Founder, Abbey Office Solutions
From modest beginnings repairing machines from his bedroom at 18, Wayne Loon has grown Abbey Office Solutions to become a respected and successful UK-wide office equipment operation.
His commendable integrity resounds in his company’s dedication to charitable work and environmental efforts.
With 30 years of experience under his karate-devoted belt, he illustrates why the office supplies industry isn’t always black and white.Connect on LinkedIn
Reflecting on your business journey so far, what has been the highlight?
A significant milestone was when we renovated and moved into The Old School House which is where we are based now. The building is a testament to how far we’ve come since I started working from my bedroom. It's taken a while, I've been quite stubborn, but I'm still here operating as an independent business.
How has printing technology evolved in the time that you've been in the business?
When I started, if one engineer had 80 machines to look after they would be working flat out. Now, an engineer can cope with 300 machines, and that's down to improvements in technology and reliability. Fundamentally, photocopiers and printers haven't changed the way they produce an image since the 1980s, but the processes around that have changed, which is why the machines are more reliable and print quality is a lot better now. We've always had the ethos that we will only ever use genuine consumables from our supplier Olivetti and that's reflected in the reliability of our machines.
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"You still need to have an office environment; you still need somewhere to go for the office culture and contact with your co-workers. For business continuity you still need a base, I think that's going to be important for people mentally as much as anything else."
How do you foresee the industry changing in the future?
I think I’m at the top end of that life time of printing demand. When the Millennials get to my age things will have changed, they’re been so used to using tablets and not needing to print. I think this industry has got another 10 years and it will start decline.
You’re passionate about the environment, what are your green business credentials?
We’re Green Small Business certified. 90% of Olivetti’s machines are recyclable now so we followed that and looked at avenues for how we could try and be as green as possible. We are looking into electric cars for the engineers, I think that’s a great way forward for any business.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your charitable work and why it’s important to you?
We do as much as we can. We do a lot for the Citizens Advice Bureau, local charity CIS’ters, It’s Your Choice, People First Dorset, and several schools.
When I was 15, I was homeless and living on the streets for about 18 months. I didn’t have the up- bringing that a lot of people had and there are a few charities we support that look after people who are in that position. Charitable work is close to my heart, any charity that approaches us will come to my desk straight away, and we do the best we can for that charity.
"I think I'm at the top end of that life time of printing demand. When the Millennials get to my age things will have changed."
What do you think will be the long-term impact of COVID on the office environment?
It’s a mixed bag really. On one hand, you can talk to people who just can’t wait to get back to the office, who don’t want to work from home. On the other hand, the people who did work from home before are further embracing it. You still need to have an office environment; you still need somewhere to go for the office culture and contact with your co-workers. For business continuity you still need a base, I think that’s going to be important for people mentally as much as anything else.
Do you have a mantra that you live by?
I treat people how they treat me; if you’re nice to me, you get that 100 times over. I love to practice martial arts but I don’t like confrontation. I think it’s important that everyone should be happy; mental illness is a big thing, I’ve suffered from it like a lot of people have, so I just want to wake up every day without stress and not put stress on other people. I think that’s super important, there’s already enough stress and negativity in the world.
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