Comment July/August 2023

There’s growth out there – let’s find it.


Just a few days before we went to press with this issue of OPI, news had emerged of Hamelin buying Pelikan Group from its Malaysian owners. Big news and a real statement of intent by Hamelin as to where it’s headed. It’s also positive affirmation that there’s a future in office supplies and several other, quite traditional but not too out there’, categories.  

‘Growth is the operative word nowadays. How to achieve it comes up in almost every conversation, in every feature in these pages, at every industry event. When I recently talked to Ingo Schmidt at Plate in Germany for our Big Interview, it was certainly a recurring theme. And it was heartening to hear how much heed Schmidt pays to the importance of people on the street’ – reps talking to customers all the time in order to grow in whichever way possible. 

It was also interesting to get his thoughts on consolidation in the vendor community and the challenges this can bring in terms of power shuffles. Hamelin, for one, will feel that little bit stronger once the might of Pelikan and Herlitz is behind it, I would imagine.

What I noticed very acutely during the OPI European Forum in Amsterdam in May is that there is a strong willingness to get through the current period of disruption and grow together – competitive rankling aside. 

And serious disruption we are facing, no doubt about it. Dare I say artificial intelligence and ChatGPT, everywhere commerce’, inflationary pressures and intelligent pricing? All these topics were discussed at the event – some on stage, others more informally. 

One more thing about growth: OPI has expanded! I’m delighted to welcome to the team Kate Davies, who started her role as Assistant Editor in early June. With the addition of a new UK publication at the beginning of the year – Workplace360 – we have been stretched somewhat in our editorial resources, so it’s fantastic to have Kate on board. 

With a degree in graphic design and a Masters in journalism, shell be an invaluable asset to the team and many of our readers will hopefully hear from her and see her out and about in the months to come. Right now, shes knee-deep immersed in all things business supplies.