I just got off a conference call with our buying group.
All of us work in some kind of industry, and when big players merge, it makes for great water cooler talk. This is the kind of news that has the whole Canadian office products industry talking. Sorry if some of this story is a bit "behind the scenes".
First, to get you up to speed on some info. A buying group is a organization that consolidates the buying power of several businesses in a industry and negotiates as a collective. Many industries have this. This way a business with, say, $5 million in purchases can pool together with one hundred other businesses and have the purchasing power of $500 million - you get the idea.
In Canada, there are two office products buying groups. CIS (Canadian Independent Stationers) and BASICS Group. TODAY, CIS AND BASICS MERGED! I made that in capitals in case you missed the news. (I kind of feel like one of those people you meet at a party where they corner you and tell you all about their job — their really boring job — but to them, it is the center of their universe.) Shall I carry on?
Costless Express belongs to CIS (OP Office Plus), and we have enjoyed the benefits for a while. Across town is another office products dealer called MILLS, and they belong to BASICS. Now, although Mills and Costless are not merging, we both now have the exact same suppliers, products and prices on office supplies, because of our buying group affiliation. I guess the juicy part of this story is that our local nemesis and Costless are sort of "Brothers in Arms," in a way. We each now support the same buying group and reap the same rewards. AND go after the same customers and sales.
I'm sure over time the new buying group will be able to lower prices by negotiating from a stronger position on behalf of all Canadian members. It also opens the door for Costless Express to add some new suppliers that only Mills had access to in the past. We plan to take full advantage of the opportunities ahead.
So there, that's the news. We office supply folk sure know how to tear up the headlines!