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30 Jul 10 (Updated)
As anticipated yesterday, we confirm reports that Office Depot sales reps have begun contacting U.S. Communities (USC)customers and attempting to switch them immediately to their new consort The Cooperative Purchasing Network (TCPN).
Chris Peterson,is VP supplies division at Warden’s Office Suppliesthe leading office supply specialist in the Central Valley of California. We met Chris at the is.groupJune conference in Denver, just after he made his opening address as the new chairman. His resounding message to the resurgent group was sales! sales! sales! We discuss his plans...
28 Jul 10 MeadWestVaco the leading US packaging and stationery maker, reported a strong growth in its Q2’10 sales and profits. Unexpectedly, the consumer and office division slowed down...
27 Jul 10 (1600ET)As exclusively predicted 2 weeks ago, after an intimate 14 year marriage with US Communities (USC), Office Depot,the beleaguered bigbox, this afternoon, announced details of its new consort, The Cooperative Purchasing Network (TCPN).How will the spurned partner react to the unfaithful behaviour of is ex-soulmate?
26 Jul 10 (Completed1700 GMT;1200ET)
Darren Carr,the CEO of DG Office Supplies has just moved offices to Old Trafford, a stone’s throw away from Man United’s Theatre of Dreams stadium. Ironically, dynamo Darren is a Man Cityfan with his own dream of becoming the top Manchester merchant of business services...
25 Jul 10
Office Depot’s decision to withdraw from US Communities (USC) $515m contract and announce plans to go direct or via “alternative co-op arrangements” raises serious questions about the integrity of current practices....
State dismisses Depot;
25 Jul 10
In spite of Office Depot’s last ditch attempt to postpone the award of the $35m supplies contract, they have been thrown out kicking and screaming...
23 Jul 10 (Completed 1800 GMT; 1300 ET) Penketh’s of Liverpool, is one of the UK’s most progressive model resellers. They like many other specialists took a recessionary hit in furniture demand, but have invested in emarketing to drive its wider business supplies portfolio.
We visited CEO Mark Penketh and his impressive marketing manager yesterday...mini-profile follows later today
Mass mailing to USC amounts to mass destruction of ethics
23 Jul 10 (1500GMT; 1000 ET)
Office Depot’sguilty behaviour is getting increasingly desperate and suicidal. We publish below the mass mailing they are sending to public agency customers who currently buy supplies through its largest customer group the $600m US Communities.
23 Jul 10
Incredibly, guilt ridden Office Depot has filed a lawsuit seeking a protective order to prevent the further release of documents related to the Florida AG's investigation of the desperate company...
Whistleblower exposes Odland and Schmidt as frequent fraudsters
21 Jul 10 (1200 ET; 1700 GMT)
We have reflected again on the amazing revelations coming out of Office Depot’s grandstanding decision not bid for the $600m US Communities contract. Bizarrely, this is probably the first time we have witnessed transparency, albeit accidentally, from its corrupt chiefs...
17 Jul 10
You could not make this up! Faced with the loss of its uninterrupted 14 year old US Communities (USC) contract worth $600m in 2009, is Office Depot taking desperate steps to divert government agency customers to a competing buying organisation, TCPN?
17 July 10In a frank re-evaluation, whistle-blower David Sherwin admits that it is possible that both U.S. Communities (USC) and contract negotiator LA County (LAC)may have been duped by Office Depot's fraudulent pricing schemes....
'Productivity with Personality'
Proficiency Groupwas founded by Peter Frost(pic right, contact details below) with a simple guiding vision to champion best practice by independent resellers and help them provide "Productivity with Personality" services to users in an immediate, eco-friendly way.
We translate productivity as saving clients ‘time, money and space’; and personalized, as tailored and relevant services based on listening to the subject and creating individual personas.
Usually, this means reaching beyond the buyer to the user-chooser. We nickname this person, Lucy, the typical decision maker for the majority of business supplies purchased. Lucy could be an executive in sales, marketing, HR, training, research, administrative, FM, finance, legal, secretarial or executive assistants or secretary.
Coaching the reseller’s sales force how to focus selling skills on CFO/FD’s in cooperation with buyer contacts. Training in how to sell-in the productivity power of single source systems and managed services, from a local source, by cutting costs and carbon emissions. (See typical CFO/FD, Freddy Finance, centre right)
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)Coaching how to build an 'INTIMATE' database of user-chooser email contacts, e.g. typically 5-10 per customer account. Demonstrating how to create user chooser 'personas', to facilitate personalised communications: relevant promotions/information, with permission of user choosers e.g. Lucy (pic below right)
Courses include: Selling to the CFO/FD; CRM; personalised digital marketing; passionate customer service; MCommerce webstore design; 'Ambassador drivers'; digital marketing management; consultative selling skills and sales leadership.
In the US/Canada (alpha order)
Depot’s diversionary tactics disguise plans for direct attack
16 Jul 10 Office Depot said it decided not to bid for a new Los Angeles County office supplies agreement (negotiator for US Communities contract) because of what it called "onerous" terms that would result in an operating loss....
14 Jul 10
Paperchase, the stationery and greetings card retailer, has been purchased from its UK parent Borders by Primary Capital a private equity fund...
Survey #2 Results
11 July 10We’ve just completed the second survey of resellers and must admit disappointment with the moderate results compared with Survey#1 last week. Local resellers have a huge natural advantage over the bigbox operators, but fail to exploit it....
9 July 10 The Proficiency Index team has now reviewed 20 of the best known webstores in the UK/US OP marketplace. A few are beautiful experiences for users, but most are frustrating. Here are the most irritating practices...
4 Jul 10There continues to be a significant gender bias in the way we perceive brands, according to the results of recent research, which leaves many brand owners still figuring out how best to meet the needs of women.
Resellers and manufacturers should heed this advice....
4 July 10 (Updated 1800ET; 2300 GMT)Yes, it’s survey time again. Following last year’s hugely popular review of resellers’ brand and logo images, we now review web-stores against a 10 point criterion. We start with some of the recognised best e.g. Amazon/Shoplet and draw comparisons with progressive dealers and etailers...
13 Jul 10 (Updated 1900 GMT; 1400ET)We saw a press release earlier today confirming that the State of California was cancelling its RFP for a new office supplies contract. We wonder why?
1 July 10
Ex Office Depotsenior account manager turnedWhistle-blower David Sherwingave an exclusive interview with Proficiency Post earlier today. Real insights into the high profitability of the 14 year US Communities solus contract and the kickback commissions...
"Tomorrow's News Today,
not yesterday's news tomorrow."