A prominent entrepreneur behind the company that dominated the office equipment industry in Scotland for over 40 years has died.
Tom Flockhart was 73 years old.
The father of four lost a short battle with cancer. He is survived by his four children Pamela, Stuart, Neil and Lynsey, seven grandchildren and his partner Mandy.
Flockhart was proud of his humble roots as an adopted child who grew up in a council house in Prestonpans, East Lothian. He credits his upbringing and his years at Preston Lodge Secondary School with the urge to keep going and found Capital Documents Solutions – the company he founded in 1979.
Lynn Harrison, her personal assistant for 17 years, said: “We are all in shock, describing him as larger than life does not do him justice. He was passionate, driven and once you met him you certainly couldn’t forget him.
From an early age, Flockhart showed an entrepreneurial spirit, working schoolboy jobs that included gardening, paper touring, fixing old bikes and even selling candy and haircuts to children. other school children.
He then completed an apprenticeship with Ferranti and earned an HND in Mechanical Engineering and often jokingly recalled how during his apprenticeship he received his most important career advice when his boss advised him to get a job in engineering. sale. In 1970, he took this advice and got a job at 3M selling photocopiers.
By the age of 30, Flockhart had been 3M’s top copier seller in the UK for three consecutive years and was determined to strike out on his own. Using some of the proceeds from the sale of a house, he set up his own business, initially called Capital Copying Services from a small office in Montrose Terrace, Edinburgh, and based on three constant principles – “the best products, the best advice and the best after-sales service and assistance”.
As it grew in 43 years from just three employees to over 200 employees, the company name changed a few times to reflect market changes and the wider range of products and services the company offered. .
Capital Document Solutions is now Scotland’s largest independent office technology provider and a major employer, with bases in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness and Lerwick in the Shetland Isles.
Harrison said: “He worked to the end, always going through documents and contributing his thoughts and ideas for a Scottish Government tender.”
Ironically, these tender documents were part of the company’s work on the Scottish Supply Framework Agreement for office equipment – which only came into being in 2009 after intensive lobbying by Flockhart. He demonstrated how Scotland-based companies were unable to bid for Scottish public sector contracts, leading to a change in the Scottish government.
In the 1990s, Flockhart also played a role in cleaning up the office equipment industry which was plagued by poor practices and customer dissatisfaction. He worked with Edinburgh MP Nigel Griffiths to expose a scam in the photocopier industry, which led to finance and leasing reforms and gave customers more control and clarity.
Harrison added: “For all these reasons, even competitors are saddened by his loss as no one can fail to respect what he has done for the entire industry.
“Whether it’s networking with business leaders, returning to Preston Lodge to lecture students, or organizing training for new salespeople, he’s been incredibly generous in giving his time and sharing his experiences.
“He never held back because he wanted people to get along, to have the tools to improve.
“He was never jealous or blamed others for their success – he truly admired successful people – he was an exceptional motivator who helped shape so many people’s lives in so many different ways.”
Fishing was a great passion for him. With many parallels to his professional life, Flockhart stuck to it even under the most adverse conditions and when other people had given up, he eventually succeeded.
He was also generous in his philanthropic endeavours, both financially and through the network of relationships he was willing to share, but kept a low profile in his support of numerous projects and causes over the decades.
Flockhart was passionate about supporting the arts in Scotland, which led him to actively support the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Edinburgh International Festival, Scottish Opera and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Tom’s funeral will take place at Warriston Crematorium at midday on May 10, followed by a celebration of his life at Prestonfield House Hotel from 2pm. Family flowers only.
His family created a special email address to collect memories from him – [email protected]