It May "Take a Village" to Keep Up

The way business is conducted continues to change. No surprise…the office furniture industry is as well, so it’s important to keep up. Even dealers with the best and biggest staffs have found it isn’t always easy (or wise) to do it all on your own, so it’s critical to find the resources needed to keep pace.

Here are two sayings with which you may be familiar; both from African proverbs, referring to finding collaborators to help with knowledge and growth.

It Takes a Village was a book written by Hillary Clinton, but the phrase itself has been attributed to an Igbo and Yoruba proverb "It takes a village to raise a child". I did a little research, but according to the things I read, the origin of the popular saying remains a mystery. Some people believe the saying originated in an ancient African proverb; others believe it came from a Native American Tribe.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Both of these refer to the fact that it is often vital to call upon the strengths of others, working together, to reach your common goals…especially long-term, sustainable ones. In today's demanding work climate taking advantage of available support, knowledge, and services to increase productivity can be the difference between success and failure.

INDEAL started as a way for dealers and suppliers to increase their sales and market share….and re-coup some of the lost profit they needed caused by ever declining margins. Along the way, however, we saw that there are many other ways to help, by adding more services and service providers to our program.

How is INDEAL changing its program? Here are just a few of the services associated with our program and how they are changing to meet demand…

One of the first things we realized was that there needed to be a fast and easy way for dealers to find and focus on the INDEAL suppliers. We created the Idea Books; first in print and then, soon after, added the digital Flip Books. We put all the manufacturers on our INDEAL portal and just a few years later, it all transitioned to My Resource Library.

In the near future, however, the Idea Books will be changing again, as images will move from product photography to renderings and virtual reality. The Idea Book Suite will become part of INDEAL’s Client Engagement Resources; a more up-to-date way for dealers and suppliers to demonstrate products. We will be increasing the digital options in order to help you showcase your solutions. Look for more on this coming in 2020 and 2021 - Virtual Reality and the INfinite Showroom.

To help dealers quickly find product alternatives within the INDEAL program; in addition to the assistance many of the INDEAL Suppliers offer (2/90 Sign Systems, Great American Art, and Tennsco; just to name a few) we created our own Specifications Services…primarily a free service for our dealers.

We have already begun work on an application we are calling pINpoint. This is another service we will be providing to our dealers as a way to speed up the work of identifying and sourcing products.

We know that our success is tied to our dealer and supplier partners and we need and want to be a part “your village.”

Here is a list of some of the services and service providers we have assembled to help now and into the future. A few are still under development but are in process now, as designated with an *.

If you haven’t had a chance to look at all of these yet, we encourage you to check them out or contact us for more information.

Igbo: Imena.

Yoruba: E se.

In English – Thank you.

Jim Heilborn is a business consultant specializing in the office furniture/products industry, working nationwide with dealers, manufacturers, and service providers. Jim has been associated with INDEAL for eight years, specializing in training and dealer development. He can be reached directly at or by phone at 916.434.8711.