OPI Global Forum 2018

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    • Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile
    • 11 Nov 18 - 13 Nov 18

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    OPI Global Forum 2018

    Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile

    11 Nov 18 - 13 Nov 18
    11 November 2018


    OPI Global Forum 2018

    Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile

    11 Nov 18 - 13 Nov 18
    11 November 2018



    An invitation only Global CEO Forum for the business supplies and associated sectors

    We are delighted to announce that the next OPI Global Forum will be held in Chicago on Sunday 11 – Tuesday 13 November 2018. In May 2009 OPI launched the first CEO Forum for the business products industry. This was an international gathering for senior executive leaders and provided a rare opportunity to discuss the state of the office products industry and to examine together our universal challenges. This event was incredibly successful and the attendees derived great value from meeting with their peers and discussing openly the challenges we all face. OPI will host the seventh Global Forum in November 2018 and we plan to bring together an exceptional audience and an outstanding programme to stimulate thought and debate. We hope this forum will provide you with the opportunity to discuss the unique challenges of the office products industry’s with the people who understand the uniqueness of our sector and who recognise the importance of working together as an industry.


    This is not a large conference but a small, invitation-only forum with invites sent strictly to CEO/Chairman-level executives at leading resellers, manufacturers and wholesalers of office products, including “non-traditional” retailers and vendors from the increasingly important EOS and consumer electronics categories.


    We understand that networking and free time is important, enabling you to spend quality time with fellow office products leaders from all over the world. There will be both structured groups to give you an opportunity to meet new people and discuss ideas as well as plenty of informal times for more private discussions. To ensure this can be accomplished in an appropriate environment, this will be a private meeting operating under Chatham House rules. If you would like to be considered for an invitation or wish to find out more about this event please get in touch.

    Steve Hilleard CEO, OPI – Tel: +44 7799 891000 (US: 312 957 8510)  or Email: steve.hilleard@opi.net

    You may also like to review a very short wrap-up video from the last forum.

    The Global Forum is now an annual event. Please add the following dates of future events to your calendar:

    • Global Forum 2019 – Sunday 17 November – Tuesday 19 November 2019
    • Global Forum 2020 – Sunday 15 November – Tuesday 17 November 2020

    Book Now

    Sunday 11th November

    17:00 Registration

    18:30 Drinks Reception & Welcome Dinner

    21:30 Drinks in the bar

    Monday 12th November

    08:00 Welcome
    Steve Hilleard, CEO, OPI

    08:15 Introduction and opening remarks: Horizon scanning
    – Seeing the big picture: Trends, change and opportunity
    John Givens, CEO, Source Office & Technology

    08:30 Keynote: Top five technology workforce trends of the future – staying ahead of the curve
    Globalism, digitisation, and rapid corporate growth have ushered in an unprecedented
    era of rapid change. Innovative business products professionals understand that the
    key to remaining both efficient and innovative with both internal and external
    customers is embracing change. In this humorous and interactive talk, technology
    strategist and futurist Crystal Washington will demonstrate how your team can
    leverage technology for a competitive edge in the next five to ten years!

    – Discover how to leverage generational difference for technology adoption
    – Uncover how technology is changing your employees’ and customers’ brains and
    buying behaviours
    – Identify how big data, machine learning, augmented reality, and more will continue to
    shift the business products industry
    – Understand how to leverage technology for improved workplace communication and

    Crystal Washington, Technology Strategist & Author
    Crystal works with organisations that want to use technology to increase profits and
    productivity. Her clients include Google, Microsoft, British Airways, GE and Corning.

    09:20 PANEL: Change and flux in global wholesaling
    – What does the Staples/Essendant acquisition mean for independent resellers, Big Box players, and manufacturers?
    – How will the Staples/Essendant deal affect other industry stakeholders (dealer groups,
    service providers and software companies)?
    – Considering the implications of wholesalers buying up dealers. What can be learnt from
    new wholesaling business models in Europe?
    – Collaboration with vendors and resellers vs. competing with them on some levels
    – Ongoing consolidation of an overcrowded market
    – wholesalers both symptom and cause?
    – Does the acquisition present other opportunities? 

    Harry Dochelli, President – Office & Facilities, Essendant
    Steve Haworth, Group CEO, EVO Group
    Kevin Johnson, CEO, Warehouse Direct
    Mike Maggio, President, TriMega
    Richard Scharmann, CEO, PBS Holdings
    Bryan Wight, SVP, SP Richards

    10:20 Morning break for refreshments & networking

    10:50 Amazon: An analyst perspective
    – Amazon from the eyes of an analyst – what is Amazon putting the greatest focus on
    in 2019?
    – Amazon Business – what is their goal? Is this a threat or opportunity?
    – Why you should be participating with Amazon in marketing/advertising
    – Does Amazon really want to sell every product that exists or are they looking for
    partners to sell categories?
    – Amazon continues to build out their fulfilment centre network and delivery/distribution
    Eamon Kelly, Senior Research Analyst & Partner, Edgewater Research
    Eamon has spent the past 17 years working in the industry covering consumer and
    e-commerce. He is a 2003 graduate of John Carroll University with a major in finance.

