, head of global delivery

acting sustainably, and 83% said they act

by both customers and future prospective

management at Y Soft, agrees.“As a result

more sustainably at home than at work.

employees.

of this increased emphasis on sustainability,

Why? Because they don’t feel they have the

individuals hold companies more

autonomy to make better choices in the

credentials is quickly evolving from ‘good

accountable than ever before - not only for

workplace. Fourteen per cent of respondents

PR’ to a huge influence on corporate

their resource consumption but also for their

said it’s hard to make a difference, as their

performance,” says Daniel Quelch, CSR and

contribution to the environment.

company doesn’t ask for feedback, and

“The power of a company’s eco-

sustainability manager at Epson UK – having

“Corporations are expected to improve

33% said they didn’t have the means to be

ethical practices in place is genuinely good

their green credentials and do more to

as environmentally friendly as they would

for business. “The efforts to mitigate an

achieve energy efficiency goals. According

like to be at work. Additionally, only six per

organisation’s environmental impact present

to research, 80% of consumers are more

cent of those surveyed felt they worked in a

massive opportunities for the bottom line

inclined to support companies and brands

sustainable industry.

[28] OCTOBER 2016

www.dealersupport.co.uk


H P PA P E R S

SALES SUCCESS

HP PAPERS why sustainability is second nature I

n today’s

are certified to the standards of the Forest

both time and the money they could have

environmentally

Stewardship Council® (FSC) or the Programme

spent on reprinting. When working together

conscious world,

for the Endorsement of Forest Certification

in synergy, the winning HP combination can

consumers want to be

(PEFC). This means that end users can rest

therefore result in less waste, which is not

sure that the paper and

assured that all HP Papers are sustainably

only an economical benefit to customers but

wood products they

produced, and the raw material comes from

also helps contribute towards improving their

buy come from sustainably managed forests

forests that are managed responsibly. In

environmental impact.

that will remain healthy and able to meet the

addition to this, having already made large

needs of future generations.

strides in reducing plastics usage, HP Papers

types - making it easy to find the paper that will

have committed to removing all plastics from

best meet the diverse needs of today’s home

their packaging by 2025.

and office. From freelancers to business owners,

Consumers are becoming increasingly mindful of the ‘sustainability small-print’ when they are choosing office products for both

For many consumers, sustainability begins

The HP Papers range is available in six

teachers to technicians, families creating

personal and business use, and paper is a hot

at home, whether using paper within the home

activities with the kids or professionals needing

topic when it comes to sustainability, often

office or for personal use in activities such

to produce quality prints for work. There’s a

clouded by myths around greenhouse gas

as homework or life admin. The transition

paper for everyone in the HP Papers range.

emissions and deforestation.

to more people working remotely may be

Two Sides reported that The Balancing

potentially reducing fuel pollution, but buying

GIVING BACK – DEMONSTRATING A

Sustainability and Profitability Survey

cheap, unethically sourced papers (and ink)

COMMITMENT TO CSR

interviewed 200 senior executives and 1,500

could be impacting the environment in other

consumers across the UK and found that 61%

ways.

of consumers expect the brands they buy from

Along with the notable benefits for dealers in selling paper from sustainable sources, products which support on-going

to have clear sustainability practices. With over

CONNECTING PAPER AND

campaigns such as the HP Office Pink Ream,

half of those surveyed citing the importance of

TECHNOLOGY, WITHOUT COSTING

go a long way in not only raising money, but

sustainability, dealers can optimise their paper

THE PLANET

raising awareness for both themselves and the

portfolio by ensuring they are listing reputable

HP Papers, HP Inks & Toners and HP Printers

designated charity.

brands that consumers will recognise and

are optimised to work together. Meaning

resonate with.

long term assurance and quality. Customers

its specially-designed packaging coincides with

The HP Office Pink Ream campaign and

By promoting paper from sustainably

can expect precise colour matching, reliable

Breast Cancer Awareness month each October,

managed forests and reinforcing the message

print speed and ink/toner savings along with

and for each Pink Ream sold International

to recycle, dealers can dispel negativity and

improved runnability.

