5.00pm     Registration
6.00pm     Drinks reception & welcome dinner at The Swissotel
9.00pm     Drinks in the bar


07.15am Registration and breakfast

08.15am Welcome and opening remarks from the Chair

08.30am The State of the Global Business Supplies Industry

The recently published OPI State of the Industry Report is an invaluable insight into the current state of the business supplies market. Using this resource the presentation will explore the market size of core business supplies, volume, value changes and margin trends. It examines the top-performing and the most declining product categories as well as reviewing the distribution channels that have increased and decreased the most. This snapshot of the market will offer a great foundation for the rest of the Forum and insights that are invaluable to your business.
Speaker: Chris Exner, Chief Commercial Officer, OPI

08.45am State of the Industry

The opening session will set the scene and examine the current state of the industry following several tumultuous years of challenge and change. It will comprise short, focused interviews with key leaders from a range of channels who will share their thoughts on the opportunities over the coming months.
Harry Dochelli, President/CEO, Essendant
Heather Green, President, 3M Home Care, Auto and Workspace, Consumer Business Group
Bill Meany, President, S.P. Richards
Tom Tedford, CEO, ACCO Brands
Bryan Wight, SVP, ODP Business Solutions
Elena Wuchner, CEO, EON Office

10.00am Morning break for refreshments & networking

10.30am The Future Normal – Building a People-Focused AI Strategy

This year it’s AI. Last year it was the metaverse, web3 and crypto. While not a ‘tech guy’, Henry has been watching tech trends for nearly 15 years – and his sessions on how to understand new technologies are hugely popular with leaders because they cut through the hype and, more importantly, they give audiences practical insights into how they can use them to create value for their customers.
Henry Coutinho-Mason, Author of The Future Normal and Trend-Driven Innovation 

11.20am The Multiplier Effect: How B2B Winners Grow
After three years of seismic shifts—including the acceleration toward digital channels triggered by the pandemic— customers are rewarding companies that deliver on a great omnichannel experience, and punishing those that don’t. In this session, we will discuss how companies are combining winning strategies to increase market share by more than 10 percent annually, even in uncertain economic times.
Andrew Wong,  Partner, McKinsey & Company and leader in McKinsey’s B2B Digital and Ecommerce Service Line
Sonia Joseph Griffin, Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company

12.05am Networking lunch

1.00pm Enabling Profitable Growth through Pricing Excellence?
Like most businesses, the office supplies market has experienced significant change and challenges in recent years. Attendance in traditional, physical offices has declined significantly from pre-pandemic levels, consumer behavior has shifted to non-traditional retailers and channels, and sustainability continues to be top of mind for both businesses and consumers. Additionally, running in parallel with these market trends, inflationary forces have driven up costs and put pressure on margins across the value chain.

While inflation had trended downward in recent months, as evidenced by the latest Consumer and Producer Price Indices (CPI and PPI respectively), the last few years have exposed vulnerabilities in how office suppliers manage their commercial operations. There is now a greater emphasis on understanding the drivers of higher margins and how businesses can deliver profitable growth. Companies can only cut costs so deep before it creates adverse tension in the business. As a result, businesses are looking for ways to increase profitability through improved topline pricing performance.

To support the delivery of improved topline pricing performance and higher profitability, we’ve developed a proven framework as a guide for navigating some of the most difficult market conditions of the last 40 years. The framework is broken down into three high-level phases:

Configuring optimal price levels – This includes aligning on pricing goals, understanding addressable revenue, and differentiating by customer segment, product type, and other factors that influence price elasticity.
Enabling change – This includes the development of alternatives to price changes (pricing models, price clauses, cheaper alternatives), creation of escalation rules, establishment of sound sales incentives, communication of changes to key stakeholders, and training.
Implementing for success – This includes preparing supporting materials (negotiation plans, battlecards, concessions, and value arguments), developing KPIs to influence target behaviors and outcomes, and monitoring results to create additional accountability.
The economics of price increases are compelling and make sense even with planned customer attrition. By following a systematic and focused approach, office suppliers can dramatically improve pricing performance and return to higher levels of profitability.
Jeb Wilson, Partner, Simon-Kucher & Partners

1.45pm Roundtable session A:

Delegates can attend one of our roundtable discussions, limited to around 15 participants. Options to be confirmed.

