Dealer group Office Friendly held its Annual Conference at the Belfry Hotel, Sutton Coldfield, on 10 & 11 October 2014
Dealer group Office Friendly (OFDA) went to the Belfy in the Midlands to celebrate its 20th birthday in true OFDA style. There was golf, a birthday-themed fancy dress party and a stylish Gala Dinner where top performing members were recognised for their outstanding performance.
Those dealers were: OFDA New Dealer of |the Year 2014 – Interline Office Supplies and Dealer of the Year – The Paperchain Partnership. Congratulations to both.
Highlight of the Business Sessions was the launch of a brand new, fully integrated Managed Marketing Service for members called KascAid. OFDA’s enthusiastic young team of highly skilled professionals will be working with members to offer this ‘unique’ marketing tool, delivering a powerful and effective marketing proposition to help dealers to engage existing, lapsed and potential customers.
OFDA Managing Director Steve Harrop says: “It’s hard not to be seriously buoyed by the positive outcomes from this year’s conference. I believe it reflects an upturn in most dealers businesses alongside a recognition that they've performed well enough to have survived a deep double dip recession.
“What's been more impressive and pretty clear is that dealers are now not immune to change and are ready to engage. Engagement is in fact one of the real positives to take from this conference. We're all looking at how we can strengthen and support the mid market sector for independent resellers and its obvious Vasanta, through VOW, want to engage with Office Friendly. Guess what? we want to engage with them too and there are terrific gains to be made in building on one of the industries 20 year success stories.”
Speaking about KascAid he says: “It’s not only relevant in this or indeed any other SME market, but it's clear, practical and designed to build new levels of engagement for dealers, suppliers and OFDA across the board. That’s because the world keeps getting smaller and ideas and connection are the currencies that matter. KascAid is all about increasing connectivity with well thought through planned activity and measured ROI.
He says the attendance was the best for five years, but there are still over 80 members who weren’t represented. “In the past I've had sleepless nights trying to understand how we get more to engage. The reality, in this genuine mood for change of those members that do engage, (and I'm aware of the good reasons for missing such a key get together) is that we now have the content to wow those who commit. Those who don't want to commit will I'm afraid miss out as we start to redefine the group and the benefits with our major partners.”
The first day of the conference saw the option to play golf and a birthday party themed fancy dress party on the Friday night. The Saturday morning business sessions included keynote presentations, a supplier exhibition and a ‘Question Time’ debate which saw questions answered by VOW’s Adrian Butler, BOSS’s Michael Gardner, OFDA’s Gordon Profit and one of the guest speakers, Philip Hesketh. The first question, of course, was: “How will the recent acquisitions of the two major wholesalers impact independent dealers?”
At the very posh Gala Dinner on Saturday night, the Supplier of the Year went to AF. AF’s European Brand Director Paul Hardy says: “We work hard to support the dealers associated with Office Friendly, in the way of product information blitz days, marketing and sampling. We help them to develop our brand, and have established strong partnerships with the individual members and the team at head office.”