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  • Screen Shot 2020 05 24 at 2.05.44 PMThe Paperless,
    O f f i c e l e s s
    Touchless future

    'Less is more' in the new
    #BeyondCovid eco world


    The global Covid lockdown will likely reignite trends that emerged over the past 20 years. The printer 'paperless' plunge; 'officeless' orientation; and now the 'touchless' trend towards higher hygiene & safety. Moreover, a resurgence in sustainability practices to cut carbon emissions; and ironically, greater human touch. We analyse these movements Updated

    Read More
  • Screen Shot 2020 05 26 at 4.14.51 PMGlocalisation Up!

    Globalisation down

    Bigger the world economy.
    More power, small players


    In 1994, John Naisbitt wrote the Global Paradox book, that successfully predicted the growth of independent businesses. #Glocalisation paralleled that prediction where products/services were created for global consumption and personalised to suit local culture. This trend is rising thru Covid. We discuss the many successful brand case studies. 

    Read More
  • perfect storm clooneyPrint/papermakers
    hit perfect storm

    OPocalypse: Diminished
    demand+economy+Covid


    Most leading OP, Paper & Print makers have reported severe sales declines in Q1'20 to date. Printer Paper demand is down 60%+ since 2008; the exodus to hygiene and packaging is huge. We analyse the market and update on a daily basis. Updated for Konica Minolta today

    Read More
  • Screen Shot 2020 05 19 at 2.29.38 PMThe Office is Dead!
    Long live the office

    Professional identity to be
    lost w/o physical interface?


    "Farewell, office. You were the last boundary between work and home" writes NYTimes columnist Jennifer Senior. "The office shaped identities in ways workers never knew". Yes, the 'Officeless'  trend started 10yrs ago, but the power of physical community & teamwork contact should not be underestimated...Updated

    Read More
  • Delivery driver blue lucyHigh order values.

    Low CostToServe 

    Broad biz supply from one
    source drives productivity


    A primary focus for OP dealers has been lowering buying price to achieve GP% improvement. Progressive dealers in broadline business supply have achieved greater success by 2X order values & lowering cost to serve. We highlight examples... Updated

    Read More
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Screen Shot 2018 11 06 at 4.03.00 PMClearing the Air
w/John Fellowes

The healthy shift from OP
to ergonomics & hygiene


Much admired family owned Fellowes company, is the shining example of a progressive OP maker shifting to productivity solutions, in the business supply market. The Bankers Box core business has now been overtaken by ergonomics, mobile accessories & air purifiers in its drive to workspace wellness & hygiene. We speak with CEO John Fellowes. Complete

 

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Fellowes john jamieFellowes History - Last 30 years

The original Bankers Box company started by John's great grandpa Harry in 1917, continued by grandfather John, then by legendary father Jamie. We believe Jamie was the man that built the modern Fellowes model, moving it from paper based storage, through shredders, IT accessories, ergonomics into accessories and equipment. John picked up the baton and added Aeramax air purifiers and serious ergonomic furniture via ESI and movable wall systems furniture via Trendway

Sales growth trends

Fellowes is a private family owned business based in Itasca (near Chicago) since founded in 1917. We believe Fellowes revenues in 2019 were c$1Bn after the acquistion of Trendway. Currently, during Covid, sales in the core OP segment were down substantially, although shredders for the home office market were a bright spot. Sales of ergonomic furniture; environment and AeramaxPro air purifiers were strong (See below details). Sales are roughly split 50:50 between core & expansion categories. 

 The ergonomics & environment expansion 

fellowes height adjustable desk topJamie started the move from paper storage into ergonomics in the 90's with acquisition partners in IT & mobile accessories enabling expansion into the business supply channel strength of Fellowes. Shredders were added and later more substantial equipment in sit/stand, monitor arms etc.

When John took over the reins from Jamie in 2014 he championed the introduction of air purifiers via the launch of the AeraMaxPro range. This progressive move was ahead of its time when all the hygiene innovation surroundec surface and hand sanitization. Late in 2017, ESI the highly regarded and serious ergonomic furniture maker signalled a major move into the project market. Last year, Trendway, the moving walls and flexible office systems maker was acquired giving Fellowes a big edge in the contract furniture market.  

