Everything in the business supplies industry today centres around change. Whether you talk about evolution, revolution or indeed complete transformation, only those independent dealers that keep their eye firmly on the prize – the customer – will ultimately succeed, against Amazon, Staples, Office Depot and all the other large players that have deeper pockets and more resources.
But no matter how good the individuals in those dealerships are, they can’t do it alone. The answer is to COLLABORATE. This is precisely the theme of this year’s Advantage Business Conference (ABC), organised by US wholesaler SP Richards (SPR) and held from 12-16 July at the Orlando Marriott World Center in Florida.
It’s a topic that two members of the SPR team – new President/CEO Rick Toppin and EVP of Operations Jim O’Brien – and Paul Donahue, President/CEO of the wholesaler’s parent company Genuine Parts Company, are acutely aware of. They will be taking to the stage the morning after the night before (the welcome party!) to give their view on collaboration within the channel as a whole.
Listening, learning and networking are three of the cornerstones of every ABC and this year is no different. Whether delegates want to find out about how to create a better value proposition in their sales approach, take their prospecting to a new and better level, devise an exit strategy, or up their understanding of and expertise in digital marketing and e-content, the two-day seminar schedule provides ample opportunity to get involved.
A considerable amount of content – and this is back by popular demand from last year – is also dedicated to two specific product tracks: the Furniture track and the Facilities, Breakroom and Safety (FBS) track. These tracks are run by SPR teams who, in presentations and panel discussions, offer much-needed information and advice on how to maximise the opportunities in these categories.
Says O’Brien: “There’s one trend that is clearly evolving – the growth and share gain that is available to the independent dealer community in the FBS categories. We recognise that many dealers are not yet in a position to hire that specialist who can jump-start their efforts. However, every dealer can have someone at the ABC who takes a leadership position, gets immersed in our OnPoint Training and takes that message back to the rest of the team.”
Browse the expo
Before the seminar schedule kicks off on 14 July, ABC attendees can browse the aisles of the Business Solutions Expo the day before to find out what’s new and innovative in the business supplies sector and what their customers might be looking for. Judging by the entries received and the shortlisted products for this year’s North American Office Products Awards (NAOPA), the scope for dealers is certainly getting ever broader. (Find out more about this year’s NAOPA shortlist).