Roundtable 1. Disconcerting Demographics:  How to Bring Younger People Into Professional Selling Roles

The sales force is graying; yours probably is, too.  Studies show that the average age of salespeople in 2023 is 47.1 years.  Fifteen years ago, the average age was 42.  That’s a big issue – as salespeople retire, the old George Jones song comes to mind:  “Who’s gonna fill their shoes?”  Well, if you do it right, you can fill their shoes – or at least, you can fill their sales jobs and get new energy into the sales profession.  In this workshop, Troy Harrison shows how to infuse your sales team with new blood.  You’ll learn how to take advantage of the attributes, capabilities, and skills of a newer generation while easing the challenges of integrating them into your sales team.  Topics covered include:

  • What younger people are looking for in their careers (hint: there are real differences)
  • How to recruit new sales talent
  • How to acculturate new salespeople into your team
  • Designing an onboarding program to speed productivity
  • And more!
    Troy Harrison, The Sales Navigator 

Roundtable 2. Practical Steps to Price Increases
In addition to the formal price increase framework presented in the plenary session, there are several practical steps office suppliers can take to achieve greater profitability through pricing.  In the roundtable, we’ll go deeper on elements of the price increase framework as well as discuss topics like pricing roles and responsibilities, behavioral pricing considerations, discounting control, and other pricing/sales techniques that can be employed to generate the target results. 
Jeb Wilson, Partner, Simon-Kucher & Partners  

Roundtable 3. Deploying AI: Sharing your Hits, your Misses, and your Fears.
Henry will unveil captivating real-world AI encounters. This session is your golden opportunity to fire up the conversation. Explore your burning questions and ignite innovation – whether you’re an AI trailblazer or just stepping into the realm, this discussion promises to resonate with you.
(this roundtable will only be held during this session)
Henry Coutinho-Mason, Author The Future Normal and Trend-Driven Innovation

Roundtable 4. Where are Today’s Growth Channels?
Whether you’re a reseller, a wholesaler, or a manufacturer you’re always on the lookout for growth opportunities.  The usual talk-track in the business products sector has been about category diversification. While that still rings true, in todays’ world it also requires us to be where the modern consumer wishes to purchase. An unstoppable trend is the one of B2B marketplaces, with double-digit growth rates and a predicted opportunity surpassing 200 Billion by 2030. There are an increasingly number of new B2B marketplaces and platforms that sellers should investigate.
This roundtable would be great for those that have also started diversifying their downstream selling platforms or who are curious to learn more. Chaired by Bob Boekema founder at TFE Agency and Gordon Christiansen from Highlands, it promises to be an open and collaborative discussion designed to get you thinking about new ways to grow your business
Gordon Christiansen, Partner, Highlands
Bob Boekema, Managing Director, TFE Agency 

Roundtable 5Turbo AI Powered Website Audits
Get ready for a game-changing session led by marketing expert, Andy Crestodina. Explore the future of website optimization through cutting-edge AI tools. Discover the next best opportunity for improvements to your site in this interactive discussion. You are invited to share your challenges and together we’ll see how AI can help. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to supercharge your website’s potential!
Andy Crestodina – Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Orbit Media Studios

Roundtable 6Navigating the AI Cybersecurity Landscape: Challenges, Solutions, and Insights
oin Jim WHeeler for a hands on discussion about some of the latest trends in cyber security. This is your chance to ask an expert. Discussion will focus on: 

  1. ChatGPT- Should we allow our staff to use it? What are the pros, cons and risks?
  2. How can we control information security that may come from using ChatGPT in your business?

Jim Wheeler, Associate Partner, UK Cyber Lead, Infosys Consulting 

2.45pm Afternoon break for refreshments & networking

3.15pm Roundtable session B:

The previous roundtables will be repeated so you can attend a second discussion (with the exception of Roundtable 3 – Deploying AI)

4.15pm Transition/comfort break

4.20pm  Adjacency Growth: Equipment, Services & Talent

Kevin Johnson, CEO of Warehouse Direct, will present Part 2 of one of the highest rated and most well attended seminars at OPI and other industry conferences.  How do you best profitably grow from your core into new revenue adjacencies?  Part 1 primarily discussed product adjacencies, Part 2 will focus mostly on adjacent Equipment, Services and developing adjacent Talent to increase profitable revenue.  Warehouse Direct provides possibly the broadest range of products, equipment and services with their own technicians of any industry distributor in the world.  From Managed IT Services, to Warewash & Laundry equipment repair, to indoor & outdoor Facility Machines, Micro Markets, Coffee Equipment & Breakroom Supplies, Copiers, Printers & MPS, Document Finishing Equipment, Postage Meters, Furniture, Design & Installation, Lighting, Print & Promotional, Industrial Packaging, MRO, Food Service, Cleaning Supplies, Safety, Medical, and yes Office Supplies.
Kevin Johnson, CEO, Warehouse Direct 

5.10pm Close of day one conference programme

6.00pm Drinks reception & group dinner – Meet at Ballroom entrance 

Please join us for an evening of fine food and great
Coaches will depart promptly from the Ballroom
entrance of the Swissotel at 6pm for the short transfer
to the Fellowes Design & Experience Center in Fulton
Market. Guests will enjoy cocktails and appetisers
before heading to the nearby BLVD Steakhouse for a
fabulous group dinner.
The dress code is business casual. 

