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  • Screen Shot 2020 12 15 at 10.58.22 AMMega Merger
    mania mounts

    Record pace maintains
    inc regional consolidation


    Over 50 megadeals have been agreed year to date matching the number in all of 2020 and that pace is likely to continue, according to M&A experts. Merger volume is expected to keep record pace in 2nd half of year. We review the M&A activity in the business supplies market and speculate on those in the pipeline.... Updated again today 

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  • Screen Shot 2021 07 20 at 11.25.23 AMOptimism rising on
    US/UK economies

    High start-ups fuel growth.
    Inflation only negative fear


    Amidst all the negative commentary surrounding rising inflation in US/UK economies we read two positive articles over the weekend that were positively bullish.  One from The Telegraph based on the WFH tech revolution and rapid growth in UK start-ups and the NYTimes focused on the latter in the US....

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  • Screen Shot 2021 07 14 at 5.10.59 PMPartnerless,

    Pretentious
    Procurement!

    Bigbox BS! Vendors' deals
    marred by anti-marketers 


    A disturbing trend in recent years has been the rise of soulless, bigbox buyers baulking at innovative marketers' new product proposals. Merchandisers say yes! Procurement pros say no! What do they know? Meanwhile, growth driven marketers like Amazon say "Yes.what's the question?". When will this vulture backed nonsense end? We discuss....

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  • Screen Shot 2018 10 30 at 1.24.38 PMI n f l a t i o n
    C o n f l a t i o n?

    Increased prices & profits
    distort trends...beware!


    Like the surge in corporate profits that we see in the Q2'21 results season to date, the rise in inflation is largely a matter of arithmetic. The world shut down a year ago and is now reopening. This was always going to distort the figures and could lead to exaggerated forecasts of higher inflation 

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  • Productivity to lucyThe Productivity
    Paradox puzzle

    How WFH skew metrics.
    Industrial stats redundant
    in a hybrid work economy


    Productivity stats in US & Europe accelerated in the 2020 Depression...how and why? As we've reported repeatedly over the past 10yrs+, industrial productivity measures are redundant in the 'Information' economy where workers input hours are immeasurable, especially now, in the 'WFH/Officeless' hybrid world. In truth, productivity has been rising strongly throughout the web inspired economy. We discuss inc. Sunday Times David Smith's article today

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lawrtence charlie workrite standRethinking the
Future Office

COVID challenges norms
& tests furnituremakers


The office will change forever. Furnituremakers have a history of chasing one size fits all solutions. Cubicles, benching, hot desking, 'resimercial'...making the office look like home, have  featured strongly. Recent trends were largely designed to reduce space costs while selling it as the new collaborative environment. Workrite Ergonomics ceo Charlie Lawrence explains how Covid will cause a different approach?

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workrite before afterCOVID has forced the industry to change and it wants a new one size fits all solution that every manufacturer that serves this industry can chase and do their version of! In my opinion that’s fool’s gold as every company does different types of work, has a different culture, different facilities, different community environment and they all have different financial means to make change.

I recently sat on a CES, Consumer Electronics Panel discussing this topic. The panels take-aways about where we are headed were:

1. More flexibility and accommodation on where we work

· More flexible schedules, more willingness to allow folks to work remotely, work from home multiple days a week but come in for meetings

· Some jobs may be able to be permanent WFH

2. The anticipated explosion of technology advancement that will improve remote work

· Challenges create innovation and COVID was the ultimate test from necessity for nearly every company to find new and potentially better ways of working remotely. New technology will soon advance this even further

workrite ergo man woman3. More compassion and humanity to personal life challenges

· COVID has made company’s more employee centric, compassionate, and accepting of work life challenges. WFH will help employees, especially women better balance career and family as an example.

4. The shift of the company office becoming a cultural and community foundation but not mission critical for task work

· With more remote work, concerns for group safety, the high cost of living and real estate in many areas, etc. companies will have to get creative to not lose their culture or create a new one. Part of many companies is being a community. Silicon Valley is the best example of this with all the enticements…day care, free food, free social events, on campus housing, etc. Where do we go from here

My conclusion for the office and how work gets done.

1. Some corporate offices and campuses will shrink and have less task space. Task safe = private offices, cubicle, etc.…a desk to do work. Much of this work can be done where its less expensive and more convenient. Why should a company spend money on an expensive office building when COVID proved that many jobs could be done outside of the office?

2. The office and new technology will shift the office away from the place where all work gets done to a place to create the new culture and community of the company in a post-COVID era.

What does this mean for the Office Furniture Industry?

workrite ergo station1. If I was a CEO of one of the Big furniture mega brands, I would be very concerned!

· There will be fewer mega projects of new office or remodeled offices that include many floors of ceilings, flooring, lighting, walls, desks and all the project management and installation work. These mega projects were what sustained these companies and industry for decades!

2. This shift will create opportunities for industry specialists!

· WFH, Remote work, task work specialists (desks, chairs, etc. for individual spaces).

· New distribution models and less dependence or need for dealers, designers, project managers and installers. Speed ease of doing business and cost will be the keys to success.

· Community, training and meeting space specialist (conference rooms, meeting rooms, large group spaces, technology infused spaces)

The office, commercial real estate and the office furniture industry have been permanently changed by COVID. The days of a one size fits all solution in what we used to call the office and how it gets done has changed. Flexibility and a willingness to embrace these changes will be critical for the suppliers to the industry.

As customers and users of office furniture manufacturers are different than tech companies and they are different than service companies and they are different than medical products companies and the list goes. Even inside one of these companies engineers, accountants, sales, marketing, supply chain and customer service people all work differently shouldn’t the place and tools they have match the work rather than us modifying how we work to the office space we used to work in?

COVID was no fun but maybe as is often the case it has changed us all and forced us to really think differently. I believe that’s a very good thing for an industry that generally is slow to change and likes the comfort of constancy and sameness.

 

"Tomorrow's News Today,

not yesterday's news tomorrow."

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