The Advantia Board has announced that former Office Friendly MD, Steve Harrop has joined the dealer group as its new Chief Executive Officer. Steve brings to the role experience from over 30 years in the office supplies sector and a commitment and enthusiasm for the dealer channel.
Steve’s career began at Spicers where he was a territory manager and then moved to Kingfield holding the positions of Commercial Director and Dealer Development Director. As the new CEO, Steve’s vision for Advantia is to have a diverse group of 60 members turning over in excess of £30 million with its key logistics partner annually. Members’ growth will be driven by technology, a wide and varied product offering and excellence of service.
Bob Geens, Advantia Chairman said, “as part of our recruitment process Steve impressed the Board when he presented his plan for his first 100 days in the CEO role. We knew he was the right person when his vision of the industry was completely in line with ours which is to take cost out of the supply chain and use technology to drive efficiency, end user engagement and sales growth.”
Steve Harrop commented, “my 100-day plan is broken down into key elements such as getting to know and understand the team and the members, the supply chain, IT and marketing. There will be lots of engagement and I will be focussed on building on the business plan that already exists and putting a longer-term strategy in place. To do this I will be working closely with my team, the members and the Board.”
Steve’s goal is for Advantia members to be part of an organisation that is dynamic and agile. Members will sell from diverse product categories and will have technology and the end user experience at the centre of their individual policies and strategies. This will in turn produce better business performance and be supported by Advantia.
Steve added, “the user experience will drive everything and be at the very heart of Advantia’s strategic planning and day-to-day operations. I call this UX and it is a term that the team has embraced because that is how Advantia operates already. My job is to evolve the business and build on the strong positives that the group has, for example the open book true cost model we operate and our e-commerce platform Merlin Marketplace. These are just two of many initiatives that mean our members are competitive and have the technology they need to grow.”