Office Products International ISSUE NO.239
The word in office.
Big Interview Tomas Bergström, CEO of OCAY p16 May 2014
MAY 2014 WWW.OPI.NET
Top 100 Resellers Who’s in and who’s out this year? p25 shareholder p48 NAOPA 2014 shortlist p10 Activist takes aim at office2office
Contents May 2014
HP fined; success for Pinnacle; management buyout at Armor
45 London Stationery Show Review
UK trade show gets thumbs up from exhibitors and visitors
8 Beyond OP
47 ABC Preview
IS sweeps into FM; Staples ups 3D ante; United offers boot camps
What to look forward to at this year’s SP Richards ABC event
48 NAOPA Preview
FSIoffice scoops state contract; US investor on the hunt for o2o
We have the NAOPA shortlist, but there’s still time to get involved
16 It’s going OCAY
OPI talks to OCAY CEO Tomas Bergström about a new force in the Swedish business supplies market
53 Filing and archiving Fighting the digitisation battle
57 Office Paper
25 Top 100
Supply and demand
Who have been the movers and shakers of the past year or so? On these pages you’ll find out who’s in and who’s out
36 The personal touch
The art of customisation according to Austrian vendor Colop
5 Editor’s comment 60 On the move 63 5 minutes with... Cordelia von Gymnich
40 The low-down on co-ops
64 What’s on
United Stationers’ David Haugh on the rise of cooperative contracts
43 Boise Paper
Key dates for your calendar
66 Final word Carolyne Turnbull
Meeting dealers’ needs
“Not only has our cooperative contract allowed us to gain a significant amount of new business, but the public sector customer is still very traditional in its business processes and thus consumes more office supplies than the typical private sector business.” ... For the full story, turn to page 40
This month’s cover is supplied by Colop
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Conspiracy theory I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I’m trying to write this Editor’s comment with one ear on United Stationers’ first quarter conference call. There always seems to be something taking place or a breaking news story on or around OPI deadline day… there is a conspiracy theory in there somewhere! Talking of United, while they are clearly disappointed at not getting the nod for the first-call wholesale business at Office Depot, OPI readers seemed to think the award to SP Richards was a positive thing for the balance of the industry in the US (see our poll result on page 15). One area that United has targeted for growth is business – via its There always seems to be reseller partners – something taking place or a with government breaking news story on or agencies, and we around OPI deadline day have an interesting piece on the rise of cooperative contracts contributed by the wholesaler’s Head of Vertical Markets David Haugh (see page 40). Not all government agencies are going down the cooperative route though, and local US dealer FSIoffice has recently won the North Carolina state contract. We spoke with FSI’s Mark Leazer about this win and he talks about how independents have managed to level the playing field with their big-box competitors in this area (page 12). Finally, we welcome back our annual Top 100 feature this month. I say 100, but we actually include only 15 resellers in this year’s print edition, with the balance to be published on opi.net. Have you or your company made it? Turn to page 25 to find out! Andy Braithwaite , Editor
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News from opi.net HP fined $108 million in corruption scandal In April, Hewlett-Packard (HP) agreed to pay US regulators $108 million to settle a corruption scandal involving rogue employees at subsidiaries in three countries. Unnamed HP employees in Poland, Russia and Mexico were found to have bribed government officials to win and retain lucrative public contracts. The investigation involved regulators in Poland and Germany, the US Department of Justice (DoJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the FBI. A criminal case has also been announced by the DoJ. HP’s General Counsel John Schultz commented: “The misconduct described in the settlement was limited to a small number of people who are no longer employed by the company. HP fully cooperated with both the DoJ and the SEC in the investigation of these matters.”
Pinnacle reports membership boost Two leading US dealers in the New York region have joined Pinnacle Affiliates, the group for large dealers. Former TriMega member Eaton Office Supply officially joined Pinnacle on 1 April. The dealer’s President Bruce Eaton, a former Chairman of TriMega, said the move was brought about by his vision that larger independent dealers need to understand digital platforms such as websites, email campaigns, social media and blogs. Joining Pinnacle from 1 June, meanwhile, is longstanding Independent Stationers (IS) member Hummel’s Office Plus. In fact, the switch has led to an enforced change on the IS board, where Harrison Hummel IV is the current Chairman. Vice Chairman Byran Kristenson of Office Plus in Kansas will take on the Chairman role, while Brian Kerr of Kentucky-based Kerr Group has been elected as Vice Chairman in addition to his responsibilities as Treasurer. Joining the board is Jordan Kudler of New York dealer Legacy Office Solutions. The addition of Eaton and Hummel’s takes Pinnacle’s membership to 24 – around half of all the largest independent dealers in the US.
Sequana shares suspended
CoH fundraising name change The OP industry group which supports the US-based medical research centre City of Hope (CoH) has changed its name from the National Office Products Council to the National Business Products Council – a name that aims to reflect the growth of technology and adjacent categories such as breakroom and jan/san. Fellowes CEO Jamie Fellowes announced the name change at the annual CoH tour and Hall of Fame dinner in February, where he also revealed that VP Specialty Retail for Coca-Cola Steve Paccone and SVP Marketing for SYNNEX Bob Stegner had both been made members of the council.
OPI Magazine | May 2014
Trading in the shares of paper group Sequana – owner of Antalis and Arjowiggins – was suspended on the Euronext Paris in April at the request of the company. The move came after the release of the company’s full-year 2013 results which included news of a restructuring of the group’s debt, a new 164 million ($87 million) rights issue and a major restructuring programme at the Arjowiggins paper division. Sequana’s full-year 2013 sales were down almost 8% (-5.4% in constant currencies) versus 2012 to 13.33 billion and EBITDA fell by 11.6% to 1117 million, while one-off expenses of 1295 million saw the company record a net loss for the year of 1301 million. Restructuring at Arjowiggins had already taken place in 2013 with the closure of the Ivybridge plant in the UK and the sale of the casting paper business to Italy’s Favini. Now the division is to sell off its US coated paper division, sell or close down two mills in France and make a number of other operational changes as it looks to reduce exposure in the coated paper segment and strengthen its position in recycled paper. Sequana also announced that it has reached an agreement in principle with its banks to restructure the group’s debt. That agreement could see 30% of its share capital pass into the hands of the banks by the end of 2020. This financial restructuring will be accompanied by a 164 million share issue which already has the backing of three of Sequana’s major shareholders. It was these developments that led Sequana to request a suspension in the trading of its shares “until further notice”.
News n Round-up
Moleskine opens first London store Upmarket stationery vendor Moleskine has opened its first standalone store in London, UK. The manufacturer – in keeping with its intellectual and creative brand image – has chosen the Canary Wharf area for its first store in the UK capital, and this will be followed shortly by a second outlet in the trendy Covent Garden district. Moleskine has mobile retail spaces in places such as airports – the picture shows a Moleskine ‘store’ at London’s Heathrow Airport – but the Canary Wharf shop is part of the company’s strategy to build its brand presence in major business hubs. The new 50 sq m (500 sq ft) store takes the number of Moleskine stores worldwide to 30, with London joining other large cities such as New York, Paris and Beijing. 23 stores were opened in the last financial year alone.
Management buyout at Armor Pelikan Artline
European aftermarket supplies manufacturer Armor has been taken over by its senior management following a buyout. CEO Hubert de Boisredon led the buyout and was joined by six other members of the senior management team. Boisredon has become the main shareholder with 36%, while the other six executives hold a further 20%
between them. Together, they control 71% of the voting rights. The transaction sees the exit of Lyon-based investment fund Orfite which acquired 90% of Armor in 2008. Backing the management buyout are French investment firms Arkéa Capital Partenaire, Ouest Croissance, Siparex and LCL Partenaire which have put a combined amount of 145 million ($62 million) into the firm. Armor’s staff can also participate in the buyout via an employee fund. In 2013, Armor achieved sales of about 1217 million and a net profit of around 111 million. The company is currently preparing to market organic photovoltaic solar films as part of its diversification strategy.
Mega Brands sale imminent The sale of toys and stationery vendor Mega Brands to Mattel is expected to close before the end of the current quarter. Mattel made a $460 million offer for Mega Brands at the end of February, primarily to acquire the Canada-based firm’s construction toys, but the deal also includes the Rose Art and Board Dudes craft and OP brands.
Australian distributor Pelikan Artline has announced the acquisition of Jasco’s office products division. The deal was closed on 24 April, with the two companies to be integrated and trade as Pelikan Artline. Jasco will remain a separate entity for its arts and crafts products business, under current ownership, but has also signed an agreement to form a distribution alliance with Pelikan Artline. The alliance will see Jasco become the preferred distributor of the entire portfolio of Pelikan Artline brands into the arts and crafts channel. Jasco has been distributing brands such as Stabilo, Texta, Ideal and Rapid in Australia and New Zealand for the past 54 years and is known as a specialist in arts and crafts products.
Officeworks launches new website As part of its omnichannel strategy, Australian reseller Officeworks has launched a new e-commerce site for desktop, tablet and mobile users. Developed in-house by a dedicated project group of 30 team members over a 12-month period, the new platform features a cleaner layout and simplified headings and imagery. New additions to the site include a ‘set your store’ option, a simplified
checkout process, product suggestions and improved features for business and account customers. Officeworks Managing Director Mark Ward said: “Technology is continually evolving the way consumers connect with retailers. This new platform is an important leap forward for our business, and provides a solid platform for additional enhancements and innovation in the future.”
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News ■ Beyond OP
IS sweeps into FM CETA hooks up with ISSA US dealer group Independent Stationers (IS) has partnered with R3 Distribution to launch a programme called Clean Sweep Distribution to help IS members sell more facilities, breakroom and food service products. The group’s members will now be able to benefit from the support of R3’s selling tools and sales rep network. The programme will roll out in a number of phases. The first phase will comprise members that will test and fine-tune the programme, while a full rollout to the rest of the membership will take place in Q3 2014. “R3 has long been a respected source in its markets and our members will now be able to be more competitive in the facilities, breakroom and food service markets,” said IS Merchandising Director Mike Foster. “Most importantly, this programme gives IS members a unique advantage with marketing tools and access to products not made available in the past. This is a great win for dealers that want to do more than dabble in these categories.”
The Cleaning Equipment Trade Association (CETA) will co-locate its CETA annual convention with the ISSA Interclean North America exhibition and ISSA Convention, starting at this November’s event in Orlando, Florida. CETA represents the pressure washing industry, including
manufacturers, distributors, dealers and service providers. A CETA pavilion will be available on the Interclean trade show floor, further diversifying the products available to attendees. The association will also conduct its own convention seminars and networking events during the show.
United puts the boot in United Stationers is organising a series of boot camps and supplier summits between May and October to help resellers grow their sales of cleaning and breakroom products. This series of two-and-a-half-day events features demonstrations, presentations and interactive workshops for attendees to master the industry’s latest selling techniques. In addition, a supplier summit will help to connect resellers with key suppliers and peer allies, fostering strong relationships across the industry. The boot camp is open to owners, principals, sales managers and sales reps interested in learning more about the cleaning and breakroom category. Breakout sessions cover the details of selling a variety of category products, including towels, tissues, can liners, cleaning chemicals and single-serve coffee services.
Staples ups the 3D ante XPD dealers put to work Staples has teamed up with 3D printing firm 3D Systems to pilot a 3D printing service in two stores in New York and Los Angeles. Each store features a 3D printing ‘experience centre’ that enables consumers and small businesses to create personalised products and use 3D printing hardware. It includes a photo booth that lets customers scan their likeness to create a personalised figurine or smartphone case. Customers can also bring in their own 3D print-ready files to have them printed.
Bunzl continues spending spree Facilities and catering distributor Bunzl has made three more international acquisitions. The latest additions to the Bunzl fold are Chilean protective footwear maker Tecno Boga, American food service, hygiene and cleaning products supplier Plast Techs Enterprises, and New Zealand’s Nelson Packaging Supplies. These latest purchases bring Bunzl’s 2014 acquisition tally to six for a total spend of £80 million ($134 million).
OPI Magazine | May 2014
Members of UK dealer group XPD were able to broaden their knowledge of the facilities management (FM) market and get category-specific selling tips at a recent workshop hosted in collaboration with wholesaler Spicers. The Workplace Workshop also saw suppliers such as Nestlé, Black & Decker and Newell Rubbermaid showcase products and services ranging from catering to first aid training and tools. XPD Director of Marketing Steve Robinson said: “With a £6 billion ($10 billion) opportunity for dealers in the FM market, the day was focused on giving XPD members as much knowledge and as many skills as possible to help them to maximise their sales in this rapidly growing sector.”
Costa Express has launched an intelligent self-service espresso machine that it hopes will be a hit with businesses. The touchscreen Marlow machine uses freshly ground mocha beans and fresh milk, has built-in speakers to recreate the sound of a coffee bar and even emanates a coffee fragrance. Costa says it will target customers where installing a fully-fledged coffee bar is not always feasible, such as offices, educational establishments and hospitals.
IQ test for EDmarket The Education Market Association (EDmarket) has developed a comprehensive database of education contacts to help manufacturers and dealers of school products in the US target their marketing. Called EDmarket IQ, the cloud-based service – which was demonstrated at March’s Ed Expo trade show in Dallas – allows EDmarket members to search a full database of schools, districts and colleges for real-time information to identify sales opportunities.
Print-Rite makes 3D move Chinese manufacturer Print-Rite has launched a 3D printer and related consumables. The device will use PLA and ABS filament – the formula for which was developed in conjunction with US consumables experts – with Print-Rite also developing accompanying software, firmware and controller boards for the printer. In all, the company said it had been granted more than ten patents for its 3D technology, leading it to call the product launch a “milestone” in the aftermarket printer and consumables industry.
Askul driven to drink Japanese reseller Askul is to acquire the alcoholic drinks business of beverages and lottery firm Shirou. The transaction – which is expected to become effective on 2 July – comes as Askul looks to introduce new categories for its LOHACO B2C e-commerce venture with Yahoo! Japan. Askul said it was responding to strong customer demand to add alcoholic drinks to its LOHACO product range.
News ■ Beyond OP
Costa targets office coffee
News n Analysis
On the hunt US investor’s Project Arrow reverse merger proposal is rejected by the o2o board
reseller office2office (o2o) has confirmed it has rejected a proposal by an activist shareholder who is vying to win three seats on the company’s board. On 26 March, o2o revealed that US investor Nick Gerber – who owns over 9% of the firm’s shares – was nominating himself and two other representatives for places on the reseller’s board of directors. o2o subsequently admitted that it had already rejected a “preliminary merger proposal” with two of Gerber’s companies – a US fund management business and a Bulgarian website development start-up – on the basis that the proposal had “no strategic or commercial logic”. In a stock market statement o2o said that Gerber’s attempts at board representation could potentially enable him to drive his agenda forward and reiterated its view that his proposal was “not in the best interests of the company’s shareholders and stakeholders”. “The board intends to continue its stated strategy to improve performance and strengthen the business by cutting costs, reducing debt, remodelling the logistics
platform and focusing on growing Business Critical Services whilst protecting Managed Procurement’s margins in the tough office supplies market,” the company stated. “The board is of the view that this
looking for undervalued firms,” he said. “One of the first things I look for is stock hitting new 12-month lows and if it deserves that treatment from ‘Mr Market’. It is sound underlying businesses with depressed stock prices that catch my eye.” With o2o firmly on his radar screen, Gerber – who describes himself as a ‘serial entrepreneur’ – began buying up shares late last year, taking his stake to more than 9% on 20 January. Was he just a pragmatic ‘bottom feeder’ waiting for an upswing in the
“For two years now, the shareholders of office2office have suffered declining profits, disappearing dividends and, in the last 12 months, a 70%-plus decline in their share price” strategy will deliver greater value to shareholders,” it added. o2o said it was investigating the “validity” of Gerber’s resolutions and advised shareholders to take no action for the time being.
Serial entrepreneur But who is Nick Gerber, and what exactly is he proposing? OPI obtained his proposal document and has had a series of email exchanges with the man himself. The California-based investor told OPI he first became interested in o2o when its share price fell off a cliff last July – losing 50% of its value virtually overnight. “Being a value portfolio manager, I scour the world
share price, or did he have bigger plans for o2o? The answer to that came on 19 February when he sent o2o a proposal for a reverse merger under the name of ‘Project Arrow’. The 11-page Project Arrow document outlined Gerber’s vision for the transformation of o2o into a fund management and software group. This would be achieved by o2o acquiring two of Gerber’s firms – Wainwright Holdings, a US-based fund management firm with 2012 revenue of $18.2 million, and Microweber, a Bulgaria-registered website domain name start-up with virtually zero income – and then performing a reverse merger which would install Gerber as CEO of a new office2office group.
