Have you found that one major office supply store works best for your company, ie Staples, Office Max?
Shop multiple vendors. Send them a list of your top purchases and ask for a price quote. We used to use Staples for everything and did a cost comparison to Quill and found they more more reasonable on most of the products we use.
Ask about free shipping, return process, how often their prices change, etc.
I agree Christie, although tiresome and labor intensive if the quantities and dollar amounts are large enough, so are the savings...
Yes. Complete an RFP among the top companies. As Christine said, look at service issues in addition to price. You should be offered a bigger discount on a core list of items you buy most often with a lesser discount on everything else. Educating your users will help direct orders to the core list. There may be different structures for different types of spend, paper, toner, supplies, etc. Most have online ordering capability to sreamline the process. Depending on your volume, you may have a rebate as well.
By going the "prefered" vendor route, there may be occasions where a special or ad hoc deal with another provider will be better than your contract price. You will need to educate your users of the long term benefits of a contract versus chasing spot buy discounts.
Ways to reduce costs include promoting the core list, scheduled deliveries on certain days, online order controls, data analysis from the system and a refresh of the core list at least annually.
After spending a few years with the top providers Staples and Office Max, we found that WB Mason actually has provided us the best pricing and service. We're a mid-sized company, so that may not be the case if you're a really large organization, but at least in our case we pleasantly surprised to find a third vendor that worked out better to meet our needs.
Maintain two relationships with two providers that are competitive on price. The ordering process is vey easy on-line. In this way you can switch providers quickly and easily.
I had a billing question which was not being answered to my satisfaction from one of the big names. After continually placing an order every week, I stopped and placed my order with my back-up. My billing question became a priority and was resolved in 24 hours.
Prices are low for office supplies, so I find that an RFP does not help. One company will be competitive on pens today, with one competitive on pads. This relationship changes continually as manufacturers offer discounts.
Costco has good prices and they deliver to your office. Office Depot has coupons on the internet. Shoplet has fair to good prices but a big selection.
I am looking for a national office supply company and would like to do an RFP with three vendors. Can anyone provide another national vendor other than Staples and Office Depot?
Thanks Wayne. However, Office Max and Office Depot merged. I like to use three vendors in my RFPs. Is there another?
Didn't realize that :) how bout WB Mason (maybe just NE supplier)
I have found another vendor, that offers free shipping/returns with great prices. I was looking for some feedback Completeoffice.com.