Cost-cutting strategies are a common practice in any company. Whether it is a small or big company, administrators want to save money on things like office supplies and equipment.
Unfortunately, some administrators take drastic measures by buying substandard, low-quality materials or fake items to save on a few pennies. They might even manipulate the bidding procedures to award the supply contracts to the lowest bidder, but the one that has the lowest quality of products and services, too.
The office supplies or equipment end up with low functionality or break down after a short time, causing task delays in the office and decreasing employee productivity.
Managers can regulate the purchase process and control costs on office equipment with constant monitoring and checking. Here’s what you can do.
Work Within Your Budget
Buy in Bulk
Paper products, printers, inks, toners, and markers don’t lower their quality even when they are not used for a long time. You may buy them in bulk to get a lower price. Most suppliers offer discounts for wholesale card stock, bulk envelopes, and other paper supplies.
Before buying your items in bulk, set up a secure space in the office free from mice, termites, moisture, and other natural factors. Doing so keeps the materials safe from deterioration and damage.
If your company uses paper products and related items all the time, shopping in bulk ensures a steady supply of products whenever you need them.
Choose Suppliers that Offer Discounts or Freebies
Some shops offer corporate or business discounts to preferred customers. Set up a business account with your office product supplier. This makes a difference because the account comes with discounts and privileges on your subsequent transactions.
When purchasing online, buy all your supplies from one site to get free shipping. If you’re buying in bulk, you’ll be saving a lot from bulk shipping costs.
Some suppliers also have a rewards program for their loyal customers. For each purchase, the shop rewards a corresponding point or percentage to the customer. These points accumulate in time, which may result in big discounts in the future. You may also enjoy discounts for making repeat orders and for turning over used ink cartridges for recycling.
Choose Products with Generic Brands
Generic products often have the same quality as branded supplies but are cheaper. Purchasing them will save you tons in long-term expense. Nevertheless, you have to be smart enough to determine generic products with good quality because there are options that are below par. When generic products don’t live up to your standards, don’t hesitate to ask for a better alternative.
If all generic options produce substandard output, then you have to go with the branded supplies. In some cases, you can’t sacrifice quality for savings. For example, your secondhand or generic copy machine may be low-priced, but require higher paper consumption in the long run.
Establish a Culture of Saving
Encourage Recycling in the Office
Go green and encourage printing fewer documents in the office to avoid consuming your supplies in a short time. Apart from saving, you also help the environment by making a conscious effort to decrease paper consumption. As you save on paper, you also save ink, envelopes, and other office supplies you use with the printed materials.
Reinforce the habit of recycling paper by asking your employees to use both sides of a paper before discarding it. Collect used papers that have no confidential contents printed on them and place them on a table accessible to all. Instead of using new paper for printing or writing things, employees can use scrap paper.
Offer Incentives for Saving on Utilities
Encourage them to save electricity as well by turning on and using only the equipment they need on a given day. Install devices in the restrooms and pantries that encourage saving water, power, and toilet paper. Examples are sensor-activated faucets, hand dryers, and motion-activated lights.
Reward those who diligently follow and support these rules.
Require Managers to Plan Their Supply Requirements
Spur-of-the-moment shopping usually makes you spend more because you urgently need the product and you have no more time to look around for quality cheaper alternatives.
Let your managers plan their supply needs and submit a list every month to the finance or purchase department to secure their supplies ahead. Don’t let them wait until the last of their supplies are gone. Let a staff member monitor the inventory and produce a list of products to replenish.
Saving on office equipment and supplies results in a big difference in the overall office budget. Instead of taking drastic measures, the above actions plus other practical tips and tricks will help you work within your budget.
However, if you think you are still losing money or spending more than your allocation, despite these money-saving measures, then it might be due to some external or internal factors.
Identify Other Supply Expense Problems
1. Massive shifts in management may have affected certain processes and in-house rules in the company, making it impossible to control the budget or expense in this area.
2. Changes in consumer trends and preferences, as well as seasonality, may have increased or decreased your office supply consumption. For example, your company always uses boxes and paper packaging to deliver products. The Christmas holidays have always been your peak season and you have bought supplies in advance.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected a lot of businesses, including your clients, and their cost-cutting measures forced them to stop gift deliveries to their customers. This leaves you with abundant office supplies but no equivalent ROI. That means you overspent on supplies in relation to your revenue. You need to review your demand.
3. Another possible problem internally is corruption. Your bidding officers might be tweaking the bidding procedures to award the contract to a supplier who offered a bribe to get the project. This supplier is likely the highest bidder, but not the one with the highest quality. Your company will be forced to pay high with no guarantee of excellent quality.
When this happens, you may need a third-party agency or investigator to conduct research and document retrieval in gathering evidence. If you plan to sue your employees, consider hiring a good lawyer and a couple of process server candidates to get the legal process going.
Watch out for the red flags that may preempt or show bribery:
(a) purchase of unnecessary or inappropriate goods and services
(b) being lenient and accepting of poor quality output
(c) conflicts of interest in the office
(d) hiring unqualified staff or third-party staff, and
(e) questionable travel expenses
Cost-cutting in office supplies and equipment requires more than just buying low-priced products or opting not to spend at all. Even with the need to save, your company must still provide excellent products and services to keep your revenue growing. Consider these helpful suggestions in managing your office.