Nick Gerber: o2o is undervalued
OPI Magazine | May 2014
The total value of Gerber’s proposal is put at £64 million ($107 million) with o2o’s shareholders having a 25% stake in the new entity. This values o2o at about £16 million, more than double its current market capitalisation, but about eight times lower than in April 2012. “I believe the proposal is a win-win for both our organisations and shareholders and will create a platform for long-term growth,” Gerber stated in a 19 February letter to o2o CEO Simon Moate. o2o’s response to Gerber came back on 10 March in the form of a rejection letter. In the letter, o2o Chairman Jim Cohen told Gerber that
share price then rallied over the following months. Gerber added that there have also been other similar transactions that he “walked away from” because either the target company didn’t turn out to be a good fit or the share price moved up.
Stronger together So far, o2o’s share price has not been boosted by this reverse merger talk and Gerber maintains that the firm – especially its Managed Communication unit – ties in with his financial services and software vision. “office2office is a great company and its stock is undervalued even without voting me in,” he stated. “However, what it might be able to do in 4-5 years alone we could do in 2-3 together. I’m not going away.” Let’s now see if o2o’s shareholders share Gerber’s optimism.
Solid 2013 results
Against the backdrop of its sliding share price and the Nick Gerber proxy challenge, o2o actually reported a solid set of 2013 financial results at the beginning of April. Underlying pre-tax profit for the 12 months to 31 December 2013 was £4.19 million ($7 million) – virtually the same as 2012’s restated accounts – while sales were up 2% to £231.9 million. The top line was boosted by the Banner Critical Services division, where sales grew 6% to £84.6 million, while the Banner Business Services supplies division reported essentially flat sales of £147.3 million. There are clearly concerns about the overall state of the office supplies sector in the UK, estimated to have declined by about 9% in 2013. Despite its market share gains, o2o is currently in the final stages of defining a logistics “remodelling” programme as the leases on its three distribution centres expire this year. More details on this programme will be released in due course, CEO Simon Moate told OPI.
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News n Analysis
shareholder proxy challenge and he says he had already Below are some of the key areas of Nick Gerber’s reverse made contact with merger proposal. a number of larger • o2o to acquire financial services firm Wainwright shareholders to Holdings and software start-up Microweber. introduce himself • The establishment of a new o2o group with Gerber as and his idea. CEO, and with current o2o CEO However, even Simon Moate to head the Banner Gerber himself division. admits his idea is a • A deal that values o2o at £16 “radical” one. million ($26 million), or 44p “Even educated per share. At the time of writing, institutional o2o’s share price stood at investors with approximately 20.5p. a fiduciary responsibility to the company’s board and its financial learn as much as they can about all advisor Rothschild had concluded alternatives hate change, even if that there were “alternative strategic it may be good for them and their options for office2office that are more wallets,” he said. feasible and likely to deliver greater Gerber now needs at least 51% shareholder value than Project Arrow”. support for his proxy challenge at “If the outside directors of o2o’s AGM at the end of May to gain office2office are executing on three seats on the board and be in a alternative, more feasible options position to push through his merger that they consider might deliver proposal. That’s certainly going to greater shareholder value, then they be a challenge, but Gerber maintains should enumerate those strategies,” he is serious about his vision for o2o was Gerber’s response to that. and not just making a noise to boost the share price – and then sell out at Rejection a profit. “For two years now, the shareholders “I am not so smart as to create of office2office have suffered tactical situations which spark declining profits, disappearing short-term price increases allowing dividends and, in the last 12 me a handsome profit,” he argued. “I months, a 70%-plus decline in their initially proposed the reverse merger share price. And all this during an idea privately. Had office2office economic recovery and a bullish acted upon it, there would have stock market.” been no proxy challenge; we would The rejection of his proposal have done the merger which would prompted Gerber into launching his have made me the largest single shareholder (an illiquid position), and I probably would have agreed to not sell any of my shares for a year. “All of this that I wanted to happen – and still do – aligns my interests directly with those of long-term shareholders.” In order to give his proposal credibility with o2o’s institutional shareholders, one of Gerber’s nominees for the o2o board is Peter Thornton, the well-known UK businessman and ex-Chairman of the Thorntons chocolate company. Gerber’s relationship with Thornton goes back to late 2012 when the American mooted a similar reverse merger proposal for Thorntons after Confectioning a board: Ex-Thorntons’ Chairman its share price had slumped to below Peter Thornton is one of Gerber’s board 40p. Gerber said that deal never got nominees off the ground because Thorntons’
Project Arrow in a nutshell
news n Analysis
Sweet Carolina Local dealer FSIoffice selected as sole supplier for North Carolina state contract
the previous North Carolina state office supplies contract was awarded at the end of 2008, it was regarded as something of a watershed moment in government purchasing (see Hot Topic, OPI #186, page 22). At the time, the award went to four local dealers in what was seen as a victory for small businesses versus the growing trend towards sole-supplier strategic sourcing contracts that invariably went to large national players. Fast forward four years, and the state has reverted back to a strategic sourcing policy after declaring that the previous system “wasn’t working”. However, instead of opting for big-box suppliers, two contracts – one for office supplies and the other for paper which combined are estimated to be worth about $14 million per year – have gone to independent resellers: Florida-based Mac Papers for the paper contract and North Carolina dealer Forms & Supply (FSIoffice) for office supplies.
Restoring pricing confidence With these new three-year agreements – which began on 1 April – the state reckons it will save at least $5 million annually compared to its previous contracts. FSIoffice was one of the incumbents on that previous contract. So, what were the shortcomings? “To our knowledge the previous contract worked just fine,” the company’s Director of Sales Technology Mark Leazer told OPI. “Private label was somewhat limited, a third-party catalogue and list price were used for standardisation, and substitutions were forbidden to avoid some of the pitfalls of the single-source contract prior to the last one. Some of those requirements may have somewhat limited savings
OPI Magazine | May 2014
opportunities, but accomplished the state’s need to restore pricing confidence […] and made it very easy for it to audit the contract pricing. “In my opinion, the reason for moving back to a single ‘strategic sourcing’ award was due to a performance audit by the state auditor a few years ago which questioned why state users should be able to buy the same product from a choice of four vendors at four different prices.” However, while Leazer was obviously delighted that FSIoffice won the contract – out of a total of 14 bids – he is still not convinced about the benefits of awarding these types of contracts for office supplies. “The ‘theory’ of leveraging all your volume with one vendor to ‘get the best price’ has won out again,” he noted. “That theory is good for many commodities and plenty of other situations – especially on the commercial side of our business – but I am not a big fan of large public entities due to the vast number of SKUs, alternate products, list prices and even geographic delivery and sales coverage. “With the many thousands of users on a state contract, those users should have the choice of several qualified, price-competitive vendors. I just believe choice of several vendors ensures competition in practice every day, not just on paper on the bid package. During the course of [the previous] contract the four vendors competed with each other for business, so competition existed for the entire five-year term of the contract. If a user had problems with one vendor they had three others to choose from.” The main changes on the new contract include the addition of private label products, remanufactured toner and a core list of products. Despite
the inclusion of private label – which Leazer describes as historically “tough” for the independent dealer channel as “house brand private label list prices are much more difficult to monitor” – FSIoffice was the lowest overall bidder on the 240-item core list and the discounted non-core catalogue (about 4,000 additional products). Price accounted for 70% of the weighting, service capabilities for 30%.
Level playing field In fact, three of the top four bids for this North Carolina contract were from independent dealers, and Leazer believes that when there is a level playing field independents can compete and win on this type of contract. “I think that ability to compete is due to several things,” he explained. “First, better data analysis tools to project margins based on projected pricing and usage; second, pricing support from our business partners and continued improvement in systematic deployment of that support through our various systems; and third, better capabilities and support from our systems providers to enable service of an entire state or region on delivery, back-end systems support and reporting and, most certainly, e-commerce. “North Carolina has a sophisticated e-procurement system to which we have successfully interfaced due to the abilities of our E-Commerce Manager Carolyn Collins, and the support of ECi and the SP Richards/ Etilize e-content partnership.”
One of our Category Analysis features this month is on paper (see page 57). An interesting conversation has been taking place on OPI’s LinkedIn page recently on the subject of ‘tree-free’ paper – including its environmental benefits, performance attributes and pricing. Below are some of the comments: Helgard Vosloo, owner, Folio Office National God gave us the perfect solution, but as usual nobody listens. It’s called hemp (not to be confused with marijuana). It can be planted almost anywhere, is easy to harvest and makes the best rope, material for clothing and, of course, paper. Virginie Ori, Sustainable Development Manager, Hamelin Group The production of tree-free paper could seem more environmentally friendly than paper production, but the production of the plastic raw material and the synthesis of calcium carbonate [Editor’s note: used to make certain tree-free products] are more pollutant than forest harvesting. Without the accurate calculation of the impact of the life cycle of both products, it is impossible to tell if it is less harmful than the cellulose paper. At this stage, this environmental claim to justify the use of ‘tree-free’ paper could mislead consumers regarding the effectiveness of reduction of the total environmental footprint. This must be checked by scientific and reliable calculation. Remi Basior, President, Tempus Development Solutions Stone paper is a solid tree-free alternative to regular paper which was invented in Taiwan and perfected about six years ago. Think NO trees, NO water and NO toxic chemicals while saving half the energy in production when compared to regular paper. It’s around 80% CaCO3 and 20% HDPE [high-density polyethylene] for the most common stone paper types. Harry Chernek, EVP Sales, Advantus Alternative fibre products like sugarcane (bagasse) are a great alternative to traditional wood-based fibre. Bagasse is the waste fibre from sugarcane that is produced during the processing of sugarcane to extract the juice that is refined into sugar. This waste is often burned or placed in landfills. However, it can be used in the manufacturing of paper. Currently, the Canefields sugarcane copy paper is on par price-wise with standard 30% recycled paper. So yes, it is a bit more expensive than the cheap commodity wood-based paper, but certainly on par with the alternative ‘green’ products like recycled.
Number of tablet devices that will be shipped in 2015 (according to Gartner)
Number of ink cartridges Ryman says will be saved if everyone used its new ‘sustainable’ font
News ■ And finally...
TWEET CHAT follow us on Twitter @OPInews, @andy_opi @SPRichards Nostalgia Friday: Remember those multi-colored candy dots that came on a roll of paper. Virtually impossible to eat without ingesting paper. Alan Ball @SpicersCEO Great to be chilling in Cambridge. Makes a change from Birmingham even if it is only one day. @OPSoftwareLLC And for about 30 of those 50 years the UK pricing benchmark was: “What’s your price on Tipp-Ex?
@TOP_Office V.d’Ascq, Bayonne, Tours, Nantes etc... le #3dprinting n’est pas qu’en demo ici, nous imprimons tous les jours!
Weight of batteries collected by Staples Canada in 2013 as part of its recycling efforts
Veteran hard rock group Kiss has just launched a Los Angeles-based professional American football team called LA KISS. Supplying the team with its product needs is Staples, resulting in a photo opportunity with Kiss frontman Gene Simmons (right) when Staples made a delivery to the LA KISS headquarters.
opi.net poll results Is SP Richards’ award of the first-call wholesale contract at Office Depot a positive development for the balance of the OP industry in the US?
It makes no difference
w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Big Interview | Tomas Bergström
Everything’s Private equity group Litorina is transforming the Swedish OP market. OPI finds out more
by Andy Braithwaite email@example.com
major announcement in the Swedish office products market was made at the beginning of April with the creation of a new reseller brand called OCAY – pronounced, for obvious reasons,’OK’. The new brand evolved out of last year’s merger of local dealers Gullbergs and Kontorsvaruhuset (I’ll leave you to try and pronounce that one!). These developments have been driven by private equity firm Litorina Capital which established Scandinavian Office Group in 2012, installing Tomas Bergström at the helm. Following an integration period, Bergström’s brief is to now double the company’s sales from today’s figure of SKr1.1 billion ($170 million). OPI caught up with the OCAY CEO to see how he intends to achieve that goal. OPI: Perhaps you could begin with an overview of the last couple of years, up to the creation of OCAY last month. Tomas Bergström: Well, the initiative was taken by our majority owner, Litorina Capital, which is a private equity house in Sweden. They obviously saw an opportunity in a changing industry to lead a consolidation programme. So, in the summer of 2012 we formed the parent company – Scandinavian Office Group – to then acquire Gullbergs in August of that year. Gullbergs was – and is – a very successful small-to-medium-sized player with roughly $80 million of sales, and has been strong in the south of Sweden for the last 15-20 years. That was the first step and already then, of course, there were thoughts about expanding further. And a year ago we acquired Kontorsvaruhuset, which basically had done the same thing as Gullbergs, but in the north of Sweden, so the two companies were very complementary.
OPI Magazine | May 2014
OPI: So when Scandinavian Office Group was formed, the plan was always to bring Gullbergs and Kontorsvaruhuset together? TB: It was. I think we had done a fairly good job in researching the market and we knew what we hoped the next step would be. But, then again, you never know. You need to come through everything, but that was the plan, yes. OPI: What’s been the main the focus since then? A number of integration issues and challenges to deal with, I imagine. TB: Very much so. A lot of internal focus. We were very early in communicating the organisation, the leadership etc, and spent most of last year optimising headcount and so on. That’s energy-consuming for everybody, but I think is necessary to do early in a process like this. And secondly, we’ve been trying to consolidate our supplier base. We’re now through with 90-95% of that and have consolidated into common agreements and common assortments. But that’s really just the beginning of a very long tail of suppliers and there’s still much to be done there, but we’ve done a fair bit. OPI: What about the systems side? TB: We’ve migrated onto a common platform and that has been a big project for us. We’ve been on the same system for a few weeks and we opened up the new e-commerce platform at the beginning of April, so that feels very good. Changing and integrating, and migrating ERPs is something very scary, of course, and you have to educate half the organisation on the new system – I think we have some more stabilising to do, but we are over the main hurdles. OPI: Do you think there any comparisons you can make between the massive merger between Office Depot and OfficeMax that is going on now and what
“Changing and integrating, and migrating ERPs is something very scary”
OCAY | Big Interview you’ve been going through in the last year or so? TB: I don’t know really. I believe with all mergers, regardless of size, you have the same integration challenges. You need to make things efficient first and get the direction straight and then get on with execution. It’s more a question of general similarities, I think. OPI: You decided to create a new identity with OCAY, bringing everyone together under a new name. How has that been received? TB: We actually launched this internally in January, so we had a common secret for three months. But now I can see that exploding. Everybody’s proud and eager to come out and tell the customers and the markets, and so far it feels very good. I don’t believe in dual branding, so we began the transition in April and it will take about two months to rebrand the stores and everything. OPI: You mention the stores. Perhaps you could remind us of your business model. TB: Our business is 99% B2B. I think one thing to understand is that when we talk about [office supply] stores in Sweden they’re B2B stores. We are not B2C-focused at all; I notice sometimes when you talk about stores internationally people are referring to B2C whereas we only talk about B2B. In that context also, our stores are not in city centres; they are outside in industrial zones and business areas. We now have 38 stores across Sweden from the north to the very south, and these are a very important part of our multichannel strategy. We can see that many other players are closing down their stores in Sweden, but for us it will be important to differentiate ourselves with our local presence and knowledge. OPI: But are you not seeing the same challenges at retail as, say, Staples and Office Depot? w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Big Interview | Tomas Bergström TB: We are, definitely. Customer behaviour is changing, of course, and we need to do a lot with the stores in terms of their optimal size… OPI: What’s the typical size of your stores? TB: On average, I would say about 2,000 sq m [20,000 sq ft]. OPI: Really? That’s quite large. TB: Yes, and over time that will need to be optimised and we’ll need to think about the assortments – how do you drive traffic through the stores? So yes, we have many of the same challenges as the global players. OPI: Is that a side of the business that you’ve had a chance to really address yet? TB: I believe it’s a longer-term project. Over the last year we’ve focused more on building the other channels – such as online, which we felt was a bit behind the market and the competition. With the launch of this new site on 1 April, we are at least on a par with everybody else and it’s going to be very interesting to see how that develops, both as a channel standalone and then together with the stores and the sales force. It’s the combination of the channels that’s interesting for us going forward. OPI: Do you have things like ‘click and collect’ where people can order online and, if they want, go and pick up the things in the store? TB: Exactly, that’s a feature we launched with the new site, and that’s one way in which we can leverage our store network. OPI: I understand you have 130 sales reps; are they employed directly by the
company or do they work on a kind of freelance basis? How does that work in Sweden? TB: They are fully employed by us and meeting many customers every day. I think that over the course of a year we physically meet 100,000 existing and potentially new clients. So we have lots of encounters every day across the country, and that’s also a differentiation point for us. OPI: What do the others tend to have then? Fewer reps? TB: Yes, I think they have had a stronger focus on online, perhaps concentrating on larger, key accounts with their sales forces. We’ve come from a situation where we’ve been strong primarily in the SMB segment. We do have a unit which penetrates larger accounts, but we are not yet as big there as we would like to be. Our focus on the public sector is also something that we are looking into and today we have about 10% of the business with that. OPI: Those larger contracts and the public sector accounts; is it the globals that tend to dominate that market? TB: Yes, the big ones I would say. And then you have some other players in the Swedish market that are focused on that segment. OPI: What about these globals looking at your SMB customers and trying to eat into your market a bit more? TB: Well, I expect them to do it and they say that they will do it! But I think that what they do in a global context doesn’t really support them focusing so much on the SMB segment in a small country like Sweden. But of course, we feel strong competition from them; they are very skilled and have enormous resources, so they keep us awake, for sure.
