24 April 2007 — Hartebeespoort (SA): OfficeNational, the largest independently-owned B2B office products provider in South Africa, held its third annual conference recently at Mount Amanzi in Hartebeespoort.
The theme of the dealer group’s conference was ‘Running your race’, with South African runner Bruce "Comrades King" Fordyce as the keynote speaker.
The group’s Cape Town-based member Ribbens OfficeNational won the Dealer of the Year Award 2007, taking home a branded delivery vehicle valued at R90,000 ($12,800).
CEO Ryan Bidgood said: "It was definitely our biggest and most successful conference yet. Our numbers have swelled by around 40 percent since this time last year and there was a really positive energy and drive amongst attendees."
According to the company: "The success of the conference and the group’s growth reflects how well the market is responding to OfficeNational’s message. The rapidly growing coalition of independent stationers has already established itself as a formidable player in the South African office products market, boasting over 600 staff and 53 outlets around the country."
Citing the fact that there used to be 18,000 independent stationers in North America, but approximately only 2,000 left today – less than there are in South Africa – Bidgood maintains there is safety in numbers: "By joining OfficeNational independent stationers secure their future in the face of the coming wave of consolidation and the entrance of multinationals.
"Members can also capitalise on an assortment of big business commercial advantages without having to compromise their independence or autonomy. These include greater bargaining power, access to nationally-negotiated corporate contracts, settlement discounts in the form of rebate cheques and expert advice and support.
"Our strength is our community of members. By facing this challenging future together we are not only going to survive the impending wave of consolidation, but transform our businesses into thriving, lucrative concerns as well."