Biuletyn 06/2016Biuletyn IPBBS


It’s been a busy – and challenging – time for office products dealer group Superstat of late.

On the immediate run-up to its annual event, which was held at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire on 10 June, the group had announced a number of staff reductions.

It’s been a busy – and challenging – time for office products dealer group Superstat of late.


On the immediate run-up to its annual event, which was held at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire on 10 June, the group had announced a number of staff reductions.

Superstat had also alluded to a new hub concept in the prior week, as reported by OPI and this was certainly the main talking point of the conference which saw about 100 out of the group’s 370 dealer members in attendance. Despite the fact that Sales Director Alex Dunn described the hub idea as a potentially huge opportunity, details were scarce and delegate response appeared rather lukewarm.

The hub concept came on the back of Spicers’ CEO Jeff Whiteway writing to the office products wholesaler’s dealer partners at the end of May informing them about changes in the delivery of orders, specifically no more deliveries overnight for dealers that spend less than £50,000 ($71,000) with the wholesaler. Whiteway addressed the Superstat conference delegation via pre-recorded video due to his meetings in Asia with 5 Star suppliers at the time of the event.

He talked about the cost to serve and the need to eliminate more cost from the supply chain. A hub-type service whereby larger dealers could make available their – often underused – warehouses and logistics operations to smaller dealers, thus reducing their need to have these facilities (and as such the requirement for Spicers’ deliveries directly to them) was his proposed answer to the problem.

The word ‘nectere’ springs to mind – not completely dissimilar in approach and mindset. And given that Superstat’s own managed services solution Cadabra is being adopted slower than anticipated, a revamped Cadabra could potentially go hand in hand with such a hub service.

The theory that this type of service makes sense was not questioned nearly as much as the likelihood of it ever taking off, with trust issues, including handing over customer data to competitors, being quoted as the number one stumbling block by those dealers OPI spoke to.

Superstat Marketing Director Karly Haley said the response from its smaller dealers – 59 are affected by Spicers’ announcement – was “quietly cautious”. She explained: “They have just had news of the discontinuation of overnight deliveries which has come as a shock and means a major change to the way they run their business. It is a necessary change to Spicers’ logistics borne out of harsh economic reality, but to the dealers affected it is pretty earth shattering. We are doing everything we can to find a solution for the dealers affected. One of the ideas is hubs, but it’s a lot to take in and a lot of change all at once.”

As mentioned before, Superstat has had its very own battles approaching the conference, reducing its headcount with immediate effect from 34 to 28 staff following a strategic review of the market. When OPI spoke to the group, it also referred to sizeable technology investments being made in order to help dealers of all sizes be more competitive in today’s data-focused digital world.

Haley gave more details about these investments in one of the seminar sessions and talked about the new INsight CRM and automated marketing system. Following the event, she reported excellent dealer feedback and interest in this new initiative.

After the many discussions that followed the morning’s seminars during the numerous networking breaks and, of course, during the vendor exhibition in the afternoon, it was finally time for dealers and vendors to let their hair down during the evening’s ‘A night in Paris’ awards dinner and party.

The award winners were:  

  • E-commerce excellence award – Evolution Office Group
  • 5 Star growth award – Global Office Supplies
  • Supplier excellence award – Antalis
  • Best stand of the exhibition – DAMS
  • Marketing excellence award – Aston & James
  • Salesperson of the year award – Dan West, Woods Business Services
  • Dealer excellence award (under £1 million) – Supply Shack
  • Dealer excellence award (£1-£2 million) – Global Office Supplies
  • Dealer excellence award (over £2 million) – Aston & James

This article was written before the announcement of the retirement of Superstat Managing Director Chris Collinson.