OPI: What particular advantages do you think you have in the SMB space? TB: We like to differentiate ourselves with our local presence, the relationships, being Swedish players – that’s where we try to have the edge. We have a decentralised structure with regional sales managers across the whole country and we like to be very local while still, of course, having the scale to invest in online and assortment and those sorts of things.
OPI Magazine | May 2014
“Our focus on the public sector is also something that we are looking into and today we have about 10% of the business with that”
OCAY | Big Interview
OPI: When you look at the traditional office stationery category, what does that currently represent in terms of overall sales? TB: The traditional office products and stationery categories are 30-35% of sales so I think we have quite a healthy balance. Of course, paper is declining somewhat, but the rest of our traditional categories are more or less flat for us, which could be due to our SMB focus; these customers are perhaps less inclined to adapt to these new technological trends – although they will, of course, eventually. OPI: So where would you see growth coming from? Jan/san, cleaning, breakroom? TB: Definitely. Those categories are about 30% of our sales and growing. Growing for us as well as for the industry in general, so that’s very interesting. OPI: What about areas like packaging and furniture? TB: They are still fairly small categories for us, but interesting nonetheless. Of course, we would like to be able to supply customers with everything for the workplace, and furniture is definitely an interesting category. OPI: You have three distribution centres. Do they operate independently or is one of them the main one and the other two are hubs? TB: I would say that two of them are main hubs and the third one is perhaps a complementary site. It’s something that we’ve now put in place and we’ll operate out of these three in the medium term. They enable us to cover the whole of Sweden.
OPI: And that’s after consolidating the Gullbergs and Kontorsvaruhuset distribution networks? TB: We’ve closed a number of centres over the last year to consolidate into these three. OPI: Your sales are about SKr1.1 billion ($170 million). What can you say about your recent financial performance? TB: Well, I can say in terms of the top line that we decreased in the low single digits in 2013. OPI: Is that in line with the market, would you say? TB: My interpretation is that the market in 2013 was more or less flat, so I think we’ve decreased by slightly more. But given everything that we have been through, practically turning everything upside down, we are very satisfied with that performance. If you do what we did last year, it takes energy out of the organisation and, to be honest, it was a conscious decision to do everything at once. Now, one year after that, we’re ready to grow again. It feels good to have all that behind us, of course. OPI: What are some of the projects that you’ve got planned for the next 12 months or so to really develop your new brand name and to grow sales? TB: We have a strategic plan in place that we laid out last year and we’re now in the middle of executing it on a number of initiatives. The focus for this year is, of course, to continue to stabilise the company after the integration. We also need to continue to invest in our online and digital presence. I think we have a job to do in our channel strategy to make sure we achieve the most cost-efficient penetration for each customer
OCAY at a glance Founded: 1 April 2014, following integration of Gullbergs and Kontorsvaruhuset Majority owner: Litorina Capital 2013 sales: SKr1.1 billion ($170 million) CEO: Tomas Bergström Chairman: Michael Andersson (former CEO of Svanström, acquired by Office Depot in 2010) Field sales reps: 130 Decentralised structure: 14 regional sales managers Active customers: 60,000 Number of stores: 38
w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Big Interview | Tomas Bergström segment – that’s an important thing for us in our multichannel approach. We will continue to work on our assortment and fine-tune our supply chain. So it’s going to be a challenging year, but we are clear about what we’re going to do. OPI: You’ve mentioned online a couple of times. When you look at that SMB customer and the availability of online purchasing for them, do you see that as the main competitor? TB: I would say so. I also think the SMB customer is visiting our stores a lot – and probably those of our competitors. So for that segment the combination of stores and online is important. We need to make sure our sales force is selling to higher value customers and then direct smaller customers to stores and online. That’s one aspect of our channel strategy. OPI: What are you doing with data and being able to provide a personal experience for each customer? TB: It’s still early days for us, but we have started and we have those features now where we can personalise the content on the website when you’re logged in as a customer. We still need to develop our capabilities in assembling, interpreting and acting on data and market intelligence and so on, but we are moving in the right direction. OPI: I understand you’ve established a sourcing office in Asia in the past year or so? TB: We have. We have a few people on the ground in Hong Kong and China, and we have already had shipments coming this way. Not so much at this point, but this is something we are ready to grow when we have a consolidated assortment. OPI: Will you have a private label brand called OCAY? TB: We already have that as of 1 April. We have some products for sale under that brand and it’s something we will develop over the next few years. OPI: What’s your goal for private label? TB: I can’t set out a specific growth path, but it’s definitely going to take share. I still think, from an overall industry perspective, that it’s increasingly important to work with the OEM suppliers to drive innovation and development. My view is that industrywide, the balance between private label and OEM products is perhaps where it needs to be, but
OPI Magazine | May 2014
we are coming into this from a low base and are definitely going to increase. OPI: Looking at the Swedish market overall, where do you sit in the competitive landscape? TB: First of all, what is the market? That’s an interesting question and we spent a lot of time on that during our strategic planning last year. We have defined the market at $2.5 billion, about SKr17 billion. That’s somewhat of an increase from the definition previously published by the industry association, which I think was SKr5-SKr6 billion, but we’ve now included other relevant areas such as jan/san, workwear, safety and so on. So the addressable size, for us, is $2.5 billion. If you define the market that way, I think Staples is the market leader with, we estimate, roughly 10% of the market. We then share second place with Office Depot in Sweden, followed by Lyreco. But then again, you have players from other sectors coming into the market and sector convergence is blurring those traditional lines. OPI: Do you think there will be consolidation between the traditional jan/ san and office supply resellers? TB: I’m not sure about that, but there’s definitely still consolidation to be done below that. A large part of the market is still made up of small regional players. Unless they are able to change in line with what’s happening, I believe it’s going to be tough to be medium-sized. So we believe that there will be continued consolidation and as part of our strategy we would like to be active in that. OPI: Both within Sweden and externally, I understand? TB: Yes, we have an ambition to have a Nordic presence within the next 3-5 years, so that’s part of the plan. It’s not going to happen this year, but maybe later. OPI: Because if you’re looking at doubling sales in the next 3-5 years
“We have a job to do in our channel strategy to make sure we achieve the most cost-efficient penetration for each customer segment”
OCAY | Big Interview With that in place, our customers will be well taken care of and new ones will find their way to us.
“You have players from other sectors coming into the market and sector convergence is blurring those traditional lines”
that would suggest some pretty major acquisition activity. TB: That’s right. To reach that objective will require acquisitions – definitely. OPI: Any markets you will focus on in particular? TB: We haven’t finalised that. We’re talking about a Nordic presence, which can mean any of those countries. OPI: Someone like Wulff might be a good-value acquisition target at this time. But I know you won’t be able to comment on that. TB: No, I can’t answer that. I have the highest respect for them, but as a matter of fact we don’t come up against that particular competitor very much in the market. I think they are perhaps focused more on the EOS segment and on larger accounts than we are so we don’t meet them that often. OPI: Are you ready now to make acquisitions if the opportunity comes up, or do you still feel you need a bit more time to consolidate internally? TB: We are getting ready. With things like that, you never know when they come up so I think you always need to be ready. We have said that we are interested in taking part in the consolidation process so we’ll see what happens. It’s not something I think of when I wake up in the morning, and currently we have lots of things to do internally. OPI: What do you think of when you wake up in the morning? TB: Well, about what we’ve been doing recently: launching the new brand, stabilising the new platform, making sure that we have talent in the right place, dealing with the new structure, making sure that employees feel engaged and that they know what’s going on, those type of things.
OPI: What is the strategic plan of your investors? You mentioned to me previously the possibility of an IPO-quality company within the next 3-5 years. Is that their investment cycle? TB: That’s really something you should be asking them – that’s my politically correct answer. But I think investors of this type, their horizon is typically 3-7 years. I’ve worked with them before; I like the ownership model, and they are very focused, very rational and good at building value. What happens in the end could be an IPO or another structure. What we have said internally is that, in terms of governance and structure and so on, we should have IPO quality. And then, if that’s the route they select, it will be decided at a much later date. OPI: How you view yourself internationally, in terms of belonging to industry groups such as BPGI or Interaction. Is that something you might look at? TB: We don’t have that on our radar screen at the moment. We have lots of things to do in Sweden to start with. Secondly, we talked about the Nordics, so our next step could be that we team up there in some way, but it’s not something we’re discussing right now. OPI: And finally, a bit about yourself. What’s your own background in office supplies? TB: Well, I’ve been here now for almost two years, so not very long. I have a finance background and have worked on business development and M&A and so on. I love building companies, doing business, working with other people and celebrating wins. OPI: You said you’ve worked with the owners of Litorina before. TB: Yes, I was with another company that they actually still own, so I know them from before. We had a very successful relationship and I guess it made things easier when we looked at this opportunity. OPI: So after two years what’s your view of the office supplies industry? TB: It’s changing much faster than I thought in the beginning. Everybody’s realising that now, and if you’re not ready to change and adapt too, I think it will be difficult. We took all the pain last year and we are now ready to go forward; it’s a very exciting time. w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
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2014 | Top 100
TOP 100 20 14 The OPI Top 100 is back, featuring the personalities that make and shake the business supplies industry. With all that’s been going on in the past 12 months in terms of industry consolidation, it’s no surprise that there are a number of changes, notably the inclusion of Roland Smith as CEO of the ‘new’ Office Depot. As we did last year, for space reasons we’ve included a selected number of profiles in the magazine with the remainder to be published online on opi.net during the month of May. How do we select the magazine entries, I hear you ask. Well, it’s by no means an exact science, but we try to include those we see as important ‘new entries’, execs that have driven some especially important initiatives over the past year or quite simply people who weren’t included in the magazine last time…all while trying to maintain a good geographical balance.
w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Top 100 | 2014
Americas Patricia Barber CEO | The Supply Room Companies
Wayne Beacham CEO | SP Richards
José Mário Britto Managing Director | Inforshop
Michael Brown CEO | HiTouch Business Services
Steve Calkins EVP | Contract Sales Office Depot
Tim Connolly President, Operations & Logistics | United Stationers
Robert de Montigny CEO | Novexco
Harry Dochelli VP Independent Dealer Channel Sales | United Stationers
Tony Ellison CEO | Shoplet.com
Robert De Montigny CEO | NOVEXCO In last year’s OPI Top 100, we asked if 2013 would be the year that Nov exco expanded out of Quebec with a bang. Well, the answer – give or take a couple of weeks – was a resounding ‘yes ’ after Robert de Montigny’s group rece ntly swooped for the Canadian oper ations of global contract stationer Lyreco. The acquisition of Lyreco Can ada – its sales were estimated at around C$140 million (US$127 million) – cert ainly gives Novexco a unique busines s model as a contract stationer, wholesa ler and dealer group, but it was importa nt to add scale in a country where Staples dominates with a market shar e thought to be around 50%. Novexco now has coast-to-coas t distribution capabilities with the addition of three former Lyreco facilities. Where it goes with that remains to be seen, but expanding its dealer presence nationwide must be a possibili ty once the Lyreco integration has been com pleted – although that will probably take about
two years and de Montigny conf irms that integrating Lyreco is clearly the short-term number one priority. That aside, de Montigny says that the Canadian market is soft “mu ch like elsewhere”, and that efforts are being made to complement tradition al office products with other categories like jan/ san, IT and other workplace prod ucts. “Enlarging the definition of the office to the workplace – that’s our gam e-plan,” he states.
