Pooling: How to Structure your Office Supplies Contract to Maximize Firmwide Savings

Paper, paper where is my paper?  Did you know that paper is typically one of the larger individual spends a firm has in the office supplies area?

This isn’t a game of hiding cases of paper around your building and having associates try to find them;  rather, highlighting that paper is likely hidden in a contract line under your outsourcing contract where your firm is likely not able to get the best price.  Would it be better to leverage the paper spend against the balance of your office supplies spend to improve your overall pricing?  Further analysis is necessary; however, I can tell you one thing for sure, leaving paper spend in your outsourcing contract is not benefiting your pricing but it would effect your office supplies spend.

Too many firms place their spends in different silos.  IT buys IT supplies; Hospitality purchases paper cups, napkins, coffee, etc., and Administration handles paper.  By pooling these spends and placing them with one vendor, you can drive spend efficiency and maximize savings.  Not to mention additional discounts based on volume, size of the order, etc.

This also works for services, too.  Who is providing maintenance on your printers?  All office supply vendors would love to service your printers just like all copier companies would.

The key to making these “pooling” strategies work is choosing the right vendor after a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process and ensuring the contract contains detailed performance standards, service level agreements, and the right terms to ensure satisfaction.

The idea of pooling your spend is not a new one, but is more feasible now due to the breadth of services companies are offering. Who would have ever thought that Amazon, where you use to only buy your books, would now be selling groceries through Wholefoods?