Return transfers to the Swissotel will depart from 9.30pm.
BLVD Steakhouse, 817 W Lake St, IL 60607.
The Fellowes Design & Experience Center
311 N Green St, 9th Floor, IL 60607 

The Fellowes Design & Experience Center is not
just another contract interiors product showroom. A
journey through the immersive environment reveals
architectural elements and unexpected dynamic spaces
designed to educate, entertain and foster relationships.
Fellowes is excited to welcome you and looks forward
to hosting your experience.

  • 7.30am   Breakfast

8.30am   Opening remarks from the chair

8.45am   Cyber. What’s changed,  how to adapt and can AI help us?

  • AI: a force for good or bad
  • Case study of a cyber-attack and key decision points
  • What good cyber security looks like
  • Cyber homework: 7 questions for you to ask your business

Jim Wheeler, Associate Partner, UK Cyber Lead, Infosys Consulting

9.45am      Unlocking Sales Diversification

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, it’s imperative for businesses to explore fresh avenues to sell their products and services. This pursuit is not only about broadening the spectrum of opportunities but also about reducing and channel dependencies. With the traditional market segment undergoing consolidation and Amazon’s rising costs, among other things, there remains an array of untapped prospects.

Enter the era of hybrid selling, which is poised to become the new standard. Forward-thinking companies are strategically positioning themselves to meet their customers where they are, whether it’s on platforms like TikTok, Walmart.com, alternative marketplaces, or emerging channels. However, navigating the terrain of sales diversification presents new challenges.  These include operational and customer service capabilities, on platform creative execution, paid media expertise and, possibly, a mindset change within your organization.

Gordon Christiansen from Highlands will set the scene with a short presentation, followed by our expert panel who will delve into the array of opportunities and hurdles you may face as you expand your routes to market. Join us as we explore how to embark on a journey towards a more diversified and sustainable sales future
Panel discussion
Gordon Christiansen, Partner, Highlands
Lincoln Dix, VP, Storey Kenworthy
Mark Cooper, President, Avery Products Corporation
Jack Reagan, EVP, S.P. Richards 

10.35am Morning break for refreshments & networking

11.05am Bridging the Generational Divide:  How to Sell to Younger Buyers:

What you don’t know about younger buyers may be costing you money! One of the biggest issues that selling faces is the divide between older salespeople and younger buyers.  Make no mistake – salespeople are aging.  The average age of salespeople in 2023 is 47.1 years.  Fifteen years ago, it was 42.  And buyers are getting younger.  Those younger buyers are more connected, more technologically savvy, more informed, and better educated than buyers have ever been.  In fact, studies show that today’s buyer has completed 57% of their buying process before they ever see a sales rep. Many times, large disconnect exists between traditional sales techniques and younger buyers.  In this workshop, Troy Harrison shows how to navigate the buying process of today’s younger, more connected buyer.  Topics covered include:

  • What younger buyers want from salespeople and how to give it to them
  • Finding common ground in communication
  • Respecting the younger buyer’s journey
  • Getting the younger buyer to a “yes”

Troy Harrison, The Sales Navigator

11.50am   Why E-commerce ERP is the Growth Technology for the Business Supplies Industry

Join us for a dynamic session on eCommerce ERP’s game-changing role in the Business Supplies Industry. Hosted by Simon Drakeford CEO of the EO Group, pioneers in tech-backed solutions, this session explores:

• E-Commerce ERP Essentials: Why seamlessly integrating online functionality with modern ERP systems delivers operational excellence.
• Key Benefits: How using a unified customer view, multi-channel consistency, personalized pricing, customer-centric cataloging, real-time data analysis, and automation can enable businesses to compete with industry giants like Amazon
• Investment Profiling: Insight on how to invest in the right technology solutions and optimising Total Cost of Ownership(TCO).
• Real Success Stories: Witness operational efficiency gains and product diversification.

This session promises to reshape your perspective on achieving growth in the Business Supplies Industry through technology.
Simon Drakeford, CEO, EO Group

12.45pm   Conclusion and wrap-up

1.00pm     Buffet lunch

2.00pm       Close of OPI Global Forum 2023