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GPI 002 – Ask your office supplies company for your YTD purchases arranged highest $ item to lowest!

Ask your office supplies company to accumulate all of your purchases for the year (or last year) and list those items purchased from high to low dollars spent. The top five or six items that show up will more likely comprise 30-50% of all your purchases. You might want to exclude copier paper and bid that out separately if it makes up a large amount of the dollars on the list. It is normally a large expense, as well as printer and scanner cartridges, toner and other inks.

Ask your office supplies company to accumulate all of your purchases for the year (or last year) and list those items purchased from high to low dollars spent. The top five or six items that show up will more likely comprise 30-50% of all your purchases. You might want to exclude copier paper and bid that out separately if it makes up a large amount of the dollars on the list. It is normally a large expense, as well as printer and scanner cartridges, toner and other inks.

Try these actions to start cutting office supplies expenses:

  1. YTD Purchases List: Ask for your list of purchases from your vendors, highest dollar amount to lowest. Tell him to dump it in excel and send it to you. Compare it to your office supplies expense account balance to ensure you got what you requested.
  2. Suggestions/Alternatives: Look to the largest items making up the biggest dollars and ask your vendor for suggestions to cut these item costs. What are cheaper methods to buy these items? Maybe you tell the vendor you want to be notified when these specific items are on sale. Tell him the last thing you want to do is go elsewhere, but you can no longer afford this excessive cost.
  3. Substitutions: Request lists of cheaper substitutions for items that do not matter. The dealer has high priced name brand items and then he has his store brand. Tell him you want him to go down the list and offer his best and cheaper substitutions to these items.
  4. Volume discounts: Ask what items can be purchased in different volumes to cut per item costs.
  5. Cut shipping costs: Ask for a break on shipping costs or ask for free freight or delivery. Make sure not to run out of supplies or else you become desperate and always pay more of the company’s funds for last minute deliveries. Take the slowest delivery method. You do not want to pay for expedited service at any cost.
  6. Larger purchases less frequently: Ask what can be accomplished by ordering quarterly versus monthly.
  7. Go to the market if no response: If you do not get a good response, take the list, blank out the actual dollar amount of individual items and give the listing to two or three competitors to get bids.
  8.  Curtail spending in-house; make managers responsible: Require a manager to sign off on all purchases and ask the requisitioner to show the total YTD purchase amount before ordering. This is a pain and makes people pause before buying everything they want. This extra effort will cause a person to think twice before bringing the request.
  9. Put a bounty on cutting costs: When that person assigned to office supplies has cut costs, give them a bonus, incentive or award to encourage their great diligence in cutting company costs. Tell everyone around the guy that he/she is being rewarded for cutting costs and will be given an undisclosed amount of money. Remind everyone this is not an exclusive program; anyone can make more money if they start thinking about the bottom line.
  10. Limit what can be bought: Define the list of office supplies, throw the catalogs away and limit options. Do not allow the sales personnel to distribute catalogs to all of your departments. Ask the sales personnel to prepare an approved list of supplies; that is the only group of items that can be ordered without more signatures down the aisle. Tell the person who distributes mail to junk the catalogs before they are distributed.

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