Commodity Insight – Stationery or Office Consumables

Purchasing Stationery or Office Consumables

Buying stationery should be a simple and straightforward requirement to manage and yet time and time again we see the same mistakes being made and higher pricing being incurred.

In most cases, we have generated reductions between 25% and 45% in this area and a large proportion of these have not required any change in supplier.

The secret is to have the right structure in place but then to manage it over the long term and not allow bad habits to creep back in.

Here are all the points that you should look to cover when looking to maximise value in this area:


  • Obtain itemised details of your historic purchases over the last 12 months. This should include product code, description, UOM or pack size, quantity and prices.
  • Consolidate all the data and sort in descending order of line value
  • This is your baseline data
  • Identify those items that represent a minimum of 80% of the overall total
  • Review the remaining items and highlight any product that is purchased on average once a month
  • The items identified from the last two points are now classed as your core list
  • The remaining items are now classed as non-core
  • Issue both sets of data to an appropriate number of suppliers, including current ones.
  • Request like-for-like quotations & ensure they provide the same level of detail as the baseline data
  • Make sure the suppliers quote differently for the core and non-core items, i.e. as they would if they were already your supplier. This is to demonstrate the increased discount core items receive but also to ensure that non-core pricing is not inflated.
  • It is critical to analyse the data on a like-for-like basis. Take into account different pack sizes or dimensions of products to obtain a true comparison
  • Where applicable, ensure suppliers are offering the same or an equally branded product
  • Provide feedback to every supplier. Don’t disclose pricing but give approximate percentage variances to continue negotiations.
  • Confirm that pricing will be fixed for a 12-month period and delivery is included
  • Look to select just one supplier unless unavoidable
  • Implement on the basis of introducing online ordering
  • Select one person to be the master account holder. All orders to go through this person or at the very least be confirmed as acceptable.
  • Use the supplier’s expertise to limit the visibility of products to just the core list except for the master account holder.
  • All requests outside of the core list should require approval from the line manager or at the very least the master account holder.
  • Review the core list on a quarterly against actual purchases and update as required
  • Where possible close all previous stationery supplier accounts
  • Check purchase ledgers on a monthly basis to ensure that all requirements are being placed with the selected supplier.