The fifth OPI Global Forum, to be held at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower from 17-19 May, comes at an opportune time, a time when there’s plenty to discuss given the plethora of industry changes that have happened since the last US-based forum in November 2013.
On virtually a global scale, the most talked-about topic in OP circles at the moment is the potential Staples/Office Depot merger, and there’s no doubt it will come up in many discussions – on and off the stage – at this year’s Global Forum.
But there are plenty of other debates to be had at this invitation-only event that brings together CEO/Chairman-level executives from leading resellers, manufacturers and wholesalers of the ever-widening business supplies sector.
Addressing the core issues
Chris Westfall, who stepped in at the last minute for the 2013 Global Forum and became an instant success with his dynamic enthusiasm, energy and quick grasp of the key industry issues, will take on the role of professional moderator again. He will guide the audience through a varied two-day programme of broadline presentations and panel discussions, as well as more specific and intimate roundtable debates, all focused on the core issues facing our industry today.
Some of these issues that will be addressed at the Global Forum – and that keep cropping up in the pages of OPI – are:
- procurement strategies and processes
- adjacent sectors – jan/san and breakroom, for example – and their opportunities
- the changing workplace
- supply chain solutions
As ever, the first full day of the event will conclude with the eagerly awaited Big Interview, this year featuring United Stationers CEO Cody Phipps who will no doubt elaborate on a number of the aforementioned topics himself, perhaps most notably rebranding.
A key USP of the Global Forum is the networking. Attendees are able to experience the best, most focused, high-level networking in our industry over the course of the entire event, from welcome reception, lunch and coffee breaks to a fabulous steakhouse dinner at the end of the first day.
Will all the questions be answered during three days of listening, discussing and networking? Perhaps not, but a fantastic line-up of speakers and panellists will do their utmost to offer some clarity to steer delegates and their companies through the often muddy waters that is the OP industry today.
As OPI Director Janet Bell says: “The challenges we face are better faced together, and by discussing strategy and best practice we can make not only our companies stronger, but the industry as a whole too.
“The Global Forum is a unique meeting for our industry, with a focus on genuine high-level debate. And of course, we operate under Chatham House rules so delegates can relax and not worry about their thoughts and ideas being used later.”