European Forum 2021 ONLINE

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    • 01 Dec 21 - 02 Dec 21

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    European Forum 2021 ONLINE

    01 Dec 21 - 02 Dec 21
    1 December 2021


    European Forum 2021 ONLINE

    01 Dec 21 - 02 Dec 21
    1 December 2021


    I don’t think anyone thought we would still be burdened by COVID-19 restrictions but, sadly, we still seem to have some way to go before international live events become an easy option.

    To ensure that we can still hold our next OPI European Forum safely, we have decided to host this event virtually. The upside of this it does enable more people to attend but we will miss meeting you in person and the engagement that goes with that. However, we will be back with live events in 2022, and I am sure we will all be keen to embrace them. 

    What you’ll learn

    Following continuing demand adjustments, industry consolidation and new working trends, this is an important “must attend” event for companies from across all channels to explore avenues to achieve profitable sales and position themselves for a more sustainable future.

    The event is designed to help industry executives better understand and analyse the changes to our sector. Practical takeaways will enable them to make informed strategic decisions to ensure their businesses succeed in the ‘new normal’.

    The format

    The format will be very interactive and there will be no “death by PowerPoint”. It will certainly not be a typical webinar! Instead, we will focus mainly on Q&As with our panellists giving you a chance to ask any questions and really interrogate them on their strategies and experience.


    There will also be plenty of networking opportunities, including informal coffee break areas, one-to-one chat rooms and a speed networking facility. Through the sharing of knowledge, vision, best practices and experience, everyone will leave the event with actionable takeaways and a better view of the way forward.


    To maximise engagement and minimise screen fatigue, the Forum will take place over two days on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 December. We will start mid-morning on both days to give you a chance to clear your decks and Inbox, and we’ll finish mid-afternoon so you can finish up ‘in the office’…

    We hope you can join us. If you need any additional information, please contact either or

    European Forum 2021 Online 
    Shaping the Future 

    Download PDF Agenda: OPI European Forum 2021 ONLINE Agenda


    An interactive forum for key industry leaders in Europe, North America and beyond to debate and define the future of the business supplies sector. 

    This is an urgent “must attend” event for companies from across all channels and is designed to help senior office products industry executives better understand and analyse the changes to our sector in a post-COVID world. Practical takeaways will enable them to make informed strategic decisions to ensure their businesses succeed in the ‘new normal’. 

    Forum Agenda
    All times are UK GMT (CET-1)

    Wednesday 1 December

    08.30 (09.30 CET) Login for Networking

    09.30 (10.30 CET) Official Welcome by Steve Hilleard – CEO, OPI

    09.45 (10.45 CET) State of the European Business Products Industry: Update & Question Time
    In a series of quick-fire interviews, several leaders from key markets and channels in Europe will discuss the many industry changes and developments that have occurred since the last European Forum in November 2020 and offer their thoughts on what the post-pandemic market may look like. 
    Veronica Avanzini – Business Unit Manager Digital, Traditional & Home Office, Errebian
    Rui Carvalho – CEO, Firmo – Papéis e Papelarias S.A.
    Simon Drakeford – CEO, EO Group
    Alain Josse – Managing Director, Raja Group
    Greg Lienard – CEO, Lyreco
    Richard Scharmann – CEO, PBS Holding
    Tomasz Skowroński – Business Area Manager Eastern Europe, Avery Zweckform
    Interviewer: Steve Hilleard – CEO, OPI

    11.00 (12.00 CET) Networking Break

    11.20 (12.20 CET) Panel: Building a Sustainable Business Supplies Industry
    Sustainability is once again top of the agenda following the pandemic. Hot on the heels of COP26, leaders in the field of sustainability give their views on keeping 1.5°C alive and what companies in the business supplies industry can do to help achieve this. The discussion will revolve around the route to reaching net zero, moving from a linear to a circular economy, and what the Green Deal really means for doing business in Europe.
    Michel de Bruin – CEO, Greenspeed International
    Isabelle Daubney – Circular Economy Project Leader, Lyreco
    Remijnse – Communications Director, Essity Professional Hygiene
    Michelle Sturman – Deputy Editor, OPI
    Moderator: Jonathan Withey – Head of Business Development, Planet Mark

