Office supplies are essential for your employees to complete everyday tasks but sometimes you can find yourself spending a small fortune on constantly restocking your office. Even though this cost can’t be cut completely, it can definitely be reduced by using some of the tips below within your business.

Buy generic instead of branded products

You can buy branded office supplies, but items such as pencils and notepads will have a short life-span and you will find yourself frequently placing repeat orders for these items. Try swapping some branded office products to own brand - in general, a lot of own brand products are just as fit for purpose as their branded equivalents but can end up being a lot less expensive. For many people, they are happy with the general effectiveness of own brand office supplies, so why not give it a try on your next order to see what you could save. If the quality isn't good enough, you could always return to using branded office products, you have nothing to lose.

Recycle, recycle, recycle

Binders, folders, filing cabinets etc -  there are lots of office items that could have been used for previous tasks or projects that are either discarded or archived along with the information inside. Why not set up an internal recycling scheme and encourage employees to return the items that are no longer needed ready for the next project. Try using removable labels, they are designed to stick on multiple surfaces but peel off clean once the old label is no longer needed.

Make your orders count

If you currently place a number of ad hoc orders a month for your stationery or office consumables, you could be significantly increasing your costs and incurring extra delivery charges. If you spend some time to look back and analyse your previous order history, you may be able to see where you could have ordered more efficiently with either smaller or larger quantities. You might be surprised what you find and what the cost savings could have been!

All under one roof

Many suppliers are now capable of being a one stop shop and offering a broad range of office products and services, from stationery to complete office interiors and even print work. Consolidating your supply chain can bring about multiple savings and improved buying power with that one supplier. Consolidation can also save time by not having to deal with multiple people and accounts departments. Try making a list of all of your office related purchases from pens, pencils, chairs and desks through to printers, ink, letterheads and brochures. Then, find a supplier who can offer a complete office solution and see what it would have cost from them.

Paperless future

Over the past few years you would have noticed the rise in digital communication, from emailable receipts and statements to online document management solutions. The increase in ‘cloud’ services, storage and online collaboration tools has dramatically reduced the need to print and archive everything. Going paperless doesn’t only save money on paper, it cuts costs spent on ink, toner and printer hardware and maintenance - not to mention the benefit of reduced need for filing cabinets, folders and ring binders etc. If you haven’t started to go paperless yet, there are great online tools out there such as Google Docs which will allow you to create, share, store and collaborate on documents. Give it a try and see how it might help save costs and increase productivity as well.

Monitor your supplies

Many companies have a lack of control over how much office stationery gets used, who uses it or even how much gets wasted. If you think this might apply to you, try monitoring who is using or ordering what and at what rate. This will give you more control over inventory and will also reduce costs. Ask your office products and stationery supplier if they can offer any cost control solutions, for example, setting up cost centres with approval. This will help to manage your order flow more effectively and help eliminate buying last minute when something has ran out.

Lead by example

You have to practise what you preach, there is no point in encouraging all employees to think about how they could save money on office products if you are not making a conscious effort to only use what is necessary and following your own advice. Lead by example and make it a company wide culture to follow the money saving techniques you have put in place as it will then encourage your employees to do the same.