Paper, the exclusive producer of HP Papers

encourage the use of a renewable product that’s been derived from nature. The HP Papers range provides an answer

Printer wear and tear and unnecessary

worldwide, donate £0.10 to programmes

reprints are also reduced with the presence

focusing on breast cancer research, awareness

of Colorlok® in HP Papers, which locks in

and prevention..

for dealers looking for a reputable paper

ink for superior colour reproduction and

portfolio that consumers will identify with.

quicker drying prints. This helps eliminate

For more information about the HP

Not only does the HP name represent quality

print smudging and build-up of ink on the

Papers range you can visit hp-papers.eu

and value, but all HP Papers sold in Europe

printer parts, meaning customers can save

or contact rebecca.shaw@ipaper.com

www.dealersupport.co.uk OCTOBER 2020 [29]


SALES SUCCESS

CSR

MAKING A CHANGE

to charity. For the average dealer, all of this

the accreditation framework are assessed by

Better sustainability isn’t the only important

can seem a little overwhelming – especially

the well-respected external entity Carbon

element of CSR, but it is one of the major

since the growing interest in CSR affects

Smart. “There’s a change coming, consumers

ones. It’s also one of the simplest to

your own customer base, and future

are consistently looking to buy from trusted

implement, as most people are already in

employees. But you’re not alone – there are

sources,” Julie continued. “Suppliers are

the habit of recycling and making greener

now programmes in place to help educate

reacting to it, but the awareness needs

choices. Here are some simple ways for

you further and enable you to earn proof

heightening among dealers and we’re there

employers to show that they care about the

of your CSR expertise and commitment,

to help. For a long time, in this industry,

environment – which dealers can help with.

meaning you can feel more confident in how

people have been price-focused – and,

customers see you.

yes, that’s hugely important; but when you

Make sure there are recycling bins dotted around the office environment.

We broke the news of one of these last

start engaging with social sustainability in

A good way to ensure that they are

year in an interview with Julie Hawley.

your business it opens up a different kind

used is to remove individual bins from

Office Friendly’s Weaver programme – so

of conversation for dealers and allows new

desks, as they lead people to throw

named because the weaver bird is known for

avenues for revenue.”

all types of rubbish – paper, tin, glass

building communities – not only provides

and plastic included in there, meaning

accreditation to prove a dealer’s dedication

things up in the industry is The Planet

none of it gets recycled. Having distinct

to CSR, but, when dealers are asked difficult

Mark. In November 2019 Integra hosted its

types of bin slightly further away from

CSR-related questions, Office Friendly is also

annual event which included a talk by Dave

desks forces people to dispose of them

able to hand them all the information they

Carlos, head of communications at The

properly.

need - without the stress.

Planet Mark, on why CSR is so important.

Encourage a paper-lite environment.,

“The Weaver programme focuses on

Another organisation which is shaking

The organisation measures a business’s

This way, paper is used and, therefore,

social sustainability in five areas: carbon

carbon and social data and engages with

wasted. One of the most effective ways

footprint, waste management, single-use

staff to unlock their knowledge and drive

of implementing this is through the use

packaging, sustainable products and social

their desire for change. It creates tools for

of printers which don’t print anything

responsibility,” Julie explained in November

communicating progress and building a

off until the job is physically confirmed,

2019’s edition of Dealer Support, where she

positive brand. So far, The Planet Mark

which does away with orphan print

delved more deeply into Weaver’s background.

has certified 400 organisations and, on

jobs lying around on machines, wasting

“The need for it is consumer-driven. We’ve all

average, holders of its certification make a

paper and creating a security risk.

seen a lot in the news about single-use plastics,

14% carbon saving, each year, per employee

Consider lighting and energy

and the impact of waste, and the need for

through energy use, waste, water, travel and

consumption, broadly. Dealers should be

social responsibility has grown. Suppliers are

procurement.

able to advise on – and supply – low-

also changing to reflect that demand, too, with

energy lighting that still creates the type

their product offering. Packaging is changing,

to a thriving planet and are a collective force

of light needed to maintain full visibility

the facilities in which they’re produced are

for good’ The Planet Mark’s website declares.

and boost staff wellbeing.

changing and there’s the need to give dealers

This, and the Weaver programme, aren’t

the tools for understanding these products

the only available resources for dealers.

through a new framework.”

