Fifteen years ago, Office Evolution was founded as a business wholly focussed on customer service. This commitment has not wavered, 12 months ago the company diversified into the office supplies market and more recently, introduced an innovative solution designed to help reduce the spread of coronavirus
Office Evolution is a Develop single-line dealership. It is DSales’ longest serving partner, secured the Develop Dealer of the Year South West award every year since DSales first launched its annual awards and remains in the distributor’s top ten dealerships. Office Evolution is also the current holder of the Develop Dealer of the Decade accolade.
While the provision of managed print services remains the main focus for the business, Office Evolution launched Evo Store, a one-stop-shop for customers supplying office products, paper, educational supplies, office furniture, FM products, PPE, branded print (stationery and workwear) as well as complementary tech such as projectors, a year ago.
“We made the decision to diversify as a direct response to customer demand,” said Sales Director Steve Davis. “We work for our customers, providing them with the solutions they need and a number approached us as they wanted a single-source supplier that could provide them with everything they need for the office.”
Former employee Natasha Reid, who had experience within the office supplies sector returned as General Manager to head up the launch of the new offering and webstore. The offering has been really well received with a number of Office Evolution’s largest clients now sourcing everything from the company. “With Evo Store, we have a comprehensive product offering that’s backed with the excellent service delivery our customers expect from us. We hold stock of the most popular items onsite, so we can provide a fast turnaround, and our engineers can deliver the customer’s order when attending site to service print devices. It’s one person, doing one drop rather than having multiple people come onsite, and in this climate, that’s definitely the preferred option,” Davis said, adding: “We expect to see sustained growth in this division over the next 12-18 months.”
Office Evolution has also partnered with The Woodland Trust on its Carbon Capture programme. All of the CO2 associated with all paper purchases is calculated as a separate carbon capture charge. 100 per cent of this is paid to The Woodland Trust who mitigate the carbon emissions by planting trees in certified sites.
“The scheme provides us and our customers with a fantastic opportunity to reduce environmental impact and contribute to the UK’s native woodland,” Davis said.
In line with all print vendors, Office Evolution was affected by the closure of schools and offices nationwide due to the UK’s lockdown in terms of falling print volumes. “It’s fair to say that from March, print volumes were in decline, although we have been busy supporting customers in essential sectors throughout the crisis. Additionally with offices lying empty, we have been completing new machine installations safely and securely.” Davis explained.
“What is happening now is that customers are asking us to help them ‘work from work’ and print volumes are steadily rising again. In June for example we saw an uptick of about 65 per cent and I believe that by September we will be running at around 80 to 85 per cent.”
The crisis proved the point that diversification is key to continued growth, with additional revenue coming in from new avenues. “As you would expect, demand for PPE was massive and we made a tactical decision to support our existing customers by getting them the products they need. We had lots of requests for one-time sales, but we chose to focus all our resources and stock on meeting our loyal customers’ needs,” Davis said.
Another great example of the business pivoting to meet demand in the new normal is the addition of FeverSense, an innovative temperature sensing device that uses facial recognition to give immediate results, to its portfolio.
FeverSense is completely contactless and scans a person’s temperature when they look at the screen, alerting people when the temperature reading exceeds a specific threshold. The device can also be linked to door entry systems and can detect if someone is wearing a mask or not, restricting access until they put one on and refusing access if temperatures exceed set levels.
“Temperature monitoring can play a big part in reducing the spread of coronavirus. We have FeverSense installed in our offices, we use it every day and potential customers can (safely) attend to try it out. What’s key is that we’ve ensured it doesn’t have to be an expensive investment. We offer a number of flexible pricing options from outright purchase to leasing or rental agreements – very much like we do with our printer and MFP offering,” Davis concluded.