Office machines have always been an essential part of business, and yet the "office products" industry only emerged in the past one hundred years. Interestingly enough, one firm that was involved in office products before it was even an industry is still a top provider in the modern era. Fellowes is a name long associated with business products, and it was started in 1917 to supply essential equipment to one particular office environment.
It was in 1917 when founder Harry Fellowes created the Banker's Box Company in order to supply banks with specialized boxes in which to keep all of their vital records. These were very simple corrugated filing boxes that had become a "must have" thanks to the recently created tax laws that mandated the keeping of specific records and documents.
Within a short time, several members of the Fellowes family came on board and began to expand the company's line of record keeping products. Even as we have entered the paperless age, however, that original "banker's box" remains a popular and frequent choice for businesses of all kinds.
Naturally, the business and office world has changed radically since the early 1900s and so the line of products offered by Fellowes has had to make changes too. Today, their product categories include:
* Business machines - this is an enormous category that includes shredders, binding machines, laminators, cutters/trimmers, and air purifiers
* Workspace management - this is also a large category that includes the many home office solutions, workspace solutions, organizational products, computer accessories, and CD/DVD solutions
It is important to remember that the computer era has carried the firm into new territories, and they have adjusted accordingly. In fact, this is when the name was finally changed to Fellowes Manufacturing rather than the Banker's Box Company that it had been for decades.
The Computer Age
In addition to the radical name change, the firm also recognized that it was now the computer and not the paper and pencil world that was the center of the workplace. This caused the company (still a family run enterprise) to conceive of an entire product line suited to computer workstations rather than classic office desks.
The management of information was entirely different in this setting, and so the Fellowes brand created all kinds of solutions. From the need for computer disks and adequate storage to the different demands that the use of PDAs and thumb drives created, they began to create products and answers.
They also understood the ever increasing risks of information. Whether on a computer or "old fashioned" paper documents, the need to keep information under control became another new focal point in the Fellowes product line. To create one great solution, the firm partnered with a German firm that manufactured high quality commercial shredders. This brief venture was such a huge success that Fellowes decided to being manufacturing their own machines. By 1990, this had become a large segment of the company's business and remains one of their top selling divisions.
Recognizing that there were a lot of home offices as well as traditional offices, Fellowes has also created a lot of solutions for these locations, too. Whether it is proper air purification or specialized storage solutions, any office in any location can turn to the Fellowes brand for some affordable and quality products.
Another way that the company has met modern pressure and demands is to become totally committed to a program of corporate sustainability. They do this in several ways:
* Fellowes Team S.E.E.D. (Sustainability, Education, Empowerment, Duty) - This is an initiative that is meant to put an emphasis on sustainability and educating employees as well as suppliers and buyers about the need to be aware of the cost of packaging, production, facilities and more.
* The New Banker's Box - Because the initial product from the Fellowes company was the Banker's Box, it is ironic that this should be the one product that can be made as "green" as possible. The company emphasizes recycled materials, vegetable inks, and has even reviewed the way the boxes are packaged and stacked, as well as recycling leftover rubber bands used in each of the boxes.
* Body Glove Shipping - This is a policy of ensuring that packing material use is kept to a minimal level and that it is created from recycled materials when possible.
There are other environmental initiatives at work in the Fellowes company, and each of them shows an obvious awareness about the future. This is not surprising from such a forward thinking company that has made it a policy to anticipate and innovate for so many decades.
Fellowes.com. About Us. Fellowes.com. 2014.