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Supplies can be a hidden business expense that can add up if you’re not careful. They could range from office supplies to restaurant ingredients to construction materials. To help you spend less on business supplies, here are a few cost-cutting tricks.
Buy in bulk
Buying supplies in bulk can often result in bulk discounts. Your everyday store may not allow you to buy in bulk, so you’re better off targeting wholesalers – you’ll find specific companies out there for wholesale vegetables or wholesale paper. Be wary of the fact that certain items such as food ingredients or printer ink may expire if unused by a certain date – when buying in bulk, make sure that you’re likely to get through all of these supplies before the expiry date, otherwise you could be losing money in waste.
Ordering certain supplies from abroad could result in shipping costs. Depending on how heavy the item is, it could cost more to deliver. Sticking to local suppliers could reduce the cost of delivery.
Opt for reusable/recycled supplies
You may be able to buy reusable supplies in some cases to save costs. For instance, refillable ink cartridges could save you money on ink. You could also consider supplies made from recycled materials – these are often a lot cheaper. If you’re a construction company for instance, you could save money opting for reclaimed timber. On top of saving money, you’ll also save the environment by reducing waste.
Many modern businesses are doing away with paper. Most documents can be stored and shared digitally and paper mail can be replaced by email. You can even sign contracts electronically nowadays using e-signature apps. Moving to a paperless work environment could cut the cost ordering paper. It could also reduce the need for printer ink and stationery. On top of saving money, you could free up a lot of space used for storing such supplies. It’s also a lot eco-friendlier.
Track and monitor supply usage
Keeping an eye on which supplies are used and how they are used could help you to save money on supplies. Regularly checking inventory can help you to see which supplies are being used more frequently and which supplies aren’t being used at all – this could stop you ordering extra supplies when you’re already stocked up, while also helping you to predict supplies that may run out.
If you feel that employees are unnecessarily using supplies, consider making yourself (or delegating someone else as) the gatekeeper of these supplies so that they have to tell you each time they’re using a supply. Some companies even introduce printing quotas per employee, while restaurants will usually keep strict portion measures to prevent too much of one ingredient being used per dish. This can all reduce waste so that you don’t have to replace supplies as often.