“We’re moving to a decentralised model. We want to put the customer back at the heart of what we do and devolving power to the branches is the best way to do that,” said Andrew Price, Paperlinx chief executive.

Each of the eight branches will be headed by a general manager who, according to Price, “will be totally responsible for that branch and everything goes on within it”.

“The people who make the decisions on delivery, pricing, etc will be out in the branches where they will have a better understanding of the customers’ needs. We want to empower the people who are closest to the customer.”

Price added that the branches would work within company guidelines, on things like pricing, to ensure that the business doesn’t revert to being in competition with itself.

Price added that Paperlinx is currently recruiting the new general managers, who will all report directly to Andy Buxton, managing director of Paperlinx’s Commercial Print division.

Last November, the company announced it would centralise account management from its regional offices to its Moulton Park, Northampton head office.

The centralised account management team will now be largely disbanded, with staff redistributed across the regional sales offices in Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Ipswich, Midlands (Moulton Park), Shoreham, Bristol and London.

However, Price said that some key corporate and large group accounts, would continue to be managed by head office.

“There should be no job losses as a result of this decision, in fact we’re actually creating new roles – which is probably a first for a while,” added Price.

The sales strategy U-turn was partly in response to a Paperlinx customer survey.

“What the [survey] feedback told us was that customers want to talk to a decision-maker; they don’t want to talk to someone who then has to talk to head office and get approval,” said Price.

“The idea is that we will empower branches to make decisions on the spot. The industry has changed, our customers don’t have weeks to turn around jobs, they have hours and we need to make sure we have a business model that supports that.”

The winners of the iPad Minis up for grabs in the survey were Miles Barnett, Park Communications; Dave Mann, Newman Thompson; Pennie Harwin, Octoprint; Adrian Smith, Kolorkraft; David Halton, Embassy Press London; and Ian Whitelegg, Prime Impressions.