Sean Fleming President | Supplies Network
Paulo Garcia Managing Director | Kalunga
Sean Macey President | Basics Office Products
CEO | Independent Stationers
President | TriMega
President | Staples North American Delivery
President | Staples Canada
Leo Meehan CEO | WB Mason
CEO | Guernsey
Kevin Johnson CEO/ Chairman | Warehouse Direct/ Pinnacle Affiliates
Sid Lerman & Albert Benalloul Presidents | The Weeks Lerman Group
OPI Magazine | May 2014
Bud Mundt Executive Director | AOPD
Alanna Nielsen Category Leader Office Products | Amazon
Jim O’Brien SVP Marketing | SP Richards
Bud Mundt Executive Director | AOPD
2014 | Top 100 EPIC joint convention Mike Maggio last September. President | Trimega However, those merger talks ke although the It’s good to see Mi have now stalled 0 10 p To I OP e communicate th to Maggio back in groups continue ck in Ba e. nc ent levels se fer ab dif ar of after a six-ye on a number of regional O a merger CE ws s vie wa ll io sti gg io 2008, Ma and Magg s wa ich wh o mc r fo the US nE wholesaler Actio as a positive move to ld so d an up community. r lit subsequently sp independent deale tioners. Sta d y inherited a ite inl Un d rta an ce s s Maggio ha SP Richard n ter es dw ues that urgently After a spell at Mi number of key iss p ou Gr rer tu One of those is contract manufac need addressing. e OP th to d ne ur ted departure ret Dekko, Maggio the well-documen came be he a’s largest en eg wh iM 12 Tr world in 20 of several of aler Frank de cle group and of na r Pin ge e na th Ma to General members by d ire qu ac s g loss in TriMega’s Parsons after it wa the correspondin ars at ye 12 th Wi . r. That has led om The Supply Ro purchasing powe ip and 14 rsh ale de ard agreeing d bo ne a a family-ow to the TriMeg s also under his rd rate company ha pa se Ric a SP h at lis years to estab to e oic ch l ica log is intended a belt, Maggio was called Prime which iMega Tr at ry asing ea rch Cl ie pu succeed Charl to be a national in the e alers. tim de r al ge ot lar piv r a fo at what is framework ry. in its to ll sti his is p’s ct ou oje gr r pr That deale rated some io took over at At the time Magg ancy, but has gene inf er rg me a at the group’s th t ed gs on em TriMega, it se controversy am dent en io says ep gg Ind Ma p . ou ers gr mb with fellow smaller me e th on ch a on number ry mu Stationers was ve his team is working l sfu es cc su e cards following th
ed specifically of initiatives aim d more details an at these dealers this year. er lat e should emerg TriMega te, no ive sit po On a 4% in of se reported an increa ugh the ro th es member purchas system ing oic inv ral group’s cent io points to in 2013 and Magg m a revamped “momentum” fro programme. Point Nationwide
Demos Parneros President of North American Stores & Online | Staples
me AOPD will have so is confident that eral ng eri fed w ste ne d, e ea th ah ation in to forge form of particip AOPD continues not some d ng ha cti ch pa hi im (w ct are ra s that e supplies cont fic of clear of the issue nt e we th I in this issue of OP r organisations been awarded as of the other deale re we ts rac e 55 new cont to press). US. An impressiv d up by ng its dealers fin 13 and sales were 20 g rin AOPD is also helpi signed du a th e wi th d de are tsi mp ou co th 14 ow 20 gr other avenues of 12% at the start of ories, and last ional office categ dit tra year earlier. sables – ar ned last ye od service dispo Seven dealers joi October added fo s ek r We r to ale bu de tri st dis ucts re rk’s large and jan/san prod including New Yo er rtn dy pa ea s alr es ve sin ha bu re mo A Advantage to its RD Lerman – and two e th of 2014, taking programme. joined at the start , with helping business r members to 71 ale de Mundt adds that number of US thing . Canada their costs is some partners reduce a further seven in r ale to ss De ce ly. ac se is clo PD at g AO at AOPD is lookin One attraction of th or are nd hc ve alt , federal and he p DPCG held its purchasing grou local government own d ’s Bu r PD to AO rec th nction wi Executive Di meetings in conju customers, says is t ing rac th nt co me e so – tiv March coopera annual meeting in Mundt. The NCPA ed a run-rate to exce was “very much on ys is sa d t an nd ll Mu we ich wh doing ndors confirms, he ar, ye is th th dealers and ve bo les appreciated” by $10 million in sa is ar. t ye rac xt nt ne co r planned fo Healthcare – and the same is while the Premier t nd Mu . sis ba hly a mont also growing on
Cody Phipps CEO | United Stationers
Troy Rice EVP Retail | Office Depot
Jim Ryan CEO | Grainger
Ron Sargent CEO | Staples
Steve Schmidt President – International | Office Depot
Roland Smith CEO | Office Depot
Rick Toppin COO | SP Richards
Joe Yorio CEO | School Specialty
w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Top 100 | 2014
Cody Phipps CEO | United Stationers
his team remain Cody Phipps and Despite still the cause of the to firmly committed rd wo e having th r in the US, and independent deale its ’s in s’ er on ‘Stati is the wholesaler underpinning this for ich wh gy company name – strate ‘7 Moves To Win’ and least – the term ers a set of tools ell res the time being, at es giv something ong other is am s’ , ial em nt th se lp es he s ‘busines resources to larly emanating eir marketing, that is now regu things, improve th th wi d An rs. ne werful e-commerce from United Statio develop more po per-based pa l na tio di pand into other tra : ex good reason capabilities and ng ink and di clu (ex . s ies lie or pp office su product categ unt for just co is aiming to ac d w ite no Un s) y, lie all supp Intern y d an les sa tal to ent itself in the wa over a quarter of come more effici be t en to fer room is set clients for dif janitorial/break it interacts with its st ge nt lar rta saler’s d an impo become the whole product groups, an if recent sales ar rrently underway ye cu is ct th y oje or pr r categ two-yea . ing, breakroom trends continue will see the clean ich also wh – on ati fic ts categories use rsi This dive and office produc w no n les sa y compan g and distributio includes 10% of the same orderin s lie pp su ial str du in coming from the platform. the lped United United is still on category – has he Phipps says that e , th ies er results ov tion opportunit achieve resilient lookout for acquisi y all tu on vir ltbo les be sa 2013 likely to past year with FY but these are more r and margin n t categories rathe lio en bil jac .08 ad $5 in s at flat addition s ve ati iti in . nt OP me to d and cost manage than directly linke m line. boosting the botto
Ron Sargent CEO | Staples ples. CEO Times are tough for Sta been d that the company has itte Ron Sargent has adm ice off the in nge speed of cha taken by surprise by the where l nne cha il reta the in lly supplies industry, especia – or ced that it will close 225 oun ann ly ent rec s ple Sta its rate ele re network and acc about 12% – of its US sto mme. store downsizing progra ing ples has not been prepar Sta ans me this t tha Not project tion ven rein A t. fac in for change. Far from it, the start almost two years and at has been underway for ion vis ate por cor ealed a new of 2014 the company rev ked bac was ich wh ’ pen hap more under the tagline ‘Make g campaign in the US. up by a major advertisin been bers available online has num The growth in SKU 2013, of end the at 0 g to 500,00 quite staggering, jumpin r as yea al nci fina t ren cur in the and is set to treble again s’ plie h its ‘beyond office sup Staples forges ahead wit , include early education ries ego strategy. New cat s and gift ss ine bus s, businesse retail supplies for small restaurant supplies. , and as the main competitor Clearly, Amazon is seen ing est inv es rmation includ part of the Staples transfo the ed lud inc s lities. Thi in its own digital capabi software of Silicon Valley-based r obe Oct last n itio acquis ’, after s a third technology ‘lab firm Runa, giving Staple ). Cambridge (MA those in Seattle (OR) and
OPI Magazine | May 2014
cern n continues to be a con The International divisio the is a eric Am th – but Nor – although it is improving ains llenge for this year rem cha big The us. foc ry prima set off to egories sufficiently growing all these new cat . nts product segme the declines in traditional
2014 | Top 100
Roland Smith CEO | Office Depot The biggest story in the OP wor ld over the past year has been the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax. For the 2014 Top 100 we say goodbye to Neil Austrian and Ravi Saligram and welcome the new man in charge, Roland Smith. Smith took over at Office Dep ot in mid-November, a week afte r the merger with ‘Max officially closed, joining the global rese ller from supermarket group Delh aize America. He came with somethi ng of a reputation as a turnaround and integration expert from his time at Delhaize, the Wendy’s restaura nt group, American Golf Corporat ion and bowling centre operator AMF, and has not been slow in mak ing his mark at Depot. The senior management stru cture and headquarters location (Boc a
Raton, Florida) were quickly decided upon and organisation al restructuring was finalised at the end of February, ahead of man y observers’ expectations. Vendor meetings took place as Depot looked for purchasing synergie s and a common merchandise assortment, and Bain Consult ing was drafted in to work with Dep ot on its retail strategy. And there was good reason for this need for speed as the combined company reported disappointing quarterly resu lts at the end of 2013 against a back drop of uncertainty over the integrat ion of the two resellers. “It’s very difficult to focus on the business when your personal future is uncertain,” said Smith, “and this was a major consideration for why we moved so quickly to restruct ure.” Now Smith, who has reached the summit of Mount Everest and scaled several other of the world’s high est
peaks, has another mountain to climb by getting Office Depot back onto a growth traje ctory. He is promising a “unique selli ng proposition” for later this year and that is something the whole indu stry is keenly awaiting.
Europe Robert Baldrey ceo | Vasanta
The momentum with Vasanta’s top line seen in 2012 continued into 2013 as the group’s full-year sales increased 7% to about £415 million ($694 millio n). Some of that growth was due to 12 months of sales from the OfficeTeam account won in November 2012 and from other business picked up from rival wholesaler Spicers, but 2013 was not all about VOW for Vasanta. Group CEO Robert Baldrey points to “pretty good growth” in public health and large corporate accou nts at the Supplies Team division, group-wide growth of 19% in facilities supplies, increased sales to IT reselle rs and a stabilisation at independent dealer Yes2 acquir ed last year. Product expansion at the UK’s Post Office – where VOW Retail holds the stationery supply account – will no doubt have also helped. The bokz reseller programme – the creation of a Vasanta-owned national brand for smaller dealer s – was announced earlier this year and its management team is now in place. Developing this will be a key area of focus for the rest of 2014, as will be a concerted effort to achieve more sales in the south-east of Englan d.
Baldrey admits that Vasanta has traditionally been viewed as largely a northern firm, but with the recent opening of an office in London – where the southeast VOW sales team and the new group marketing and business services unit will be based – and the CEO’s own imminent move to the south-east, he is hoping that this view will change.
w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Top 100 | 2014 Claude Ackermann
Managing Director/Chairman | PEG/BPGI
Managing Director | Fiducial Office Solutions
Owner | Akoffice
General Director | Komus
CEO | ADVEO
Managing Director | VOW Europe & ISA Retail
Vitaly Balabanov General Director | ARD
Martins Cakste CEO | Officeday
Robert Baldrey CEO | Vasanta Group
Managing Director Europe | Lyreco
Managing Director | Spicers UK & Ireland
Chris Collinson Managing Director | Superstat
Philip Becker Chairman/CEO | EOSA/Hedera
Chairman/CEO | EOSA/Hedera
Managing Director | Büroring
CEO | OCAY
CEO | Euroffice
Andrey Kudryashev Development Director | Pragmatic Express With previous Top 100 entry and former Chairman Mikhail Kratsov now a non-operation al shareholder in Pragmatic Express, the new man in charge at the Russian reseller is Andrey Kudr yashev. While his formal title is Development Dire ctor, he can more accurately be described as an active and fully operational shareholder in the com pany – in other words, the man to drive the company forward. And that hasn’t been easy for Kudr yashev and his team in a Russian market that remains hugely challenging. Initial GDP growth forec asts of more than 3% at the beginning of 2013 didn ’t materialise, with the year ending with an unimpres sive 1.3%. And with the OP market strongly connected to GDP growth, many players are still struggling to revert back to pre-economic crisis levels. Pragmatic has been busy developin g and enhancing its portfolio of services, in the proc ess attracting a variety of large federal clients with complex organisational structures. In line with the now common move away from just bein g a product provider, Pragmatic effectively acts as an outsourced centralised procurement office and solutions provider, often with nationwide coverage in terms of delivery. As Kudryashev points out, the main challenge over the past year has been the optimisati on of internal processes. Having done that, the company has been
OPI Magazine | May 2014
able to significantly reduce costs and increase the efficiency of its operations. This year, meanwhile, product optim isation is at the top of the agenda for Kudr yashev. In response to increasing demand, Pragmatic continues to expand its overall asso rtment, mainly in high-growth categories such as catering and hygiene. As far as the traditional stationery segment is concerned, the focus is on conc entrating its buying power on core selected strategic partners. Further developing its private label range and expanding its furniture offering as well as the extent of its promotional products are regarded as other growth opportunities.
2014 | Top 100
d that followed Following the relative quiet perio s of shoe the into ping step Philip Becker’s months few past the i, Basc r Pete sor predeces EOSA the have been a hive of activity for hindsight, his Chairman and CEO. Indeed, with arguably were helm the at s year first couple of by various d inate dom g bein t, quie but anything effort to make restructuring activities, all in an y as to its man by ed the alliance – question ger. stron and er lean – ility long-term viab last year, plete com n satio gani re-or that With first of all , wed a variety of announcements follo nnel icha mult ased ria-b the recruitment of Aust for ber mem new first the as ef operator Teka and in line with some time. Shortly afterwards – spearheading been the new direction Becker has e global leav to was EOSA – came the news that of this end the at BPGI m ortiu cons dealer group , Becker 2008 e sinc ber mem a been ng Havi year.
rture, EOSA explains that as a result of its depa vendors with acts will establish new direct cont buying “The : adds He . ards from next year onw bers mem its s give ork netw EOSA the power of et mark ing a much better market position. Shar to able be will knowledge, EOSA members ucts to successfully find new ways and prod ard.” forw es ness busi drive their this year, Most recently, at the beginning of res de rado inist Spain-based Agrupacion Sum est EOSA new the as ied ratif Oficinas Disnak was pendent inde ten of p grou a is ak Disn member. of 180 million resellers with combined revenues its islands and n Spai in ($111 million) operating school and c roni elect e, offic in and specialising fic is Diso ber mem EOSA ing Exist supplies. executives a member of Disnak, and Disofic panels and EOSA will represent Disnak in all committees.
Dr Benedikt Erdmann Chairman | Soennecken
2013 was another very difficult year in Italy, for the economy as much as for Errebian, one of the country’s major contract stationers. But, having started out with double-digit growth at the very beginning of the year, President Ferdinando Rese and his team finished it on a slight growth trajectory, with total revenues of 1120 million ($166 million), compared to 1116 million a year earlier. According to Rese, this growth was fuelled partly by a significant increase in sales reps, but also by its focus on non-core areas, most notably its promotional products business where sales doubled during the year. This year, Errebian is equally focused on categories that are nting for an ever larger proportion traditionally regarded as non-core, but are accou er has been in the MPS business station ct contra of sales. One of them is MPS. The vendor programmes that tended to for some years but, says Rese, was limited by its er, it invested in the necessary manage customer devices directly. Last year, howev ng it to offer multi-brand allowi s, software to fully manage its customers’ device approach. ive proact more nd progressive solutions and an all-rou es catalogue, including a Servic Print m Custo first its ed launch The company also wide range of bespoke typographic products. er priority. Having opened a new Office furniture – much of it high end – is anoth has also recently finished the an Errebi year, last showroom at its Padua subsidiary oom in Rome. This now showcases restructuring of its 400 sq m (4,000 sq ft) showr s such as a wide selection of office furniture, including brand Della Rovere, Frezza, Sitland, Varier, HÅG, Intersthul, Sesta, Ferdinando Rese Diemme, Mixufficio, Moving and
President | Errebian
Laszlo Feher Managing Director | Corwell
Christa Furter CEO | iba
Bob Geens Managing Director | Advantia Business Solutions
George Gerardos CEO | Plaisio Computers
Barrie Hayes CEO | BPGI
Joe Hemani CEO | Westcoast
José Luis Hernández President | Carlin
Klaus Jensen Managing Director | Office Supplies Denmark
Radostin Kirilov Managing Director | Office 1 Superstores International
Andrey Kudryashev Development Director | Pragmatic Express
Steve Law CEO | Lyreco
w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Top 100 | 2014 Johannes Peter Martin Group Managing Director | Kaut-Bullinger
Aidan McDonough Managing Director | Integra Office Solutions
Simon Moate CEO | office2office
Marc Nijhof Managing Director | Alpha International
Uwe Orgas Managing Director | OTTO OFFICE
Theo Paphitis Chairman | Ryman
Seppo Parviainen Chairman | Nordic Office Alliance
Bruno Peyroles CEO | Bureau Vallée
At a time of no real growth and plenty more room for consolidation, ping Austria-based PBS Holding is gras they when the opportunities as and there arise. And over the past year or so, of tion crea the After ral. seve have been a’s PBS Connect Polska in late 2012, Biell last were nd Pola wholesale operations in PBS year signed over and integrated into s, ation oper e lesal who h Polis Holding’s ers making it one of the leading wholesal slaw Miro a’s in the country. (PBS Polsk Szydlowski is one of our new Top 100
entries this year) In October, the company made t another move on the wholesale fron nd schla Deut PBS d with Germany-base buying the “sales and distribution lesaler structures” of fellow German who Georg Kugelmann. Effective from last December, the deal was seen as a good fit and, says n, PBS Holding CEO Richard Scharman an Germ the in “a major landmark with
Arnold Theuws Managing Director | Quantore
The bad news is that busines s in the Netherlands is challenging, to say the leas t, at the moment and has been for some time. The goo d news is that the country’s dominant dealer group and wholesale service provider Quantore is doing very wel l indeed. As Managing Director Arnold Theuws elaborates, 2013 for Quantore was the best year ever in terms of revenue s, profit, customer satisfaction , error rates and order fulfilment. Better even, 201 4 has started well, with plen ty of positive signs for the mon ths ahead. And Theuws has big plans. This year marks the beginning of a big branding initiative in order to increas e customer recognition. To that effect, Quantore is going to ‘sub-brand’ the Quantore name to its members and their local shops and location s across the country. While Quantore has its own private label range, the brand as such is not widely known as most of its dealer member s have kept their own identify (which they will continue to do, but combine it with the Quantore brand). This means that end consumers typically wouldn’t know thei r supplier is affiliated with a larger entity, an entity with a broad selection of produc ts, services, solutions and , importantly, good price poin ts.
OPI Magazine | May 2014
more wholesale market which is seeing and more signs of consolidation”. n Still in the throes of the integratio then nt pare the any, process in Germ ets looked again to some of its core mark year in Central Europe and earlier this and bought Slovakian contract stationer itec. wholesaler Lam Lamitec is being combined with PBS’s x, the Slovakian business Büroprofi Kane ness busi d bine idea being that the com ional will form a strengthened organisat y. idiar subs h Czec PBS’s link with Always looking ahead, it’s unlikely . that Scharmann is going to stop there inue cont will ing Hold He says: “PBS to invest in its core markets and play an active role in this changing environment. We will keep our eyes ns open for opportunities in new regio tics logis and IT our in st and inve rol technology. Keeping cost under cont for time a also it’s is very important, but investment.”
At a time when everybody wants and needs to take costs out of the supply chain, Quantore has also been forward-thinking in its approach to what it calls final distribution , ie the final mile to the end consumer on behalf of the dealer. Here, it is working closely both with its manufacturer partners and dealers – members or not – providing sophisticat ed solutions that, as add-on bon us, also allows it to tap into a variety of vertical markets .
