Managing office supplies for large companies can be a real headache – a time-consuming balance between keeping all departments fully stocked, while driving down waste and costs. Having worked with leading procurement managers for decades, we’ve collated some of our key insights to help you take control of procurement once and for all.
Start with exceptional customer experience
Great customer experience makes a world of difference. One of the main buying criteria our customers quote comes down to how friendly, upbeat and helpful the account manager is. It’s vital that you truly believe that this account manager has your interest at heart. Ask yourself, if they have really taken the time to understand your needs and pay attention to the details: the routine check-up visits, timely calls, prompt emails and insider advice. It’s the little things that build winning relationship.
Create a comprehensive product list
For the most part, companies order the same products week in week out. For large businesses it’s important to understand your essential requirements and set up a complimentary shopping list which you can return to. Great office managers, learn how to monitor product use and tweak the numbers so there’s always the right amount of the right products. With this in place, you can set up monthly reorders with confidence, and without detailed stock counts. Great office managers take this a step further, and work hand-in-hand with their suppliers to create contract price lists and online shopping lists which can be ordered with a click of a button.
The added-value services
For most procurement managers, it’s vital to pay attention to the terms and conditions of employment from all their suppliers. While rapid delivery might not always seem important, when workload is on hold because you’ve run out of paper, it can make all the difference. Similarly, delivery charges can really add up when making multiple monthly orders. You should also check out the returns policy so you know where you are when receiving incorrect products. This can save you untold time and frustration later.
Cost control is at the top of every procurement manager’s agenda. But it’s impossible to take control of the numbers if you don’t know what they are in the first place. Successful procurement managers know that transparent reports make all the difference. The key thing is to understand what you are buying, if it’s necessary or sufficient to the job, and whether or not an alternative would be better. Simply by switching to own brand products of similar quality, companies can save thousands of pounds a year.
The complete supply chain
Going beyond your supplier and understanding the complete supply chain can be significant to companies with a strong Corporate Social Responsibility. It’s important to ask if the product ranges they offer include ethically sourced, sustainable products. Look out for accreditation such as FairTrade and Rainforest Alliance and choose your product selection accordingly.
The all in one business services supplier
One of the key issues procurement managers face is managing and controlling multiple procurement needs. Having a single-source provider that can source your stationery, catering, facilities, furniture, print and technical needs can really help you streamline operations. This will save countless hours searching for the products you need and administrating all the contracts and invoices that go with them. Better still, it gives you greater control in managing supplies and deliveries, too.
For more information about managing your business supplies, why not speak to Ian Smith Group. Our procurement experts are more than happy to help.