When the budget runs tight at the end of the year, office supply orders are often the first expense to be cut. When the New Year begins and employees get the green light to begin ordering again, they may overspend on things they don’t need. While a few extra boxes of pens and sticky notes won’t break the bank, unchecked office supply orders have the power to kill your budget.
But they don’t have to.
Grouping office supply orders
One of easiest traps to fall into with office supply orders is placing a new order every time an employee needs something. Although times exist when someone will need something immediately to complete their job, this shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. If urgent last-minute orders are a way of life in your office, you may be spending far more than you realize on office supplies.
Instead of ordering as employees request things, consider designating a specific day of the month – or week, if you require perishable supplies – to place your office supply orders. This can help you save money by:
- Allowing time to inventory what supplies are hiding in the supply closet or people’s desks
- Cutting back on shipping costs or trips to the office supply store
- Eliminating duplicate orders
- Reducing impulse requests
Designate an area as the “Supply Area”
If you keep office supplies in a central location, you can encourage your employees to take what they need when they need it and not stockpile supplies in their own offices or desks. Some equipment and tools can be shared so you don’t have to buy multiples.
Managing office supply orders
Another budget killer comes from giving multiple employees the ability to place their own office supply orders. While this may seem more efficient, it can cause careless spending as people tend to order more when they can submit an order themselves.
In reality, putting one person in charge of the office supply orders – even if that person must be you – ensures that employees aren’t ordering frivolous or duplicate items. Often, knowing that someone else will review the order is enough to stop employees from ordering items they know they don’t really need.
Approving office supply orders
If you’re running a busy office, chances are good you don’t have time to make the rounds to find out what supplies your employees need each month. In this case, delegating the task of office supply orders to a trusted employee is the only way to go. The key to making this strategy work is to review all orders – and the dollar total – prior to submitting the order. This gives you that all-important last opportunity to catch those purchases your company doesn’t really need to make.