They exist to help, and dealers should be

Other types of CSR include working

‘We see a world where we all contribute

with other local businesses, schools and

Office Friendly educates the dealer

embracing that help in order to ensure that

healthcare providers, sponsoring a local

through this programme, so that the dealer

they, and the planet, survive and thrive in

sports team or children’s club and donating

can then educate the customer; rankings for

these tumultuous times..

[30] OCTOBER 2016

www.dealersupport.co.uk


SALES SUCCESS

[32] OCTOBER 2020

D ATA S E C U R I T Y

www.dealersupport.co.uk


D ATA S E C U R I T Y

SALES SUCCESS

Play it safe Keeping documents safe is fundamental to many businesses, but when employees are working at multiple sites – including increasingly at home – how do they ensure security levels are maintained?

C

ybercrime, including

“Organisations must ensure their

close. “These are particularly well-suited to

the theft of data, cost

employees are aware of the legal

environments where children and pets are

the UK £27 billion in

responsibilities when handling confidential

jumping around.”

2019 – of which £27

information and provide them with the tools

billion was taken from

they need to comply with GDPR, whether

ACCO UK, agrees. “There is a massive sales

businesses, according

working in a corporate office or within a

opportunity for resellers in the shredding

home environment. Personal data is any

category,” he says. “Having a shredder at

information that identifies an individual,

home can help individuals safely destroy

to the threat of data and documents being

whether that be a customer, client, employee

paper, of course, but also stapled or

stolen – online or via traditional methods

or associate.”

paperclipped documents, and even credit

to government figures. While some companies have been alive

such as physical theft – for many years, and

This means that when documents are

David Richardson, sales director at

cards. Resellers have an excellent opening

have taken precautions accordingly, others

printed, scanned or saved, they need to be

to encourage new customers to take the

have had a more laissez faire approach.

stored in a secure place and destroyed once

necessary precautions by purchasing a

However, the coronavirus pandemic threw

they are no longer needed.

reliable shredder for home use, and can

the issue of data security into the spotlight

upsell existing customers to more secure or

as many more people with access to sensitive

DOCUMENT DISPOSAL

documents were working from home, where

For example, a shredder is an essential tool

their online and physical security may not be

if data needs to be destroyed, and machines

securely destroy obsolete paperwork

as tight as it is in their office.

offering high security micro-cut shredding

there is also the need to ensure important

capabilities are the most effective, Daryl

documents are kept safe and organised - and

employees work remotely, businesses ensure

adds. “With the surge in homeworking,

stored with easy access to when required.

they remain compliant with general data

there’s been an increase in demand for

protection regulations (GDPR), notes Daryl

personal shredders that are specially

storage boxes, transfer files and plastic

Brunt from Fellowes Brand. “Employees

designed for home office use.”

storage containers have really grown in

Indeed, it is crucial that, as more

accessing sensitive data at home may be at

Daryl notes that there are shredders

higher tech options.” As well as being able to quickly and

“Archiving solutions such as corrugated

popularity over the last few months as

risk of breaking the rules, especially when

on the market with technology which stop

homeworkers look to rearrange their home

paper data is involved,” he says.

shredding when hands or paws get too

spaces to accommodate their workspace

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


SALES SUCCESS

D ATA S E C U R I T Y

requirements,” says Daryl. Likewise, demand for safes – from multi-drawer cabinets to steel storage

equipment, to cyber criminals it can be an easy access point. “Many of us will be using devices that

professional simply might not have sight of. An unprotected printer connected to a firm’s network can be found using ‘Internet

cupboards – has also increased in recent

were not always bought for work purposes.

of Things’ search engines - such as Shodan

months as home workers look to keep

In most cases, a home printer is unlikely to

or Censys - and some old devices can have

documents, as well as company property

have the security features provided by the

fixed administrator logins which are widely

such as laptops and mobile phones, secure

printers at head office,” says Quentyn. “While

known online.

