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Highlands promotes Jade Wilson to Managing Director, Europe

August 8, 2017

Highlands, announces the promotion of Jade Wilson to Managing Director, Europe. He will have the primary responsibility for all business operations in Europe.

“Jade’s aptitude and contributions have been invaluable and he embodies so many of the wonderful traits of our company. His innovative thinking and vision will continue to enhance the strategic direction, growth, and profitability of Highlands in Europe” said Gordon Christiansen, partner at Highlands. Jade has been with Highlands for more than 6 years. Prior to his appointment, he led the sales team as Sales Director. In his new position, he will be responsible for leading all client programs in Europe maximizing their effectiveness through all reseller, retail and eCommerce partners. “I am delighted to take on this role for Highlands Europe,” says Jade.  “It is a great opportunity for me personally especially at this exciting time in the evolution of Highlands Europe.”

Highlands is the only multinational sales and marketing services agency supporting manufacturers and resellers in the B2B, B2C, and eTail marketplaces with custom product, sales, and marketing strategies. For over 55 years, Highlands has focused on engineering greater sales for its partners by providing the most effective and efficient brand advocacy programs, brand resources, and technologies for entire channels.

Today, Highlands serves its clients in the United States, Europe, and Canada.  Highlands is proud to combine the most effective and efficient multi-channel brand advocacy strategies with world-class tactics to ensure product sales are maximized throughout the supply chain and across the globe.


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Highlands Announces a Partnership with the MBM Corporation

July 31, 2017

Atlanta GA, July 31, 2017 - Highlands (in partnership with LS Logistics), has assumed the Sales and Distribution roles for IDEAL-MBM Corporation in the Canadian marketplace.  As well as consolidating MBM’s strengths in traditional markets this arrangement will launch the IDEAL.MBM brands into the office supplies industry in Canada, where currently they are not as well known.
MBM Corporation is a leading manufacturer and distributor of Destroyit® paper shredders, ideal paper shredders and air purifiers, Triumph™ paper cutters and trimmers, along with other state-of-the-art finishing equipment for the graphics and printing industries.  MBM is well known for superior quality, engineering innovation, and high levels of customer satisfaction.

Ned Ginsburg, President of MBM Corporation, states, “The relationship with Highlands in Canada is really exciting for us.  We have great customers already and know they will continue to be very well looked after.  Alongside this, the opportunity to expand into new markets and grow sales for our excellent product range is very appealing.”

“We are excited to represent the first manufacturer of the cross-cut shredder technology,” says Brendan Lane, President & GM of Highlands Canada.  “They are committed to growing their market share, and this allows Highlands to strengthen our presence with customers across Canada by uncovering new opportunities and increasing consumer connections; it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Highlands, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is the only multinational sales and marketing services agency supporting manufacturers and resellers in the B2B, B2C, and eTail marketplaces with custom product, sales, and marketing strategies.  For over 55 years, Highlands has focused on engineering greater sales for its partners by providing the most effective and efficient brand advocacy programs, brand resources, and technologies for entire channels.

Today, Highlands serves its clients in the United States, Europe, and Canada.  Highlands is proud to combine the most effective and efficient multi-channel brand advocacy strategies with world-class tactics to ensure product sales are maximized throughout the supply chain and across the globe.

LS Logistics, of Ontario Canada, provides third party distribution to all Canadian customers, along with flexible options in warehousing, inventory management, as well as customer service. 
MBM Corporation’s parent company, Krug & Priester GmbH of Germany, is a global leader in the manufacturering of paper shredders, air purifiers and small format paper cutters.


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Peter Brady joins Highlands as Strategic Accounts Manager

February 27, 2017

Highlands, announces the hiring of Peter Brady as Strategic Account Manager. In his role, Peter will be responsible for the day-to-day brand management within WB Mason for all Highlands clients.

Peter brings a wealth of industry experience with him to Highlands. In his most recent position, Peter was the Director of Sales for the Away-from-Home product line of Sofidel. There, he developed business opportunities, channel strategies, and growth initiatives for Staples and WB Mason. During Peter’s ten years at Newell Rubbermaid he managed multiple brands within WB Mason, and cultivated the daily relationship between WB Mason and ORS Nasco - a division of Essendant and Newell Rubbermaid's Customer Development Office and a key partner for all Newell Rubbermaid Business Segments.  
“Peter adds a unique blend of category management, sales training, and product placement experience to Highlands” says Shannon Blake, SVP of Strategic Accounts. “We are excited to have Peter on our team, and look forward to him developing a stronger partnership between our Manufacturers and WB Mason.”

