Tag: stationery

By Sne Masuku for IOL

Black publishers and stationery service providers in KwaZulu-Natal have criticised the provincial Department of Education for awarding its R263-million stationery/textbook contract to one company to distribute these items to all public schools in the province. They claimed they were being put out of business.

The publishers and service providers, who own medium and small businesses, had previously serviced Section 21 schools. They alleged the new central procurement system tender awarded to one company in 2014 had expired in 2016, but the contract had been renewed for the past two years “illegally and uncompetitively”.

Complaints by the Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) Forum, comprised of representatives of the affected businesses, threatened legal action against the central procurement system and planned to challenge the legality of the tender. Should this matter end up in court, it would be the fourth procurement tender of the provincial department taken to court.

The department’s Nutrition Programme, the Scholar Transport Programme and the sanitary pads tender, worth millions, were some of the tenders suspected of irregularities, with some going to court.

Last week, the forum lodged a complaint with the provincial portfolio committee on education. The service providers asked the committee to escalate their matter to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga after their requests for a meeting with department officials were allegedly ignored.

Most schools had waited nearly a year for the department to give them funds for books and stationery.

Later in the year, the department, through a circular, advised schools that quotes which had exceeded 20% of the catalogue price including VAT, transport costs and other costs, would be migrated to the central procurement system using the service provider appointed by the department.

Service providers which supplied Section 21 schools with their stationery lost business when the department migrated their orders with private service providers to a company it had appointed.

“We are questioning why the department was so eager in doing business with a company that does not have a valid contract.

“The department is deliberately delaying payment of Section 21 school funds to take away business from us. The intention is to create a new monopoly in the Learner Teacher Support Material (LTSM) business,” said Mandla Shangase, the interim LTSM Forum chairperson.

According to the South African Schools Act, Section 21 schools which chose to order through private service providers had a right to do so.

This time, schools were told not to confirm their orders before they received a written confirmation from the department that the funds had been transferred.

A multidisciplinary task team appointed by Motshekga is currently investigating allegations of misappropriation of funds levelled by the National Teachers’ Union against the provincial department.

Department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said any contractual obligations that the department may have with service providers remained confidential.

He said the department would never be involved in unlawful activities because they believed in good governance and transparency.

By Mario Valdivieso for PSFK 

The gender pay gap, which sees women making less than men for the same work, is a problem all over the world.

New Zealand design company 485 design wanted to bring attention to it by inserting it into a line of Office Stationery for Women.

The stationary designs were made with the intention of conveying basic facts that surround gender inequality in the workplace.

The set includes a 13-hour clock to signify the uneven amount money a woman will make in the same amount of time compared to a man. The set also has stationery cards with facts on the issue, and a diary containing 13 months instead of 12. The design was even done in a “soft pink” to represent stereotypical female gender roles and ignorance of this particular problem.

By suggesting women work longer hours to receive equal pay, Office Stationery for Women hopes the absurdity of its solution will point out how little sense it makes for women to be paid less than men in the first place.

Charges will be laid against 31 City of Johannesburg officials implicated in an alleged kickback scandal involving a Johannesburg stationery provider, Mayor Herman Mashaba said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This morning, I received shocking news that 31 city officials allegedly received about R2.7m in kickbacks from a single service provider registered on the city’s and municipal-owned entities (MOEs) database,” said Mashaba.

The company, in the south of Johannesburg, supplied office stationery and equipment including desktop computers, laptops, printer cartridges and toners worth around R20m.

The implicated officials work in various departments within the city, Johannesburg Water, Johannesburg City Parks, Joburg Property Company, Johannesburg Roads Agency and Pikitup.

One official allegedly made R1m from one transaction, and another allegedly got R685 000 in a toner transaction.

The method was allegedly to inflate quotes to include their cut. This was collected via their payment method of choice which included Shoprite money transfers, First National Bank e-wallet payments, cash payments and transfers to individual accounts.

City to lay charges

“In some instances the goods were ordered and not delivered but they were paid for,” the mayor continued.