2014 | Top 100
Richard Scharmann CEO | PBS Holding
Manging Director | Majuscule
Managing Director | PBS Polska
CEO | Merlion (Bureaucrat)
CEO | Quantore
President | Errebian
CEO | Samson
Jan van Belleghem
CEO | Bunzl
Managing Director | Interaction
CEO | PBS Holding
Managing Director | soft-carrier
President | Printus
CEO | Wulff Group
Managing Director | Plate
General Manager | Gruppo Buffetti
COO | ADVEO
CEO | OfficeTeam
CEO | RKV
President | Staples Europe
Top 100 | 2014
Australasia / ASIA
es its ichiro Iwata, Askul continu Under the leadership of Sho h wit ip erce strategy in partnersh transformational e-comm B2C ACO LOH teething troubles the Yahoo! Japan. After some sales of FY2014 (ending 20 May) ieve ach to et site is on targ recent st mo the in s sale ), and its ¥10 billion ($100 million . 46% by ly tial third quarter grew sequen marketing yen into LOHACO Askul has been pumping d planes at new Japanese – including LOHACO-liverie ’t be profitable this year. airline Vanilla Air – and won has a growing number site e However, the e-commerc t only own as LOHACO-san) tha of regular customers (kn but s, ber num er total custom make up about 5% of the to is aim The . ses cha of pur account for more than 30% one n tha re mo to e bas grow this loyal customer Shoichiro Iwata h as a new e-commerce million, with initiatives suc CEO | ASKUL in hed blis esta ACO recently marketing ‘lab’ that LOH rs. partnership with supplie jor investments mmerce initiative are ma ducts Hand in hand with the e-co s, and the number of pro litie abi cap n Askul’s distributio (¥22 billion in FY2014) in s. nth t 12 mo bled to 70,000 over the pas has in stock has more than dou l sales – product expansion tota of 96% for ts oun acc l stil ch whi – side ing B2B see n On the l supplies have bee ries such as MRO and medica s agents. helped fuel growth. Catego and the hiring of new sale ges ran t duc to increased pro ducts pro nd bra own double-digit growth thanks of ber cess for Askul. The num suc a n bee also more has for el t Private lab 00 and now accoun in the last year to over 5,1 rter qua a ost alm by wn has gro than 16% of total sales.
Charles Agee Managing Director | OfficeMax Australasia
Shoichiro Iwata CEO | Askul
Gregory Lienard Managing Director | Asia Lyreco
Dominique Lyone CEO | Complete Office Supplies
Wendy McPhail CEO | Office Products Depot
Jay Mutschler President Australia/New Zealand | Staples
Brad O’Brien CEO | Office Choice
Pejman Okhovat CEO | Warehouse Stationery
Worawoot Ounjai CEO | OfficeMate Thailand
Gavin Ward CEO | Office Brands
Mark Ward Managing Director | Officeworks
lian local government contract, a milestone for the Austra Australian dealer group Office Brands is celebrating sector contracts. public in unity comm dealer ndent indepe l its 15th anniversary in style in 2014, with an annua ed Ward says that aggregate sales numbers have remain in Fiji of island Pacific the on place taking ence confer s expect but , million A$370 fairly consistent at around October. As glamorous as that sounds, Gavin Ward ly to see a lift over the next 12 months as the recent past the over down ling and his team have been knuck n. tractio gain mmes progra uced introd ’s year, driving a number of initiatives to help the group tions New projects for this year include consumer promo sses. busine their grow ers memb and – ign campa ising advert radio – including a first-ever e: a These are too numerous to list in full, but includ continued category and Nice Day expansion. cts Produ Office and al Nation rebranding of the Office with Nice Depot groups; a new direct import programme er loyalty Day-branded products; the launch of a custom areas programme; and further category expansion in ure. furnit and tion educa print, such as workwear, online one – mme progra gence intelli ss busine a In addition, team has of the most challenging projects the group’s IT allows This t. Augus ever undertaken – was launched last such areas key in mance perfor dealers to compare their and ns margi gross h, growt e top-lin e, as top-line revenu mance average order value against their own past perfor the as well as the performance of other members and group overall. million Gavin Ward In September, the group won a place on the A$10 CEO | Office Brands ry (US$9.4 million) Queensland and Northern Territo
OPI Magazine | May 2014
2014 | Top 100
Middle East/Africa ted CEO izen, the recently appoin Top 100 is Wihan Oosthu A new face in this year’s A). ica (ON group Office National Afr ing of April of South African dealer n Bidgood at the beginn Rya CEO r me for m fro business new a Oosthuizen took over good is pursuing ignation. But while Bid 4 200 in d following the latter’s res nde sation he fou he hasn’t left the organi of the 45% n ow to venture with his family, es tinu con ector on the board and dir a s ain rem he as , altogether with the group’s shares. for over five years, been good’s right-hand man – much of nce erie Oosthuizen has been Bid exp ry re than 11 years of indust mo has and 8 200 ce ward. sin dealer group take the dealer group for tor – so is well placed to sec re nitu fur ice off it in the ican one, the mented as the South Afr In a market as highly frag region of 3,000 – the in be to dealers – estimated country’s independent y that helps them with a united voice and a bod are very much in need of ls needed to compete. sales and marketing too the purchasing power and tinues to enjoy con it er ONA comes in and That’s where BPGI memb the past 12 months. in 18% sive s up by an impres success locally, with sale iative is a new st important current init Oosthuizen says ONA’s mo tremendous value to its ich he believes will add e-commerce platform, wh growing online channel. “ahead of the game” in the m the put and ers mb me
Dave Jenkins Managing Director | Waltons
Wihan Oosthuizen CEO | Office National Africa
Bandar AlMusallam CEO | Hoshan Pan Gulf
Wihan Oosthuizen CEO | Office National Africa
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Sponsored Article | Colop
personal touch These days, almost all products can be customised to a greater or lesser extent, from mobile telephones and laptops to cars. So why not stamps, asks Colop?
it was founded over 30 years ago, Colop has always been committed to product innovations in the field of modern marking equipment, with a particular focus on stamps. One of the company’s core differentiating factors and very important to Colop is the fact that its products are manufactured almost exclusively in Europe. The recent expansion of its primary production facilities at the headquarters in Wels, Austria, and the additional manufacturing capacity currently being worked on at its secondary site in Borovany in the Czech Republic, are clear signs that Colop will continue to adhere to this strategy in the future. Company CEO Ernst Faber says: “Exceptionally well-qualified employees, guaranteed optimal working conditions and legal certainty are very important factors for Ernst Faber
successfully producing high-quality stamp products for the global market.” Colop’s expanded production capabilities at HQ level have also been instrumental in facilitating the launch of its new Printer on a global scale. Planned for the summer of this year, the international product launch of the new Colop Printer is much anticipated, as the company’s Head of Marketing Gerald Binder explains: “The last few months have been used to adding the final touches to our marketing measures in our export markets. Alongside a multi-stage advertising campaign, there will also be numerous promotion materials including catalogues, folders, flyers and posters in the relevant languages – ready and waiting to be used.”
New Colop Printer The new Colop Printer is the seventh generation of this self-inking stamp. The current Printer Standard series was initially launched in 2004 and has become the company’s most successful product range by far. The 2014 stamp – carbon neutral in line with Colop’s environmental principles and based on the ‘cradle to gate’ system – is a logical step forward from its predecessor and its development has been shaped both by
OPI Magazine | May 2014
“Colop is adjusting to the change in consumer behaviour and taking stamp personalisation to a new level”
Colop | Sponsored Article experience gained over the past few years as well as feedback from the reseller channel and end consumers. Faber points out, however, that it’s much more than just an update of a previous product. He says: “The desire to create something new, something unprecedented, is plain to see in the unique contemporary design of the Colop’s HQ in Wels, Austria product.” Developed in collaboration with Viennese design agency Spirit Design, the new Printer prides itself on its high-quality design and timeless elegance. As a standard, the Printer is available with a black or white handle, but the actual colour of the product is not evident until the image card is inserted. The stamp is available in eight different basic designs, which can be created using the colours black, white, red, green and blue. Initially, the new Printer will be available in the four most important sizes: 10 (imprint size 10 x 27 mm), 20 (14 x 38 mm), 30 (18 x 47 mm) and 40 (23 x 59 mm). Two further sizes will be added to the range in due course.
Personalisation tools The standout feature of the stamp, however, is the option to create your own design for the XXL image window. Colop first devised the concept of personalised stamp product designs using image cards around ten years ago. With the new Printer, it’s taking this concept to the next level, as Franz Ratzenberger, Head of International Sales & Marketing, explains: “The extra large image window – with dimensions previously unavailable in the world of stamps – can be personalised with great ease by using simple paper image cards. This makes every Printer unique, just like its owner or user.” Whether it’s used for personal photos, QR codes, company logos, cartoons or typography, this feature offers a multitude of options for the user and is ideal for creating an eye-catching personalised product. Colop’s E-Business team has created two new tools that make it easy to create a unique and professional design for the image card, both on the front and the back.
For B2B customers, a new software solution called the ImageCard Designer has been developed. This enables for example rubber stamp makers and retailers to simply, quickly and flexibly design the card for themselves or for their customers. The company logo and address of a rubber stamp maker, for example, can be placed on the image card, so that customers bear them in mind for new or repeat orders. The Printer could also display the logo of a company that uses the stamp as a promotional gift for its customers. Alternatively, it could simply display the logo of the company using the stamp itself, becoming part of its corporate identity and providing it with a consistent image both outside and inside the company. Head of E-Business Alexander Zicha, who developed the personalisation tools together
Printer technicalities In addition to all the features typical of a modern stamp, the latest generation of Colop Printers also includes an array of additional technical advantages that benefit all channel partners as well as end users. First and foremost, from a basic design point of view, the new generation of Colop Printers have a diagonal band that strengthens the hinges and makes the stamp more stable. The precise sliding mechanism enables smooth stamp movement that allows for easier and more comfortable Innovative frame stamping. No matter concept which side of the stamp is pressed down, the new Printer always provides a perfect imprint. The transparent ‘casing’ meanwhile ensures precise positioning of the imprint and includes an anti-slide mechanism that makes it possible to get a firm grip on the stamp. This mechanism covers a large area and is injected directly onto the material, Tranparent base and making it effective and anti-sliding technology virtually impossible to lose when using the stamp on the go. Easy removal of the image window makes replacing the image card and the inkpad simple. Optimised inkpads, which are also compatible with the previous model, ensure mess-free pad replacement. Easy-to-detach image Rubber stamp makers have not been forgotten when window it comes to the product’s technical features. When attaching the text plate, speed is an important element. The new Printer can be turned upside down and remain stable during text plate assembly. Also, the protection foil over the adhesive surface of the text plate holder has already been detached, so there is no need to go through the process of removing this foil. This, along with the existing grid and a TOP identification, results in easier and quicker text plate positioning and Extra fast assembly assembly.
w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Sponsored Article | Colop
with his team, comments: “It is particularly important that the new software can be integrated into existing online shops. This allows image card design to be offered as an additional service and acts as an excellent USP that makes it stand out from the competition.”
Software options In ImageCard Designer, a whole host of backgrounds and images from a range of categories will be available. In addition, other files such as personal photos or QR codes can be uploaded. In essence, the software provides rubber stamp makers and retailers with everything they need to simplify not only the process of designing the image cards, but also the process of managing and printing them. The latter can be done using any standard printer. To avoid any complicated cutting-out of the image cards, Colop offers perforated A4 and A5 image card sheets. For end users, a simple software package with the most important functions will be available online, free of charge. From uploading photos over cropping them to the right size and rotating them if necessary, to saving, printing and cutting them out, the new Printer is the ultimate personalised stamp. And it is that personalisation and individuality that end consumers want, says Ratzenberger: “With these options, Colop is adjusting to the change in consumer behaviour and taking stamp personalisation to a new level. Specific design requests or branding can be performed more flexibly using ImageCard Designer. Both software tools from Colop provide a modern way to design innovative stamps, with their intuitive approach adding to the appeal.” Ratzenberger adds that while both of the tools are available as a service, they do not have to be used to design image cards – it’s a completely optional feature. The image cards can also be personalised using any other graphics software. A positive knock-on effect is its logistics benefits. In effect, significantly fewer product variants of the new generation of Printers
OPI Magazine | May 2014
have to be stocked in customers’ warehouses than has been the case with traditional and previous models, without reducing the available range. Up until now, resellers and distributors have had to stock every stamp size in every colour in their warehouse in order to provide their customers with an attractive overall product range. Taking the example of the usual six sizes of the Printer Standard, ie Printer 10-60, in eight product colours, this requires 48 SKUs, without even taking into account variants with different inkpad colours, which would dramatically increase the theoretical stock size. In the case of the new Printer, the colours are defined using the imagecard, while the stamp is available only in two basic colours – black and white. Image cards in four different colours are automatically packaged along with each stamp, thereby further reducing the number of SKUs. So if a customer wants a blue Printer, the rubber stamp maker takes a black stamp from the rack, makes the text plate, takes the blue image card, stamps the customer’s imprint on it, inserts the image card into the stamp and there you have it – a finished blue stamp.
Stock reduction The customer’s request has been met, just like before, but only 12 SKUs are required in order to do so. Product Manager Wolfgang Pichler states: “Rubber stamp makers or retailers can free up to 75% of their warehousing space, without reducing their product range. In other words, they can achieve the same customer satisfaction with one quarter of the usual warehousing space.”
Colop Fact Box: Founded: 1981 HQ: Wels, Austria CEO: Ernst Faber Export markets: >120 (export rate of 98%)
“Rubber stamp makers or retailers can free up to 75% of their warehousing space, without reducing their product range”
European 22-24 September 2014 Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin, Noordwijk, the Netherlands
An invitation-only forum for CEOs and senior executives from the business supplies and associated sectors. The European Forum offers a unique opportunity to hear from expert speakers, explore future trends, engage in frank discussion, share ideas and network with fellow industry leaders in a confidential environment.
If you would like to be considered for an invitation please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.opi.net/ef2014 for more information.
Organised by Office Products International
Special Feature | Cooperative Solutions
The rise of cooperative solutions United Stationers’ David Haugh elaborates on the growing trend of cooperative contracts in the US public sector
2009, United Stationers has observed a significant increase in resellers leveraging cooperative purchasing agreements (known as ‘co-ops’) to reach new markets and increase sales and growth opportunities for their businesses. In fact, co-op agreements are estimated to be roughly a $600 million-$1 billion market, posing a significant opportunity for resellers everywhere. Purchasing co-ops offer mutually beneficial purchasing solutions that give resellers and potential customers an alternative and more efficient way to do business with each other. These agreements have become a relevant tool for resellers to access markets they historically may not have been able to access. Oftentimes, these coops serve key growth verticals for resellers including the public sector and non-profit organisations across the US. Mark Nolan, owner of independent dealer Nolan’s Office Supplies, also heads the PACE co-op based in Texas. He cites the co-op’s ability to provide a national distribution infrastructure for resellers aligned to the agreements as its main advantage. “We’ve created a solution for resellers to be competitive, grow and protect their territories and increase gross profit,” says Nolan. Co-ops can be used to capture end-consumer business without having to go through a formal bid process, and allow other state/ local entities to take advantage of cooperative solutions through a
OPI Magazine | May 2014
‘joint-powers’ clause. In many cases, the end user prefers this solution because not only does it avoid dedicating resources to a formal bid process, but it also avoids exposing
value proposition appropriately and stand out from the competition. United works closely with resellers to ensure a smooth and successful RFP process through a variety of
“We’ve created a solution for resellers to be competitive, grow and protect their territories and increase gross profit” the municipality to end-user protests or other related issues. For many resellers, this alternative is becoming one of their fastest growing sales vehicles today.
Stand out from the competition While there are a number of co-op solutions resellers can utilise to capture sales that avoid having to go through a formal request for proposals (RFP) process, they should still focus on having a complete understanding of the end consumer to position their
consultative resources, including: • creating partnerships through programme coordination and agreement • helping resellers understand and align their current capabilities with RFP requirements • providing knowledge and guidance through qualitative research and insights • delivering custom responses that take into account pricing, product mix and other requirements that will support the RFP needs.
