How charities benefit from a workplace supplies solution

One of the ways that charities can meet the twin challenges of improving operations and making constant savings, is in workplace supplies.

From the way stationery and printer consumables are purchased, to how breakroom and cleaning products are used, charities can take these elements of their spend to help demonstrate increasingly effective operations.

Charity trustees realise the need to justify activities to demonstrate maximum public benefit. Showing efficiencies in practice helps to attract funding and gives evidence of impact to stakeholders.

Funders can often equate lower overheads to effective operations, but achieving efficiency in the long run is not always about an immediate reduction in overheads. According to Alison Maclennan, charities can invest in measures to improve their long term sustainability and efficiencies, and to do that will justify having apparently higher overheads in the shorter term.

However, if charities approach their purchasing as an opportunity to do both, to improve long term performance and operations as well as make on-going savings, efficiencies and organisational improvements can both be achieved.

By opening up the relationship with workplace supplies partners, charities can find a way to show supporters and funders that their operating model is continually improving and they’re making optimum use of resources.

Purchasing better, in terms of workplace supplies, is not just a question of seeking out cost-savings but of working openly with suppliers, thinking about innovations and looking for logistical improvements on an on-going basis. By doing this, much more value will come into the supply relationship.

What should charities be looking for when it comes to the workplace supplies contract?

A fresh approach


Good suppliers will help a charity to take a fresh look at its organisational structure, its clients, services, available channels and partners, to see how their services will not just fit in, but help to support and improve the charity’s working methods.

Many charities realise that undertaking a more substantive review of their business model, being open to re-organising operations and enabling supply chain partners to bring their know-how into play, will bring big benefits.

Target setting


As savings are inevitably essential, having an eye on year on year opportunities for savings is a crucial step. From looking at where suitable, but more cost effective, core products can replace existing choices, to how deliveries can be consolidated, working with the supplier to keep making these improvements is critical.

Online ordering

Spend and time can be reduced across all sites when charities work with an effective online ordering solution. From providing an overview of spend across every location, to being able to analyse category spend on a monthly or quarterly basis, online ordering will make life much easier.

Single source solution



A single source solution may well be the way forward. By looking at one experienced supplier who can ensure next-day delivery as well as one invoice, one point of contact and one ordering system, charities can immediately reduce their soft as well as financial, costs.


Charities should expect to hold regular reviews with their supplier so they can see how the partnership is performing and can set KPIs for the year or quarter ahead.

A good supplier will take an open book approach, keep making suggestions for improvements, help to identify ways to reduce product costs and ultimately, enable a charity to focus more of its resources on core activities.

With Banner you can improve operations and save on your workplace consumables. If you would like to find out how, please telephone us on 0844 980 0013, email or visit

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