    12.10 (13.10 CET) Lunch

    13.00 (14.00 CET) An Audience with Tomorrow’s Leaders 
    Join this stimulating discussion with a group of young executives, all of whom were recently featured in the ‘30 Under 30’ article which celebrated OPI magazine’s 30th birthday. With all our panellists making a substantial difference to their businesses and to the industry, this is a unique chance to engage directly with tomorrow’s leaders and hear their take on the future. 
    Lisa Hölzl – Product Manager, COLOP Digital
    Falko Köhler – Customer Experience Director, Lyreco Germany 
    Jérôme Perhaut – Key Account Manager, Fellowes Brands France
    Panel Host: Alex Stone – Head of Sales, Office Friendly
    Introduced by: Heike Dieckmann – Editor, OPI

    13.45 (14.45 CET) Networking Break

    14.00 (15.00 CET) Panel: Growth Opportunities in Tomorrow’s Workplace 
    While the exact nature of tomorrow’s working environment is still hard to predict with any certainty, what is sure is that there will be many growth opportunities for our sector to exploit – for resellers and vendors alike. Our panel will highlight the macro trends and key product categories and services that are expected to shape the future, hoping to engage with forum delegates in a highly interactive session. 
    Hugh Darcy – VP Business Machines Marketing, ACCO Brands Europe
    Debbie Nice –
    Business Development Director, EVO Group
    Jonathan Weiss – Global Business Solutions Commercial Director: Europe, Australia & New Zealand, Reckitt
    Moderator: Gordon Christiansen, COO & Partner, Highlands 

    14.45 (15.45 CET) Summary of Day One

    14.50 (15.50 CET) Close of Day One

    Thursday 2 December

    09.00 (10.00 CET) Login for Networking

    10.00 (11.00 CET) Welcome to Day 2

    10.05 (11.05 CET) Keynote Presentation
    The Age of Entropy* – How Do We Plan In Chaos?
    We’re all acutely aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had in our personal and professional lives, systemic and existential changes which have shifted the expectations of buyers, markets and the workforce at large. There is a dizzying amount of complexity to deal with, from rapid digitisation to hybrid working, and it can feel overwhelming to navigate through it all and set your strategic horizon, whilst dealing with so much day-to-day noise. In this keynote presentation, Phil Jones will detail some of the planning tools he uses to set the big picture and prioritise decisions, future investments and the ultimate organisational direction of travel. By the end of the talk you’ll be equipped with some practical insights to gather your own thoughts and better inform your future.
    * Entropy is a scientific concept as well as a measurable physical property that is most commonly associated with a state of disorder, randomness, or uncertainty.
    Speaker: Phil Jones MBE – Managing Director, Brother UK
    Phil Jones is Managing Director of the UK arm of global technology manufacturer Brother. Joining the business in 1994 as a salesperson, he worked his way up the organisation to be appointed its head in 2013. Awarded an MBE for Services to Business in 2016, Phil is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute, a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a Fellow of the Institute of Sales Professionals. You can follow him on Twitter @philjones40.

    11.00 (12.00 CET) Networking Break

    11.15 (12.15 CET) The Opportunity Beyond Amazon
    The impact of online marketplaces in the B2B arena looks set to greatly increase. While Amazon continues to dominate, there is now a fast growing universe of alternative marketplaces that are bringing fresh opportunities to our sector. This dynamic session will examine the current and likely future marketplace players that will disrupt the established business supplies landscape forever.
    Bob Boekema – Founder & Managing Director, TFE Agency
    Jochem Jongepier – Marketplace Operations Coordinator, TFE Agency
    Olivier Poinsot – Partner, TFE France
    John Watson – Partner, TFE UK

