How to save money on office supplies


If you wince when you review your annual spend on office supplies, then rest assured you’re not alone. The majority of enterprises and organisations, irrespective of their size, are overspending. The problem is most don’t know how to reduce their costs and where to start. The good news is, there’s a very effective way of making significant savings on your office supply spend, and it’s something that Clares has created and termed The Model Office. Here’s how it works…

Introducing The Model Office

The problem for many organisations, especially large enterprises such as NHS Trusts, councils and universities, that run extensive print fleets and have multiple cost centres, is that different spend categories are reviewed and procured in isolation. Printers and copiers are sourced and maintained from one supplier; office products from another; and storage and postage separately again. But the fact of the matter is, there are huge synergies and cost savings to be enjoyed if you consider the bigger picture.

By obtaining an overview of internal processes and office supply consumption across your enterprise, then efficiencies can be made – not just in terms of cost, but also time and effort. And that’s what the Model Office is. It’s a transformational piece of procurement that takes into consideration the bigger picture and will change your product consumption for life. And it’s something that Clares specialises in. 

Let’s take the creation and distribution of a simple NHS patient letter as an example. It requires office products in terms of paper, an envelope, toner and possibly a file to store it in before it’s sent. It also requires a printer and may even necessitate the use of a copier and offsite storage. It will almost certainly need to be franked or stamped. The products in that list are most likely procured from various different suppliers.

When you consider how many thousands of patient letters are sent out each week by different parts of the same Trust, it’s easy to see why the bills stack up. If you’re ordering from different suppliers, not only are you unlikely to be managing orders of office supplies efficiently, but you’re not going to be making the most of the cost savings that could be achieved. 


Simple solutions to save spend

The Model Office is based around four categories – office products (paper, pens, pads etc), managed print (procuring and maintaining your printer and copier fleets) hybrid mail (email, print and postage options) and document management (scanning, storage and shredding). We’ve come up with over 50 innovative ways to easily reduce spend in each of these categories, but where the biggest cost savings can be achieved is when they are reviewed as part of the bigger picture. This is about creating a bespoke strategic plan to dramatically reduce lifetime costs, and to deliver additional benefits and efficiencies across your organisation.

Here’s one way it could work…

As we’ve discussed the usual process is to ask separate suppliers to review your processes, product consumption and spend in isolation. We could do that for your printer fleet and there’s no doubt that we could implement a few simple steps to reduce your toner consumption. With a few simple moves we could also reduce the size of your printer fleet and the cost of servicing and maintenance. 

But where the magic and cost savings really happen is when we look at the bigger picture and address what you’re using your printers for. As we’ve already suggested, NHS Trusts print a lot of patient letters. By converting a Trust to a hybrid mail or patient portal service where the majority of patient correspondence becomes electronic, not only are we significantly reducing spend on stationary and stamps, we can further reduce the size of your printer fleet and associated costs, and your toner consumption - by monumental proportions! What’s more, electronic patient appointment reminders via email, SMS, snapchat or WhatsApp have been shown to reduce Do Not Attends by 5%. 

That means cost savings and better patient care – everyone’s a winner!

Let’s expand the example…

It may be that when we review the documents that are being printed across the Trust we also suggest implementing a document management service. Staff could create electronic documents and rather than print and store hard copies, they are simply tagged and stored in the correct file in the cloud. That’s even more printers and associated costs that can be removed. We can even supply software to scan and read handwriting if your Trust is interested in converting all its patient records into electronic, cloud based documents. With the countdown to going paperless across the NHS by 2020, it’s definitely something to think about.

These examples are only a small sample of how The Model Office can achieve savings of up to 48% for an NHS Trust – and indeed for any business or enterprise. Let us help you rationalise your spending and drive efficiencies across your organisation. All it takes is a conversation to get the ball rolling – so please get in touch.

In the mean time, if you want some simple tips on how to reduce your managed print spend then have a read our blog -  10 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Printing Costs. 

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