Jobs and Careers - Hilary Devey 2012 - (Page 157)
Supply and demand
often overlooked in terms of career pathways, but critical to the business world, there’s much more to the office supplies market than pens and paper…
WORDS: Jessie Bland | PICTURES: Getty Images
ith job hunts becoming ever more tricky to manoeuvre, thinking outside the box naturally becomes much more important in the quest to secure employment. Organisations that cater business-to-business (B2B) offer many opportunities to the lateral-thinking jobseeker. This is especially so in the supply of office products and services, which has shown itself to be a resilient market in the UK – largely indebted to our growing service sector (which, of course, requires office support). It is not merely the office supply stores offering employment in face-to-face retail either, there are myriad career paths generated by this market – particularly in the B2B sphere – which is one so commonly overlooked in the race for employment.
Although you may be familiar with the traditional guise of a consumer-facing, sales-based role
– as someone who works in a retail store selling directly to the public – within the office supply market, it is ostensibly B2B sales that lead the way (although consumer-facing roles are an important element of the business). Encouraging large corporations to purchase stationery (and other services, such as IT support) is a crucial function of this business and naturally requires employees to fulfil it. There are many benefits associated with sales positions – such as company cars and health insurance – but it is critical not to be blind-sighted by these and to get to grips with the day-to-day workings and demands of a sales role. These are commission-based, high-pressure jobs and typically your salary will rely on you hitting targets (with a low basic wage otherwise). Of course this stands as the perfect environment for someone who thrives under pressure, but not so for someone who lacks the required charisma and persuasive abilities.
Getting a product from A to B relies on a sophisticated web of processes known as logistics, with supply chain operations being one of the most – if not the most – crucial functions for an office products supplier. Working within the supply chain arena requires an acute level of organisation; someone highly motivated and dedicated to overseeing a project from its infancy to its completion, and a team worker (as you will regularly liaise with both clients and colleagues to ensure a smooth flow). For those looking to get involved in the nitty gritty of business, logistics could prove the ideal match.
This is the term allocated to the realm of online retail (the 'e' stands for electronic); and as the business world develops and technology becomes central to how companies
function, especially in the sphere of retail, the clout of e-commerce is becoming ever-more noticeable, and leveraging it has become ever more important. It is for this reason that keeping a supply-side organisation’s website up to date is critical, as stock flow and demand can alter very quickly, and with the web proving such an important portal for sourcing and order supplies, having a tech-savvy team to support this function is crucial. For instance, the aesthetics of an office supplier’s website are key, as is its usability; the responsibility of updating the site falls to the website manager, who heads up the maintenance and layout side of the online portal. And of course whilst it’s all well and good having a great-looking website, if there’s nothing to fill it with, then all effort falls by the wayside. Content development for office supply organisations therefore is essential, updating the website with the latest promotions and products.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jobs and Careers - Hilary Devey 2012
The home office
Dress to impress
The woman at the top
Your guide to education
What do you mean?
The thrill of the search
Let’s get medical
Caring and sharing
A senior moment?
Keeping it clean
Home sweet home
Constructing a career
As good as new
A bright spark!
Bank on it
Insure your career
Don’t sell yourself short
Food for thought
Hilary Devey Q&A
Jobs and Careers - Hilary Devey 2012