How To Buy Office Supplies

Take Inventory First

The job of purchasing may sound simple.  But, it can be complicated if there are certain procedures to buy office supplies. Purchase requisition forms may clearly indicate the acceptable supplier of these supplies as well as the range of pricing allowable.  In some cases, these forms may also list the preferred table of supplies that can be purchased.  In any case, it's a good idea to take inventory using a specification list from which to choose necessary office supplies.  This is generally the situation in very large corporations where multiple departments designate the duty of buying office supplies to one person in each department. Thus, the need for a purchase requisition form to track purchases by department and accurately assess where the needs are most frequent and the volume of use is highest.  In smaller companies, however, this job may be in the purview of an office manager, secretary or clerk.

When It's Time to Buy Office Supplies...

Even in small companies, items like copy paper, staples, file folders, adhesive tape, writing tablets and note pads are a basic need.  When it's time to buy office supplies, it's good business practice to compare pricing from one supplier to the next.  There may be differences in shipping costs, depending on "Ship To" and "Ship From" terms of sale, as well as actual prices for these items, particularly when bought in bulk.  It's also a good idea to ask if there is an OEM discount for regular customers for purchases of larger items like binders, paper shredders, electric paper punches and special items like letterhead with company logo and promotional sales "giveaways". Work from an initial inventory list that may only need regular updating.  Be sure to track pricing on the inventory list, as price increases are inevitable. When the need to buy office supplies arises, it's much simpler a task to work from a previous list.  The inventory list that precipitates purchasing should also include information like supplier name, catalogue numbers, colors and sizes, if applicable.  This saves a lot of work when it's time to buy office supplies.

How To Buy Office Supplies

Armed with a comprehensive inventory of which supplies are needed, the next step is how to buy office supplies.  There are several ways to buy office supplies at present:

  1. Directly from a supplier at their nearest location
  2. By phone
  3. From a catalogue
  4. Online

These 4 methods offer an opportunity for comparison pricing.  


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