Cooperative Solutions | Special Feature “Co-op partnerships provide a sort of ‘hunting licence’ to call on the public sector,” says Bill Jones, owner of The Office City and member of the AOPD-NCPA cooperative. “With diminishing procurement staff at many of these organisations, I would guess that 90% of the agencies that we have called on require a cooperative contract before they will talk to us. “Not only has our cooperative contract allowed us to gain a significant amount of new business,” Jones continues, “but the public sector customer is still very traditional in its business processes and thus consumes more office supplies than the typical private sector business.” At the start of 2013, Jones’ overall co-op revenue was close to zero. Ten months later, it’s increased to 10% of his overall business and is growing month over month.
Sell the benefits The key to success for resellers is being able to sell the benefits of co-ops, such as the cost savings of group purchasing with virtually no procurement issues and a ‘feel good’, buy local component for potential customers. Co-ops continue to be a growing opportunity and United recognises that they are a viable vehicle for resellers to leverage. “The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS co-op) has really helped us in securing more business with schools and governmental offices,” says Russ Wood, owner of BizSupplies. “Before, we really had nothing other than price to compete on, and with the superstores offering special pricing to the schools and government offices, we really had difficulty in approaching this market to the point we wanted.” Today at least 60% of Wood’s business is from co-ops serving mostly private and public schools, non-profits and governmental offices. There are several factors resellers should consider when determining if a co-op agreement is right for them. Most notably, it is a remarkably different selling cycle which can require a great deal of patience and effort. That said, once resellers do
David Haugh, Head of Vertical Markets get an account on a co-op contract, they are likely to remain entrenched in that account for a long time. The major benefit to becoming a contract vendor is that members of the co-op can purchase from any of the vendors within the co-op without going through a costly and
to capture market share that has historically been out of their grasp. United also recognises the opportunity for wholesalers to support the reseller channel in helping them compete in this important marketplace. We have worked closely with a number of customers to win co-ops – one of the first successful co-op awards was the US Communities bid won by Independent Stationers. It proved that an innovative, strong partnership is critical to winning in this marketplace.
Do your homework Although there are a growing number of new contracts available to independent resellers, they are not all created equal. Rebates,
“Co-op partnerships provide a sort of ‘hunting licence’ to call on the public sector” time-consuming bid process, while ensuring they are fulfilling all of the inter-local legal requirements typically involved. In addition, these national opportunities allow resellers to expand into new regions in which they may not have previously had a sales pipeline. However, there are a number of things that resellers should look out for. Jones states: “One potential issue arises when a reseller comes across an agency that is using multiple cooperative contracts. Allowing the agency to cherry-pick from multiple vendors can drive margins down and make these accounts less appealing.” One reseller also warns that joining a co-op is not an automatic marketing vehicle for independents. Simply becoming a contract vendor with one of these groups does not mean new members will come rushing through the door. Resellers must continue to improve their marketing efforts and customer experiences both on and offline to be successful. We at United are excited to support new avenues of growth for resellers and co-ops are a great solution for resellers
fees and restrictions vary greatly amongst the different offerings, and we encourage anyone who is considering utilising a cooperative contract to do their homework before fully committing to one. United Stationers believes giving resellers multiple options is the best way of ensuring resellers align with the co-op that best meets their specific end-consumer requirements. Though United Stationers’ owns MBS Dev, an ERP software solution for resellers built on the Microsoft Dynamics platform, we recognise that each reseller is responsible for evaluating its own technology requirements and comparing those to the various technology options in the marketplace. They can then make their own decision on which solution best meets their overall needs. So as long as a reseller’s core business margins remain healthy, public sector business can add significant top-line growth with reasonable margins. However, this business has a different selling cycle and strategy, so not all existing sales reps may be good at selling to this market. But once a reseller understands how to do it, there are opportunities for sizeable growth. w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Boise Paper | Sponsored Article
Committed to quality Boise Paper on its solutions for independent dealers
paper remains a strategic category for many independent resellers despite the well-documented structural declines in the paper segment. Whether it’s Boise’s own branded products or private label solutions, the US paper firm is well-placed to meet the needs of the independent dealer community. OPI spoke to Boise Paper’s east coast Field Marketing Manager Michelle Learman. OPI: What can you tell us about the new owners of Boise Paper? Michelle Learman: Boise Paper became part of Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) last October. Our new leadership is experienced in running paper mills and will help Boise continue to be the trusted source for office papers. OPI: How broad is your range of products? ML: Our range of products covers the entire office or business setting. We offer a full line of branded papers through our Performance and Impact categories which include X-9, Boise Polaris, Boise Aspen, Boise SPLOX and Boise FIREWORX. Basis weights range from 16-110lb, brightness ranges from 92-98 and we have 26 vibrant coloured papers. Boise Aspen is a recycled line – manufactured in Jackson, Alabama – that contains either 30%, 50% or 100% fibre from post-consumer waste. Our breadth of products allows us to offer complete programmes for our customers covering all their needs. OPI: You mention the environmental qualities of Aspen. How important is sustainability to Boise Papers? ML: We are committed to delivering excellent value to our customers and generating superior returns for
our investors while managing our businesses to sustain environmental resources for future generations. Along with our third-party forestry certifications, FSC and SFI, we also have a programme called Project UP. Founded by Boise, Project UP revitalises communities by developing urban park spaces for residents to enjoy. This project is funded by proceeds from our Aspen line. OPI: What would you say are your products’ main qualities? ML: Boise products have been in the market for decades. We have a solid reputation for our paper that is all manufactured in the US. Our X-9 is known for solid reliability for any print job. It carries a 99.99% jam-free performance guarantee and has been certified by Buyers Laboratory (BLI) for its overall performance. BLI is the leading global independent office equipment testing lab. If a paper has been certified by BLI, it has been tested and evaluated rigorously for misfeeds, multisheet feeding, curl, dusting, etc. In addition to X-9, our Polaris line (97 bright, and available in 20lb, 24lb and 28lb) also carries the 99.99% jam-free performance guarantee and the BLI certification. OPI: There is a tendency to treat office paper as a commodity. Why do you think it’s important to buy from a trusted source such as Boise Paper? ML: With the Boise name you get consistent quality and that is critical in the marketplace. Too often we hear about other lines of paper that offer inconsistent quality, lack of support, etc. Many resellers tell us that using these types of products eventually hurt them if they have quality or availability issues, but Boise provides the logistical support they need and deserve.
We also work with our customers on their private label programmes. We have the ability to offer Boise products in reams and cartons that have customised art and labels. This private label option gives our customers the ability to market and promote their name in their respective markets. The paper carton stays in use for a long time and hence their name is out there for people to recognise and consider when they need to purchase paper. OPI: What specific support do you offer to the independent channel? ML: Boise believes that independent dealers deserve the best sales and marketing support. We have a dedicated team that is committed to helping independent dealers succeed in a tough marketplace. We recently launched our Boise Dealer’s Choice programme which bundles a full ‘Made in the USA’ product line with flexible marketing and sales solutions. OPI: How do you back this up with end-user marketing support or promotions? ML: Boise has a strong marketing team that recognises the need to support and promote our brands with end users. Each of our customers has different needs depending on how they service the market. Whether these needs require co-branded collateral, consumer and end-user technical support, sales support at events, images for websites, etc, Boise is there to help. We have many dedicated strong individuals in our marketing group that can develop a campaign for all needs – large or Michelle Learman small. w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
London Stationery Show 2014 | Show Review
Alive and kicking First-class exhibitors, attendees from all channels and innovative new products – the London Stationery Show returns in style
by Alex Wellman
beginning of April saw the London Stationery Show return to the capital’s Business Design Centre where around 200 exhibitors showed off their latest products in a bid to attract interest from the reseller community at large, including retailers, dealers and wholesalers. This year, the show – held on 1-2 April as part of National Stationery Week – moved into the centre’s main hall after several years in a smaller side hall. The result was a well-organised event that appeared to get the backing of exhibitors and visitors alike although, almost inevitably, there were occasional grumblings about quiet periods from a selected few. Organiser Chris Leonard-Morgan believes the move was necessary in order to take the show forward: “The opportunity to grow this event was too good to miss,” he explained. “It was much more of a gamble not to move to a bigger area than it was to stay where we were.” Footfall was high on the first morning, with some exhibitors reporting more than 100 “good” interactions with dealer groups, retailers and other parties. While the focus was firmly on the retail side of stationery and office products, many exhibitors were keen to stress their commitment to commercial channels and the B2B market.
Indeed, manufacturer Blake The organisers had been Envelopes showed OPI a large promoting the quality of exhibitors stack of contact notes and said a in the run-up to the event, and with significant portion of them had been Moleskine, Pentel, Pukka Pads and Thai from wholesalers and dealer groups paper manufacturer Double A all in rather than just traditional retailers. attendance, it was a fair boast. Managing Director Michael Barter Snopake UK’s Sales Director Simon commented: “It has been a great Fawke told OPI that it had been opportunity to get ourselves out waiting to see which companies there and speak directly to people. would be at the show and only made a Despite what some say, we are very decision to come six weeks before the much pushing the message that event was due to run. the envelope is not dead and we “It was a very late call,” he said. “We have had a good response. We’ve saw who was coming and decided we had Nemo, Superstat, Integra and should be there as well. Advantia all take an interest.” “It’s been very positive. We use an A number of exhibitors also event like this to show the depth of said that they had spoken to range that we can offer.” representatives from VOW, Ryman, WH Smith and other big names from the OP and And the winners are... stationery world – all of The first day of the London Stationery Show played host to which showed interest the 2014 Stationery Awards. The categories and winners in their, often still very were as follows: traditional, OP offerings.
Eye-catching In terms of new product innovation, one in particular appeared to capture visitors’ imaginations. Brother’s TapeCreator Pro allows users to print words and designs onto different sorts of sticky tape – meaning a company could send out its products in boxes sealed with branded tape. Representatives reported they had been rushed off their feet with interest from a range of consumers.
★ Notebooks & Paper Products Spring Innovative Workshop – Woot Woot – You’re Fab notebooks ★ Fine Writing Instruments Lime Internet – Monteverde tool pen
★ Everyday Writing Instruments Zebra Pen (UK) – Sarasa rapid dry gel ink pen ★ Children’s Stationery Maped Helix – Maped Jungle Innovation colour pens set ★ Home Office Stabilo – Neon highlighters ★ Diaries & Calendars Nightingale International – A5 diary ★ Social Stationery Ryland Peters & Small – Seasalt notecards ★ Made in Britain Luckies of London – Deluxe scratch map ★ Special Innovation Award Maped Helix – Maped Jungle Innovation colour pens set
w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
ABC 2014 | Show Preview
Time to act
! w o N t h Rig
Nashville, Tennessee, June 11-14
As independent dealers across the US get ready for its Advantage Business Conference, SP Richards urges them to face the challenges ahead
can reminisce about and take stock of the past or predict and look forward to the future, but what’s really important – indeed the most important factor of all – is to act Right Now! And that’s the message for SP Richards’ 16th Advantage Business Conference (ABC) event, this year held at the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, the home of country music and Jack Daniel’s.
Alluding to rapidly changing times in our industry, SPR’s SVP of Marketing Jim O’Brien says: “Vendor consolidation continues. Office Depot and OfficeMax have begun their long-anticipated integration. Our theme for 2014 – Right Now! – suggests a needed sense of urgency.
Jim O’Brien these, the time is Right Now!” How to profit from change is one of the core areas that is being addressed in ABC’s Your Business Source (YBS) seminar sessions, aimed at YBS members only. The overall question of how to transform your dealership will be covered both in the YBS sessions as well as during the general Advantage seminars and workshops, both held on the second full day of the event. The first day, meanwhile, having been kicked off by a general session with highly-anticipated keynote speaker Seth Godin, is given over to the ABC Office Products Expo and the first part of the North American Office Products Awards (NAOPA – for more details, turn to page 48). The OPI team will again be present in full force at this year’s ABC, to present the NAOPA, provide a daily update on what’s happening at the show and, of course, talk to as many delegates – and hopefully OPI readers – as possible. See you in Nashville!
“Right Now! needs to become a mission statement for all of us”
Produc ts Expo 12 June
n erica s h Am ct Nort e Produ Offic wards A ne 3 Ju 12/1
Seth Godin – Keynote Speaker 12 June
Right Now! needs to become a mission statement for all of us. “In many cases, our businesses require more expertise in areas such as jan/san, safety, cleaning & breakroom and coffee services. We also may need more sophisticated marketing tactics, more cohesive digital platform strategies, and better adoption and use of analytics. For
What’s in store at ABC?
SP Richards’ ABC events always have a packed itinerary. This year is no exception, with two days full of inspiring keynote speakers, informative seminar sessions, innovative product displays, ample networking opportunities and, of course, plenty of ‘chill out’ entertainment. Here are Mark Savard Advantage just a few snippets of what to look – Gala Dinner Business forward to… Entertainment
Your B usin Sour ess semin ce a 13 Jun rs e
Conference 13 June
w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Awards Preview | NAOPA
g n i d r a w e R
! t s e b the
This year’s NAOPA are once again rewarding the best dealers and vendors in our industry
in their fifth year, OPI and SP Richards will once again be hosting the annual North American Office Products Awards (NAOPA). The venue is SP Richards’ Advantage Business Conference (ABC) in Nashville, Tennessee, the date 11-14 June 2014. The NAOPA recognise vendors and dealers in the industry and seek to find the real champions of our sector. Following the success of the two dealer categories that were introduced last year, for Professional of the Year and Industry Achievement, these awards are
The vendor awards meanwhile include entries for the Best Product in Cleaning and Breakroom, Core Office Products, Technology and Furniture as well as Innovation of the Year. The calibre of this year’s entries has once again been outstanding and demonstrates the vibrancy and innovation that manufacturers are bringing to the OP sector. This in turn, of course, can only benefit dealers and their customers. The judges – comprising dealers, dealer groups, industry bodies and SPR category
The NAOPA recognise vendors and dealers in the industry and seek to find the real champions of our sector once again part of this year’s category choices. Indeed, there have been some fantastic nominations and it is a testament to our thriving industry to see how many outstanding dealers are working in our industry and what remarkable achievements they have amassed for their businesses, the OP sector and their communities. Like last year, there is no shortlist for these two awards and the winners will be revealed at the awards presentation on 13 June during the final night’s Gala Dinner at SP Richards’ ABC event.
