In the Summer of 2018, Office Friendly launched its free-to-use Pioneer learning platform, a hub for Office Friendly members offering business resources, sales and marketing tools, a community forum, and e-learning opportunities – an industry first.
The platform has evolved to meet the needs of its primary users – Office Friendly members. Product and supplier information has accumulated alongside a continually expanding library of business support resources. Keeping very much to its initial aims, the platform continues to be developed to meet the needs of SME businesses in the Office Products industry.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the vast majority of industries – whether that be changes to the supply chain, customer buying behaviours or home working. Critical to an effective response has been information, understanding the impact of the pandemic and how a business can operate safely and successfully.
Using Pioneer as a focal point, Office Friendly has successfully provided the latest information to Office Friendly members including the very latest Government guidance, ‘COVID-19’ safe products and business tools such as managing cash flow, developing a pandemic response strategy and ‘back to business’ workplace safe toolkit. Good decisions are usually based on informed decisions.
Beyond information, using the community features of Pioneer, Office Friendly members have been working collaboratively, forming peer groups for sharing knowledge, sourcing supply and reselling product.
Compleat Office Solutions LTD- Paul Hicklin-Managing Director
“As a member of Office Friendly having access to the Pioneer platform is invaluable to our business. The ability for our staff to have up to the minute training available ensures that their product knowledge is up to date with existing and new suppliers in the market. The training is provided in a fun way with video content and interactive quizzes and can be completed in bite-size pieces.
The resources available on the platform are particularly useful to our business and even more so during the coronavirus pandemic with content such as employment advice, policies and guidance on health and wellbeing along with how to assist employees working from home. We have also been able to access suggested lockdown sales opportunities which has helped reduce the decline in turnover during the crisis. The platform has also helped me keep in touch with other Office Friendly members with a discussions forum where we can all share information about different products that we might benefit from supplying each other.
Pioneer is a brilliant tool and it will continue to be useful as we grow our business and bring new staff members on board.”
Pioneer offers knowledge-rich access to product and supplier content. Two trusted and long-standing key supplier partners of Office Friendly, Brother and Fellowes have supplied some of the most engaging and useful content currently available of Pioneer. They understand their market and are well placed to guide dealers with the right amount of support and collateral to sell their product range. The recent Pioneer developments have been mindful of this and are reflected in comments made by….
Fellowes -Nick Brown Head of Sales & Marketing Commercial
“The way customers buy office products is changing. The online channel offers a massive opportunity, but to win business you really need to know your stuff. The Pioneer platform from Office Friendly is an innovative breakthrough that helps to springboard dealers onto another level. It provides detailed product knowledge, in-depth information on all the best brands, an extensive range of marketing assets, and access to first-class training sessions that will enable you to be far more confident in the marketplace. It also rewards achievements for your top people and provides them with the encouragement and support they need to deliver exceptional sales performances for you. And all this is delivered in the ‘friendly’ way of doing things, which is something that Office Friendly is well renowned for.’’
Brother UK Ltd – Sara Diggle Head of SME Laser & Scanner Business Unit
“The New Office Friendly Pioneer portal delivers both suppliers and members a fantastic opportunity to communicate and learn about the latest products, services and offers.
With any portal, it is vital to deliver a knowledge hub that users will become to rely on for useful, relevant and supportive content and Pioneer succeeded in all this. Especially during these challenging times, the portal provides essential information and useful resources to enable members to understand how to manoeuvre through the uncertainty and ensure they remain in the best position to provide their teams and customers with the support they need.
The content features supplier products, marketing resources and general information and support on topics such as government guidelines, health & wellbeing and business tools.
From Brother’s perspective, it provides us with the capability of providing consistent and relevant product information, which will enable members to build their knowledge and confidence in positioning our products & services to meet their customer’s needs. We also have the confidence in knowing what is proving useful to members by the intelligent reporting available on the portal, this ensures we can continue to learn how best to provide what the members need to help them grow their technology business.
I am positive that not only now, but long-term Pioneer is and will become the ‘one stop shop’ for information for all of us.”
The future of Pioneer looks bright as we all adapt, it is clear the need for a central knowledge hub is key to assisting dealers through this difficult period, and the platform will continue to evolve as their needs develop. Ambitious plans for Pioneer are already in motion so watch this space!
Keeley Shepherd Office Friendly Sale Director remarks “Our dealers are supporting one another; our central function is regularly repurposing its resources where needed and our wholesaler is supporting the membership in order that we all ensure our supply chain remains robust”.