Fellowes has grown its international manufacturing footprint in line with the growth of leading bigbox & wholesale distributors plus over the past 15 years the mighty Amazon. Over 60% of its portfolio, mainly in the expansion categories, is made by partners on Asia & Europe. 

How did tariffs affect Fellowes? "We reckon import tariffs cost an extra 15% and we had no alternative but to raise prices to the channel and the consumer. This of course gave an advantage to private label makers, so that caused pressure on margins and dampened demand" 

Covid collapse?

The tragic Covid crisis has hit Fellowes hard, primarily in the non essential OP range, although shredders sold well to the online/retail channel as the 'Work From Home (WFH)' lockdown took hold in March. The expansion categories did well in ergonomics, monitor arms etc for the WFH market via Amazon particularly. Moreover, contrary to early CDC advice on Covid, that the virus was transmitted by droplets/and dirty surfaces, it proved later that it was also an airborne disease, thereby lifting demand for AeraMax. 

sneeze screen"All the past hygiene demand surrounded sanitized surfaces and hands. Air purification was not taken seriously. Fellowes move in 2014, proved prescient. We feel good about our competitive position going forward given our specialist leadership in the international business supply market." enthused John. 

The enhanced hygiene demand also enabled our Trendway operation to use its skills to make "'sneeze guards' acrylic screens (pic right) at short notice, to protect frontline workers from infection during Covid.  

Distribution via bigboxes/wholesale channel 

We observed that the OP channel has been invsded by VC's acquisition of bigboxes e.g Staples & Essendant by Sycamore and the onslaught in Europe with Staples, Depot, Vow, Spicers and Adveo imploding following VC investment. "It's been a highly uncertain period and Europe has had a really tough time. We've had to review our distribution and marketing costs accordingly. Hopefully, they will survive. Certainly, tAmazon, online resellers and the agile leaders have stepped up" said John.

Screen Shot 2019 08 16 at 2.15.38 PM'Touchless' economy & technophobia

"The pandemic has been a learning process for most of us" commented John. "The Boomers & Millennials have morphed and become equally comfortable with technology e.g. Facebook, Amazon, PC's, WhatApp, Alexa, Netflix, ApplePay and Zoom etc" commented John.

Covid's silver lining may be that a new normal may be more 'touchless' with WFH and less commuting, cars & traffic clogging roads. Much more environmentally aware, healthy trends may be on the horizon with an intense focus on hygiene, wellness and air quality.

"We certainly see it that way and our expansion and investment plans arte focused in that direction" asserted John.  

Fellowes future focus:

  • Ergonomics: Continued development to help users gain productivity in comfort
  • Hygiene, Safety & Wellness: Air purification...cleaning the air 
  • Workspace management: Furniture that drives productivity performance, safety, flexibility & collaboration  

Screen Shot 2020 05 12 at 1.28.24 PMThe importance of cleaner indoor air 

Indoor air matters.


We spend 90% of our time indoors and nine hours every day sharing spaces with others.
While we don’t usually give much thought to indoor air quality, we should. The air we breathe indoors is up to five times more polluted than outdoor air.

Public spaces, like offices, health care facilities and schools are breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses, dust and allergens, and harsh chemicals and odors.

While we all recognize the need to wash our hands and clean common surfaces like doors, tabletops, bathrooms, etc., it’s not enough. We need to clean the air. Why?

The importance of cleaner indoor air 

Indoor air matters.


We spend 90% of our time indoors and nine hours every day sharing spaces with others.
While we don’t usually give much thought to indoor air quality, we should. The air we breathe indoors is up to five times more polluted than outdoor air.

Public spaces, like offices, health care facilities and schools are breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses, dust and allergens, and harsh chemicals and odors.

While we all recognize the need to wash our hands and clean common surfaces like doors, tabletops, bathrooms, etc., it’s not enough. We need to clean the air. Why?

Screen Shot 2020 05 11 at 11.41.53 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spend 90% of the time indoors

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Screen Shot 2020 05 11 at 11.31.54 AMPurify the air with AeraMax® Professional


• Our commercial-grade air purifiers are the only solution proven in independent tests to capture the airborne flu virus.
• Removes 99.9% of allergens and viruses using True HEPA filter
• Significantly reduces odors and VOCs
• Features patented, auto-detecting EnviroSmart™ Technology
• Works in spaces up to 1,400 sq. ft.

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