when they are not in use.

there might be only you and your family in

Quentyn Taylor, director of information

“To mitigate this threat, dealers should

the house, remember that if your printer is

ensure their customers have up-to-date

security at Canon EMEA, adds that

connected to the internet, then it is more

printer models that feature end-to-end

document safety it isn’t just about physical

vulnerable to attack. You need to make sure

data encryption and sophisticated access

pieces of paper. “It is important that teams

that your network is as secure as the one at

control that can integrate with network-

only use applications, networks and cloud

the office, and that all devices are sufficiently

wide password management solutions.

systems provided by the business,” he says.

protected - for example, by not having default

This means that printer passwords can be

“Any free cloud collaboration and storage

passwords on printers and other devices.”

changed whenever a network update is

tools they might be tempted to use may not

Andy Johnson, head of product and

due. There is an arms-race between cyber

be secure if they have not been vetted by the

solutions management at Brother UK,

criminals and software developers working

company first.

agrees. “A network-connected printer can

to keep devices safe - and neglecting to

“If you’re working remotely, you

be a gold mine of personal data for hackers;

install driver and firmware updates can

need to make sure that you have a clear

while the business-grade solutions operating

make businesses a target.

understanding of how to maintain a high

in workplaces under the watchful eye of

level of security. This means working

IT managers are designed to withstand

use genuine supplies to keep their data

securely whether you’re in the four walls of

sophisticated attacks, people working at

protected. Criminals can locate impressions

the office, from your dining room table or

home, or in satellite offices, often don’t have

of, potentially sensitive, data on some

even the sofa.”

the same diligent approach to print security.

‘compatible’ toners and cartridges, creating a

PRINTER PROBLEMS

businesses restructure for long-term

Supplies are tested by Smithers PIRA – an

One particularly vulnerable area is the

homeworking. Keeping default logins, and

independent authority – based on methods

printer. While this may not be instantly

not updating firmware, is a common issue,

used by criminals to ensure we can keep

considered as a vulnerable piece of

which creates vulnerabilities that an IT

information secure.”

“This poses a significant risk as

[34] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk

“Customers should also ensure they

further vulnerability. Our Brother Genuine


Can you assure customers of their printer security?

Xerox® VersaLink® family of office printers. Xerox technology has built-in security to help safeguard your business. Offer a true differentiator to customers and new ongoing profitable revenue for you. xerox.co.uk/partners ©2019-2020 Xerox Corporation. All rights reserved. Xerox® and VersaLink® are trademarks of Xerox Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.


SALES SUCCESS

ERGONOMICS

Comfort in work Wellbeing is crucial to having a productive workforce and ergonomics plays a large part in the physical aspect of that, whether at home or in the office, and there are plenty of solutions out there, as well as help for assessing workstation suitability

W

orking from home has become the norm for many employees since March - but not all

active working.” Daryl adds that employers should provide display screen

home workspaces are suitable; some people

equipment (DSE) workstation assessments for all computer-using

have even had to resort to working in their

employees who are based in the office or working from home on a

cars! A survey by online car marketplace

long-term basis. “These are normally arranged by the line manager,

Heycar, in September, found that one-in-10

HR team or Health and Safety department. If employees are working

people admit they work regularly from their car, with 20% using it as

from home temporarily, current guidance is that the employer does

a place to work on their laptop.

not need to provide a full workstation assessment; however, it is good

However, while this option can give employees some much-

practice to do one. There is plenty of guidance and advice to ensure

needed solitude, it can only ever be a short-term solution, as cars are

that workers get set up as safely as possible, including many online

not designed to be workspaces, and working in them for extended

resources that provide easy-to-follow workstation risk assessments.”

times could lead to health problems, such as back pain. Indeed, musculoskeletal problems such as back pain – which can

EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT

be caused by poor posture when working – accounted for nearly 20%

There is no ‘one size fits all’ for workspaces, as not everyone has

of staff sickness absence in 2018, according to figures from the Office

sufficient space for a commercial office desk, and needs vary

of National Statistics. This demonstrates the importance of having

depending on the role being carried out, Mark Galliano, of Tehnik,

the correct ergonomic workspace, and it is essential that managers

points out. “Quite often, though, the workspace at home represents

attend to this whether employees are working from home or the

a ‘pared back’ version of the same worker’s space in their main office

office.

