‘Hot list’ online ordering offers savings for office supplies

Procurement Services has introduced a discounted "hot list" of the 800 most common office supply products Duke purchases through E-way, Staples' online ordering system.

The online system will be available to Duke departments Sept. 1 and includes items like toner, pens and pencils and copy paper at discounted prices.Using the program could save Duke $625,000 or more each year, said Tom Brosnan, sourcing manager for Procurement and Supply Chain Management. Following Staples' acquisition of office supply company Corporate Express Procurement Services felt the time was right to ask about extra discounts as a  result of the two companies coming together, said Jane Pleasants, assistant vice president for Procurement.

"With continued tough economic times, we went to Staples and asked them to help us find greater savings," Brosnan said. "We've been able to save money through Staples before, but now we're able to take it a step further."

Brosnan said that Duke spends about $1.7 million annually on paper from companies like Xerox. If purchases were switched to a brand from the hot list like Staples' paper, it could reduce a department's costs by up to 18 percent.

Another popular item like toner will see a drop of nearly $70 per cartridge through the program. Brosnan added that buying from the list will help Duke standardize products to leverage greater discounts.

"We'll still be getting expensive brands of products from companies like 3M, but at a better price," he said. "People won't see a difference in quality, just the price."

Ted Williams, building maintenance project coordinator for the Fuqua School of Business, said he's probably one of the university's largest consumers of paper because the school creates many handouts and packets for faculty and students in addition to everyday use. He said he'll welcome the new discounts as he's always looking for ways to become more efficient and budget-friendly.

When Williams and other employees go online to make purchases, Brosnan said the experience will be easier with a new pop-up ordering screen that features items on Duke's hot list. Newly discounted items from the hot list will appear in E-way with a green dollar sign.

But savings aren't the only benefit of the new program. Pleasants said that consolidated ordering through Staples is also more sustainable. She said if more departments consolidate their orders to eliminate many small ones, there will be less transportation because small orders can be combined into one weekly order. Thousands of individual small transactions increase overhead for everyone within the supply chain, she added.

For more information, visit the E-way website.