I had an interesting conversation with Andrew Still this week. He runs James Dow Office Supplies in Inverness, and he likes paper and files and the people who use them. He had been saying this a couple of weeks ago and, in a friendly way, I was pointing out that we are paperless. This week he contradicted me, in the nicest possible way, by saying that he had been in our office in Inverness and that we use paper all the time in our business… “everyone has a ream of paper to raise their monitors to a better working height”. I had to admit that he was indeed right. We are using paper every day in our paperless office. Score 1-0 to Andrew.
Andrew trained as an architect and he has brought these skills to James Dow, where they not only supply paper and files and everything else for the office including office furniture and equipment, but Andrew also designs your office so that you can make best use of your available space.
He is also a musician and does a lot for charity. He rode 135 miles for Mikeysline last Saturday. You can still sponsor him at
In a funny way Andrew epitomises one aspect of the change that we are seeing in business. He has taken a very traditional office supply business and brought it into the 21st century with keen prices to rival the internet, online ordering, customer service and introducing design services to help make the best use of your office space, really bringing James Dow right up to date – www.jamesdow.co.uk.
We have steered our own business in a different way. We use premium accounting software and have computerised every aspect of our work, and this is one reason why we are paperless (apart from our monitor stands). We cannot manage without our staff because they are the important human interface between our computerised office systems and our clients. We would not expect anyone to speak to our computers, or at least, not yet.
So, change is the order of the day. It is constant and there is no going back.
Just recently I have started to notice how many new programmes have appeared to enhance every aspect of any business. It would be a full-time job for a whole team to keep up to date with all these developments and to find the ones that fit your business and your budget. I think this is why we are seeing people like Donna Smith from Thystle Limited who will look at your systems, propose improvements and identify suitable software where appropriate to make you even more efficient and your life easier.
I suppose that any of us in the service sector will do this to a certain extent, but we are certainly seeing more specialists in this arena such as Donna – www.thystle.co.uk.
So, whatever you need, you can now find it quickly and easily. If you want your office designed and equipped, or whether you want business improvement consultants to help you improve your business processes and the systems or indeed if you want help getting ready for some monumental changes on the tax horizon, you do not need to look very far.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership