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Optimising Budgets with Smart Procurement of School Essentials

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, one constant remains: the need for school essentials. From stationery and office supplies to furniture and cleaning products, the efficient procurement of these items is crucial for schools and multi-academy trusts. We’ll discuss how to optimise budgets and get the best value for your school using Education Buying’s School Supplies Framework and our fantastic suppliers, including Banner, Lyreco, Office Depot, and Thomas Stoner Supplies. 

Step 1 – Before You Buy: Lay the Foundation for Smart Procurement

Effective procurement begins with a strong foundation. Before making any purchases, consider these critical factors: 

  • Customer Services: Are the suppliers’ customer service teams knowledgeable and responsive? A prompt resolution of issues is essential to prevent disruptions and maintain cost savings. 
  • Ordering Convenience: Can you place orders easily, preferably online? Streamlined order processes save time and resources. 
  • Minimum Order Requirements: Determine whether the suppliers have minimum order requirements. Ensure that these requirements align with your institution’s needs.
  • Delivery and Returns Policies: Review the delivery and returns policies to ensure they are compatible with your school’s operations. Clear policies can save time and mitigate potential issues.
  • Product Quality and Range: To ensure the quality of items, consider ordering samples before making bulk purchases. A diverse range of products can cater to various school needs.

Step 2 – Identify Your Requirements: Streamline Your Procurement

Identifying and streamlining your requirements is a pivotal step in efficient procurement. Consider the following aspects: 

  • Office Supplies: Having the right supplies ensures that class projects run smoothly, reducing disruptions.
  • Beyond Stationery: Don’t forget other essential items, such as training supplies, shredders, ink and toner, furniture, cleaning supplies, and even pantry essentials like tea and coffee.
  • Consolidate Orders: Ordering from a single supplier can save time and reduce administrative complexities.

Step 3 – Cost: Make Informed Decisions for Cost Efficiency

While cost considerations are vital, it’s essential to adopt a holistic approach to procurement. Keep these strategies in mind: 

  • Avoid Scattered Purchases: Buying essential items from different sources is inefficient and can lead to increased costs. Instead, consider the entire “basket of goods” your school needs.
  • Competitive Pricing: Periodically compare prices from different suppliers to secure a competitive rate for your complete list of needs.
  • Consider Social Value and SECR Reporting: Today, every school and multi-academy trust has its own goals for social value, environmental initiatives, and local sourcing. Your suppliers should support your efforts by helping with carbon reduction reporting, energy efficiency, environmental impact, and contributions to the local economy.

Plan Ahead: Education Buying's Framework Agreement

To navigate the complexities of procurement, planning ahead is key. Ensure you ask potential suppliers the right questions to understand any potential challenges. While you can choose to work directly with suppliers, we recommend using a framework agreement like Education Buying’s School Supplies Framework. 

This self-serve, free-to-use framework offers numerous advantages. You gain access to pre-vetted, trusted suppliers who ensure you get the best possible prices. It’s the smart, hassle-free choice for schools and multi-academy trusts. 

Education Buying is dedicated to simplifying the procurement process for schools. We understand the unique challenges faced by the education sector and are committed to being your dependable partner for cost-effective school essentials procurement.