Jul 18

Held on 16 July, the BOSS Federation’s annual Members’ Day was filled with positive reflections, inspiring discussion and practical advice as members gathered to hear about key achievements and challenges over the past year and into the future, while making valuable connections with others in the sector.

The day, which was the first to take place with new CEO Amy Hutchinson and Chairman Simon Drakeford in their roles, started with the AGM, and saw Simon emphasise the importance of member feedback for his new responsibility as Chairman, before the Treasurer’s report was presented to reveal a healthy trading balance.

Key achievements

Ex-CEO Phil Lawson followed with an encouraging report on the key achievements made by the Federation this year, before new BOSS CEO Amy Hutchinson looked to the future while reflecting on her experience of working with membership organisations. With a reminder that ‘BOSS exists to help its members to succeed’, she emphasised how thinking ahead will be key to the success of the industry, and spoke of the need to facilitate connections, understand what matters and champion excellence in the sector – with the needs and aspirations of Millennials being a key area of focus.

Business Supplies Charity

Graeme Chapman MBE, Chairman of the Business Supplies Charity, then provided an update on the charity’s activities over the year, reporting that over 170 grants had been given to more than 60 families with an industry connection this year. He went on to present the BOSS Federation with a defibrillator, alongside Luke Chapman and Paul Hicklin, which was partly funded by the charity.

Members were then offered valuable insights into the importance of marketing for business success. Marc Pinner, Marketing Director at QQM Ltd, emphasised how ‘people made the difference’ in marketing decision making, and highlighted the importance of ensuring staff are fully engaged and are able to act as brand guardians, while recognising that the ‘customer is king.’

Value of apprenticeships

After networking over a buffet lunch and hearing industry reflections from 2018 BOSS Lifetime Achievement Award winner Philip Beer, Dan Coshall, MD of Office Oracle Ltd took to the stage about the value apprenticeships have added to his business. Entering the industry himself as an apprentice and with around 75% of his staff also from this background, he championed the loyalty, passion and new ideas apprentices can bring to the industry. BOSS and the BPIF then teamed up to explain how BOSS members can be supported to run their own apprenticeship and development programmes, and the benefits of this to their businesses and the industry as a whole.

Dealer groups exposed

Dealer Groups and how they add value to their members and suppliers was the next topic of focus, in a discussion panel chaired by Steve Robinson, MD of Safescan UK, with Alex Dunn, MD of SuperStat, Julie Hawley, MD of Office Friendly, Steve McKeever, MD of Advantia and Tim Beaumont, MD of Nemo & Office Club, who were quizzed on a host of topics from marketing service differences, to the value of paper catalogues.

The final part of the day saw BOSS CEO Amy Hutchinson and BOSS Chairman Simon Drakeford lead a question and answer session on the relevance of BOSS in today’s changing marketplace, which was an excellent opportunity for BOSS and its members to take stock and look to the future, before conversations continued with further networking in the Stationers’ Hall garden.