Another Shakeup For the Industry
In what has to be one of the largest acquisitions in our industry to date, Workflow Management, parent company of distributor WorkflowOne, has purchased Relizon. When the deal is completed, the new company will have more than $1 billion in sales, 5,000 employees and 12,000 clients.
The combination of one of the largest distributors with a mega-direct will create a juggernaut that blasts through current classifications, thus creating many questions.
Will Relizon keep its direct sales force? Will WorkflowOne continue to buy forms products from independent suppliers? Will it meld into a combination where WorkflowOne salespeople can use Relizon as an option? Would that make Relizon partially an independent? Will Relizon sell through other distributors? Will WorkflowOne salespeople gain access to Relizon's national accounts, such as Novation?
We are beginning to see too many splinter groups in the industry to classify. There are several additions to the traditional direct-selling manufacturers, independent manufacturers and independent distributors. Now there are manufacturers that sell some products directly, and distributors that print and warehouse some products themselves. There are different types of large distributor groups that have preferential deals with select groups of suppliers. There are distributors selling forms, labels, commercial printing, direct mail, promotional products, office supplies, services and a host of other odds and ends.
It is beginning to look like the distinction between direct-selling manufacturers and distributor-based sales is fading and that there will soon be a single, large, multi-faceted printed products industry. As a publication, BFL&S will remain focused on the salesperson, no matter what emerges over the next few years.