ABC and NAOPA preview

A look ahead to this year's North American Office Products Awards.

The wonderful world of Disney couldn’t be more different to the location of SP Richards’ (SPR) Advantage Business Conference (ABC) last year, when Washington DC was an apt location during election year. However, there is undoubtedly just as much excitement from independent dealers about the choice for 2013, and SPR is certainly hoping that its line-up will maintain the level of enthusiasm its venue creates.

The theme for this year’s event is ‘Be the source’, which ties in to the increased focus on SPR’s Your Business Source initiative, as well as the concept that independent dealers need to be the source of everything for their customers – a tall order indeed, but the seminar line-up is geared towards this target. SPR is looking to the future with this theme, and is no doubt hoping that its dealer customers will adopt the idea. 

The ABC format has also been changed to put an increased focus on dealers that have signed up to Your Business Source. The first day of the ABC is devoted entirely to the initiative before any other dealers arrive, with motivational speakers and seminars aimed at driving enthusiasm. The main seminar line-up, which is open to all attendees, includes break-out sessions on creating employee engagement, sales and marketing, understanding customers and online marketing trends. Put together, they illustrate SPR’s aim to help dealers to become lean players in a modern market that revolves around the internet and new customer behaviours. E-commerce has been a key focus for the wholesaler over the past year, with the rollout of various new tools for dealers.

The office products expo will, as usual, play a prominent part in the ABC, as will the North American Office Products Awards (NAOPA – read more below). No doubt dealers will be keen to hear about new product offerings, and be in with a chance of winning prizes throughout the day.

OPI will again be at the ABC, so look out for videos, news and reports on opi.net during the show and in the July/August issue of the magazine. 

People power

The North American Office Products Awards (NAOPA) are returning to the ABC for the fourth year running, with new categories and greater industry engagement. Organised by OPI in collaboration with SP Richards, the aim of the awards has always been to recognise vendors and products that are making a difference and bringing in the profits in the office products industry, but this year they have branched out to reward dealers as well.

Two news awards have been added for dealers: 

Industry Achievement – this award will recognise a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the OP industry over the course of his or her career. This inspirational individual may have been instrumental in the success of an organisation, or has helped advance the dealer channel in North America through dedication and commitment.

Professional of the Year – this can be anyone in the industry who has had a significant impact on growth, productivity and morale. The NAOPA are looking for an outstanding executive who has the potential to influence the future of the independent dealer channel.

Nominations for these two new awards came flooding in, and the winners will be announced at a gala dinner on 29 June at the ABC. 

Turning to the product categories, a strong shortlist has been announced (see the shortlist below) for the accolades that recognise a combination of innovation and top sales in the OP industry. There were a record number of entries this year, and the judging panel – comprising dealers, dealer group figureheads and SP Richards executives – had a tough time to whittle them down.  

Attendees at the ABC will once again have the chance to take part in the NAOPA, with the return of the interactive People’s Choice award. Dealers will vote for their favourite product from the shortlists, and the final winner will be chosen in a live vote at the gala. 

All shortlisted products will be entered into the People’s Choice category.

1. Acme United: Westcott Scissor Mouse Paper Cutter

2. Bi-silque Visual Communication Products: Mastervision Interactive Whiteboard

3. Victor Technology: All-In-One Monitor Riser

4. Victor Technology: Smart Charge Pencil Cup with USB Hub

5. Wizard Wall: Wizard Wall

6. Impact Products: The Mopster Bucketless Handle

7. Kimberly-Clark Professional: Automatic Door Handle Disinfectant System

8. Mind Reader: The Breakroom

9. Rochester Midland Corporation: PROXI Spray & Walk Away

10. Rubbermaid Commercial Products: Rubbermaid Pulse Mopping Kit with Double Sided Frame

11. Logitech: Logitech Washable Keyboard K310

12. Logitech: Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad

13. MooreCo: OneBoard Interactive Whiteboard with iTeach Electric Height Adjustable Cart

14. Newell Rubbermaid/DYMO: LabelManager Wireless PnP

15. Plantronics: Voyager Legend UC

16. MooreCo: Visionary Magnetic Glass Boards

17. MooreCo: Beta Sit Stand Mobile Workstation

18. Norstar/Boss Office Products: R-MALIBU-BK

19. Safco Products: Zenergy Ball Chair

20. Sentry Group: FileGuard

21. HP: HP Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer

22. Kensington: Kensington Proximo Starter Kit

23. Pilot Corporation of America: Down Force

24. Safco Products: Zenergy Ball Chair

25. Victor Technology: All-In-One Monitor Riser