He said the Hawks, working with the city’s group forensic and investigation services department and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, seized documents on Tuesday night after a raid was conducted at the company’s offices.

The company also conducts business with other municipalities where officials are also paid a certain fee for giving them business, the mayor alleged.

“I am disappointed to learn that there are still people in the system who are still involved or engaged in corrupt activities and colluding with service providers. This is despite the fact that we continuously educate employees about fraud and corruption,” he said.

Mashaba said the city would lay charges against the employees and the company.

Comment from the Hawks on the raid or what would happen to the stationery company was not immediately available.

By Jenni Evans for News24
Image: supplied by City of Johannesburg

 

Back-to-school stationery price shock

The average stationery list for a primary school child starting Grade 1 has a total cost of between R700 and R1 000 and, while parents would want to compare prices to get the best deals, schools are prescribing certain brands for parents to buy.
Many schools offered parents the option of paying the school for the stationery or purchasing it themselves.

Most parents who spoke to the Daily News on Monday while doing their last-minute stationery shopping felt some items on the list were “overboard”.

Parents believed items such as a box of tissues and toilet paper should be provided by the school.

Different types of crayons, glue sticks and paper reams were some of the items schools required on the first day, but parents said this added another expense to the already exorbitant price of getting children back to school.

The price of a ream of A4 paper of 500 sheets is about R47.99 and some schools stipulated which brand they wanted parents to buy.

Grade R pupils were no exception. A stationery list for Grade R pupils at a Durban North public school with 18 items cost R615.22, excluding an extra R200 for a swimming bag, a chair bag and a library bag.

Five-year-old Thando Mokwena of Westville is attending Holy Family College this year and was busy shopping for stationery with her parents on Monday. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ANA
A mother of a Grade 1 pupil said she thought being told to buy 17 exercise books for her child was a bit too much.

“I have a problem with the school asking me to buy so many exercise books. I know that times have changed and that children these days do more than I did in my time, but I think 17 books are just too much. Asking for four items of glue stick, which cost R56.49 each, to be bought at the same time was inconsiderate,” she said.

She said it would be reasonable for schools to instead ask parents to supply one of each item which could be replaced when they ran out.

Sizakele Mthembu, a parent of a Grade 2 pupil attending a private school in Durban, said she had a problem with schools dictating which brands parents should buy.

“There are retail shops with cheaper options on items such as pencils, glue sticks, wax crayons, rulers, paper reams and ballpoints, but schools ask for specific brands,” she said.

A Grade 6 pupil said: “I find myself having to ask my parents to buy me more glue stick, pens and pencils by the end of the first term. They are stolen,” she said.

Khethiwe Ndlovu, a parent of a Grade 3 pupil, said last year she had dropped off all the stationery on the first day of school and was told not to remove the items from their packaging. That was the last time she saw the stationery.

“The children are made to keep the books at school and only take their homework books home,” she said.

She suspected that schools were supplying other children who did not have.

“I understand the kind of poverty that some pupils come from and, if that is the case, then the school should make us aware of such challenges so that it can be done properly,” she said.

Ntombizodwa Zungu, a mother of a Grade 9 pupil, had the choice of buying her daughter’s stationery from the school but instead opted for shopping around at different retail shops, saving R350.

“Checking for prices beforehand helps and, although it is a lot of work, my secret has always been to buy early and have a proper shopping plan. The last-minute rush would always work out to be expensive,” she said

Vanessa Chetty said she found exercise books were not expensive, but it was the extras, such as dictionaries and crayons, that were.

She said that while they could be used for more than a year, she was forced to buy them twice a year.

Vee Gani, South Durban chairman of the KZN Parents Association, said stationery was expensive and schools and parents should have discussions about making cost effective purchases.

He said when it came to schools’ choice of brands, there was no choice as some cheaper brands were useless.

“I can understand why parents are sceptical about sending more than one item to school for risk of it being stolen or lost.

“But teachers also want to prevent a situation of items being forgotten at home,” he said

By Sne Masuku for IOL

BIC sees increase in stationery sales

Back-to-school (BTS) trading and new products helped to lift BIC sales in an otherwise tough Q3 for the manufacturer.