    11:20 Successfully co-existing with Amazon
    – Innovative strategies of dealers that are selling on third party market places
    – Is Amazon becoming more difficult to do business with? What opportunity does that
    present for others?
    – Examining the Amazon ‘go to market’ strategy and what you can learn from it
    – As Amazon emerges as, effectively, a wholesaler, what does that mean for
    incumbent players and the independent channel?
    Jay Mutschler, Senior Partner, Execution Specialists Group
    Jay is an industry veteran with over three decades of experience, including senior roles
    at Staples and Office Depot.

    11:50 Lunch

    1:00 Dealer channel structures of the future
    – The reasons for the current ‘channel shift’
    – What factors will drive successful new channel structures and business models in the future?
    – Exploring new dealer business models, drawing on inspiration from other developed markets
    – Barriers to adopting a new model
    Simon Drakeford, CEO, EO Group

    2:00 Transition/comfort break

    2:05 Roundtable 1: Delegates can choose to attend one of the following roundtable discussions, limited to around 15 participants.

    1. Pricing models in the internet age
    Should our industry continue to maintain the core/non-core pricing models requested by procurement professionals in the face of real time pricing available from the likes of Amazon Business? How do we change the customer’s mindset? Is an industry initiative required?
    Moderator: Jay Mutschler, Senior Partner, Execution Specialists Group

    2. Trade tariffs: Anticipating the impact and how we can prepare
    This session will start with a short summary of the US international trade (im)balance in office products. Then it will move into a discussion considering tariffs on imports from China, shifting market demand, the evolving role of power resellers (will the cost advantage continue?), how the independent channel should react andhow trade tariffs might impact domestic manufacturing.
    Moderator: Thomas Schinkel, President, Thomas Schinkel & Associates

    3. Independent dealers
    A discussion limited to independent dealers and wholesalers only, considering
    consolidation, branding, building loyalty, the implications of flux
    in wholesaling, and how to take advantage of disruptive technologies.
    Moderator: Simon Drakeford, CEO, EO Group

    4. What will wholesaling look like in 2025?
    Moderator: Jim O’Brien

    5. Taking e-commerce to the next level
    In this session, we will discuss options and share experiences on how to reach the next level of e-commerce. What are the key success factors? Why must cooperation between brands and retailers be reinvented? How can brands differentiated on e-commerce platforms? Is direct sales an option for brands.
    Moderator: Marc Bürkle, CEO, Commerce Connector

    6.  Building a successful working relationship with Amazon
    Amazon continues to grow apace, having launched Amazon Business in the US in April 2015, and it serves all types of customers from one person start-ups to multinational organisations. Players in this ever changing and challenging market need to ensure that they can maximise their online strategies across all channels. This highly interactive roundtable will be hosted under Chatham House Rules and will provide an opportunity for manufacturers and resellers to discuss how they can optimise their online strategies.
    Moderator: Colin Puckett, Head of Seller Marketing and Rob Green, Director of Sales, Amazon Business

    7.  Disrupting the supply chain: AI and augmented reality
    This session will look at how these technologies can increase the speed and efficiency across the supply chain, improving safety and eliminating errors. What is the potential of AR and AI to enhance other business processes, like customer service and digital purchasing?
    Moderator: Guha Bhagavan, Director – Data Science, Grainger

    3:05 Afternoon break for refreshments & networking

    3:35 Roundtable 2
    Options as above

    4:35 Transition/comfort break

    4:40 Power Panel
    OPI’s CEO Steve Hilleard will chair a discussion amongst some of the biggest hitters in
    the global business supplies market.
    Boris Elisman, Chairman & CEO, ACCO
    David Guernsey, CEO, Guernsey

    Ric Phillips, CEO, Essendant
    Rick Toppin, CEO, SP Richards

    5:25 Closing remarks from the chair

    5:30 End of day one conference program

    7:00 Drinks Reception & Group Dinner

    Tuesday 13th November

    08:30 Opening remarks from the chair

    08:45 Profit from the core: A framework for growth in turbulent times
    Beyond the question of what to do about Amazon, resellers, wholesalers and
    manufacturers must all consider what to focus on beyond office products, and how
    they should actually go about it. Kevin will outline a model by Bain & Company that helps businesses determine what adjacencies to their core are likely to be most successful. The
    model has helped Warehouse Direct achieve sustainable growth over a consistent period of time which has been characterised by low or negative growth for most most established players in the sector.
    Kevin Johnson, CEO, Warehouse Direct (formerly Bain & Co)

    09:30 Don’t fly solo: How brands and retailers need to reinvent their collaboration in the digital age
    – China as the accelerator for ‘new retail’
    – Why does the current brand retail model need to be reinvented?
    – Transforming your organisation and partnerships for digital
    – Key drivers for global success
    Marc Bürkle, CEO, Commerce Connector
    Marc started his career in the office supplies industry. These days he works with
    global brands including 3M, L’Oreal, Bosch and Beiersdorf to grow online and
    in-store sales in partnership with approved retailers.

