Top 5 Ways to Save Money on Office Supplies

We all want to save money on things we buy and if you're the company's purchasing person, it's your job to do just that.  You are always looking for ways to cut costs yet maintain operating efficiency. The popular saying is "Work smarter, not harder."  Well, that applies to your budget and purchases too - buy smarter!

Today I am offering my top 5 ways to save money on office supplies.  I'm not going to divulge some great heretofore unknown secret of the office products universe - they're mostly just common sense - but you really can save a lot if you follow these simple rules:

5.  Print in black unless color is absolutely necessary.  Think for a moment about the routine daily printing in your office.  I'll bet you that most of it could easily be done in black.  It's 10 times more expensive to print in color than in black and those color ink cartridges or color toners are not cheap (especially toners). And the color cartridges usually run out first.  So skip the pretty pages and just print in black unless it's for a presentation or something very important.

4.  Spend money to save money - buy in bulk.  The larger the unit, the smaller the per piece price is going to be and that ultimately saves you money.  Let's use tape as an example.  The popular Scotch Magic Tape in the green box costs approximately $2.85 per roll if you buy it by the individual roll item number.  Buying it in a 10 pack @$22.99 takes your per piece price all the way down to $2.30 per roll and, if you buy the 24-roll cabinet pack your per piece price goes all the way down to approximately $2.08 each.  There are many other items that can be purchased in bulk - toilet paper, paper towel, ring binder indexes, pens, plastic cutlery and  batteries.  Cleaning solution can be purchased in gallon or 2-gallon sizes instead of individual bottles.  On the surface the initial outlay looks like it's more, but when you analyze your ordering quantities and frequency for these types of items and the costs, you will find that the bulk packs will save you money.  

3.  Buy the appropriate size/level of item the first time.  This applies to items such as shredders, printers, laminators, labelmakersUPS backups and the like.  These can be big ticket items and companies tend to put a budget on them based on the amount of money they want to spend instead of the type of item they need to buy.  That is most often a huge mistake.  When shopping for a typically expensive item, first evaluate your need.  How many pages do you shred each day?  How many staff members will use this shredder each day?  How many hours will it be running each day? What kind of documents will you shred?  What level of shred security do you need?  You can transfer those same questions to each of the items I listed. The point is that if you buy a product that is below the level of need in your office, it will not serve the purpose and it will either burn out from overuse/under capacity or you will simply find that it isn't able to do what it needs to do for you and then you'll end up buying another one and spending more money than you would have if you had purchased the correct one at the start.

2.  Use house brands.  House brands are generally always less expensive than name brands and, most of the time, they are exactly the same as the name brand.  That's because they're made by the same companies that make the name brands.  Uh huh.  That's right.  Those <insert house brand name here>  ring binders that you can buy are made by Avery or Wilson Jones or Cardinal.  They're the exact same ring binder as the one a few shelves down that has the name brand label on the spine.  It's just like going to the drug store and buying CVS brand ibuprofen instead of Motrin.  The pills inside the bottle were made in the same manufacturing facility and went down the same conveyor.  At the end of the conveyor, some of them went into CVS bottles and some went into Motrin bottles.  They're the same pills.  (Okay, so maybe I did divulge one heretofore unknown secret of the office products universe.)

And the number one way you can save money on office supplies is.............

1.  Single Source your supplies.  Contrary to popular opinion, splitting purchases between vendors because vendor A is $1.25 cheaper on the toner than vendor B is NOT going to save you money.  Time is money.  The time you spend ordering from two companies plus the time your warehouse spends handling the deliveries plus the time you spend processing the paperwork for the delivery plus the time the accounting department spends cutting checks to multiple vendors to pay for the orders costs money!  And it costs a lot more than the $1.25 price difference.  No vendor is going to be the lowest cost on every single item you buy, but when you do your cost analysis at the end of the year, you will find that overall, you saved a lot by going with just one supplier.  When you develop that type of relationship with one supplier, they get to know you and they appreciate you.  They will work with you and give you the best pricing they can.  They will usually give you special price discounts also - volume discounts for a special purchase or a lower than normal price on that new printer you need - as a thank you for your business. 

So there you have it - my Top 5 ways to save money on office supplies.  Our account managers are more than happy to come see you and provide you with a personalized analysis of your office supply purchases.  If you're interested, give us a call - we're here to help!