Comment April 2017

I’m stealing the headline from this month’s Big Interview, conducted during Essendant’s CORE Live event in Las Vegas because I found it pretty appropriate for many topics that are going on in our industry right now.

The obstacles that all parts of the channel are facing can seem daunting at times. From a manufacturer point of view, the paper industry is a good example of a sector that is in irreversible – albeit slow – decline, with an image problem to boot.

And talking of image problems, UK dealer groups are facing particular scrutiny at the moment following research by dealer platform Office Power (part of EO Group) that suggests their future is somewhat uncertain for a whole variety of reasons. Always striving to be an unbiased bystander, we would be interested in hearing if our readers agree with the research data and indeed if this data can potentially be extrapolated to other parts of the world, so please write to michelle.sturman@opi.net with your views.

There’s no doubt the dealer community at large needs to up its game – or “transform” in the words of Essendant’s Harry Dochelli – to succeed in this scale-driven and ever-broadening industry. From embracing the Internet of Things (and I’m sure many of our readers, like I, will still only have a rudimentary idea of what that actually means and can do) to re-evaluating their selling techniques – there are plenty of ways in which all channel partners can do that.

Close collaboration is always a step in the right direction even if it occasionally makes for unlikely bedfellows! Plenty of talking is exactly what happened in early March when many of Europe’s leading manufacturers and resellers came together in Amsterdam for strategic, senior-level discussions at OPI Partnership

One of the highly-valued networking opportunities during Partnership was the European Office Products Awards dinner where outstanding companies and individuals were acknowledged for their achievements – take a look at the winners on page 48 and you will see that they are the ones which have achieved that transformation – or are certainly well on the way. 

With the tulips nearly out in Amsterdam, spring is very much upon us here in Europe. For those in the southern hemisphere, winter is coming (pun intended – the OPI team loves GoT!). We’ll be taking a close look at this part of the world next month, with our South African Big Interview and an analysis of Platinum’s interest in Staples and OfficeMax.