Whether you’re in charge of supplying your office with staples and other supplies — or you’re setting up your own home office — you need a plan in place to make sure you have all of the essentials at your fingertips. Don’t run out of office supplies by putting these nine expert tips to work:
Tip #1: Organize Your Supply Closet
If you don’t know what inventory you actually have, then you’re going to have a hard time deciding what to buy. As a first step, start organizing your supply closet. It may need a refresh once a quarter to keep it inline. Make sure there is a place for everything and create a document that keeps count of what you have available.
Tip #2: Track Usage
Start tracking usage of your office supplies every month. By doing this, you’ll know that folders are in more demand than pens or tape is more in demand that paper clips. That will give you good information for how to purchase supplies in the future.
Tip #3: Survey Employees
You also can get great information about office supplies by doing a simple survey of your employees. What do they use the most? What is on their wish list? You can make sure you have those supplies in stock based upon what the masses say.
Tip #4: Set Up a Monthly Order
Let employees know that once a month you’ll be ordering new supplies. Send out an email, giving them a week to send in an order of things they may need. Giving them enough time to reply will help you get the order right and keep the supplies in stock.
Tip #5: Don’t Run Out of Paper
One of the supplies that you need an over-supply of is copier paper. Don’t forget the toner while you’re at it. Offices worldwide still are paper-using machines, and that means making sure your copier can deliver. Get copier paper and toner delivered on via an auto-delivery service every month to ensure that you always have enough.
Tip #6: Use Multiple Vendors
Many vendors give discounts for office supplies, but you shouldn’t be relying on one company alone. Always have a backup in case something happens and your main vendor can’t deliver the supplies you need on time. It’s better to have a second choice than for work to come to a halt.
Tip #7: Ask for a Bigger Budget
If you want to avoid having to put in monthly orders, then ask your chief financial officer for a bigger budget to purchase six month’s worth of the supplies you know you’ll need. This is where your inventory list and tracking supplies can really help you make a case for purchasing a larger amount of supplies at once.
Tip #8: Delegate Responsibilities
The job of ordering office supplies should be the project of a team at your office so that no one person is left to put in the order all the time or to track the inventory monthly or quarterly. Build a team with this task and you’ll help ensure supplies don’t get looked over.
Tip #9: Identify the Culprits
It’s a well-known fact that office supplies go missing in offices because employees feel they have a right to take them. This of course, isn’t true. So if you suspect an employee is taking more than his or her fair share of pens, then send out a memo reminding employees of the office supply closet policy.
A Well-Stocked Office is a Happy Office
When you need a stapler, a set of pens or copy paper and your office is out of it, you waste your time and office money having to scramble to find the office supplies you need. But, with a little preparation, you’ll be on your way to keeping your office stocked with the supplies most in demand — and keeping everyone happy. Keep these nine expert tips in mind as you plan your office supply plan!