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Manage Your Office Supplies

Dec 1, 2007
You've got the office space you need and you've purchased all the furniture and electronic equipment required. The phone lines are in, the computer network is connected, and you're ready to do business. But wait - you still have some important shopping to do. Don't forget the office supplies!

Yes, office supplies may seem a bit trivial when compared to the other equipment you have to purchase and set up, but think about it for a second: what office would be complete without office supplies? Even the Fortune 500 companies need pen and paper, you know.

But what supplies do you need to order right away, and what are those that can wait until much later? If you think that all you need in your office are a dozen pens and a couple reams of paper, then you are in for a rude awakening. There's much more to setting up shop when it comes to office supplies, and this article may be what you need to guide you in your office supplies shopping adventure.

Here is a master list for your guidance. You do not have to buy all items on the list, although it will help if you include most of it, if not all:

Printer cartridges
Fax paper
Bathroom and cleaning supplies
Computer disks
Cork boards
Mailing labels
Manila folders
Note and message pads
Packing tape
Paper clips
Rubber bands
White boards

Now, when you're done with your shopping, there are a few basic rules to keep in mind in order to be sure that you'll have everything you need to keep your office functioning smoothly.

First, always keep a small stash of supplies available. You'd be surprised to know the amount of time wasted in traveling back and forth from the supply room to your desk. And that goes for your clerks and secretaries, too. A desk drawer or even a small cabinet near you will do just fine. Now you'll save time and energy getting supplies and use them instead for what's more important - taking care of business.

Second, there are some supplies that you really don't need to have near you 24/7. These include stacks of stationery, piles and piles of message pads, Post-Its, and rolls of tape. All of these stuff can make your office look messy and disorganized, which I'm sure you don't want. Organize the supplies according to how often you need them. For example, the items you need on a monthly basis should be kept in a cabinet or on a shelf. Other supplies you use less often than that should be kept in a supply room or closet.

Third, remember that master list? You can use it to take note of the supplies that are running low, and how often. You don't have to shop for supplies very week. Once a month will be fine, as long as your master list is updated. That way, you'll no longer need to fear running out of markers in the middle of an important presentation.

You'll also need to check and analyze how much you are spending for office supplies. You can assign a staff member or two to do some comparison shopping, especially for the supplies you use most often. Usually, there are office supply stores in your local area and on the Internet where you can find the best prices for what you need. Some vendors are even willing to give discounts in exchange for your loyalty. If you can, buy in bulk for even bigger savings, but don't overdo it. You don't really need to buy supplies that will last until December when it's only June, right?
About the Author
Azlan Irda is co-founder of http://www.aamofficesupply.com, where you can get your office supplies at great prices. Visit us for your supply needs.
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