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Phillip Michael, owner of Adelaide's Allstar Office Solutions and chairman of the Office Power Australia, says the “like-minded” dealer group has a lot to offer members and suppliers.

STATIONERY NEWS: How did the Office Power group come about and how has it developed since its inception?

PHILLIP MICHAEL: The original group was formed in 1998 to provide services to like-minded Australian dealers across the nation.

We strive to provide as many services possible to our members.

STN: How many members are in the group and are you actively seeking new members?

PM: Over time we have grown to a member base of 37.

We continue to encourage independent dealers to join us and currently there are several enquiries with fellow directors Lia Michael and Chris Macris

STN: What do you consider to be the main benefits of being a member of the group?

PM: These can best be summarised as:  

  • Membership in a cost-effective group
  • Pricing and rebates from preferred suppliers
  • Online ordering website hosting
  • Printed catalogue
  • Brochures

After 17 years, Office Power Australia remains the most cost-effective buying group in the country. As the group has grown it has been able to provide members with all those things expected from group membership without taking away the member businesses own hard-earned branding and identity.

There are some things in life that are best kept small - and there are some things where grouping together brings benefits.
We are committed to excellence, service and quality and we generate added benefits through the power of group buying, national distribution, joint marketing, and shared administration.

OPA members are experienced industry professionals and know how to match product with client's needs – they are not just remote order-takers.

STN: How and when does the group conduct its negotiations with suppliers?

PM: We formally meet with our suppliers twice a year, an also when we compile our catalogue.
Office Power Australia members remain committed to fulfil the office products needs of their customers with up-to-date, innovative and quality products at low cost, in a fast, accurate, personable and ethical manner embracing the group’s values of teamwork, co-operation, trust and commitment.

STN: What are some of the key aspects of the group's marketing/ promotions program?
 
PM: Catalogues will continue to be an important feature of our fundamental business practice, supported by printed and electronic brochures and promotions throughout the year.

STN: : What have been some of the best performing product categories among members over the past 12 months?
 
PM: Our members have experienced growth in canteen and kitchen products, furniture and  office machines

STN:  What was the response to last year's trade show on the Gold Coast and what have you planned for 2015?
 
PM: Most members agree that partnering with preferred suppliers is paramount, however we have to be diligent when service is provided to the  “big end of town” and “retail” at our expense. We should present alternative products where practical.
2015 is going to be a year of swift changes and we have to be prepared in most areas

STN: Which categories do you see as having the best growth prospects over the next few years?
 
PM: Again, in my opinion, it's canteen and kitchen products, furniture and office machines.