In the manufacturer’s stationery division, quarterly sales rose 2.6% on a comparative basis to €191.3 million ($226 million).

Overall, BIC’s Q3 was below expectations with sales down 5% at €465.8 million while profit fell 21.5% to €57.8 million. The group said it would be cutting its full year forecasts of slightly less that 2% sales growth.

For the nine months ended 30 September, sales rose 2.9% to €619.4 million.

Sales in Europe recorded mid-single digit growth. It reported a good BTS period across all European countries, which managed to offset market softness.

The stationery segment gained market share across the board, most notably in France for the 14th consecutive year, and also in the UK.

The group attributed this to improved customer relationships, targeted brand support investment and the success of new products.

In North America, sales grew low-single digit in a slightly declining market. During the BTS period, it remained flat, but new product launches allowed BIC to gain share.

In developing markets, Latin America sales grew low-single digits. In Brazil, it continued to gain market share despite a weak environment. Good BTS trading in Mexico allowed BIC to outperform the market there.

In the Middle-East and Africa, it delivered robust growth alongside market share gains, particularly in South Africa.

Adjusted operating profit margins for the segment were reported at 8.9%, compared to 9.9% for the period last year. Q3 margins were also slightly lower at 3.6% compared to 4% last year. This was due to increased brand support investment.

BIC also announced that it is to invest around €28 million in a new writing instruments facility in India. Its subsidiary Cello has acquired land and building for the construction of a new writing instrument facility in Vapi, Gujarat.

The investment will enhance its manufacturing reach in India, and enable it to meet consumer demand more effectively in this rapidly growing market. The facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.

By Joshua Allsopp for OPI

The rise of kids stationery chain Smiggle

Brightly coloured children’s stationery chain Smiggle, the profit powerhouse ready to roll into Europe, has grown rapidly in just 14 years.

The first Smiggle store opened in Melbourne by founders Stephen Meurs and Peter Pausewang in 2003. Apparel retailer the Just Group, the company behind Just Jeans, bought Smiggle in 2007.

Solomon Lew’s company Premier Investments bought the Just Group in 2008 and at the time, Smiggle was making $19-million from 35 stores. In that same year, Smiggle opened its first New Zealand store.

Smiggle expanded into Singapore in 2011, then in the UK in 2014, followed by Malaysia and Hong Kong in 2016.

It now has 300 stores across Australia and overseas and in the 2017 financial year, made $238.9 million in sales.

Premier plans to expand Smiggle into the Netherlands and Belgium in 2018.

Source: SBS 

Post-it notes with emojis. Locker magnets that resemble pizza and poop. Pencil boxes featuring T.rex. These are some of the many back-to-school items currently sitting on the shelves of a Wal-Mart store in Toronto.

But Rhonda Johnson, of Unionville, Ont., skipped all of that during a recent visit as she was browsing through the store with her nine-year-old son, Jahziah.
“I am the type of parent who buys something that is going to be functional and serve its purpose,” she says. “It’s going to be plain. It’s not going to be glittery.”

Back-to-school supplies, particularly stationery, have changed considerably in recent years, and are now marketed as “fashionable” items. Some feel the items allow kids to express themselves, but others argue that they detract from learning and are a waste of money.
Ms. Johnson finds fun, fashion-forward stationery expensive and “unnecessary.”

“I do not conform to society’s way of dragging you into certain trends,” she says.
The 42-year-old buys only unadorned stationery for her son, and it has always been that way for him and his older brother, Dre.
But that hasn’t stopped Jahziah from asking for a Pokemon binder or a notebook graced with the Minions from Despicable Me.
“I’ve said no for so long … [but] he still asks because it’s attractive,” Ms. Johnson says. “It’s marketing.”
Meanwhile, some 40 students in a small town in Britain won’t be allowed to use fancy gadgets at school, but not because their parents said so.