    12.00 (13.00 CET) Lunch

    12.30 (13.30 CET) Panel: Adapting to Today’s Inflationary Environment
    As the world economy quickly bounces back from the pandemic, unprecedented raw material and energy cost inflation is adding to the price pressures being caused by the ongoing shipping and supply chain crisis. It seems inevitable that all players in the channel will have to significantly increase prices in the coming months to maintain some level of profit. In this panel discussion led by well-known industry leader Robert Baldrey, we will look at the likely level of some of these price increases and discuss whether and how the industry can work together to ensure that profitability is maintained in these turbulent times.
    Jeanette Bresitz – Managing Director, Office Friendly
    Steve Haworth – CEO, EVO Group of Companies
     Charles Nusse – Managing Director, Exacompta
    Nicolas Potier – CEO, Bruneau
    Moderator: Robert Baldrey

    13.15 (14.15 CET) Transition

    13.25 (14.25 CET) Summary and Key Takeaways
    Our final session will summarise what promises to be a hugely varied and very timely programme. With input from the OPI editorial team and many of the key speakers, panellists and breakout session hosts, we’ll be sharing key takeaways and actionable to-do points that will help you position your organisation for success in the post-pandemic business supplies industry.
    Robert Baldrey – Consultant
    Bob Boekema – Founder & Managing Director, TFE Agency
    Andy Braithwaite – News Editor, OPI
    Phil Jones MBE – Managing Director, Brother UK
    Falko Köhler – Customer Experience Director, Lyreco Germany
    Nicolas Potier – CEO, Bruneau
    Moderator: Steve Hilleard – CEO, OPI

    14.10 (15.10 CET) Forum Closes

    Feedback from the European Forum 2020 Online


    “A really thought provoking event, time well spent.”

    “OPI European Forum – attending is a must for all players in the industry. Although the digital format cannot be a 100% replacement of physical come together it was valuable and providing insights related to various topics.”

    “The OPI European online forum is an excellent way to catch up and interact with industry peers providing an almost face-to-face experience.”

    “A well-constructed and informative event helping focus and drive our industry forward through these changing and challenging times.”

    “A very good example how former physical world and the added value of face2face events can be transferred by 90% into digital. Before this experience I would have expect a “conversation rate” of 50% max. but definitely not 90%. Best practice example in my view which inspires to be used for other activities as well. Very well done!!!”

    “Good event, lots of contacts and very good use of technology! thanks OPI team!”

    “I would just like to add it was a great opportunity to reconnect with people I have met at past events but not spoken to since. Thank you OPI for going out of your comfort zones to organise this virtual event and well done on a well-attended and well received event! Until the next one!”

    “OPI always exceed my expectations.”

    “Well organised, good medium chosen (close to face to face).”

    “Given the current world wide situation with the pandemic it would have been very easy to have taken a decision to postpone or cancel the event. It was a brave move to hold a virtual event but one that clearly paid off. It was extremely well organised, well attended, informative and engaging. Having the opportunity to choose which breakout sessions to attend was a great idea as it catered for individual preferences and interests. Thank you to all involved in the organisation of the event and to those who gave up their time to speak or be part of a panel; it was a great success.”

    “OPI did a great job pulling the event together. It exceeded my expectations and is a not-to-be missed industry event.”

    “The OPI European Forum was an excellent way to get an in depth informed bird’s eye view of the challenges and issues facing the industry with practical observations and takeaways to help successfully navigate these challenging times.”

    “A very enjoyable and lots to takeaway and think about.”

    “An excellent event allowing us to continue as normal in the new norm. Enjoyable, educational & thought-provoking.”

    “OPI delivered an excellent event with a great array of speakers from across Europe all with the common goal of the channels surviving and thriving. The openness, honesty and transparency of all involved was refreshingly welcome and demonstrated that however the challenges we all face manifest themselves we have a channel that is prepared to come together for the benefit of all.”

