Exploring A Land of Opportunity

When it comes to unashamedly bucking the trend, Irish-owned business products and services provider Bryan S Ryan has it covered. Forget talk of a market contracting by 6%, or any reduction in EOS business, the established name in office products is, among other things, Ireland's largest and most advanced supplier of managed print devices and the only Irish company with dual distribution of leading manufacturers Canon and Kyocera.

As well as managing some of the largest MPS sites across the country, the business continues to be a market leader in office fit-outs and furniture. Its furniture ranges are manufactured in Ireland wherever possible and it also has strong relationships with several European manufacturers.

Managing director Brian Whyte took over the helm after merging his business, Office Evolutions, with Bryan S Ryan in 2008 to create one of the most successful office equipment companies in Ireland. The business, which was formed in 1948, now turns over stem and employs 86 people
in three offices based in Dublin, Galway and Cork from where they service the 32 counties in Ireland.

Growth Areas

Sales and marketing director Adrienne Prendergast has been with Bryan S Ryan for 29 years and heads up business stationery and office products, specialist furniture and fit-out areas which are all seeing growth.

Adrienne puts the sales increases down to an effective mix of good, old-fashioned, personalised customer service and Innovative use of the most effective, up-to-date technology.

Dealer Support asked the reseller about its fastest growing area and what percentage of turnover each area accounts for:

"Supplies and office products account for €5m while the machines and MPS part of our business is the largest at €llm; says Adrienne. "Both areas are seeing a growth trend. We're also witnessing a growth in our furniture category due to improved economic conditions. To reflect this trend we've hired a full time CAD technician to ensure quick response times to opportunities as well as ensuring a high level of focus on this specialist area."

We are pleased to share that sales in our traditional supplies category have grown by 9% at a time when the market has seen an overall decline of 6%. Our facilities' management category has grown by 17% compared to average industry growth of 7%. I believe that we can attribute these positive figures to the fact that we're different - and we're different because we've been brave at times when caution was the message.

We've invested heavily in people, systems, technology and worked with the best experts to achieve great results. Although we are an office products reseller, led by business owners and salespeople, we know we have to be smart and fully embrace the latest technology."

Brian Whyte, managing director of the Irish reseller, has developed the culture that if there are special projects that the company is working on they should be matched with specialist focus, expertise and attention. "We are very aware that we aren't experts in all areas and so we collaborate with the best knowledge that we can and, in turn, give our customers the best that there is to offer," explains Adrienne. "We've hired business consultants, software developers, SEO experts, professional design and tender writing expertise when required. We also engage closely with our suppliers and their expertise is invaluable."

Online Excellence

Adrienne adds that investment in an excellent online ordering system has paid dividend. "We implemented the newest online system in Ireland in 2014 which helped our customers reap the benefits and so, by extension, we did as well. The benefit to customers of our system is that the ordering process is fast, simplified and stock levels of products are dearly identifiable with information updated on an hourly basis. There is additional reassurance for customers who order online as they can view the image of the product they're ordering as well as the price.

There isn't any ambiguity; online customers are completely engaged as they can also view their order history and repeat stock orders. Another very useful feature of our online shop is that the virtual store incorporates hierarchical ordering. This allows many users from one company to create a basket, but only one designated contact can approve and send the order to us.

Our excellent marketers keep up-to date with the algorithms set by Google and understand why the search engine giant does what it does, Adrienne continues. This gives customers the best experience when they're looking for a product or service and we're proud to regularly be at the top of these lists - both organically and through paid advertising.

As a result of constantly staying at the forefront of technological developments our website is technically superior to all of our competitors' in many measurable ways. We keep the content fresh and the technology smart, which involves ongoing investment and commitment to staying relevant.

It loads images and content faster than any other site in our area and it has a very low bounce rate, which means visitors stay on the site when they visit it; our statistics show us that an average visitor stays on our site for more than five minutes".

Wholesale Support

Adrienne also says that support from wholesaler VOW is invaluable in helping the business grow, as is the fact the business remains agile, despite the growth.

"VOW Ireland has been essential to us on our journey. It's our preferred partner for office products and, thanks to the strengths of its nationwide distribution service from its distribution centre in Dublin, we've now partnered with VOW to distribute supplies to our huge MPS customer base. Ashley Burke, VOW Ireland's MD, and the team are fantastic and we have a relationship based on mutual respect and fair dealing.

Because we're fully Irish-owned and shareholder-managed we are often more flexible than others in meeting customers' requests. This is predominantly because our financial strength and autonomy allows us to quickly adapt and progress positively; we are not layered with bureaucracy or controlled by remote systems and processes.

This means we can make fast and locally-relevant decisions to provide products or services that are not mainstream, which can be very important for procurement, IT or marketing teams. VOW has worked hard with us to achieve that flexibility and fulfil all kinds of requests; in return, we're one of their largest customers in Ireland.

As with all businesses, Bryan S Ryan has also worked hard to ensure returns are as few and far between as possible. We've worked in partnership with VOW to achieve a very low returns' rate of 0.7% of turnover;" says Adrienne. "We've got there because our people do their best to make orders complete and always offer manual product substitutions. VOW is very well-stocked to specifically suit us, and our advanced technology means that our customers can always choose a product that we can deliver".

Looking To The Future

Looking ahead, Adrienne says the future is bright for Bryan S Ryan and the motivation to grow is stronger than ever.

Source: Dealer Support Magazine