Highlands is the only multinational sales and marketing services agency supporting manufacturers and resellers in the B2B, B2C, and eTail marketplaces with custom product, sales, and marketing strategies. For over 55 years, Highlands has focused on engineering greater sales for its partners by providing the most effective and efficient brand advocacy programs, brand resources, and technologies for entire channels.
Today, Highlands serves its clients in the United States, Europe, and Canada.  Highlands is proud to combine the most effective and efficient multi-channel brand advocacy strategies with world-class tactics to ensure product sales are maximized throughout the supply chain and across the globe.

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Shannon Blake Joins Highlands as Partner and Senior Vice President of Strategic Accounts

February 2, 2017

Highlands, announces that Shannon Blake is joining the Highlands team as Partner and Senior Vice President of Strategic Accounts. Shannon brings more than 20 years of leadership and experience in both the commercial and retail sales arena to the Highlands team.

“Based out of our Atlanta headquarters, Shannon will be focused on developing new and innovative solutions that meet the challenges faced by our clients selling into the increasingly volatile OP channel,” says Bob O’Gara, CEO of Highlands. Adding her deep and broad strategic account experience to our team allows us to further enhance our service portfolio for our clients, both in North America, and around the globe.


Before joining Highlands, Shannon was President and Owner of So-mine, where she will continue as a partner and leader. So-mine, a supplier of housewares and other retail driven products to the mass and office channels, will leverage the Highlands Strategic Accounts team and other support to drive more rapid product development and product launches.  

Highlands is the only multinational sales and marketing services agency supporting manufacturers and resellers in the B2B, B2C, and eTail marketplaces with custom product, sales, and marketing strategies. For over 55 years, Highlands has focused on engineering greater sales for its partners by providing the most effective and efficient brand advocacy programs, brand resources, and technologies for entire channels.

Today, Highlands serves its clients in the United States, Europe and Canada.  Highlands is proud to combine the most effective and efficient multi-channel brand advocacy strategies with world-class tactics to ensure product sales are maximized throughout the supply chain and across the globe.

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What lies ahead in 2017?

January 24, 2017

The tenure of President Trump and the process of the UK leaving the European Union are just some of the events we know will definitely happen this year, both against the odds 12 months ago.
But what can the office imaging industry expect if we cast our minds forward this year?

According to US-based research firm Actionable Intelligence, in a recent webinar ‘2016 Year In Review: The Office Imaging Industry’s Most Transformative Year And What’s To Come in 2017’, there were all kinds of acquisitions and strategic alliances formed last year and 2017 will be no different.

Last year, after months of rumours, a consortium of Chinese investors acquired Lexmark, Foxconn acquired a majority stake in Sharp, Ninestar and Hubei Dinglong made key acquisitions in China, and Xerox split its business.

According to Actionable Intelligence President Charles Brewer, 2016 was “wildly dynamic”, with consolidation across the industry. He predicted more M&A activity this year, with plenty of attractive acquisition targets as there are too many firms fighting for a piece of the action. Brewer said the third-party supplies industry in China will continue to consolidate, while more foreign investment in US businesses seems likely.

He added: “The competitive landscape started to change as we saw acquisitions and new alliances being formed.”

Volatility of exchange rates have also impacted the market, particularly in the UK, where the pound hit a 30-year low against the dollar after the Brexit vote. The Japanese market has also been affected.

“We’re still seeing some emerging markets are feeling a lot of stress,” said Brewer. “Specifically I’m thinking about Russia, Brazil. Those economies are now in recession and have been for a little while and are expected to remain so this year. China continues to grow but not at a rate that we once saw so some of the opportunities there have been turned down.”

There is also perceived uncertainty in the developed markets, with the implications of Brexit set to add to the mix.

But for the year ahead, the firm does not anticipate any big changes in the US market.

Brewer said: “There’s a lot of uncertainty in the US now with our new President, and people are wondering what’s going to happen with the economy, but it really appears strong.”

He referenced a recent survey of 11,000 US employers by Manpower which said they either plan to maintain staffing levels or add to them: “If you look at some of the segments that are going to be hiring, it’s professional services, finance. These are all industries that do a lot of printing, so good news for us.” 

Looking at the industry’s hardware outlook, the trend now is for smaller machines with expanded feature sets, according to Christina Bonadio, Executive Editor of Actionable Intelligence. Meanwhile the demand for consumables has fallen.

She said: “We have seen vendors in most markets launch cartridges and drums that have higher yields and lower costs per page.” 