    “In difficult conditions that have affected opportunity and networking this event proved – to me in any case – an invaluable tool to help regenerate interest and profile. The networking opportunity proved to be more effective than I had anticipated and the programme content interesting, valuable and just about right in timing. At the moment it was good to be in a safe environment to hear the presentations, and it was good in the pocket, too in difficult times. I’m grateful and inspired to push on and seek a new role in the industry that I’d fallen out of love with a little. Time for reflection, purpose, drive and determination to get back, brought about by this successful, enjoyable and informative event. Thanks guys & girls.”

    “In very challenging circumstances, OPI created a fantastic Forum that was thought provoking and motivating at the same time. Despite it being a virtual event, I really felt that I was somehow physically at the event. Superb job Team OPI!”

    “An excellent forum especially in these challenging times, discussion topics always on trend and OPI always looks to challenge and discuss the topics which are affecting us all.”

    “Great couple of days to reconnect with an industry in quite some change! Really well conceived programme and quality sessions and technology to allow interaction. My thanks to OPI for delivering value despite our new operating conditions…it doesn’t beat in person but still was a great opportunity to re-energise and share ideas and thoughts with leaders and activists across our industry.”

    “A great opportunity to catch up with industry colleagues and share experiences and opportunities. Thank you OPI for a great event.”

    “Good event and definitely a format that should have a place alongside any face to face going forward.”

    “An excellent forum with a wide range of topics and viewpoints from experienced speakers. Attendance is essential in order to learn of future trends and pitfalls, formulate strategies, and/or or to affirm your own ideas.”

    “Well thought through topical agenda delivered with a mix of personality and professionalism. A must-attend gathering – in whatever format.”

    “The first 100% virtual OPI annual conference was not only a strong case of adapting to the reality but also great evidence that things can be done differently without compromising on the quality and effectiveness. I would say on time, on cost and on quality. Obviously missing the true personal connection. Great job OPI team”

    “Had never heard of the platform HOPIN but was quite impressed with all the functionalities of HOPIN Great variety of players in the industry from vendors, wholesalers and resellers.”

    “A very enjoyable, well timed, planned, co-ordinated and informative event that covered some of the real issues we are all facing.”

    “Great example of how to adapt to a very disruptive crisis for the Event Management Industry.”

    “Well-presented Forum – first of its kind.”

    “Covid has disrupted all of our businesses and the way of life, but Covid has also brought about benefits , including the virtual OPI conference. Being from South Africa it is just not affordable or feasible for us from both a cost (Flights , Hotels etc) and time point of view to attend a physical event every year. The virtual event has allowed us to participate in the international Office Products community, learning and understanding international trends, which we have a duty to communicate and guide our dealer group on the road ahead and changes facing our industry. It is imperative that we be guided by international trends to ensure the survival of our industry and the survival of reputable Brands within our industry, as opposed to container dumping which tends to take place in developing countries and destroys industries and Brands. We would not have been exposed to this during 2020, if it had not been for the OPI Virtual event. Thank you to the OPI Team and we look forward to future events and becoming more involved and participating further in upcoming events in the years to come.”

    “Thank you OPI for a very successful online event. Instant access to key industry leaders, thought provoking speakers and robust discussions without the travelling. Well done to all concerned!”

    “Never thought a year ago, that I will be able to sit in my living room having a very good discussion with colleagues all over the world on the future of Sales Teams. Thanks to the OPI Team to bring us together again.”

    “Great job done by the OPI team! Hosting such a large number of people online while keeping the quality of the sessions and the discussions at a high level is surely not easy…but you achieved it. A big thank you to Steve and the OPI team. In tough times it was good for me to hear from vendors and resellers where our industry stands and also to get a chance to connect with others. Again, well done and thank you.”

    “Great to hear views from the industry across Europe and hear that the challenges we see as independent dealers are experienced by businesses of all sizes.”

     “Great event for anyone to understand the overall effects on the industry across continents. Aimed at senior executives to participate and gain knowledge which could affect their overall approach to their company’s strategy in the future.”