    10:00 What next for the Big Box players?
    – Evaluating, comparing and contrasting the current strategies of Staples,
    Office Depot and WB Mason
    – What do those strategies mean for wholesalers, independents and
    – What can we learn from other industries and organisations who have faced
    similar challenges?
    Thomas Schinkel, President, Thomas Schinkel & Associates

    10:30 Morning break for refreshments & networking

    11:00 Board room insights into cyber security
    – What is cyber?
    – Life and death of a cyber attack
    – Shining a light on the dark web
    – Top 3 ways in which you will be attacked
    – What does a cyber attack look and feel like?
    – Top 3 things you can do to reduce your risk
    Jim Wheeler, CEO, ReSolve Cyber
    Jim has extensive experience in cyber security, with the UK Government in counter-terrorism and subsequently headed up Deloitte’s Culture and Behaviour section within their Cyber Risk practice. He has trained over 350 senior executives of FTSE 100 companies and has worked in Crisis Management for cyber incidents where one client lost hundreds of millions of pounds as a result of a single cyber-attack.

    12:00 Closing panel: Personalising your action plan
    Building on the content over the last two days, and the conversations you’ve had, how will you develop an action plan – specifically for your business – that will make a difference to your performance and bottom line over the next 12 months?

    12:30 Closing remarks from the chair

    12:45 Lunch

    2:00 Close of Global Forum 2018

    Booking to attend the OPI Global Forum:

    Super Early rate: available until 8 June 2018

    • 1 Ticket – $2,995.00
    • Second delegate – $2,000.00

    Early rate: available from 8 June to 22 September 2018

    • 1 Ticket – $3,150.00
    • Second delegate – $2,150.00

    Standard rate: available from 22 September until 11 November 2018

    • 1 Ticket – $3,500.00
    • Second delegate – $2,450.00

    Independent Dealer (turnover less than $100M) $1,950.00

    OPI corporate members are entitled to free and discounted places at the Forums. If you are a Gold or Club Corporate member please select this option from the ticket options. If you are interested in more information about corporate membership please contact Chris Turness at chris.turness@opi.net

    Reduced Fees

    We have arranged a limited number of subsidized places to assist the attendance of certain delegates. This is a special rate for small but innovative reseller companies or delegates with unusual travel expenses, for example. There are a limited number of discounted places available, and we review each request on its merits.As an unsponsored event the costs to host the Global Forum are expensive, but the lack of sponsorship ensures a higher quality of debate and avoids sales pitches. We therefore kindly ask that you do not ask for a discounted rate if it is not applicable to you, so we can offer the places to those who really need them. This will ensure a more diverse audience and a better experience for everyone.

    We appreciate your understanding.

    For more information please contact janet.bell@opi.net  directly.

    Venue for the Global Forum

    The Global Forum 2018 will be held at:

    The Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile (formerly Sofitel Chicago Water Tower)
    20 East Chestnut St – Downtown
    60611 Chicago

    Hotel Reservations
    Our room block at the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile has now sold out.

    The hotel will honour the group rate of $255 per night + taxes subject to room availability.
    If you would like to make a reservation please email lisa.haywood@opi.net and we will check if the hotel is able to offer the group rate.
    Alternatively you can book a standard price room online.

    Past companies attending OPI Forums include:

    3M, ACCO Brands, Acme United, ADVEO, AIA Corporation, ALSO International, Amax Incorporated, AOPD, Avery, Basics Office Products, Baumgartens, Bi-Silque, Bluefish, BPGI, Brassard Fournitures & Ameublement de bureau, Brother, Bruneau, Buffetti, Clover, COLOP, Complete Office Supplies, Corwell, CPD, DC Mayorista, Domtar, Deflecto, ECi, Egan Reid, EO Group, EOSA, ESG, Esselte, Essendant, Fellowes, Forms & Supply, Friends Business Source, FSIoffice, FusionPLUS Data, GMi Companies, Gorilla Stationers, Gould Paper, Guernsey, Highlands, HiTouch Business Services, HP, HSM, IBM, Independent Stationers, Innovative Office Solutions, Integra, Interaction, 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, OfficeSupply.com, 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, Spicers, SP Richards, Staples, Superstat, Supplies Network, JM Smucker, TOPS, TriMega, TSRC, Turning Point Strategy, Victor Technology, Warehouse Direct,
    WW Grainger, Waltons, Wist Office Products, Xerox, Zebra Pen