Choosing the Right Office Supplies Partner

There are so many suppliers to choose from it can be really tough to know which one to go with.  Having been in the industry my whole career I thought I’d give you an insider’s view, and how I’d go about doing the same thing.

So… Having flicked through a few of the thousands of websites selling promotional products, you’ve finally decided what product you like the look of.  You may have noticed by now that many suppliers sell exactly the same products.  Sure, they may change the names, and the pictures maybe ever so slightly different, but essentially they’re the same items.  If you can’t make a decision based on product then I suppose the question of who to go with actually comes down to value for money.  Sure, a nice conversation with a customer services team may help you decide, but if that friendly member of staff can’t offer value for money or the services of the next supplier, no amount of humour, niceties or whatever drew you towards them will suffice.

Here are a few key points that you should judge your supplier on:

  • Communication
    What’s their correspondence like? Are they prepared to have open honest dialogue with you?  Do they know what they’re talking about?  Some products and processes like furniture and printing can be extremely complicated and you need to be in the hands of an expert to get the best end result.
  • Value
    Who’s the cheapest? Be savvy… cheapest 
    isn’t always best value.  Best practice is to ask for a quote, or contract pricing in writing.  Don’t simply compare prices online as many sites don’t display additional costs like brand over alternatives and delivery prices.
  • Lead Time
    Can the supplier meet your delivery needs?  Are they holding sufficient stock of your top items?  If your order is time sensitive make sure that your supplier can commit to your delivery date. Get it in writing.
  • Service
    Last but not least – Service.  Service speaks volumes.  Have you bought from this supplier or person before?  If you have had a good experience it may be best to stay where you are even if you have to pay a few pennies more.  Does your supplier take ownership of problems or do they leave it up to you?
  • Range
    There is a lot to be said for keeping things simple and having a single supplier.  It’s generally just hassle to have lots of different supplier accounts and you’ll have more buying power if you spend more in the same place.  There is also an administrative and accounting overhead too.  Keeping things simple should save you time and money.


At We Know Office we aim to excel in all of the areas above.  Contact us today and we will demonstrate our worth.

About the Author
An industry veteran with more than 27 years industry experience - what Phil doesn't know about Business Supplies isn't worth knowing. Phil spends most of his week travelling around the UK servicing our nationwide client base and delivering a fresh twist on customer service in office supplies.

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