OPI Magazine | May 2014
managers – had a truly challenging time choosing a shortlist but the top entries have now been decided for the vendor awards and are shown on the next page. Overall, the judges were looking for strong product innovation, design and functionality and a clear demonstration of how these would benefit the reseller as well as the consumer. Other factors were the level of innovation and initiatives in promoting products to end users. The winning vendors will receive their awards during the ABC Office Products Expo on 12 June.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, will play host to this year’s NAOPA
NAOPA | Awards Preview
North American Office Products
All shortlisted products (pictured on page 50 & 51) will be entered into the People’s Choice category. Best Product – Core Office Products 1. Deflecto: Lit Loc Interlocking Literature Displays 2. Fellowes: I-Spire Home Office Accessories 3. MooreCo: Sharewall Full Wall Magnetic Whiteboard 4. Kokuyo: Staple-Free Stapler 5. Victor Technology: Smart Charge Docking Stations Best Product – Cleaning & Breakroom 6. 3M: 3M LED Advanced Light 7. Fellowes: AeraMax 190 Air Purifier 8. Kimberly-Clark Professional: Door Handle Disinfector 9. Kimberly-Clark Professional: Scott 24 Hour Sanitizing Spray 10. MooreCo: Breakroom Bistro Tables
There is still time to become involved. The shortlisted products will all be entered for the People’s Choice award which is open to everyone, including OPI readers. The final vote will happen live during the Gala Dinner on 13 Jume when the Professional of the Year and Industry Achievement awards will also be presented. For more information on the shortlisted products and to cast your vote, please go to www.opi.net/ votenaopa2014
Best Product – Technology 11. 3M: Post-it Notes Evernote Collection 12. Leitz: Leitz Icon Smart Labeling System 13. Logitech: Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810 14. Newline Interactive: TruCast 15. Plantronics: Voyager Legend CS Best Product – Furniture 16. MooreCo: Shapes Desk Configurable Desking System 17. MooreCo: Sharewall Full Wall Magnetic Whiteboard 18. MooreCo: Up-Rite Workstation – Mobile Sit-to-Stand Desk 19. Sentry Safe: Big Bolt Touch Lock Alarm Safe 20. Victor Technology: High Rise Collection Product Innovation of the Year 21. Fellowes: AutoMax 500C Auto-feed Shredder 22. Leitz: Leitz Icon Smart Printer 23. Newline Interactive: TruCast 24. Newline Interactive: TruTouch Full-HD Multi-Touch LED Display 25. Smead: Stick-N-Find Bluetooth Location Trackers
w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
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OPI Magazine | May 2014
TE NO OTE NO E NOW TE NOW NOW VOT OW VOTE NOW VO NOW VOTE NOW VO NOW VOTE NOW V E NOW E T O V W VOTE N W VOTE VOTE NO OW VOT W VOTE OTE NOW VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE N V W E NOW W O O N N E E T VO W OW NOW VOT W V O N W O E N W VOT O E T N E T N O E T O V E T O V T O V W O V W O W NOW OW V VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE N OW VOTE N W E W VOTE N O T N O E V T W V W OW VO VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO OTE NOW VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO V W O W W N O W VOTE N O N E N T E V E O T NOW E NOW V NOW VOT OW VOTE NOW VO NOW VOTE NOW V VOTE NOW OW VOTE | W Awards Preview NOW VOT E NNAOPA TE NOW OW VOTE T N O E E O V T E T V O T O V O V W V O O N W W N E NOW E NO NO NOW NOW VOT OW VOTE NOW VOT N OW VOTE E OW VOTE E T N OW VOTE E T N O T O E E V O V T T V O O W V W V O W O E NOW NOW W VOTE N VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE N NOW VOT OW O N E W T O E OW VOTE O T N V O E V T W V OTE NO VOTE N TE NOW NOW VO E NOW TE NOW TE NOW V E NOW VOTE NOW NOW VOT OW VOTE NOW VO OW VOTE E NOW VO O T E V O T V O W V O W N O W TE NOW N T TE E EN E NO 12 13 E NOW VO NOW15VOTE NOW VO E NOW NOW VOT E NOW VO NOW14VO&T23 NOW VOT T NOW VOT OW VOTE 11 E O T V O V W O W EN VOTE VOTE W VOT VOTE N OTE NO NOW VOT VOTE NOW TE NOW VOTE NOW VOTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW TE NOW V E NOW VOTE NOW O V W O N W O E N T O T O E TE NOW NOW VO OTE NOW E NOW V E NOW V NOW VOT OW NOW VOT OW VOTE E NOW VO NOW VOTE NOW V NOW VOT T N E E O T E T V O T O W VOTE N V O V O W V N O W W N O E O E T N E T N O T NOW O E E V O V T T W V E NOW VO NOW VOTE NOW VO E NOW VOTE NOW VOTE NOW TE NOW VOTE NOW VOTE NOW VOTE NO W O N E T NOW VOT O T O TE TE NOW NOW VO OTE NOW E NOW V E NOW V E NOW VO NOW VOT OW VOTE E NOW VO NOW VOTE NOW V E NOW NOW VOT T N E E O T NOW VOT E T V O T O V O V W V O W W VOTE VOTE N OTE NO TE NOW W VOT OTE NO VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW TE NOW V E NOW VOTE NOW E NOW VO NOW VOTE NOW V O V W O N W O E N T T O V E T TE VO OW TE NOW E NOW V E NOW VO E NOW VO NOW VOT16 OTE NOW W VOTE N OW V18 E N21OW VO NOW VOTE NOW NOW19VOT OW VOTE NO20 T N E O E T V T O E O V T W V O O V W VOTE N VOTE N E NOW W VOTE OTE NOW VOTE NO TE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO TE NOW V E NOW VOTE NOW V O W V W O O N E NOW VO W N T O E E O T N T V O V T O V TE O V W W V O W O W N O N TE NOW N E E OTE NOW VOTE NO NOW VOT OW VOTE E NOW VO NOW NOW VOT T N E E O T E T V O T O V O V TE NOW V E NOW VOTE NOW W V O W W VOTE N VOTE NO W VOTE OTE NOW VOTE NO VOT VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO OTE NOW TE NOW V E NOW VOTE NOW V O OW W OTE NOW V O W N O W N O E T N E VO W VOTE N VOT W V OTE VOT O W V O N O N W W N E O W O E T N O E T N O T N O E E V O V T E T W V O O OT VOTE NOW TE NOW VOTE NOW VOTE NOW VOTE NO TE NOW V E NOW VOTE NOW V TE NOW VOTE NOW O W V O N W O E T N O O OTE VOT OW V NOW V OW VO TE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NOW W VOTE N OW VOTE W VOTE N E NOW VO NOW VOTE NOW V T O V W VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE N O N E NOW E V W NOW VOT OW VOTE NOW VOT W O N E W E O N T E O T N O E T N O E V T O V 22 24 25 E T O V T O V W W O V W V O W NO E NOW VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE N NOW VOT OW OW VOTE N E W T E O O T N V O E V T W V VO NO OW NOW OW VOTE N VOTE NOW OyW VOTE W VOTE N OW VOTE W VOTE N TE N Oas VOTE NOW TE NOW C V t W ou W O VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE N O r N vo N E te E T at TE NOW VO W VO V W OW VOTw wW NOet W TE.n VOpi W VpOa2 /vVOot Oao NOW VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE N O w.o N en N E E T T O V OW VOTE V W OW W E NOW TE0N14 T O O V V W W O VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE N O N N E TE NOW V W OW VOTE NOW VOT OW VOTE NOW VO NOW W O N W E O N E O T N E T N O E T O V E T O V T O V W O V V NOW VOTE VOTE N TE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO OW VOTE OTE NOW VOTE NOW OTE NOW E NOW VO NOW VOTE NOW V E NOW VOTE NOW V T W O W V O O N N W E W VOTE N E O T N VOTE W VOT OW VO W VOT E NOW V OW VOTE VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE N NOW VOT W E W VOTE N O T N O V E T W O V OW V TE NOW OTE NO E NOW TE NOW W VOTE N NOW VOT OW VOTE NOW VO NOW VOTE NOW VO NOW VOTE NOW V E T O V W O VOTE N W VOTE W VOTE W VOTE N VOTE NOW OTE NOW VOTE NO VOTE NOW VOTE NO W O N E T OW VO E NOW V TE NOW NOW VOT OW VOTE NOW VO E T O V W O EN NOW VOT OW VOTE
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Filing | Category Analysis
Rank and file
With the rapid growth of workplace digitisation and cloud storage, the filing and archiving category is fighting a war on two fronts
by Bruce Ackland
filing and archiving category is the most traditional of traditional office products segments and there’s no point explaining what we all already know – it’s in a tricky situation and, for the most part, whoever you speak to in the world paints a gloomy picture for what the future holds in the category. UK dealer group Advantia is predicting a 5-10% drop in the category over the next 12-36 months, US dealer group Independent Stationers forecasts a 3-4% decline per year, and manufacturer Jalema sees a 10% drop each year for the traditional products in this segment. That doesn’t make great reading for those involved in filing and archiving, but it’s hardly surprising given that the category has been getting both barrels from the double blast of workplace digitisation and cloud storage. “The impact is already huge,” Jalema Sales Director Frank Demarteau says. “We see large organisations going digital and outsourcing their physical archives. Everybody wants to work independently from a place and time, so cloud computing is the future.” At Tarifold, Marketing Director Benjamin Baruteaud believes the twin attack will destroy the middle part of the category. “Often when a category is facing trouble there are opportunities in the high or in the
Bricks & Mortar Retail
Channel Breakout Category ■ Non-Hanging File Folders ■ Hanging File Folders ■ File Storage
Source: The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service
Filing category sales in the US
low part of the market. I believe filing is no different”, he says. Avery still sees filing as a broad tool that is still very much alive as Marketing Director Fiona Mills explains: “Although there is a shift towards saving information on cloud-based platforms, most organisations encourage employees to print and file important documents for security and protection from loss of data, so there is always a need for filing and archiving. Filing isn’t just for the office, it’s a tool to organise pay slips, revision notes, handwritten documents, letters, etc.”
Rationalising the category For the most part resellers have to rationalise their filing and archiving offering as the market slips, but just how much are they reducing the space they make available for the category? At United Stationers, the US wholesaler is trying to help its resellers adjust to the changes in end-user behaviour while making sure it doesn’t “over-correct”. Product Manager Stephanie Loup says: “We are evaluating which items and brands our customers want and need most, not just for today but for the days ahead. As we look at different uses, we are also
59% 11% Commercial
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Category Analysis | Filing Buoyant in Brazil While lack of innovation and gloomy demand is hampering the filing and archiving market in some geographic areas, hope for the category is alive and kicking in Brazil. OPI talked to Acrimet Marketing Manager Natalia Gastaldo. OPI: We keep hearing how the modern world is the enemy of traditional categories like filing. Do you believe this? Natalia Gastaldo: Through it all, paper remains the dominant and essential vehicle of modern communications here. In the developing world, paper consumption is growing quite rapidly and the need for printers, scanners, office paper and, consequently, filing and archiving systems, very much remains. OPI: What is Acrimet doing to innovate in this category? NG: As a new innovation we introduced the concept of hanging folders made 100% with kraft bamboo which is now popular throughout Latin America.
These bamboo folders are also now being made in different colours and are highly resisitant due to the tough bamboo fibre. They are also very eco-friendly compared to paper. OPI: Where are you Natalia Gastaldo enjoying growth? NG: We see growth in SMB offices, independent companies, restaurants, schools, etc, and in the growing international markets. OPI: What area is really influencing the look of the products you make? NG: The influence of fashion on this sector is very important and very strong. Acrimet is providing customers with fashionable and attractive design with vibrant colours in all our product areas, including letter trays, desk accessories, displays, magazine holders and home office kits.
“Everybody wants to work independently from a place and time, so cloud computing is the future” looking at the pack types we carry. If people are filing less, they may not need as many 100-count items, but a 50-count or 25-count pack might make more sense for them.” United adds that until digital storage costs become more affordable, SME customers will continue to purchase product in the category, but that government regulation changes could push a faster decline in the category to digital storage. Elsewhere, UK dealer group Nemo has actually increased space for 2014 to accommodate more private label that is a growth area while Hungarian wholesaler
Filing category sales in the US Channel Breakout
Corwell is also maintaining stock. Looking for further positives, a trend that continues to offer comfort in the category is the growing demand for visually attractive and fashionable products. Their inherent attraction for younger consumers is proving desirable in a segment where manufacturing innovation is obviously limited.
Nemo Director of Purchasing Tina Russell says: “We are introducing products more suitable for home filing. With so many people now using their home as their main base, there is a very distinct need for filing that is a little more gentle on the eye.” In addition, the modern mobile workforce – so often considered the enemy of the filing category – is looking for mobility with portable wall organisers, products with die-cut handles for easy lifting and vertical filing formats that work better with backpacks. United Stationers is looking to embrace the modern mobile workforce with filing and archiving products and says it will “continue to focus on providing products and services that enable our resellers to meet the evolving needs of mobile workers”. There are still opportunities out there even if the traditional parts of filing and archiving seem to be out of step with time now. While it certainly is a category in need of a lick of paint (figuratively and literally), the industry is not yet willing to entertain ideas of a dying category.
Dollar Percentage Change
March 2012 - February 2013
March 2013 - February 2014
Bricks & Mortar Retail
Source: The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service
OPI Magazine | May 2014
Paper | Category Analysis
Capacity for change Reacting to changing market conditions and dwindling demand has been the order of the day in the paper category
by Bruce Ackland Edited by Andy Braithwaite email@example.com
been a busy year for the paper category as the industry has reacted to shrinking demand with a rash of restructuring, rationalisation, capacity cutting and diversification. Boise in the US has been acquired by American Packaging (see Sponsored Article, page 43), Domtar is diversifying into areas
On the distribution side, PaperlinX is going through a painful restructuring process in the UK and continental Europe, Xerox has sold its copy paper business (to Domtar in North America and Antalis in Europe), and in the US IP’s Xpedx is merging with Unisource.
European ambitions Bucking the trend, Thailand-based Double A has added up to 200,000 tonnes of capacity by re-opening the former Metsä Board mill in Alizay, France, as it looks to gain a foothold in Europe (see box ‘Taking aim’) , while Portucel
“It is one thing to have the capability in terms of capacity, but it is quite another to realise that in terms of sales into markets”
Source: The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service
such as adult nappies (diapers for our North American readers) and UPM, Stora Enso and International Paper (IP) have all reduced capacities and/or expanded into other areas such as packaging.
On a downward slope
US copy paper sales March 2013 – February 2014
Unit change $ change
Soporcel continues to grow share, especially with its Navigator brand. There’s much discussion as to whether bringing Alizay’s capacity back online could be disruptive to the market. This is something that Metsä’s Marketing Director Simon Guffogg doesn’t see. He explains: “Double A obviously has European ambitions. However, it is one thing to have the capability in terms of capacity, but it is quite another to realise that in terms of sales into markets. Where we are active we are not seeing these volumes, so do not see any major disruptions so far.” But what of capacity levels in general? Are they still in need of rationalisation? w w w.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Category Analysis | Paper Is enough being done to bring them in line with the status of the market? Last year, three of the four largest North American paper mills announced capacity reductions that accounted for 900,000 tonnes, or approximately 11% of capacity, and it is projected that industry operating rates will hit 95% in 2014, suggesting capacity and demand are pretty much in sync. US-based converter and distributor Paris Corp commends US paper firms for “relentlessly and successfully” focusing on aligning their capacity demand and believes that this is beginning to show in the pricing and their earnings.
Further changes On the reseller side, US wholesaler United Stationers has a keen eye on the situation, led by Category Manager for cut-sheet paper Jim Kluth, who previously spent 15 years at Boise. Kluth says: “As demand declines in the low single digits each year, based on what has happened over the past decade, it is highly likely that further changes to the manufacturing landscape will continue, both in North America and around the world. It will be interesting to observe whether developing economies adopt paper-based technologies or ‘skip over’ to newer, paperless information technologies. That will determine what will happen to global demand over the next decade.” In Europe, Gábor Czakó, Business Development Manager (Paper and Mass Products) at Hungarian wholesaler Corwell says the firm is feeling the effect of slightly overbooked mills, but expects this to change in the near future. And at US dealer group Independent Stationers, Director of Merchandising Mike Foster says that with the closure of the IP Courtland mill, capacity is at a higher rate but still not at full capacity. In addition he points out that pricing of domestic paper is at a level where more imports are coming into the US market and this is keeping prices down. Dale Bloem, Director of Content Management & Merchandising at US dealer New England Office Supply, adds: “I don’t believe overall capacity is where IP envisioned it would be when it closed the Courtland mill. The availability of quality import sheets has probably had something to do with this. Of course, global instability could change all this quickly.” In the UK, dealer group Advantia sees capacity as slightly lower than demand, but as it’s being sold into other market sectors there is potential for the mills to increase margins.
OPI Magazine | May 2014
Going direct Metsä Board has a new go-to-market strategy in Europe selling directly to resellers rather than via the merchant channel. OPI asked Metsä Marketing Director Simon Guffogg to explain more. OPI: Your new go-to-market strategy has certainly grabbed everyone’s attention. What was the rationale behind it? Simon Guffogg: We think the office paper category is failing both resellers and end consumers. Consumers can’t make the right choices since what’s on offer is so poorly represented, and resellers can’t get the right offers from manufacturers to build quality positions. Plus, the whole supply chain is too complex. OPI: So you obviously saw a problem as well as an opportunity to address it. But what were your primary motivations to be the ones to do it? SG: We wanted to offer resellers something a bit different and our motivation is threefold: Firstly, the office paper category is dominated by private label offerings. For consumers this is a difficult situation in which to make informed purchasing decisions as most offerings are neither relevant nor differentiated. We feel the end consumer is not served in this situation and we want to change that.
