Office Products News

Office Brands takes action to reduce costs, assist members

25 March 2020
Dealer group prepares for customer cutbacks.
Office Brands has introduced a range of measures to reduce costs, including the introduction of reduced work hours and redundancies.
As a result, marketing manager Phya Leong, who joined the group in 2018, has been made redundant with merchandising manager Andrew Gilbert assuming her responsibilities effective immediately.
In a statement to members released yesterday, Office Brands chairman David Spear said the group has been been working with its wholesale supply partners to provide drop shipment services to members that cease operations due to infection. 
“We are also keeping abreast with as much up-to-date information as possible on supply chain to plug as many product shortages as possible,’’ he said.
Yesterday’s full statement by David Spear, chairman of Office Brands Ltd
Without stating the obvious, the world as we know it has changed and is unlikely to return to normal for some considerable time.
We have certainly been watching the developments in the market and working closely with the senior management team on options for the business as we move forward.
I am pleased to say that up until the last week, sales have generally remained strong across the group. However, we are mindful that the circumstances of the market are changing rapidly and that we need to plan for the inevitable on flow of redundancies and closures in many industries, notably travel and hospitality among the many others.
As a result of this our management team are working through a range of measures to reduce costs, whilst trying to ensure that we have the least possible effect on the services members need to support your business. These initiatives include reduced working hours and some redundancies. We are also looking at a raft of other activities that may be reduced or ceased where we believe they will have least effect on members.
As pricing is being affected by the collapse of the $AUD our teams are rapidly repricing items to try and ensure members aren’t subject to reduced margins.
We remain committed to our goal of  best technology and I am pleased to say that the release of our new website, which is now locked in for the weekend of 4 & 5 April, has only been locked in after a rigorous process by our two external service providers which management bought in to ensure that our developers were exposed to best practice worldwide.
So, our business is in a strong position, but we are also preparing to ensure that we take any necessarily difficult decisions early, so that we can sustain the support for our members.
Our management have set up capability for the support office team to operate from home and practice good isolation. In this way if someone is affected, they can be easily isolated for treatment without effecting the other team members.
We have been working with our supply partners in wholesale to provide opportunities for drop shipment to stand-in if a member must close for a period due to infection. We are also keeping abreast with as much up to date information as possible on supply chain to plug as many product shortages as possible.
Good communication across our team means that there is a strong sharing of knowledge to keep the business strong if some team members become unwell.
These are the first steps in our plan. At this time the Board is meeting with management on a weekly basis to ensure that we react to the business imperatives.,
We will keep you periodically updated but leave the team to work with members on a daily basis.
No doubt there are many challenges ahead but lastly, I would like to end on a more positive note. We see in China that they have turned the corner. The center of infection at Wuhan, has had no new cases of the virus for 3 days. The factories are largely back online approaching full production. If we work together as a nation, the experience in China tells us we can turn this virus around and look forward to a positive future.