And the winner is…

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And the winner is…

 

Wasn’t sure what to expect at the BOSS awards, the UK industry’s annual celebration and get together of the great and the good, if not necessarily sober. Past evenings had passed so raucously that the organisers were especially keen to keep things orderly this year.

 

So keen in fact they managed to find a bombastic maitre d’ to oversee the dinner with a voice so loud that he could shout down the baying crowd without the use of a microphone. He broke enough windows in London that BOSS is regretting that it linked up with the BPIF not The Glass Association.
Like Durable, Office Depot won two awards. The one for environmental excellence was richly deserved. The company has invested time, money, blood, sweat and tears into a programme that, not only makes it best in class, arguably deserves wider recognition for being one of the world’s finest programmes.

 

It was definitely a good night for the major resellers with Lyreco also receiving recognition. However, while it is right that awards like this acknowledge our industry’s outstanding performers, there is a part of me that wonders what it achieves.

 

Depot’s environmental ambition is matched by its scale but it sets a bar that is just too high and frankly unachievable for most. In an industry shaped like a pyramid, the few big boys at the top are in a tier of their own and we must try to be wary of commending them at the expense of those that reach high standards albeit in relative terms.

 

Why is this playing on my mind? In my position as Editor of OPI I am very fortunate to be part of the judging panel for the European Office Products Awards, which will be held in Frankfurt next year. The nominations are now in and so begins the process of elimination.

 

Sorting the ream-thick pile of entries, feels like being a geologist examining sediment layers with online, product and environmental initiatives by far the densest.

 

If the collection, an historical record of the OP industry in 2008, was dug up in a thousand years from now, it would be a usful guide to where the industry was heading.

 

Although with a judges meeting on the horizon, I am wrestling with my conscience: when it comes down to my vote should I go with the best or the best of the rest?

 

But back to the idea of a legacy – and this applies to virtually all of you reading OPI – where were the nominations for the young achievers?

 

The Young Professional of the Year award is a special one meant to inspire those people that are introducing new ideas and fresh impetus into the industry.

 

There are plenty of them out there, so why did we receive so few nominations?

 

At risk of sounding like a grumpy officiator at a rowdy industry event, if you invest in training and time in bringing through the next generation of talent, shouldn’t they and your company be recognised for all that good work?

 

You’ve got a year to answer that question.