A challenging landscape


Many of you will be reading this issue of OPI having just returned from Paperworld in Frankfurt, or perhaps you are reading this in the halls of the exhibition centre itself. Of course, not everyone in the industry attends – and fewer people are making the trip as the years pass by and other priorities take precedence – but it still remains our sector’s premier event.


2011 will be my first Paperworld and as I write this I’m gearing up to have a full programme of people to see, places to be and events to attend. There will seldom be another perfect opportunity for me to meet the faces that I’m sure will become familiar over time and I’m looking forward to finding out what’s new for 2011.


Changing trends and what 2011 will hold is a question on many people’s lips, not least the industry figureheads who have contributed to this issue’s Hot Topic (page 38). Developments in China, the small business market and where the next opportunities will lie are just some of the subjects they debate.


Doug Ramsdale sums up the wealth of subjects on people’s minds: "The outlook is pretty bleak for a rising tide, so it’s forcing businesses to look at their prospects in a different way; new markets, new customers, market share, new products, even settling for no growth and cutting costs further."


The past month’s news headlines have further heralded a game change for many in the industry, such as TriMega’s possibly controversial purchase of SmartXpress. Elsewhere in the US, seems to be striding ahead in 2011, with its award of a major contract to supply office products to the healthcare industry.


The future in the UK’s OP industry looks just as changeable. A recent article in Times Higher Education detailed the frustration of UK universities faced with budget cuts in their stationery cupboards. An academic at Manchester Metropolitan University is quoted as saying: "Our printers are going. We are moving to shared printers – presumably one per campus." A staff member at the University of Leeds apparently blogged about a psychology test that had to be postponed because of a lack of paper.


But it’s not all doom and gloom, despite these challenges. Opportunities will arise as new ways of doing business are perfected. Take this month’s article on managed print services (page 62), for example. Now there’s an opportunity that dealers cannot afford to miss.


At OPI we too are looking ahead. This month we’ve started planning a magazine redesign and have launched the OPI Reader Survey 2011. No one knows a magazine like its readers and we need you to tell us whether what we cover hits the mark and whether or not the design needs a rethink. As a thank you, we’re giving you the chance to win an Apple iPad. So visit and tell us what you think! n