Around a hundred staff will be shed and Blue Star Office Automation will cease to exist as a separate entity following rationalisation between US Office Products’ Blue Star companies and its U-Bix subsidiary.
Grant Baker, chief executive of the technology division of Blue Star, says there are two Blue Star companies involved; they are Blue Star Office Products, which sells stationery and Blue Star Office Automation, which sells phone systems and copiers.
“Most of Office Automation’s business is in telecommunications,” he says. “That would represent 70% of its business. We are transferring the telecommunications business to run under the U-Bix umbrella and the balance of the business will be transferred into the Blue Star Office products camp and Blue Star Office Automation as an entity will be no more.”
In addition to these changes, the finance companies of the two will be merged to form Blue Star Finance.
Baker says the positions lost will be in areas of duplication, “particularly in provincial areas and in the administration and finance area.
“We have situations, if you look at the branches in smaller towns, where we have two locations, one for U-Bix and one for Blue Star Office Automation. Each branch will have a branch manager, for instance, and we’ll be putting those branches together and won’t need two managers.
Baker says that news of the changes was delivered to staff personally last week, with managers each being delegated a bit of the country to cover.
The main reason for the merging was to avoid a situation where members of the group were competing and to eliminate duplicated resources.
“We were the two biggest players in the market in both photocopiers and phone systems,” says Baker, “and we were duplicating a lot of overhead to do that and being each other’s main competitor.
“It didn’t make sense to do that.”