United Kingdom-based wholesaler Spicers has realigned its resources and invested heavily in people, in part to deal with a fast-changing office products landscape that includes the launch of Amazon Business.

In a press statement, SPOT Group CEO Jeff Whiteway said that over the past 18 months, heavy investment had been made in its network infrastructure—in particular its distribution centers and its final-mile delivery service. SPOT Group includes Spicers and OfficeTeam, a U.K. provider of business supplies.

“Our strategic vision is that the marketplace will continue to change at an even faster rate than over recent years. We believe that in 2017, Amazon Business will arrive [in the U.K.] so it’s important we gear our business as a cost-effective distributor of products—not just office supplies—and we must open up a much wider product range to our customers to allow them to compete.”

The collapse of courier service City Link—owned by SPOT parent company Better Capital—early last year, prompted Spicers to work harder on introducing its last-mile delivery option, OfficeFleet. The City Link deal was originally introduced for its Brilliant Partners program but apparently there was very little uptake of the service before it collapsed.

The Brilliant Partners program, incidentally, is being relaunched after it was moved into the marketing department in August. Spicers Sales and Marketing Director Richard Ford said the new program will help support loyal customers that want to work closely with the wholesaler, while its new Alliance Programme is designed to “help dealers remove cost and focus on sales through effective contact with the consumer and therefore improving profitability.”

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According to Ford: “We appreciate that the Alliance Programme will not meet all of our customer needs, some because they already have the scale to operate efficiently and then those who have chosen to operate a very transactional model with the cost of the product being key.

“This is something we believe our customers will find increasingly difficult to reconcile as new entrants have significantly lower operating costs so a reduction in product cost, which in the main has been achieved will not find the difference needed to compete.”

To support its new endeavors, numerous positions have been created throughout the company. These include welcoming well-known industry figure Kim Thurgood back to the fold as part of the Alliance team, along with the appointment several new heads in the marketing, account management, and financial analyst departments.

Spicers, which was founded in 1796 as a paper mill and paper supplies business, has a customer base of more than 2,500 resellers across the U.K. and Ireland.

Michelle Sturman is deputy editor of Office Products International, where this article first appeared before it was slightly edited to appear in B2BecNews. The original version can be viewed at OPI.net.

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