This month’s question: How important is the SoHo sector to the OP industry?

"It is an increasingly important market to companies such as Duraweld because it’s made up of lots of end-users who want bespoke, high-quality products at a reasonable price, yet only require small quantities. They also want quick solutions, right first time, so being able to see products online and talk options through with a salesperson before they order is vital."
Richard Senior, managing director, Duraweld

"Picture a pomegranate! An enjoyable fruit although it can be hard work to get the rewards. Once you’ve got used to using the point of a pin, the fruit gets much easier to eat. It’s the same for dealers. I believe that there is a rich vein of opportunity, but it comes in lots of small pieces and is not easy to get at. So the dealer must pin-point a target audience and decide on the right tool to access the reward."
Steve Robinson, director of merchandising, XPD


"We like entrepreneurs. Most start in a small office and try to grow. Our job is to provide them with great tools and value. We also like part-time and remote workers. They are important customers. As an industry, support for the small office is vital. Chances are that someday you will be in one of those offices."
Walter C Johnsen, president and CEO, Acme United


"Systemcare Products has seen a substantial increase in products aimed at this sector. Over the last six years we have seen strong growth in smaller cleaning kits designed for small offices, and cleaning kits in retail packaging designed for the ‘impulse buy’ of the home office worker. All home offices have computers and keyboards to clean and our products are specifically designed to be of dual use for home and office. They also have to be more environmentally friendly with home use in mind."
Doug Skeggs, marketing director, Systemcare


"The SoHo market is fundamental to many OP dealers. The advent of the multifunction machine means that customers in the SoHo sector can now consolidate their printer, fax machine, scanner and copier into one manageable solution. They now have far smaller footprints and this makes multifunction devices the ideal desktop companion for SoHo users."
Alex Ward, commercial director, Midwich


Next month’s burning issue:
How rigorously should companies protect their intellectual property rights?
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