Partnership 2014 Review

Senior-level resellers and vendors meet for strategic discussions in Amsterdam.

There’s always a bit of trepidation that goes with the launch of a new event, especially when it means adding two more days into the already-hectic calendars of busy office products professionals. However, it was probably the time efficiency of OPI Partnership which stood out as one of its key success points: 16 one-hour face-to-face meetings in just two days – it’s difficult to imagine being able to do that even at a traditional trade show – assuming that the people you really want to see are there in the first place.

So, what is Partnership?

The goal of Partnership is relatively straightforward: to allow senior level executives from the reseller and vendor communities to conduct strategic discussions in an environment that allows for further networking opportunities.

Another important factor is that it also gives resellers the chance to meet vendors from outside the traditional office products channel – from growing and important categories such as technology, jan/san and breakroom. Vendors at the first Partnership included Samsung, SCA, Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark Professional.

Resellers included Staples, Office Depot, Lyreco, Amazon, VOW, ADVEO, OTTO Office, BPGI, Interaction and PBS Holding.

Held at the impressive Hotel Okura in Amsterdam, Partnership got off to the perfect start with a memorable Japanese meal that really set the perfect tone for the rest of the event. After that relaxing first evening, the next two days were mainly about hard work, with meetings running from 8am to 6pm, and OPI staff on hand to ensure that timings were strictly adhered to.

The European Office Products Awards were held after the first day of Partnership meetings – again in keeping with the efficient use of time – and it’s a testament to the professionalism of the delegates that everyone was up and raring to go early the next morning.

The event was deemed so successful that 100% of attendees rated it either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’. Of the resellers quizzed, 90% rated it ‘excellent’, while two-thirds of vendors said exactly the same.

OPI CEO Steve Hilleard commented: “The reaction we had was simply fantastic and far outstripped our expectations. We are delighted that through Partnership we have been able to help create new relationships in the office products industry as well as reinforce older ones.” 

This is what they said about Partnership 2014

“I think the Partnership event has been fantastic. It was a very efficient use of time and my honest feedback is that it has exceeded my expectations. I’ve had access to more customers in two days than I would normally have in over a year. The next step is to get those negotiations turned into actions, so we’ve got a long list of things to follow up with customers. Very, very positive.”

Gordon Scott, SVP & General Manager EMEA, Newell Rubbermaid

“I think it was a great event and I would like to thank OPI. It was quite challenging with 16 meetings in 48 hours, but I think it was a good opportunity to meet with 16 key customers in a good spirit. I hope that we will have the opportunity to repeat this kind of event again next year.”

Denis Bonnet, European Business Account Director, BIC

OPI excelled itself again by delivering a memorable and very enjoyable event in a terrific venue that was also truly professionally worthwhile. I had a series of exceptional meetings, both formally and informally, and feel that every minute of a very intense period was well spent.”

Mark Austen, Managing Director, Office Club

“I came with an open mind and I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised. I think what helped was that it was at a neutral venue; normally when you meet a supplier, you meet at their premises or at our premises, or even Paperworld, but it remains a business function. Here, you’re in a hotel with rooms spread around, moving around on the hour every hour and you make sure there’s a precise use of time. We’re very pleased.”

Steve Law, CEO, Lyreco