so the desk does not need to accommodate the same equipment -

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that buying trends have

particularly as home working culture quite often comes with more

shifted to accommodate this issue, according to Daryl Brunt of

paperless processes. Nevertheless, the space still needs to provide

Fellowes Brands. “Products that help to reduce inactivity and prevent

room for the user to sit at their computer screen with sufficient room

tension in the back and neck while staring at a computer screen, as

for correct posture.”

well as those designed to avoid pressure on the wrists while typing,

Mark adds that, in recent months, suppliers have tried to

have enjoyed a steep spike in sales following the mass transition to

incorporate a broad spread of workstations, from small, space-

home working,” he says.

saving desks right up to full office suites with matching filing and

“The most popular lines are laptop supports, document holders,

storage solutions, so that dealers and retailers can accommodate

free-standing monitor arms and sit-stand desk converters that

these various health and safety needs, while still providing visually

transform sedentary worktops into dynamic workstations for more

appealing products which will fit in at home.

[36] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


GIZA L

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TA SPAR

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SALES SUCCESS

ERGONOMICS

Elisabete Wells, regional marketing director at ACCO UK,

“The number one cause of lower neck pain when working is due

agrees. “We’re finding that workers are beginning to establish

to incorrect monitor positions. Poor monitor placement can also

designated workspaces within their homes,” she says. “This presents

lead to eye strain, improper posture and shoulder problems, and a

an immediate sales opportunity for resellers in ergonomic furniture

high-quality monitor arm is an essential piece of office equipment

and accessories.

designed to create an ergonomic desk and working environment.”

“Since work-from-home looks like it’s here to stay for

Simon adds that there are many single and double monitor arms

the foreseeable future, it’s going to be essential that staff are

on offer - affordable for any budget - but with no compromise on

comfortable. Spending multiple hours, daily, in a position that is

important features; such products can be tailored to the user’s exact

not ergonomically supportive is not good for posture or overall

needs to promote good posture, improve efficiency, productivity and

wellbeing. Kensington offer a wide range of products to help combat

wellbeing.

this, such as standing desks, footrests, seat cushions, monitor arms

There have also been moves to get desk-based employees on

and laptop risers, keyboards and trackballs. Resellers should expect

their feet during the day, with height adjustable desks increasing in

increased demand for these products in coming weeks and months

popularity as they allow users to switch between sitting and standing

from new customers, and should use this opportunity to upsell

throughout the day. “Height-adjustable desk converters now exist,

existing customers to more ergonomically designed solutions.”

which turn a regular desk into a standing desk without having to replace the current one,” Simon adds.

SEAT OF POWER One of the most important parts of the workstation is the chair

STAND TALL

and, as Simon Howorth, marketing and design manager at DAMS

However, as John Barker, marketing manager at Floortex Europe

International, points out, an ill-fitting chair will quickly cause pain.

Ltd, notes, excessive standing in a single position also has its physical

“The most important thing to remember when selecting an office

drawbacks, putting strain on the back, hips and legs. “Use of an

chair is that people come in all shapes and sizes, so there is no one

ergonomic, anti-fatigue standing surface if important if users are to

office chair that will suit everybody,” he says. “A person who is

get the best from sit-stand working,” he says.

cramped, or in pain, due to a poorly designed chair, is not someone

Anti-fatigue standing surfaces are ergonomic, which encourages

who will enjoy their work and perform to the best of their abilities.

regular foot movement and changes in standing position which

A good office chair will allow the user to adjust the chair to fit their

stimulate the lower body for reduced fatigue and improved working

body, their desk and their activities.

performance, John explains.

