Editors comment

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One for the road…

I write as the barman is calling time on my posting as Editor of OPI.

I’m leaving to pursue a lifelong dream of working abroad. It will be a move to a completely different way of life for me. And, as is human nature, I’m facing it with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. But sometimes you have to go with a gut feeling even when the odds are against you.

With that in mind, it was genuinely disappointing when news hit of Atlanta’s financial troubles. An MBO of Smead’s European operation two years ago, the Dutch manufacturer is now under administration. One hopes its likeable owners Reiner Eckhardt and Hans Eisink can successfully bounce back.

Talking of likeable characters, it was a shame that Spicers lost George Adams this month, barely a year into his attempts to overhaul the business…I hope it was nothing we wrote in September’s Big Interview. I’ve said many times this industry needs to hold onto its talent, let’s hope this is a unique case and not a sign of things to come.

Why should I care? Well, office products really does get under your skin. It is very easy to get wrapped up in it and care about it. It is warm, welcoming and there is always gossip to discuss or issues to hammer out. In fact, if you want to see a community in global action, it is as good as any I can think of.

I, for one, have never worked on a journal where people are so eager to help and make you feel welcome. I’ve certainly not come across a magazine where the Editor’s ramblings gets reviews – is there another industry on the planet with a Peter Frost?

Talking of personalities, I’ve been told on more than one occasion that office products has lost something. The characters aren’t in it anymore. It’s too corporate. I disagree. Coming from the outside I was amazed at the characters I met right from the word go. We may have plenty of suits, but they are by far outweighed by a professional set of entrepreneurs, eccentrics and ecclesiastics.

It’s frustrating that more people don’t feel the same. There are too many too quick to call it a dysfunctional industry in decline. They couldn’t be more wrong. This month’s Hot Topic shows that the industry is forcing its way into new territories such as mobile phones, archiving, waste management, and goodness knows what else.

Our dealers and small manufacturers are among the hungriest, most nimble minded and creative people you could hope to meet. Always willing to experiment and branch out. I’ve been lucky to have met them from across the world, and their hardwork and dedication will be a constant inspiration to me.

Finally, I would like to thank you for reading OPI and I’m sure that, like this industry, and in the words of Frank Sinatra, the best is yet to come. Keep in touch.