Ian Goldsworthy, a Grade 6 teacher at a school in Potters Bar, slightly north of London, has banned novelty stationery – erasers in the form of nail polish, that new “it” plastic water bottle, pencil cases almost taller than the child carrying them – from his classroom.
“It was causing too many arguments,” he says, noting that his students would flaunt the latest gimmick and wait for others to notice, get distracted when someone pulled out something shiny or sparkly and become obsessed when things went missing.

He says he had enough around Easter of 2016, when he asked his students to empty their desk drawers and put anything that they didn’t need for the lesson at hand in their backpacks.
“It wasn’t a big revolt,” he says. “There was some disappointment, but they were pretty understanding.”
They talked about the reason behind his decision as a class.
“It wasn’t me just saying from [up] high, ‘This is how it’s going to be,'” Mr. Goldsworthy says. “They could see the logic of the argument. [They] knew it would help [them] focus.”

On the first day of school every year, Mr. Goldsworthy draws up a classroom contract with his students about the rules they think will best support their learning. He’ll be adding “only bring in stationery I need” this time.
Not all teachers feel the same way.

Liane Zafiropoulos, who teaches Grade 5 at a school in Ajax, Ont., doesn’t have a problem with trendy stationery. She says her students already know the general rule that only items that infringe on their learning will be banned.
“As long as the children are writing and learning, I am happy,” she says.
The 40-year-old keeps a treasure box of special stationery in her classroom, which she lets students pick from whenever they exhibit good behaviour.
Ms. Zafiropoulos says children’s stationery is an expression of their individuality. “We might as well put them in uniforms if we are going to give them all plain pencils,” she says.
But what bothers Ms. Zafiropoulos is that some of her students cannot afford certain back-to-school supplies. “They illustrate how commercialism consumes us,” she says. “At the end of the day, it’s the corporations who get richer and the families who suffer.”

Households in Canada are expected to spend $883 on back-to-school shopping this year, up from $450 last year, according to a recent Angus Reid poll of more than 1,500 Canadians.
David Lewis, an assistant professor of retail management at Ryerson University, says manufacturers are trying to make stationery – what was traditionally a relatively utilitarian and straight-forward type of product – more “hedonistic.”
“If you can turn a pencil into a toy, then it creates an entirely new market for existing products,” he says, adding that stationery is now “more fun, exciting and pleasurable.”
Mr. Lewis also sees interesting parallels between how cereal and stationery are marketed to children these days. He says both products serve different purposes for the purchaser and the influencer. “Parents are looking at nutrition,” he says. “Kids are looking at fun,” which means cartoon characters and bright food colouring.

It’s the same with stationery, where parents are evaluating functions, while kids are concerned with fun and being unique, Mr. Lewis says.
Patty Sullivan, a Toronto mother of two, doesn’t mind.
“It makes [my kids] more willing to go back to school,” she says. “They complain less.”
She also sees it as a way for children to personalize their stuff and show their friends what they like. She recently bought 18 scented markers – which smell like cotton candy, cappuccino, evergreen trees and brick oven – for $10 at a DeSerres art supply store.
If Canadian schools were ever to follow in Mr. Goldsworthy’s footsteps, she thinks teachers should consult parents first. It would be kind of a big deal for her children, she says.
Her six-year-old, Aliyah, says she would feel “bad,” as would her 10-year-old sister, Veronica.
“I would probably feel disappointed and depressed,” says Veronica. “I like seeing my happy and amusing [stationery] in class.”
A retired elementary school teacher in London, Ont., can still relate to that feeling.
It’s why Debra Rastin discouraged – instead of banned – her students from using pencils with anything at the end, from 2010 to 2015, the last five years of her career. Whether it was trolls with blue hair or soccer balls, she considered them “toys” and too distracting.
But the 63-year-old also remembers what it’s like to be 6 and excited about having something new to bring to school.
“Fifty years ago, a pack of pencil crayons was fashion-forward,” she says.

By Chris Young for The Globe and Mail

PNA stationery festival hits PE

Hardworking teachers stand to be rewarded with a share of R20 000 worth of essential classroom supplies when they visit the PnA Stationery Festival at Baywest Mall on Friday, 11 August.

