One to one…with Dave Guernsey, president/CEO of Guernsey Office Products

Dave Guernsey chats to OPI+ about his company’s switch to TriMega from is.group, his take on the most important issues affecting theUS dealer community and his Office Planet project

OPI+: How has the switch from is.group to TriMega worked out so far?
Dave Guernsey: It’s worked out quite well. I miss many dear friends still with is.group but, with luck, these two organisations will find even more meaningful ways to work together for the well-being of all independents. As mentioned in an earlier OPI interview, the move by Guernsey Office Products (GOP) solely related to teaming with more large dealers so we could pursue the Dealer-Supplier Collaborative (DSC) initiative. Several like-minded large dealers moved en masse for the same reason.
 
I wish is.group well with its RDC programme and given the benefit for most small- and medium-sized dealers, I hope that it is sustainable for the long term. I continue to believe in the potential of this programme.
 
OPI+: As you mentioned, you are heavily involved in TriMega’s DSC initiative. Can you tell me more about this and what its current status is?
DG: I’ve had the distinct pleasure to be associated with first, the BPGI initiative, and second, the changes that led NOPA to become an independent dealer organisation. Both have been highly successful. Now comes the DSC, which has particular promise for larger dealers. It has a host of requirements of both manufacturers and dealers that represent a real sea change in the way we work together. In short, the DSC takes partnering to a whole new level.
 
Without being too detailed, the DSC drives commitment, the sharing of information, consumer-oriented category management and joint efforts to take significant cost out of the supply chain. Much more than a programme, DSC is a very different business model. Dealers and manufacturers work together on multiple fronts. What it is not is another buying programme!
 
The DSC has been up and running for several months now. We still have work to do in the sense of building pipelines to seamlessly connect the partners on these many fronts. Thus far, the early returns from both manufacturers and dealers are extremely positive!
 
OPI+: Do you see the DSC as the way forward for larger dealers?
DG: Absolutely. There is a lot we can learn from the tech industry in forging an environment of lower cost while maximising the power of collective marketing energies. In OP, we need to shed our overly conservative – indeed our paranoia – "arms length" mentality in working with supply chain partners. Where positive gains are there to be had, we need to "just do it".
 
OPI+: Is there a chance that TriMega and is.group could work more closely in the future?
DG: Yes. I am guardedly optimistic for a near-term improvement in our alignment.
 
OPI+: Has 2004 been a strong year for GOP? Are you in line with your sales targets?
DG: FY05 (04/05) was a terrific year. We exceeded our goals considerably. Thus far, in FY06 with Q1 complete, we’re cranking at 112 per cent of plan. I’m bullish, but with a nervous eye on energy costs.
 
OPI+: Can you shed some light on what happened with the Office Planet project? Do you still feel the idea was sound?
DG: Office Planet is very alive. This was a forward-thinking model that serves to knit various independent dealers together on a multi-continent basis. More than anything, it positions its partners to move out aggressively with end-user firms that seek a more internationally coordinated network; but one where the servicing resellers are all local, independent folks. We independents do bring a different flavour to OP end-users and some would have us do it on a grander scale!