Bonadio added: “Looking at sectors of the market which are not doing well, consumer cartridges are a big shining example. Also monochrome printer markets have been declining for some time.” 

The ramifications of a key legal case for the industry "Lexmark vs Impression Products" over whether patented products first sold outside the US can be subsequently imported into the country is set to have a big impact this year, with a decision expected in June. 

“Whatever the Supreme Court decides is going to be very significant for the remanufacturing industry in the US,” said Bonadio. “If the court opposes both the federal circuit’s decisions, it’s going to mean that patent holders retain US patent rights, while for products held overseas, they can retain patent rights for products sold with a lawful what they call ‘single-use only restriction’.

“If the Supreme Court overturns the decision, it will make life a lot easier for remanufacturers. We could also see a mixed decision with the Supreme Court overturning one patent exhaustion rule but not the other.”

In conclusion, Brewer said that for 2017, one constant is likely to remain: “There will always be a battle between third-party supplies vendors and OEMs.”

Maybe some things never change. 

(Thanks to opi.net for the summary.)

Franklin (MA), USA
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Brexit survey reveals market fears

January 19, 2017

A poll on the effect of the Brexit vote on the UK office products industry by the BOSS Federation has found a negative impact for the vast majority of businesses.

The BOSS Brexit Impact survey was completed at the end of 2016. The BOSS Federation is the trade association which serves the UK office supplies and services industry. 

Overall, the study from the UK office supplies trade association found that 85% of companies felt the vote had impacted slightly negatively (52%) or significantly negatively (33%) on their business. Only 9% felt there had been a positive upturn.

The hit on product costs was greater, with 94% of respondents indicating a significantly negative (72%) or slightly negative (22%) impact.

Coventry, UK
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Profits up at UK retailer Ryman

January 17, 2017

UK stationery and office products retailer Ryman based in Crewe, UK has reported flat like-for-like sales in its last financial year ending March 2016.  

While sales on a comparable store basis were unchanged, total revenues were down 2.5% to £127.7 million ($153 million), in part due to the loss of two stores from its network.  
In the company’s strategic report, Chairman Theo Paphitis said improved margins from trading activities as well as improved cost management lifted pre-tax profits to £8 million versus £7.5 million in 2014/15.  

Other positives were an 8.8% growth in e-commerce sales and success from its stores being used as click and collect locations for fellow Theo Paphitis Retail Group companies Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue.  

Paphitis concluded: “Despite the widely reported challenges facing retail, particularly in ‘bricks and mortar’, Ryman is a resilient business, as demonstrated by its performance over many years, building on our financial strength and ability of our colleagues across the board.”  

At the time the accounts were filed, Ryman had 218 stores nationwide, marginally down from 220 a year previous.  

Article courtesy of opi.net
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Doug Ramsdale Joins Highlands as Global Growth Leader

November 1, 2016

Doug Ramsdale joins Highlands as Global Growth Leader to broaden Highlands’s expertise and effectiveness in consumer products and international markets, effective November 1 2016.

“Doug is passionate about international opportunities and growth,” says Bob O’Gara, CEO Highlands.  “Since 2007, Doug has been providing business services to both large and independently owned businesses.  We are very excited for him to join the team.”

Doug has had extensive experience in the business products channel, serving in leadership and consulting roles at ACCO, Fellowes, Office Depot/Viking, Staples, Nelson, and Home Products.  His professional talents include facilitating market-entry, improving product performance, and increasing revenue growth in numerous international markets: the USA, UK, Germany, France, Mexico, Australia, and more. 

“We have established Highlands as the go-to agency for international expansion in the US, UK, and Canada", and with Doug’s guidance, we can provide even more international accessibility,” commented Bob.  “He has proven global performance, and an energy and character that is what we at Highlands represent.”

Highlands is the only multinational sales and marketing services agency supporting manufacturers and resellers in the B2B, B2C, and eTail marketplaces with custom product, sales, and marketing strategies.  For over 54 years, Highlands has focused on engineering greater sales for its partners by providing the most effective and efficient brand advocacy programs, brand resources, and technologies for entire channels.  
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Highlands and FireKing International Announce a Broadening of Their Partnership in North America

October 24 2016

Highlands and FireKing International announce a broadening of their partnership in North America. Highlands will provide FireKing with sales and marketing execution across the United States, except New England states and Upstate New York, in addition to Canada.

“We are so proud to represent a company with the heritage and capabilities of FireKing. They’ve been a long-time supplier to the business products channel, and we look forward to extending their reach,” commented Bob O’Gara, Highlands CEO.

