shop-sa hosted a breakfast at Killarney Country Club on Friday 24 May 2019, which included a talk by guest speaker Dion Chang of Flux Trends.
Update on the association
Board member Bill Bayley open the breakfast by highlighting the changes facing the home and office products industry, both in South Africa and internationally.
Dealer associations and the way that they operate are changing across the globe: many are closing, downsizing or revising their offerings.
shop-sa as an association has gone through a number of significant changes in the last few years. The print magazine has moved to two weekly digital newsletters, as well as monthly trade newsletter.
Despite facing a number of challenges, the association truly believes in the Ken Blanchard phrase “none of us is smarter than all of us”. It is when times are toughest that standing together becomes imperative for survival.
Many of us in the industry don’t know the rate of the change, or the extent of the change – and then they panic.
shop-sa considered what can be done in light of this, and the answer is facilitating thought leadership.
Update on the publications
Rob Matthews, owner of My Office News, then took the stage to explain more about the change surrounding the move from a print to a digital publication.
The print publication had a number of flaws: the cost of production and postage was astronomical; no one could accurately count how many people were receiving the magazine; and sackfuls of magazines were being returned on a monthly basis.
“Our advertisers demanded a change in the way we do things,” Matthews says. “Now we have a product offering that gives concrete stats on your advertisement, including the industries that it is displayed to.
“We are capable of looking at your digital strategy and helping you, connecting sellers and buyers through content. Aside from our digital publications, we also provide services around corporate LinkedIn and Facebook strategies.”
shop-sa/Gift of the Givers drive
Wendy Bezuidenhout (Dancer), sales associate at My Office News, then announced the launch of the My Office/shop-sa initiative, in conjunction with Gift of the Givers, which is aimed at providing stationery to those children affected by the severe flooding in KZN and Mozambique. A call was made for any scholastic stationery donations, including pens, pencils, erasers, math sets and exam pads. For more information on how you can donate, contact Wendy on 012 548 0046 or email@example.com.
Cresting the second wave of disruption
Guest speaker Dion Chang then took the stage, giving a talk on the skills and mindset required to pivot in the ever-changing face of business.
Chang, who is one of South Africa’s most respected trend analysts, explained how to go about challenging disruption in the workplace by constantly upgrading and evolving skillsets.
“Times – and consumers – have changed. In the knowledge economy, the true digital natives – those who will become your customers in a few years’ time – have already had a mindset shift.” For example, traditional ways of working seem outdated to a digital native. There is no defined workplace; they will not be not employed in a typical way; and their lives and careers may well be controlled by artificial intelligence (AI).
What was the first wave of disruption?
The first wave of disruption had to do with the death of legacy companies – which Chang calls “organisational lumbering behemoths” – and the collapse of the traditional value chain. This traditional value chain involved middlemen, such as travel agents or insurance brokers, who stood between the customer and the service.
In addition, there has been a degree of fragmentation, especially pertaining to threats. Banks are now facing threats not from thieves or competing banks, but from social media.
What will be the second wave?
The second wave of disruption will be centred on:
- Big data
- IoT and remote working
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which is collectively called the metaverse
In order to crest this wave, companies will need to do the following:
- Create an enabling environment
- Learn to pivot: companies will need to learn to pivot by changing the way they do things or moving into other industries
- Move away from traditional corporate social initiatives and look to morality marketing or ESG (environmental social governance) to appeal to a new, environmentally-conscious generation of consumers
- Ditch the hierarchy: companies will need to leave the traditional top-down form of leadership behind them, and instead adopt an approach that is about being the centre of the circle
- Break down the silos within themselves and learn to share information
- Become more diverse and inclusive
- Re-evaluate their employees: there is no longer a linear career model, and employees no longer feel a sense of loyalty to companies