“But it’s not all about the chair. Your desk should, ideally,

“Standing desks and adjustable desk risers are a great investment

allow you to have your feet flat on the floor, with your legs fitting

for any company looking to enhance working practices focused on

comfortably under the desk when sitting. If your desk doesn’t

wellbeing,” he adds. “However, on-going use and benefits will only

support this posture you can invest in a keyboard tray, get a footrest,

be maximised if the correct ergonomic accessories are also supplied.

adjust your chair height and seating position, or change the height of

Providing the full ergonomic solution is the key to maximising

your desk.

employee wellbeing.”

[38] OCTOBER 2020

www.dealersupport.co.uk


INDUSTRY NEWS AND INSIGHT Make sure your team are up to speed with the latest industry developments Sign them up now at www.dealersupport.co.uk

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SALES SUCCESS

LIVE IT

LIVE IT Life hack Here’s a great tip for growing roses from cuttings! Before planting, push the bottom ends of the cuttings into small potatoes - moisture and nutrients in the potatoes will allow the cuttings to develop healthy roots.

THUMBS UP Teenager carries out acts of kindness to help lonely in lockdown As reported by BBC News, a teenager with learning and physical difficulties has carried out random

CAPTION COMPETITION

acts of kindness to raise money during lockdown to buy disadvantaged children communication devices. Sebbie Hall, 17, from Whittington, Staffordshire, started in March when his school closed due to coronavirus. He has raised more than £3,500 for charities which support young people. His acts of kindness included washing cars, watering gardens and handing out Nice biscuits to strangers.

Quote of the month “The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” – Mark Caine –

[40] OCTOBER 2016

www.dealersupport.co.uk


LIVE IT

Did you know? We live on a tough little planet! On any day on earth there are, on average, 35 earthquakes, around 44,000 storms, and lightning strikes the earth 100 times every second. Every year more than two million cases of arson are reported, and more than a million trees are chopped just to make toothpicks. Not all is gloom, however; 200 million couples make love – and 400,000 babies are born – every day!

SALES SUCCESS

?

PUB QUIZ 1. What is the national sport of Japan?

Potty-mouthed parrots separated

3. What national team won the first ever football World Cup in 1930? 4. What is a baby elephant called? 5. What is the largest planet? Answers: 1.Sumo wrestling 2.Catherine Parr 3.Uruguay 4.Calf 5.Jupiter

Knock me down with a feather

2. Who was Henry VIII’s last wife?

after encouraging each other to swear at zoo Five cheeky parrots have had to be separated after encouraging each other to swear at a Lincolnshire zoo, Sky News has reported. The parrots -

Weird world

named Billy, Eric, Tyson, Jade and Elsie - joined Lincolnshire Wildlife Centre’s

Voting from a height

colony of 200 grey parrots in August,

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins told The Associated

but it did not take them long to ruffle

Press that she plans to cast her next vote in the US

a few feathers with their foul language.

election from space – more than 200 miles above

“We saw it very quickly. We are quite

Earth. Kate is currently just outside Moscow in Star

used to parrots swearing, but we’ve

City, Russia, preparing with two other cosmonauts

never had five at the same time,” Steve

for a mid-October launch and a six-month stay at the

Nichols, CEO of the wildlife park said.

International Space Station. “I think it’s really important for

The parrots have since been distributed

everybody to vote,” Kate said. “If we can do it from space, then I

to different areas of the park so they do

believe folks can do it from the ground, too.”

not “set each other off”.

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


SALES SUCCESS

F A T H E R P. C L I P

Bringing hope, peace and unity to the good brethren of the business supplies community In which the good father looks back, wistfully, on a time when stationery reps were the rock stars of the industry – and wonders what became of them all ales of sit-stand desks

customers; we’ve always been known as an

have been up and

innovative company and I remember so

down for a while now,

many new arrivals I’ve had the pleasure of

premises on a daily basis have long since

but they finally seem

demonstrating over the years. I remember

disappeared, which is why I still like to

to be catching on in

when the electric pencil sharpeners first

welcome them with open arms when we

our area. We’re having

came out and I sharpened half the pencils in

do use them. I used to be able to put in a

lots of conversations with customers about

the country. It got to the stage where people

whole day just talking to various supplier

them and, although we haven’t sold any yet,

were queuing outside the premises because

reps, shooting the breeze, going for lunch, or

the momentum is growing.