Since 1951, FireKing Security Group has created and manufactured the most innovative, highest protection security products using the most advanced technology and quality control processes available. FireKing offers a wide array of specialty security products, including fireproof file cabinets, fireproof storage cabinets, fire- and water-resistant safes, record safes, fire and water chests, data safes, specialty safes, and cash and key management tools.

Gary Weisman, President, FireKing International, looked to Highlands for broader account access and strategic account reach. “You can’t find an agency with better relationships. We know they will help us extend the reach of our lines, especially with new product rollouts and promotions.”

Highlands is the only multinational sales and marketing services agency supporting manufacturers and resellers in the B2B, B2C, and eTail marketplaces with custom product, sales, and marketing strategies. For over 54 years, Highlands has focused on engineering greater sales for its partners by providing the most effective and efficient brand advocacy programs, brand resources, and technologies for entire channels.
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Highlands Announces Partnership with Turbon USA

October 3, 2016 

The Turbon Group is a worldwide leader in the manufacture and distribution of compatible laser toner supplies, including the IBM, Evergreen, and ILG brands. Turbon is well known for superior quality, engineering innovation, environmental stewardship, and customer satisfaction.

“We are really excited to partner with a toner remanufacturer with such financial and structural stability,” says Bob O’Gara, CEO of Highlands. “They are committed to grow their market share, and we both agree that the market is ready for a new leader.”

Highlands has committed to act as Turbon’s Sales and Marketing arm to increase their visibility, distribution, and availability. Al DeLuca, CEO of Turbon Worldwide commented, “Highlands is a great complement to our business as we continue to focus on our core competency: producing the highest quality products for the Independent Dealer Channel and our strategic business partners. Our precision color technology is leading the market as an OEM alternative, and we look forward to Highlands delivering that message of our superior quality products.”

Highlands is the only multinational sales and marketing services agency supporting manufacturers and resellers in the B2B, B2C, and eTail marketplaces with custom product, sales, and marketing strategies. For over 54 years, Highlands has focused on engineering greater sales for its partners by providing the most effective and efficient brand advocacy programs, brand resources, and technologies for entire channels.

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Reuben Bradshaw Joins Highlands Europe as Head of PBS Network, UK

September 1st 2016.

Reuben has had extensive experience in the UK business products channel, serving in Marketing, Sales, and Operations roles within the largest wholesaler and several resellers. Reuben will be using his project-planning strengths and business products experience to help establish the PBS Network within the UK business products channel.

Gordon Christiansen, Highlands’s Managing Director for Europe explains, “We wanted to bring PBS to the UK and we have formed a joint venture with them to make it happen. Having someone of Reuben’s skills, experience, and knowledge will facilitate a fast paced entry to the benefit of all stakeholders in the channel.”

PBS Network was started in 1996 by four German manufacturers of office supplies as a not-for-profit company, and is now firmly established as the de facto data service provider in continental Europe. Through continuous innovation, the PBSeasy® product portfolio has expanded to four categories: Marketplace, Data, EDI, and Mobile.

Highlands is the only multinational sales and marketing services agency supporting manufacturers and resellers in the B2B, B2C, and eTail marketplaces with custom product, sales, and marketing strategies. For over 54 years, Highlands has focused on engineering greater sales for its partners by providing the most effective and efficient brand advocacy programs, brand resources, and technologies for entire channels.
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June Schmidt promoted to VP, Field Sales

August 23, 2016 

Highlands has announced that June Schmidt has been promoted to Vice President, Field Sales Northeast and South Regions, with immediate effect.

June has been an integral part of Highlands for over three and a half years, first serving as the Business Development Director, Western Region and then Business Development Director, South Region.

Prior to joining Highlands, June spent over 13 years at Henkel of America, in Sales and National Account Management roles, including acting as Regional Manager for the Home Improvement Channel.

“The majority of June’s time at Henkel was spent in Commercial Markets, managing five rep groups in an 11-state Sales region,” says Rick Morgan, President, at Highlands. “She’s been a great asset here from the start, and we are excited to align her experience with our Field initiatives and develop even stronger partnerships with our manufacturers.”

“This position is all about driving growth for our partners,” says June. “I’m looking forward to developing stronger cohesion between our teams and our Marketing programs and platforms.”

Highlands is the only multinational sales and marketing services agency supporting manufacturers and resellers in the B2B, B2C, and eTail marketplaces with custom product, sales, and marketing strategies. For over 54 years, Highlands has focused on engineering greater sales for its partners by providing the most effective and efficient brand advocacy programs, brand resources, and technologies for entire channels.
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