2019: Julie Hawley is Managing Director at Office Friendly, the VOW-aligned UK dealer group. It’s also part of the International Office Products Alliance (iOPA), a cooperative network of five dealer groups across the world that was formed in early 2018, with the aim to share knowledge, experiences and best practice.
2019 has been another record year for Office Friendly, with spend at VOW coming in at £54.5 million ($69 million). It’s KascAid marketing programme has matured and is now being used by dealers both inside and outside the group’s membership. The company’s Pioneer training initiative, meanwhile, has been expanded and offers both online (portal) and offline training and mentoring services.
This year also saw the launch of the group’s Weaver programme which is aimed at providing a CSR framework for SMEs in five key areas: carbon footprint, waste management, single-use plastics, sustainable products and social responsibility.
October marked the group’s 25th anniversary and was celebrated at a special ‘Office Friendly Entrepreneurs’ Festival’. It was hailed as a great success, with over 230 delegates attending over the course of the conference. It included the group’s Vantastic promotion – an initiative whereby dealers earned raffle tickets from suppliers that were then entered into a draw for a chance to win a £25,000 electric van. The promotion was a product of the company’s collaboration with fellow iOPA member Inovocom in South Africa, and there are plans to roll it over into 2020.
On a personal highlight for late 2018 and early 2019, Hawley was recognised for her contribution to Office Friendly as well as the industry at large. She won the ‘Professional of the Year’ accolade at both the BOSS Federation and European Office Products Awards.
2018: Julie Hawley is Managing Director at Office Friendly, the VOW-aligned UK dealer group. Under her stewardship over the past year, the group has seen a record-breaking £53 million ($70 million) spend with the wholesaler.
Office Friendly has also rebranded its website to highlight its focus on business development, and introduced ‘Pioneer’ – a new learning platform for members centred on rewarding users with points, trophies, etc, the more they interact with it. It provides both business and product resources, together with skills-based training applications hosted within a ‘Facebook-type’ community.
Office Friendly’s marketing programme ‘KascAid’ has been going from strength to strength, with Business Objects (BO) integration and more digitisation services being offered. Hawley describes it as “tipping into the ‘marketing agency’ arena now.”
Other news includes the setting up of a new CSR programme known as the ‘Office Friendly Community Foundation’ which will support local projects through fundraising, volunteering or the donation of monetary alternatives – the provision of business suits for the unemployed, for example.
The group is also part of the International Office Products Alliance (iOPA), a cooperative network of five dealer groups across the world that was formed in early 2018. iOPA aims to share the knowledge, experience and best practices of globally-recognised companies within the office products community.
2017: Hawley took up the full-time position of Managing Director at the VOW-aligned UK dealer group last December, six months after taking the interim position.
The focus for the past year for the group has been on streamlining the sales and marketing processes for members using the latest technology and trends in the industry.
Hawley says the development of two-way marketing integration into back office systems has been a major game changer, and the enhancement of its Kascaid marketing programme has been key for members.
2016: Julie Hawley stepped up to the Managing Director role at UK dealer group Office Friendly in June 2016 following the sudden departure of Steve Harrop. She is no stranger to the group and how it works, having been at Office Friendly for ten years, four of those as Finance Director. Prior to joining Office Friendly, she worked at wholesaler Kingfield and, in all, has more than 25 years’ experience in the office products industry.
Under Harrop, Hawley and colleagues Katie Metcalfe and Keeley Shepherd were instrumental in transforming Office Friendly from a buying group into a fuller services-oriented partner for its members, including the award-winning KascAid marketing programme.
Hawley now hopes to build on this success, with the focus very much remaining on helping dealers grow their business. Plans include a new dealer platform which will integrate all the benefits the dealer group offers in a single location.