Monthly comment by Tom Phillips

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Spring is in the air so it must be time for OPI to name its annual list of the most powerful people in the world of office products. Compiling the Top 100 Resellers list is no easy task and inevitably some well-known faces won’t have made it despite their lofty positions. However, this is intended to be a roll call of those with the most influence in the industry and not simply an inventory of executive titles at the largest firms.

Also, being a list, it is subjective, which leaves it open to debate. Thankfully, there is plenty of opportunity for those with an alternative view to have their say on the website or via our letters page. As for this year’s offering, look out for a few new names among the group as some of the older hands take more of a lower profile…

Speaking of profiles, ECI2 Europe could be forgiven for going on the offensive to defend its own standing in the dealer systems sector, after it came in for some vitriolic criticism recently. The company was in the midst of announcing the roll-out of a Europe-wide system and tariff when it received a bashing from a well-known blogger. OPI hasn’t been contacted by any disgruntled dealers, so (as with all blogs) it’s hard to tell if it’s anything but personal opinion. However, an executive at ECI2 told me he didn’t feel a response was necessary, especially to someone who has no grasp of dealer systems. Ouch.

Making for unsettling reading elsewhere were the reports from German customs officials at Paperworld. The amount of counterfeit goods seized at this year’s show jumped on the year before and praise goes to the customs teams for stepping up their searches on 2007, but will it ever be enough to stop blatant copies from being exhibited alongside the originals? New thinking needs to be applied – the only winners appear to be criminals and lawyers.

Good to see Advantage Marketing Wholesalers (AMW) coming out fighting after the departure of its partner O Henry. Such positive thinking will surely be music to the ears of dealers. A fresh start and new era for the group are on the horizon.

And it’s a fresh start and new era here at OPI, too. This will be my last magazine in my short tenure as editor. I’m moving on and leaving you in the more than capable hands of Stephen White, who should have taken over by the time you read this. He has wide experience in journalism, working on titles in a variety of industries including aerospace, commodities and tobacco. Stephen’s first outing will be the SOPX show in London in April, where attendees are invited to introduce themselves.

One of his first assignments will be OPI Europe in May. "It’s great to get an early chance to be face-to-face with the industry and I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can in Rome," Stephen said of his new role.

I’m sure you will all welcome him to the family. That leaves me to thank all the friends and contacts I have made during my time at OPI. I wish you all the best and sincerely hope our paths cross again in the future.

Tom Phillips, acting editor