Depot to chase Ahrend customers



OPI has been sent an internal Office Depot document that outlines the company’s plans to chase Ahrend Office Products (AOP) customers in the wake of Lyreco’s announcement in October week that it is to acquire the Amsterdam-based OP supplier.
In the document, Depot claims that various aspects of the acquisition leave a significant window of opportunity for it to gain customers.
Referring to its acquisition of Guilbert in June 2003 – without naming Guilbert directly – Depot says that Lyreco and AOP will experience similar integration issues. It also requests its sales operations to make a list of AOP customers for Depot to approach.
Translated from German, the document reads: "[Unfortuna-tely, from our own experience], we know that Ahrend and Lyreco will now face a number of considerable disruptions… We have experienced ourselves how these phases of integration can detract from the real tasks…
"This will be even more difficult for both companies because both of them work in the contract segment…We should convince these [AOP] customers that they could change over to us because they will face a lot of changes anyway (systems, products, contact people, services, etc)."
Depot claims that Lyreco will not need the two distribution networks, two warehouses and two call centres that it will have as a result of the acquisition. It says that Lyreco has a better distribution network and won’t gain anything from Ahrend’s which has less structure.
Lyreco CEO Bigeard had plenty to say about the contents of the memo. "Office Depot seems to have a good understanding of Lyreco’s strategies and is obviously very aware of how difficult integrations are since it still has integration issues with Guilbert," he told OPI. "But I am surprised that it’s concentrating on our integration issues and not its own."