    “A highly relevant event, covering the topics that really matter in this brave new transformational world in which we currently live. Great content, great speakers and great organisation. Thank you OPI.”

    “Very well organized forum, dynamic, professional and good sharing. Thank you OPI team for that event.”

    “This was a very challenging event to stage – brand new format, would the tech all work, could you recreate the dynamic of a live event to hold the attention of the delegates, would people attend and stay tuned for 2 days, could you get a mix of nationalities so it is truly European – all answered with a definitive yes!”

    “A fantastic event, with great eye-opening insights and fabulous knowledge sharing. Definitely, THE one place to meet all of the OP network under such challenging circumstances!”

    “No other events in the industry attract the breadth or seniority of speakers and delegates that OPI’s do, with all sectors represented by leaders from across the globe. What other European Forum sees contributors from Australia and the USA? In 2020 the OPI team pivoted to a virtual forum, and whilst it was a shame to lose the time at the bar and meals together, the business experience was as powerful as ever.”

    “Big Thanks to Steve and his team for a well-organized informative and excellent couple of days, roll on the next one.”

    “The usual insightful, well prepared event from OPI, seamlessly moved online with great success. Well done to the whole team!”

    “It’s amazing – I am attending OPI Events since 2005 and: I always pick up business-development opportunities which I can implement. So I will also attend in future.”

    “Thoroughly enjoyed the OPI virtual forum this year. Steve and the team at OPI put on a wonderful virtual event that provoked a lot of thought and introspection. The various speakers from across our industry shared some great and inspirational insights in challenging times. I certainly feel motivated to “disrupt” rather than to accept decline. Well done OPI.”

    NB – all reviews are unedited and taken from the OPI European Forum 2020 Online feedback forms. 

    All general admission tickets include a second delegate place for a colleague, at the same company, free of charge.

    • General Admission – Early Registration (book by 15 October) – £219
    • General Admission – Standard Registration (from 16 October) – £269
    • General Admission – Independent Dealers with sales below €25 million – free of charge

    VAT payable only if the delegate is physically participating when in the UK.

    Discounts for OPI Members

    Digital members receive a 10% discount
    Premium members receive a 25% discount
    VIP members receive a 50% discount
    Corporate members – one free ticket, others at 10% off
    Ultimate and Club members – 10 free tickets

    Past attendees at OPI Forums include:

    3M, ACCO Brands, Acme United, ADVEO, AIA Corporation, ALSO International, Amax Incorporated, Amazon, AOPD, Avery, Basics Office Products, Baumgartens, Bi-Silque, Bluefish, BPGI, Brassard Fournitures & Ameublement de bureau, Brother, Bruneau, Buffetti, Clover, COLOP, Complete Office Supplies, Coolblue, Corwell, CPD, DC Mayorista, Domtar, Deflecto, ECi, eBay, Egan Reid, EO Group, EOSA, ESG, Essendant, Fellowes, Forms & Supply, Friends Business Source, FSIoffice, FusionPLUS Data, GMi Companies, Gorilla Stationers, Gould Paper, Guernsey, Highlands, HP, HSM, IBM, Independent Suppliers Group, Innovative Office Solutions, Integra, Interaction, International Paper, ISSA, Lyreco, Messe Frankfurt, Midwest Resource Group, Miller’s Office Products, Network Services, Novexco, NPD, Office Basics, Office Brands, Office Choice, Office Club, Office Depot, Office Friendly, Officeworks,, OWiba, PBS Holding, PEG, Pilot Pen, Pinnacle Affiliates, Plaisio, PrintFleet, Printus, Pukka Pads, Really Useful Products, Schoen and Associates, Shoplet, Smead, Socialwise Partners, Source Office & Technology, S.P. Richards, Staples, Superstat, Supplies Network, JM Smucker, The Navigator Company, TOPS, TSRC, Turning Point Strategy, Victor Technology, Warehouse Direct, WW Grainger, Waltons, Wist Office Products, Xerox, Zebra Pen and many more.