This month’s question: What will be the groundbreaking product/service in 2010?



"There is a clear trend towards quality. Already today, consumers in both emerging and Western markets are becoming increasingly demanding. In five years’ time, the average consumer will be able to clearly identify quality and will make buying decisions accordingly. The industry will enter a phase of consolidation in which specialised know-how and the use of high-quality components will be key success factors in guaranteeing superior writing quality. Even more than today."


Giorgio Pagani, General Manager, PREMEC SA


"The accelerating power of ‘connected’ business gives access to more markets, from students to the retired. No paper catalogues, no retail investment and few staff means more of the market will be served by the virtual low-cost reseller. Alliances of manufacturers, online marketers and web designers/content providers with flexible logistics will be the answer."


Martin Bentley, Managing Director, CMBA


"From my knowledge of current developments in China, my view is that the trend towards the larger players establishing their own all-encompassing sourcing services in mainland China will have one of the biggest impacts on the industry over the next five years. Whilst the industry has been sourcing products via Western intermediaries, this new development will cause the demise of many Western manufacturers and sourcing agencies and increase the competitiveness of these larger players."


Sharon Zhang, Vice President, AF International Asia


"I truly believe that the catalyst for change in the office products industry will continue to be the proliferation of private brands in the big box resellers. These resellers will advance their efforts to promote store brands in an effort to own the mindshare of the consumer at the expense of the manufacturer’s branded product."


Al Arends, Managing Partner, Amici


"WiFi ubiquity will give office workers greater flexibility and mobility, as they switch from landlines to VOIP and automatically perform functions such as data backup with internet based software instead of hardware – all at extremely high accuracy and very low cost."


Thomas Schinkel, Managing Partner, Thomas Schinkel and Associates


Next month’s burning issue: Does the glass ceiling exist in the OP industry for women? Email your opinion to: