One of the most important aspects of streamlining business purchases is planning. Without having a proper strategy in place, you won’t be able to optimize your business’s various purchasing processes (including office supply purchases). This is especially true in smaller organizations and small businesses.
Purchasing activities in small businesses are usually fragmented between different employees (rather than being centralized). This is the first problem that most businesses need to deal with. Apart from decentralized purchasing responsibilities, another major problem is not having a solid purchasing process in place from the start.
Whether you’re a small business owner looking to revamp your business’s purchasing processes, or you manage an office of 40 people and need to optimize your employer’s purchasing activities, below we cover some of the best tips for office supply purchase streamlining.
Develop and Implement Your Business’s Purchasing Policy
Without having a formal purchasing policy in place, your business will most likely flounder between different processes (especially if purchasing responsibilities are already segmented between departments/people). While not all businesses will have the finances required to develop an in-depth purchasing policy, they can still create a basic outline of a standardized procedure that can be used as a reference during purchases.
Defining variables such as price points, costs, time tables, etc. can all be a major improvement on an organization’s purchasing workflow. If your business doesn’t already have a codified purchasing policy, now would be the time to develop one (and actually implement it across your business).
Properly Managing Your Inventory Is Essential
Keeping proper track of your business’s various inventory levels is essential to having an optimized purchase workflow. How else would you be able to streamline a purchasing process, if you don’t even know what you need to purchase to begin with?
Not to mention the fact that keeping proper inventory directly translates to a lot less waste (i.e. wasted money on reordering supplies that you already have in stock). For example, let’s say your business used lots of bank checks each month (to pay vendors, clients, etc.). Having a streamlined supply purchasing process would mean being able to get bank checks delivered in 24 hours (not ordering them from the bank and needing to wait until they arrive). This example applies to many of the variables involved in streamlining purchasing processes - that is, transferring processes and workflows to the internet (e.g. cloud-based purchasing apps that are automated).
Reevaluate Your Supplier/Vendor Relationships