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Monday, October 20, 2014

How to be efficient at managing office stationery

Office stationary inventory tips
Extensive borrowing of stationary adds to office operation costs
By Harry Price 

So you’ve been given the daunting task of managing your office stationery. It is no easy task and keeping on top of it can be a nightmare. As it can account to as much as 40 percent of a business’s operational costs, it is quite a huge duty to manage, but the cost can be reduced and the job easier to manage.

Following the advice below should set you on the way to becoming extremely efficient at managing your office stationery supplies.


Take inventory of what supplies you already have in the office. Ask each department and co-worker what type of stationery they already use and get an estimate of how much they have and what they’ll need. Your list should include the basics; pens, paper, pencils, letterheads, staplers etc. Compare the lists and see if there is anything they would need, but do not currently have. However, remind them their requests should be realistic as stationery supplies do not stock lookalike androids.

Easy access

Store what inventory you have in a location that you can easily monitor and provides easy access for your co-workers to get to. Monitor the amount of stock you have on a regular basis and create an inventory list to prompt you to order when the stock reaches a certain level. It also helps to ask your colleagues to notify when they have nearly used up a specific item. For those who don’t notify you of low stock levels, we suggest a stationery embargo as punishment. That will teach them.

Contact a supplier

To replenish your stock, you will need to contact a stationery supplier.  Establishing a relationship with a professional one will ensure that you receive top quality items. Some suppliers offer discounts on orders if you spend over a certain amount, so it does work out cheaper in the long run to order a little more than you need. Compare prices on bulk prices and subscribe to news letters to get the latest news on items.

Reduce costs

Encourage your colleagues to reuse old stationery to reduce costs on orders. Paper printed on one side can be an effective notepad. Avoid throwing paper away that can be used again and keep it in a ‘scrap paper’ box for later use. You can use A4 envelopes as file holders or to hold receipts and use recycling bins to cut down on waste costs.

Enforce rules

Some of your co-workers may be tempted to take stationery home with them. Liaise with management to enforce strict regulations regarding stationery being taken home. The more stock taken out from the office, the more you will have to order which will result in being costly. You could set up a system where each

department will send a requisition form to you, which will help in keeping track of the stationery ordered. Suggest budgets for each department as this can deter colleagues from taking it home. Just avoid becoming a stationery dictator, those people are never invited to the office Christmas party. It really isn’t an easy task to manage the office stationery, but following this brief guide can make it a bit more straightforward. Just remember to keep an eye on stock levels, contact your supplier as soon as, find out what each department needs and it will make your life that little bit easier. Just don’t let the idea you control the office stationery go to your head. The power can be swiftly taken away!

About the author: Harry Price is multi-talented.  In addition to his writing skills, he plays football for his local league, speaks 3 languages fluently and can play several musical instruments.

Images: Shinealight, US-PD; 2. Harry Price, author owned and licensed