we had the only one and, because no-one

sometimes a game of golf – all because their

would buy one, we had to finally make the

company had released a new ruler which

excuse that it was broken.

didn’t shatter, or they had brought out a new

S

It’s like that with loads of new products – we have meetings to talk about whether we will sell them or not, then we have a meeting

It was the same when we got the first

years when the size was reduced. The days of representatives visiting our

range of ring binders which didn’t rust.

about the best way to go to market with

fax machine in the area. Lots of people were

them, and then we have a meeting about

put off because it was the size of a boat and

all day now that they don’t visit...Probably

I sometimes wonder what those reps do

why we haven’t sold any.

it wouldn’t fit in their premises, but others

just the same as me, with my head buried in a

New products are great, and it’s

could see how brilliant the idea was and said

computer screen – or are they off somewhere

good to go and demonstrate them to our

that they would definitely order one in a few

playing a game of golf without customers?

JOKE OF THE MONTH A stationer is walking past a restaurant when he sees a sign which says ‘SANDWICHES, ALL TYPES. If we can’t make your sandwich we’ll give you £100’. The stationer immediately goes into the restaurant and says, “I bet you can’t make me an elephant ear sandwich.” The waiter says, “Let me check,” and soon comes back with the manager who asks, “Are you the guy who wants the elephant ear sandwich?” “Yes I am; can you make one?” says the stationer. “No, we can’t,” says the manager, “but we stand by our sign – here’s £100.” “Thanks,” says the stationer. “I knew you wouldn’t have any elephant ears.” “No, sir,” says the manager. “We’ve got the ears - we’ve just run out of the big baps we serve them in.”

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


FINAL WORD

SALES SUCCESS

Adversity creates opportunity 3

0 years in this industry

through the lens of EvolutionX, how dealers

has taught me many

are diversifying their product and service

things, but none more

offerings to cater for the changing needs of

so than what a bloody

their customers.

resilient bunch we can all be when push

To back that up, at the time of writing this (October 5th), the daily value of

comes to shove - no matter what’s thrown at

transactions processed across the network

us…and, let’s face it, this last eight months

of 250+ EvolutionX webstores has now

has been one of the most challenging times

recovered to pre-COVID levels - and

of all.

continues to climb. So, whilst the mix of

This resilience has shown itself in

it is abundantly clear that many dealers are

we hosted a number of OP focus group

finding and creating opportunities during

webinars attended by wholesalers, dealer

these adverse times, and I tip my hat to you

groups, manufacturers, dealers, BOSS and

and the suppliers for your ingenuity, and

the trade press, and I was blown away by

resilience! some relief, and a hefty dose of humility,

assistance across the board.

that I can report that both FusionPlus Data OK, with new supplier partners and dealers

furloughing or, sadly, letting people go,

continuing to join our ES Tech Group family.

swapping face-to-face meetings with video

The adversity of COVID-19 has encouraged

conferencing and the associated operational

suppliers to take the opportunity to improve

and mental trauma that goes with all of that

their product content, for dealers to upgrade

– oh to have shares in Zoom!

their webstore offering, and for all to

Beyond this we have seen through working tirelessly to manufacture and/

sbilton@ estechgroup.io

and sister company EvolutionX are doing

converting office workers to home workers,

the lens of FusionPlus how suppliers are

FusionPlus Data

With regard to our businesses, it is with

genuine (and ultimately productive) offers of Many then had the challenge of

Managing Director

products being sold has changed somewhat,

numerous ways. Back in March/April

how open and honest everybody was, with

Steve Bilton

appreciate the growing importance, if not necessity, of on-line trading. For those of you who have not yet found

or source COVID-related products (PPE,

your opportunity, it is out there – keep

infection control, home-working, etc) and,

looking, be resilient!

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


Here to make it easy for resellers to do business With a legacy dating back to 1852, we offer choice, flexibility and an outstanding customer experience.

Contact us today for more information: www.vowwholesale.co.uk marketing@vowwholesale.co.uk @VOWWholesale VOW Wholesale

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Dealer Support October 2020  

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