OFDA May 2018 Update

 Association News


IOPFDA 2018 Small Business Advocacy Fly-In

On May 15 and 16, IOPFDA dealers from across the country stormed Capitol Hill in support of GSA’s new online marketplace. IOPFDA originally opposed this concept because it was clearly written for and by Amazon. However, due to IOPFDA’s efforts and others, significant changes were made to this bill, which has moved usto the cautiously optimistic category. This led to IOPFDA hitting Capitol Hill with a simple message. We think the new online marketplace potentially offers our industry tremendous opportunities, if and only if an industry task force is created to work hand-in-hand with GSA on ensuring this marketplace keeps pace with the rapid changes in technology, product offerings, pricing, how resellers go to market, the needs of the government buyer, and costs. 

Independent dealers had their week in Washington and they made the most of it. We had our voices heard and with a continued effort by IOPFDA's lobbying team and our grassroots army,we will continue to push this issue forward. With your help we can and will ensure our industry has a permanent seat at the table when it comes to current and future decisions on how this marketplace operates. That is the power of this annual event and the power of your voice.

Be part of the effort and join IOPFDA’s grass roots efforts.
This issue is not just for those selling to the federal government. Everything we are doing in Washington will trickle down to the state and local level, where you are already feeling the squeeze of Amazon. We can compete with them. We can do everything they do. We just need to band together and speak together and that is exactly what IOPFDA members did during last week’s fly-in.

Click here to view the full recap from the 2018 IOPFDA Small Business Advocacy Fly-In.


Federal Prison Industries Legislation

Congress is preparing to rush through legislation that would allow Federal Prison Industries (FPI) an opportunity to take business from you.  IOPFDA spent 12-years fighting to prevent FPI from expanding its business.  We were successful and now they are back trying to get a sweetheart deal without it going through the normal congressional channels.

The House of Representatives is preparing to vote on HR 5682, The First Step Act, contains Section 406 which expands FPI's ability to take away work from the private sector, including small business. This provision allows FPI to expand its product offering to:

  1. Public entities for use in penal or correctional institutions;
  2. Public entities for use in disaster relief or emergency response; and
  3. The government of the District of Columbia.

The original bill did NOT include this language. It was only included at the urging of The White House.  This issue is part of a larger effort to reform the criminal justice system, which we can get behind, but legislating an issue for a special interest at the expense of legitimate businesses is not the solution. 

IOPFDA members have been writing their members of Congress asking that they vote NO on H.R. 5682.  This issue has not been addressed in the Senate and IOPFDA will be turning its attention to that chamber once the House completes its vote.

 Industry News

The articles below are highlights from this month’s news. Check out more industry news on the NOPA website.

Staples Makes Shock Move For Essendant

The proposed merger of Essendant and S.P. Richards has been thrown into doubt after Staples has entered the race to acquire Essendant. 

In a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it has been revealed that Staples has taken a 9.9% stake in Essendant and has made an offer to acquire the wholesaler. 

According to the SEC filing:

On 17 April Staples sent a letter to the Essendant CEO and its board of directors to express its interest in engaging with the wholesaler regarding a proposal to buy the company for $11.50 per share in cash. Staples said its offer delivered a significant premium to Essendant shareholders over the proposed SP Richards agreement and would also face fewer antitrust problems.
On 27 April, Essendant replied to the Staples letter, saying it was not able to enter into discussions with Staples under the terms of its merger agreement with SP Richards owner Genuine Parts (GPC), and that Staples’ offer was not likely to result in a superior proposal to its agreement with GPC.

Click here to view the full article.


How Amazon is Launching into the Contract Furniture Market

In the movie You’ve Got Mail, local bookstore owner played by Meg Ryan is put out of business in a matter of days by a bookstore chain owner played by Tom Hanks. While this is a heartwarming love story, a similar process is happening in the contract furniture industry, and it doesn’t end with a kiss. 

Amazon has disrupted many industries. While ranked #2 on the Fortune 500 list of most admired companies, the name itself can send shivers down the backs of many business owners with brick and mortar operations. With a current retail market share of 41 percent and a projected market share of 50 percent by 2021, according to a recent study by Statista, Amazon is no small giant. It’s pull on the contract furniture industry started slowly but steadily is gaining momentum. With Amazon Business – marketed as “easy, stress-free purchasing for your business,” the company is active in its prowl to expand its offerings into business channels, including furniture. 

Click here to view the full article.


Amazon Trumpets its Small Business Benefits​

Amazon has just released a report showing how it supports small businesses across the world, especially in the US – and the timing of this publication is unlikely to be by accident.

In its Small Business Impact Report, Amazon said: 

More than one million US-based small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are selling on the Amazon Marketplace SMBs selling on Amazon come from all 50 US states and more than 130 countries. More than 20,000 SMBs worldwide exceeded $1 million in sales in 2017 SMBs selling on Amazon are estimated to have created more than 900,000 jobs worldwide.

In 2017, it lent more than $1 billion to US-based SMBs via the Amazon Lending Program.

Click here to view the full article.


OFDA 2018 Scholarship: Thank You For Your Interest

Through the generosity of members, the Independent Office Products and Furniture Dealers Association’s (IOPFDA) Scholarship Foundation will award scholarships to deserving students pursuing their educational goals. We received more than 80 applications this year! Thank you for making this possible. Scholarship winners will be announced in June.


We Want You! - Join a Committee

Take an active role in OFDA. Are you passionate about advancing a robust, coordinated focus on OFDA’s vision and mission? Do you have a desire to contribute your skills to help OFDA in reaching its strategic goals? OFDA is currently calling for committee members. Previous board or committee experience is not a prerequisite. There are several committees to choose from with varying responsibilities. 

Step up and join the following committees: 

  • Advocacy
  • Benchmarking
  • Scholarship 

​If you are interested in joining a committee, please contact OFDA headquarters.


Member Benefit: Data

Data is one of the keys to moving your business to the next level and OFDA assists you in finding the research you need. How do you match up to your competition? What benefits do other dealers provide? What trends are facing the industry? Those are just a few examples of questions that may be included in member surveys and benchmarking reports.  

Survey & Benchmarking Reports: OFDA members can participate and gain complimentary access to OFDA survey and benchmarking reports, including the 2016 OFDA Compensation & Benefits Report and the OFDA Dealers’ Choice Survey.  

Click here to view our past surveys. As a member, you receive complimentary access to the results. 



If your company has news to share with NOPA membership in an upcoming e-newsletter, please email NOPA Association Coordinator, Addie Blevins. Information must be news- or event-based versus sales-related. The alliance reserves the right to print information based on our internal publication standards. Thank you for your membership in the National Office Products Alliance.

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