Business Supplies

When it comes to saving money on Business Supplies, 4 things really matter

1. Quantities Matter

Did you know that the cost of any given product can vary dramatically based on the Unit of Measure (UOM) and Quantities ordered?  Ask you supplier to analyze the key items – that represent the majority of the dollars you spend – to look for any additional discounts based on Unit of Measure or Quantity ordered.  The 80/20 rule is a good place to start your list.  You will often (but not always) find that you can enjoy additional discounts if you order by the carton instead of by individual items, buy 5 cartons instead of 1, by ordering by the pallet instead of by the carton, etc.   You get the idea.  And don’t get scared off by thinking you need to order massive quantities to enjoy the additional discounts.  Sometimes you may be ordering 10 of a single item only to find that if you had ordered a full carton of 12 (or 2 more of that item) you could have enjoyed an overall discount of 15%.  This is an especially good option to explore for regularly recurring orders and large, ad-hoc purchases that come up periodically.    

2. Timing Matters

Customers in our industry have come to expect next day or two-day delivery on a vast array of products (i.e. placing your order by 5:00 today and receiving it in 1-2 business days).  Our company is no different, and we currently provide next-day fill rates and order accuracy of 98.9%.  But it’s worth noting that our costs for products and shipping frequently drop when we have a slightly longer time to source, receive and re-deliver product.  And those savings can be passed along to our customers.  If you have larger orders in the pipeline but don’t necessarily need them immediately, your supplier can work with you to find the best sourcing options that get you what you need, when you need it, while providing additional discounts. 

3. Substitute/Alternative Products Matter

Our industry got a bad name (deservedly) 10-15 years ago when some dealers won business based on rock bottom prices for name brand products, only to fill orders with “generic” products once the contract had been secured.  Needless to say, this sort of “Bait and Switch” practice (named after bad behavior exhibited by Sears & Roebuck in years past) did not sit well with customers.  However, a good supplier worth their salt should still periodically come to you with recommendations for alternative products, or “private label” items that perform equally as well as the name brand products but at a much better price point.  If your supplier offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, as we do, then you have zero risk in trying these products out.  In fact, many of the Private Label items are produced by the very same manufacturer that makes the name brand product.  Not all Private Label products perform well (there’s no good alternative to a name brand Sharpie Marker, for example), but many of them provide excellent performance and value.   Most companies in our industry have access to 5-10,000 Private Label items, and the majority of those items are terrific. 

4. Business Reviews Matter

A good supplier will meet with you periodically to review your relationship, expenditures, buying patterns and the evolving needs of your business/organization.  These reviews can be as brief or in-depth as you desire, but these “check point” meetings go a long way toward ensuring that the relationship is still a good fit, that you are important to your supplier, and that your supplier is not simply acting as a “vending machine”.  A good supplier will mine the data they have collected on your business and then provide you with recommendations on how they can add further value to the relationship.  There are literally thousands of places where you can find the products you need, but a capable, committed supplier can and will demonstrate that, over time, no other provider can deliver the combination of price, service, expertise and commitment than they can.  And if the relationship is good, and the practices above are followed, they will provide the best overall value to your business or organization. 


If we can help in any way please contact me directly at, or reach out to our talented Customer Care team at (800) 561-1612.  Our webstore can be found at

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