Prices are rising steadily on goods and services worldwide. Supply line delays, fuel pricing, and manufacturing problems are just a few of the issues directly linked to increased expenses for goods and services. Unfortunately, costs for office supplies are not an exception.
Prices for standard office necessities such as paper, ink, toner, pens, chairs, and equipment have seen increases of around twenty-one percent between the first quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2021. Unfortunately, experts do not anticipate those price hikes seeing a turn anytime soon. Instead, projections show another eight percent increase year-over-year by the end of 2022.
The ongoing remote work and hybrid office trend could play a significant part in rising office supply prices. In addition, the need to kit out multiple locations with equipment, paper, pens, and other standards has increased demand in the market.
While inflation continues to hit businesses and consumers hard across the board, companies are dedicating a lot of time and energy to discovering additional ways to cut costs. Many are already saving a great deal on real estate through hybrid and work-from-home initiatives. So, how can they manage their office supplies to keep them from cutting into those reserves?
Managing Inventory Can Help Control Costs.
Whether businesses have a wider array of offices to maintain or are attempting to manage a single location, proper office supply management can lead to net savings. And an essential part of that task is tracking inventories and supply use.
Knowing which departments and offices are using which supplies can help businesses make big decisions, including:
- What can be transferred to digital from physical and save money?
- What should be moved to a standard employee reimbursement policy?
- Which supplies can be phased out entirely from the business?
Printer service businesses are the perfect partner to help companies manage printer equipment and supply inventories more effectively. The latest networked systems and software help these printing experts track ink and toner levels, paper usage, and equipment utilization.
Tracking supply usage to this level can predict a business’s future ink, toner, and paper needs. And that data assists in reducing waste and creating appropriate order schedules. This level of analysis aims to avoid over- or under-ordering, saving the business money and keeping the daily operations running smoothly.
There are Better, Budget-Friendly Options.
In today’s economy, it is not unusual for an office’s go-to office supply choice to be out of stock, back-ordered, or discontinued. So, many offices have found it is necessary to keep an open mind to new brands and other alternatives.
But this “search and make the best of it” mentality can also be beneficial to helping cut office supply costs. There are three significant ways many offices tackle office supply prices and shortages.
- Shopping around. Comparison shopping has become increasingly common for both consumers and businesses in the past year. There are even systems like PayPal’s Honey app or Capital One’s Shopping extension to help locate lower prices, keep an eye out for price drops, or even find similar products. Whether it is just supplies or an actual supplier, it is always wise to shop around, get multiple quotes, and find vendors that will work with the business to help save money.
- Buy in bulk. Sometimes it is less expensive to purchase incrementally. But in most cases, purchasing in bulk is more likely to garner savings. For example, for office materials that are heavily used, such as printer paper or pens, buying in bulk might save a good deal of cash.
- Working with expert partners. Printing is a basic need for any business. And working with expert office printer services partners can help save real money in the long term. Whether it’s keeping equipment purchases off the books through leasing or assisting the business in sourcing budget and equipment-friendly printer supply alternatives, finding a reliable printing partner can generate savings.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
One often-overlooked way to reduce office supply costs is reusing or recycling what others might consider waste. There are many ways some supplies can even be revitalized. Marker life, for instance, can often be revitalized with a few drops of isopropyl alcohol as the solvent is typically what dries out rather than the pigment.
Similarly, office chairs can often be fixed rather than replaced. For example, wobbly chairs usually only need screws tightened. Likewise, suppose a chair arm is broken, or a raise/lower mechanism is at fault. In that case, many chair manufacturers offer replacement parts, and repairing the chair is usually less expensive than replacing the entire thing.
Refurbished laptops, computers, and other equipment are also excellent resources for businesses looking to save money. Electronics in the United States must be listed as open box or refurbished if the package was opened after it left the manufacturing facility. In many cases, an “open box” item is sold at a discounted price but has never been used.
When purchased from a reputable retailer, refurbished equipment is usually the latest technology at reduced prices. The term “refurbished” does not mean faulty. Instead, it refers to a piece of equipment that has been returned, inspected, and repaired, if necessary. Refurbished equipment might be more reliable and run better in many instances simply because a technician has adjusted it to reach optimal operation.
But reusability doesn’t end with technology. Opting for pens that can be refilled with ink, encouraging paper clip reuse, and opting for real mugs, plates, and utensils are just a few additional ways offices can save money long-term.
Inflation is creating extreme pricing worldwide. And the ongoing high demand for office supplies is looking to keep prices high for offices. Fortunately, there are ways to help businesses prevent expenses from becoming unbearable. Implementing programs to help better manage usage and inventory, being open to more budget-friendly alternatives, and leveraging reusables and recyclables are just a few ways companies can help manage their office supply expenditures.
Furthermore, working with the right office printer services and supply partners can help provide the insights, data, and services needed to keep costs down, no matter the office structure.