Resilient dealer groups celebrate togetherness

OB Gavin

Office Brands' Gavin Ward (left) and OPDNZ's Grant Sheridan open proceedings in Cairns.

Dealer groups Office Brands and Office Products Depot New Zealand used their joint conference in Cairns last week to remind members and suppliers that the independent OP channel is 'alive and kicking'.

"From the days when Corporate Express (later known as Staples and now Winc) first came to Australia and the rumours spread that they were going to wipe out all the independent resellers, we have proven to be much more resilient than expected," Office Brands CEO Gavin Ward, said.

"Our conference theme 'Better Together' stems from the visionaries who saw the opportunity to work together to deliver capability, that alone they could never achieve, producing a comprehensive catalogue to compete with the top end of town," he said. "That initial cooperation grew to include the development of a raft of services that today is a comprehensive support structure for independent members."

"The challenge for our future lies in the development of intelligent digital tools, creative marketing and the development of solutions, which solve problems for customers, and are not just about fulfilling a product at a price," he said.

Grant Sheridan, general manager of OPD New Zealand, said the focus of his group is "to be the preferred B2B supplier in the New Zealand market by driving compelling marketing campaigns that deliver sales to members, exposure and volume to key supply partners and best range, pricing and advice to customers."

Total attendance at the joint Expo, including delegates, suppliers and partners, totalled around 480 with around 180 Office Brands outlets represented.

The trade show featured 68 stands, which included key suppliers from New Zealand, among them Spicers, Croxley, Dove Electronics and Fastway.

A joint Expo and conference in New Zealand is an option being discussed by both groups for 2018.