“The office paper category is failing both resellers and end consumers” Secondly, we believe that independent dealers or dealer groups are interested in offering their customers a well-marketed and valuable proposition in the paper category, but find it difficult to secure a solution which is both cost-effective for them and interesting for their customers. And finally, for a long time now we have listened to dealers complaining that the paper supply chain is too complex with too many people touching the product adding cost at every turn. By buying directly, the reseller can simplify both the supply chain and reduce costs. OPI: And thus was born officepapershop.com? SG: Exactly. We came up with officepapershop.com as an online platform to purchase office paper direct from the manufacturer, from as little as one pallet, thereby streamlining and simplifying the supply chain and freeing availability for our office paper brands. In terms of overall demand for office copy paper there’s no escaping the fact that demand is declining in the office and home and especially among younger people in mature markets. Demand for cut-sheet has seen secular declines of 3%, 5%, and 2% in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively in the US, while paper industry analysts are forecasting demand will be down 4% in 2014. However, companies like Metsä are seeing a flat-to-slight increase in emerging markets
Paper | Category Analysis
“Recycled paper use is steady and primarily driven by tax-supported organisations, non-profits and large corporations”
while recycled paper is also triggering demand for manufacturers. Paris Corp CEO Gerry Toscani also sees solid demand for recycled paper. He says: “Recycled paper use is steady and primarily driven by tax-supported organisations, non-profits and large corporations. 100% pre-consumer recycled has increased in sales for us since it is priced near virgin [fibre paper].” On the wholesaler side, Czakó says that Corwell has seen “a huge increase” in the usage of 100% recycled papers while United’s Kluth adds that recycled-content papers have represented approximately 10% of overall cut-sheet paper demand for quite a long time although the stagnating economy has hit demand. He explains: “Since the recession, we do not see quite as many people moving into recycled papers
OPI met Double A Senior EVP Thirawit Leetavorn at the London Stationery Show in April to find out more about the manufacturer’s strategy for the UK market. OPI: What are your goals and expectations for the UK market? Thirawit Leetavorn: Initially, I was sceptical because we had heard so many things about the market being down and very price-driven, but now I really think there is tremendous potential to make an impact in the premium segment in the UK. OPI: So you’re targeting the top end? TL: Yes, we are looking to establish a position for ourselves in the premium market. OPI: But you’re still going to sell your three brands –- Double A, Hi Plus and Smart Copy? TL: Yes, but the only one that we put marketing effort behind is Double A. We came out with the other brands because we noticed a demand in Europe for 75g sheet and that’s what Hi Plus is. We’ve also noticed, as in other markets, that paper is put into three pricing points: economy, standard and premium. There’s really Thirawit Leetavorn very little difference in the
or moving up the recycled content ladder (30%, 50%, 100%). While quality has improved and does not appear to be a barrier to entry, the incremental cost may not be something a company is willing to pay unless it’s committed to a greener procurement strategy.” As we can see, there are bright spots in the category and the industry is reacting to the changing business landscape, but there are also many variables that are yet to play out. What will a new European entrant mean in the mid-to-long term? Will the Office Depot/OfficeMax merger impact the category (thus far most businesses interviewed said there was little change so far) and will the paperless office continue to delay its long-heralded appearance? The paper category still feels very much like one in a state of flux.
quality between the three, the main differentiators being in the grammage and the price. OPI: What resources do you currently have here in the UK? TL: We have a sales manager who works out of his home office, but with the response we have been getting we clearly need to look at adding more people. We are not looking to set up a base as we believe our people should be close to where our customers are, so they spend 80% of their time with customers face to face and the rest of the time it’s contacting either the Bangkok or France-based office making sure the paper comes through.
“We love any channel where the consumer can see and touch our brand” OPI: Who are you working with on distribution? TL: At the moment we are working with PaperlinX and the AIMS Group. They are our two main distributors here. We are very keen to look for more because, with all due respect to these distributors, their objectives may not coincide 100% with ours. OPI: Which channels are you prioritising? TL: We love any channel where the consumer can see and touch our brand. So we are looking at retailers and we’d love to sell through the likes of Tesco.
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On the move
OP personnel changes from around the globe We would love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Tweet us @OPInews or you can write to us at OPI, Diamond House, 36-38 Hatton Garden, London, EC1N 8EB, UK
Domtar has named Mike Garcia as President, Pulp and Paper, effective 1 May. In this role, Garcia will oversee the operations of North America’s largest producer of uncoated freesheet paper and a top-three market pulp producer through a network of 13 mills in the US and Canada. He has over 20 years’ experience in the paper, steel and aluminium industries and joins Domtar from South African firm Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium Company, where he was CEO. The appointment brings together the manufacturing and marketing of Domtar’s range of pulp and paper products under a single leader. This is in line with its strategy to have a two-division structure for the group, having already established the Personal Care unit in 2011.
Lyreco has announced the appointment of a new zone Managing Director for a Walter Raes number of its European subsidiaries. Walter Raes took responsibility for the company’s operations in Iberia, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Finland and Poland on 22 April. Formerly in charge of Lyreco’s Benelux business in the 1990s, Raes left the company in 2000 and was working in senior management positions in companies such as Papyrus and PaperlinX. Meanwhile, Lyreco has also appointed Martin Martin Schlittler Schlittler as
OPI Magazine | May 2014
Marketing Director of its operations in Switzerland. Schlittler has been with the firm since 2007 occupying a number of management roles in Switzerland and Central Europe. Cezary Monko is now CEO of Esselte Holdings, it has been confirmed. Cezary Monko Monko’s promotion comes after the recent sale of Esselte’s Pendaflex North American business to RR Donnelley which led to the retirement of former Esselte CEO Gary Brooks. Monko joined Esselte in 1992 as Country Manager Poland and was appointed President of Europe and International in 2005. Despite the deal with RR Donnelley, Esselte is not pulling out of the North American market. The company said it would strengthen the infrastructure of its retained business in North America and will focus on the Rapid, Leitz and Xyron brands. UK wholesaler Spicers has announced the appointment of Rick Jones as Supply Chain Director – a new role within the company. Previously Director of Logistics and Retail Support at Kingfisher Group, Jones took up his new position on 7 April and is now responsible for Spicers’ supply chain, procurement, transport and inventory functions. Spicers said it had been reviewing the overall business structure for the past six months and the need to strengthen experience “across certain disciplines”. The appointment of Jones comes after Spicers suffered supply problems following a move to a new national distribution centre in Birmingham.
North America Office Depot has made two key senior appointments in North America. Troy Rice has been named as EVP for Retail. Rice, 51, takes charge of Depot’s 1,900 North American stores at a time when the company is merging its Office Depot and OfficeMax network. Troy Rice He has joined Office Depot from toy retailer Toys ‘R’ Us where he served as EVP of Stores and Services for eight years. Before that he spent 16 years at Home Depot. Rice replaces Juan Guerrero who had held the EVP Retail role on an interim basis following last November’s merger with OfficeMax. Also joining Depot is Juliet Johansson, who has been named Chief Strategy Officer. Joining from dental implant manufacturer Biomet 3i, Johansson has also been made a member of Office Depot’s Executive Committee and will be charged with leading the company’s efforts to define and develop key strategies. Her background also includes a decade of strategic advisory experience with leading consultancy firms McKinsey and Blackstone. The 44-year-old will report Juliet Johansson directly to Office Depot CEO Roland Smith. Staying in the UK wholesaling channel, the former Head of Group Purchasing at Spicers Colin Learmouth has joined new OP wholesaler Beta Distribution as Head of Office Products. Beta – which is best known for the distribution of IT and A/V products – recently announced its entry into the office products wholesaling channel in partnership with OfficeTeam. Learmouth was with Spicers until May 2013, at which point he joined rival wholesaler Gem as Head of Category although he left Gem just a few months later. Shredder manufacturer HSM has set its sights on growth in the UK after Kate Banks appointing a new sales chief. As Head of Sales for the Office Technology UK division, former Bi-silque and Office Club executive Kate Banks will lead a team of specialists charged with boosting sales within the region. The appointment has been described by HSM as the “final stage” in the restructuring of its global sales team. European vendor Jalema has appointed Eefje Teeuwen to the role
of International Account Manager. Teeuwen – who previously worked in the office furniture industry Eefje Teeuwen for two years – has been tasked with growing Jalema’s export sales as part of the company’s international expansion strategy. She will have a particular focus on the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia and Spain. IT and office products dealer group Synaxon UK has brought in Mike Barron as Channel Manager as it looks to build stronger supplier partnerships. He was previously with distributor Enatech.
China Stationery founder and Chairman Chan Fung @ Kwan Wing Yin has been confirmed as the company’s interim CEO. The plastic stationery manufacturer informed the Malaysian stock market of the news in a regulatory filing, adding that it was conducting a search for a permanent replacement for former CEO Jiang Danping who died unexpectedly last October. News of Chan’s role came just ahead of news that China Stationery was seeking a two-month extension period to file its 2013 annual accounts.
Advertising Feature | Hammermill
OPI Magazine | May 2014
5 minutes with... Cordelia von Gymnich, VP Consumer Goods and Entertainment, Messe Frankfurt
“My ancestors fought against Napoleon Bonaparte”
Describe what you do in less than 20 words. I give the framework for the team so we can deliver the best trade show possible.
If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy/do? I would buy a German sports car. An Audi R8 convertible.
The best moment in your career? I believe it is yet to come.
If you had to sing at a karaoke next weekend, which song would you choose and why? There are always too many good songs in my head to choose just one of them.
Your best piece of advice to a colleague? Don’t give up; try again later as times change. Your greatest strength? Pertinacity.
The first record you bought? Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
Your favourite event on the OP circuit and why? Paperworld – because it gives a perfect overview of the market with all the key players attending, even if they are not exhibiting.
The best book you’ve read in the last 12 months? It was about the impact of World War II and what it still does to the second and third generations – the children and grandchildren of war. How would you like to be remembered? As a cheerful person.
Your favourite office product? My hold file, as it structures days and times. What do you think will be the biggest single factor/ issue affecting the OP industry over the next five years? Future generations will learn less handwriting in school and instead have more digital teaching.
Do you have any famous ancestors/relatives? My ancestors fought against Napoleon Bonaparte. If you had one day to live, what would you do? Gather my family and make music.
What do you like best about the OP industry? All market players are proud of the history and achievements of the OP industry while at the same time being very down to earth. What do you like least about it? Some participants see more problems than opportunities in the OP industry. Your childhood ambitions? I wanted to be a diplomat. Your first car? A Volkswagen Beetle. Things that make you angry? People who don’t listen to others.
Any interesting/unusual hobbies? I am a singer in a rock band.
www.opi.net | OPI Magazine
Calendar Key dates in your industry If we are missing an event please let us know. Contact email@example.com
Do you have an event that you would like to promote in the OPI Calendar? Please contact Fergus Cox for further information about having an extended entry and pricing. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MAY 06-09 ISSA/Interclean Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands MAY 21-23 Corwell Expo Corwell HQ, Budapest, Hungary
JUN 13 North American Office Products Awards 2014
Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel, Nashville, TN, USA Contact: Janet Bell Email: email@example.com Web: www.opi.net/ NAOPA2014 The fifth annual awards programme for North American manufacturers and dealers. Encouraging innovation and giving recognition to those working to deliver real value.
JUN 02-04 Photizo Transform Global 2014 Louisville (KY), USA
JUN 16 BOSS Federation BenGolf Day Wyboston Lakes Golf Centre, Bedfordshire, UK
JUN 06-08 Office Club Annual Conference The Belfry Hotel, Birmingham, UK
JUN 19-20 Synaxon UK National Conference Hellidon Lakes Golf & Spa Hotel, Northamptonshire, UK
JUN 11-14 SP Richards Advantage Business Conference 2014 – ‘Right Now’ Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel, Nashville (TN), USA JUN 12-13 UFIPA Annual Conference JW Marriott, Cannes, France 64
OPI Magazine | May 2014
June 19-20 Superstat Conference The Belfry, Oxford, UK JUN 27-28 Nemo Annual Conference Slaley Hall, Hexham, UK JUL 09-11 ISOT 2014 Tokyo Big Sight, Japan
JUL 15-16 Bob Parker Memorial Golf Outing Kiawah Island Resort, Ocean Course, Kiawah Island (SC), USA SEPT 05-06 The Australian Office Products Expo Royal Exhibition Buildings, Melbourne, Australia SEPT 17-19 EPIC 2014 Joint Independent Stationers/TriMega Convention Westin Diplomat, Hollywood (FL), USA
SEPT 22-24 OPI European Forum 2014
Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin, Noordwijk, the Netherlands
Contact: Janet Bell Tel: +44 20 7841 2941 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.opi.net/EF2014 An invitation-only forum for CEOs and senior executives from the business supplies and associated sectors.
OCT 06-08 Pinnacle Annual Meeting and Vendor Forum 2014 Embassy Suites Chicago O’Hare Hotel, Rosemont (IL), USA
OCT 07 Advantia 2014 Conference Chesford Grange Hotel, Warwickshire, UK OCT 08 Howard Wolf Golf Classic Cantigny Golf Club, Wheaton (IL), USA OCT 09 Spirit of Life Gala Navy Pier, Chicago (IL), USA OCT 10-12 Office Brands EXPO Sheraton & Westin Denarau Island, Fiji OCT 22 BOSS Awards ICC Birmingham, Birmingham, UK NOV 04-07 ISSA/Interclean Orange County Convention Center, Orlando (FL), USA NOV 11-15 Office Partners’ Grand Ole Gathering 2014 Nashville Airport Marriott, Nashville (TN), USA NOV 20 Integra Annual Conference East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham, UK NOV 26-28 Big Buyer 2014 Bologna, Italy
APR 28-29 London Stationery Show 2015 Business Design Centre, London, UK
Contact: Chris Leonard-Morgan Email: email@example.com Tel: +44 20 8462 0721; Web: www.stationeryshow.co.uk The only UK exhibition dedicated to stationery products, writing instruments and accessories for the home, school and office. Organiser of National Stationery Week.
Final word Your industry, your opinions
Carolyne Turnbull, Director of Marketing and Communications, Virtualstock
The challenges of drop-ship THERE
is no doubt that in an increasingly online world, drop-shipping has become a vital component in maximising retail sales without the costs and risks associated with an increased stock holding. By offering a wider assortment of products from a greater range of suppliers, retailers are able to expand their reach into new and existing markets without the confines of a physical inventory. But as attractive as this proposition may sound, drop-shipping is not without its own unique set of challenges and any retailer taking on the drop-ship challenge will have to overcome certain hurdles in order to compete effectively. As retailers increase the number of drop-ship suppliers in order to further grow their online offer, for example, a maze of logistical and customer service headaches lie in wait. Imagine the conundrum of vast amounts of consumer orders placed and fulfilled across a multitude of suppliers. An uninformed retailer may be unaware of some of the behind-the-scenes difficulties, but will have to field the tsunami of unhappy customer enquires because, at the end of the day, as far as the customer is concerned, all unkept promises will be the fault of the retailer because that’s where the order was placed.
of intelligent and adaptable business rules that will allow inventory from all suppliers to be utilised. But what happens after an order has been placed? The only way for the retailer to completely manage the end– to-end process is to take ownership of the order cycle from start to finish – all the way to the customer’s door.
Complete visibility So the retailer allocates an order to the ‘in stock’ supplier, meeting all delivery criteria set by the consumer. The supplier accepts the order and the retailer can now view and manage the life cycle of the order – including order acknowledgment, status updates, order dispatch and order delivery, all the way through to track-and-trace to the consumer’s door. With complete visibility and total control throughout the entire order process, the retailer is fully informed and is able to deliver a quicker and more accurate response to the customer, greatly improving the buying experience. And even if there are any fulfilment delays, the retailer is able to react and resolve these prior to customer impact. With a fluid, reactive drop-ship operation in place, the ability to offer the consumer greater choice becomes an achievable objective. In complete control, the retailer can now provide an agile offer to a loyal customer. Orders are dispatched to any designated delivery address or collection point, allowing for a multitude of delivery options in any time frame the consumer desires. Carolyne Turnbull is Director of Marketing and Communications at Virtualstock. She has over 20 years of experience, developing and implementing strategic marketing initiatives that build brand awareness, acquire new customers and generate loyalty.
“With a fluid, reactive drop-ship operation in place...greater [consumer] choice becomes an achievable objective”
End-to-end journey So what is actually required by the retailer in order to efficiently manage the drop-ship process? The all-encompassing answer is that maintaining visibility and control of the end-to-end process, including managing the customer experience, is absolutely vital. Product information will be key to a successful journey. Enabling all new and existing suppliers, regardless of size or technical ability, to easily upload all product data, including product descriptions, rich imagery and, most importantly, accurate inventory levels, will see the retailer off to a flying start. Without the confines of a limited drop-ship solution the retailer can manage any number of suppliers and any number of products – resulting in an increased speed to market, greater customer choice and bigger basket size. And with one repository giving a true view of all stock levels in all locations, the retailer can begin to apply a set
OPI Magazine | May 2014
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IN THE NEXT ISSUE • Big Interview with Bud Mundt, Executive Director, AOPD • Are dealers selling tech products successfully, OPI asks? • What’s the state of the OP industry? Some answers…