The festival, which will be held in the Centre Court, will showcase the latest back-to-school products, office consumables, and related supplies and services from a range of national suppliers.

Baywest Mall marketing manager Lindsay Steele said the festival was an important initiative to recognise dedicated teachers who often invested their own time and money in teaching materials and classroom stationery.

“Aside from the competition for educators, all shoppers are welcome to walk through and see the latest stationery offerings. The festival runs until the Saturday and one lucky shopper could walk away with a Baywest Mall voucher worth R1 000.”

As far as the teachers’ competition was concerned, festival organiser and PnA Baywest owner Francois Steenekamp said there would be 10 product hampers to the value of R1,000 each, plus the grand prize of a R10,000 PnA voucher, up for grabs.

“To enter, teachers can collect an entry form at the festival, complete it by visiting each of the exhibitor stands, and drop it into the entry box provided.”

Steenekamp said 11 entries would be drawn on the Friday evening, and those finalists would be contacted to return for the attendance draw at noon on the Saturday.

www.rnews.co.za

The Asian region is forecast to the world’s largest market for stationery products in 2017, according to latest data compiled by leading research firm Statista.

Global revenue for the ‘Hobby and Stationery’ segment in 2017 will reach US$132 billion with an annual growth rate of 11.3 per cent between 2017 and 2021.

Asia is forecast to emerge as the highest revenue generator in 2017, which accounts for around 42 per cent of global revenue of US$56 billion.

Hong Kong, as the major trade hub in Asia Pacific, has attracted the attention of brands and manufacturers from around the world through the greater prominence of the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair.

Jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, the 18th edition of the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair will run from 8 – 11 January 2018 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The four day fair expects more than 250 exhibitors from 11 countries and regions, and more than 20,000 visitors from around the globe.

The 2018 fair will once again feature five product zones, including DIY Supplies, Gift Stationery, Kids & School, Pen & Paper and Smart Office.

To offer a one-stop trading platform and better sourcing experience, the Hong Kong International Stationery Fair will be held concurrently with the HKTDC’s Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, the Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and the Hong Kong International Licensing Show at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Source www.stationerynews.com.au

Amazon has sent shockwaves through the food retailing business with its near $14-billion acquisition of natural and organic food chain Whole Foods.

The move has dominated the financial news over the past three days and has been called a game-changer for the food retailing industry, but could there be wider ramifications for the business supplies industry? We suggest a few things to think about…

Whole Foods locations could be used as collection points for Amazon online sales, providing customers with more delivery options.

Whole Foods stores could act as local distribution hubs for fast delivery, two hours or even less, and give Amazon a stronger last-mile delivery presence.

Amazon’s move could have a disruptive effect on the wider food retailing industry. There is already speculation about the need for accelerated consolidation in the mass and grocery sector, and if that happened that would affect vendors that sell into these retailers.

Amazon has been testing more consumer-friendly retail concepts, such as its Amazon Go initiative where customers just pick items off shelves without the need to go through a checkout. Acquiring Whole Foods will give it a wider test platform and could lead to faster adoption of some of these shopping innovations as well as speeding up digital transformation in the retail sector in general.

We have previously downplayed the idea of Amazon acquiring retail locations in the business supplies channel because there was no indication that it would make a significant move into the retail space. That has now changed, and the Whole Foods deal validates Amazon’s belief in an omnichannel experience that combines the digital and physical worlds.

Could this mean that Amazon now looks to acquire retailers in other business segments, such as office supplies, and that Staples or Office Depot’s stores could be on the Amazon radar? Possibly, especially if Amazon is not happy with the way that Amazon Business is growing; it hasn’t updated its customer and sales figures on Amazon Business in the US since April 2016. Is that because the growth rate has slowed and it’s not getting the traction it thought it would after Amazon Business’ initial success?

The Whole Foods acquisition is reportedly being driven by difficulties Amazon was having in growing its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery business. If Amazon Business is stalling or not growing fast enough, then why wouldn’t Amazon look at buying growth? We now know that this strategy is part of Amazon’s playbook.

By Andy Braithwaite for OPI.net

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