Editor’s comment

Felicity Francis on what office supplies firms can learn from banana trees.


Not to brag or anything, but I’ve just returned from a holiday in Hong Kong and the Philippines – two amazing places. I was visiting a friend who, having moved out to a village north of Manila, has discovered an opportunity to make money by growing bananas. A lot of people already grow bananas, of course, but he believes that by adopting efficient Western farming techniques, and making the most of support from the Filipino government which is keen to increase trade, he can create a more successful plantation than currently exists.

Now, I’m not suggesting that office products businesses branch out by establishing banana plantations, but the concept of doing what someone else is already doing but better seems like a good idea. In the Hot Topic this issue, Heike Dieckmann explores the companies and sectors that are looking to move in on ‘our’ industry, just as OP is trying to expand into other areas. Is it possible that they will be able to do what OP companies do, but more effectively? I doubt it. Few industries are as good at moving products as OP, which the article explores, so this should mean that there are opportunities for OP businesses to do what other people are already doing, but better. We’ve looked at product range or services expansion in the last few issues of OPI, but I still believe some resellers need to wake up to the opportunities that are there.

I actually only saw two familiar OP names while on my travels: Office 1, which is continuing its expansion in the Philippines, and Brother, which appears on many billboards. In emerging markets like this one, which forecasts 6% growth this year, perhaps there are still opportunities for OP.

Felicity Francis, Editor