Managing Business Supplies Efficiently

By: Vikram Kuamr


There is often tension between office managers whose responsibility it is to manage business supplies in an office and higher management, such as the chief operations officer or chief executive officer who controls the budget for the purchase of such supplies. This comes in the form of office managers needing larger budgets to keep the office properly stocked and higher management being reluctant to provide the necessary funds in order to keep costs for that quarter down. The perennial problem is not so much not having the funds to purchase enough supplies, as higher management usually understands that these supplies are a necessity, but the problem lies in having sufficient cash to acquire those supplies in the ideal quantities at the right time. The supply of coffee may not directly relate to company profits, but it keeps workers awake and focused for longer hours, thus increasing productivity and indirectly impacting profits.

Some managers adopt an as-and-when necessary attitude towards the purchase of supplies for their business. The rationale behind such an approach is to spread the expenditures on supplies out over as large a period of time as possible, so that costs appear lower at any point in time. This is a process designed to appease shareholders who want to see profits that are as large as possible.

On the other hand, some managers adopt the method of making infrequent bulk purchases, spending much larger amounts of money in a single purchase of large quantities of necessary supplies. The principle underlying this approach is one that is known in economics as economies of scale. The principle simply states that as the scale at which you do something gets larger, the cost of doing that something on a per-unit basis should go down. So, for example, as a factory producing cars gets larger, it should become more efficient at producing cars and the cost per car should go down. Of course, there is also an upper limit to the reduction in cost per unit relative to expanding scale.

What this means for office managers is that they have to make a choice between adopting a method of purchasing supplies that keeps shareholders happy in the short-term, but does not provide savings in the longer term, or a method that might cause profits to drop in the short-term, but ultimately provides large long-term benefits. The key to taking advantage of those benefits is to negotiate with upper management and gain approval for larger one-time purchases of supplies. With larger purchases, you will be able to get bigger discounts from suppliers, which will ultimately benefit the company in the long term.

Upper management can often be convinced to provide funds for larger one-time purchases of business supplies if they are shown detailed calculations of the cost savings gained by such larger purchases. The cost savings from making use of this purchasing method can really be significant thanks to the long shelf lives of most types of office supplies. Toilet paper can be kept storage for a near-indefinite length of time and even coffee has a shelf life of a few years.

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When it comes to presenting upper management with a proposal for larger one-time purchases of Business Supplies , there is no better company to give you the edge you need in such discussion than Unifor Corporate Supplies. With their extensive experience in providing corporates big and small with all the supplies they need, from Coffee to soap dispensers, you will surely find everything you need all in one place.

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