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11 April 2016
Process Improvement

20 WAYS TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE – Stationary Stationery Costs

Productivity means higher output using your current resources, or achieving the same level of sales with less resource.

Despite moving towards a paperless society, copy paper, envelopes and other stationery items can be massively overpriced, whilst enticing customers in with bonus boxes of chocolates, biscuits and other calorie rich freebies.  One nordic sounding company in particular is notorious for it’s massively overpriced products unless you really buy in volume or set up an account and watch the prices like a hawk. Their promotions can be very sharp as well, showing what appears to be a really low price for example on A4 paper, only to discover it’s the weight of tissue paper (most copiers would use 80gsm, but special offers can go as low as 75gsm which may not make you look good on paper (excuse the pun).

Again, from my experience go to local wholesale suppliers in your area.  Prepare beforehand by extracting details of quantities and types of all the stationery and paper products you’ve purchased over the last 12 months, and ask for quotes for their best contract price on those items.  The Pareto rule will normally apply, whereby the top 20% of the items on your list probably represent 80% of your total spend, and it’s those items you should try and get the best prices on.

Some stationery suppliers offer free delivery on a minimum spend such as £100, and discounts on the more you purchase, so try and prepare a list in advance and purchase in bulk rather than lots of frequent but low value orders, if you have the space to store the stock.

Reaming It In – Case Study

One business I worked in used over 12,000 reams of A4 paper a year, consistently paying on average £2.49 per ream.  We negotiated a new account with an alternative supplier (making sure it was on a like for like basis) and reduced the cost by 50p per ream.  That was an instant £6,000 saving per year just from a few phone calls.  The re-negotiated contract prices on the majority of our top 20% of items were also showing a saving of at least 30%-50%.  Overall changing supplier realised an annual cost saving of £18,000 to the business.  Every business has opportunities to optimise its returns.


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My book “20 Ways to Be More Productive” offers easy tips, case studies and ways you can improve productivity and save money in every aspect of your business.