Recently I have worked on a number of projects where the core vs. non-core pricing split was far higher than the client imagined, or indeed should be. This reflects how difficult it is for companies to accurately track what is a fair price for office supplies.
The office supplies market is a complex one. Large, multi-site organisations often require a diverse product mix spread across many locations and multiple order points. Procurement teams face an uphill battle controlling expenditure and rogue ordering - even when systems are in place.
In addition, there is a ‘smoke and mirrors’ culture within the market, where suppliers routinely use different pricing terminology to inflate prices and obscure comparisons. Red herrings anyone?! This is just the type of distracting activity that inspired my business name, and one that I help companies to avoid.
Gaining total visibility of the order process and product range is critical, but so is keeping a tight rein on your core vs. non-core spending. A recommended split would be 80/20 core/non-core, but this easily slips. A recent client suspected that their split had fallen, but was surprised by how much – it had dropped to 55/45. Just by managing this split we were able to make substantial savings, amounting to 25% off annual expenditure (45% of which came from adjusting and managing the core list).
Of course, some suppliers are happy to let the core split slide and raise their profits. Others will be more proactive, using loss leaders to ensure that you receive a fantastically cheap price for copier paper, but charge absurd amounts for anything off-core. Understanding the market and your suppliers' pricing strategy is crucial.
You will see the following terms used by suppliers:
Catalogues are routinely priced with a combination of the above, as pricing strategies look to move customers to non-core products.
One study charts the average catalogue inflation on top of manufacturer RRP among some of the larger suppliers in the industry and lists one supplier at +65% and another at +61% in 2015. This highlights how inflation is part of supplier pricing strategy and is something to be mindful of when managing your core vs. non-core expenditure.
In fact, procurement teams face similar pricing challenges when purchasing any multiple commodity products. This makes pricing management a time issue, vying for attention among multiple projects and priorities. If you are unsure of your supplier’s pricing strategy, ask yourself:
If you need to manage pricing we can help. We proactively manage suppliers, ensuring regular pricing and core list reviews to keep costs down. We also conduct audits and benchmarking exercises, so that you have complete visibility of your current expenditure and the market position. Ensure that complex pricing and inflated RRP’s don’t result in spiralling costs – get in touch for more information.
Book a meeting to find out how you can reduce costs, spend smarter and achieve long-term savings.get in touch
One of our core values at Red Herring is being a business for good. This means that we raise money by donating 10% of all fees earned to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. After a recent diagnosis, this cause is close to our hearts and we are proud to support the UK’s leading MS charity that provides practical help today and the hope of a cure tomorrow for everyone living with multiple sclerosis (MS) nationwide.
Over 100,000 people in the UK have multiple sclerosis (MS). It’s unpredictable, and different for everyone. It’s often painful and exhausting, and can cause problems with how people walk, move, see, think and feel. It can make it hard for people to work, and do the things they enjoy. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
The MS Society is a community of people living with MS, scientists, campaigners, volunteers and fundraisers. We understand what life’s like with MS, and we support each other through the highs, lows and everything in between. And we’re driving research into more – and better – treatments. For everyone.
Together, we are strong enough to stop MS.
To find out more about MS please visit: www.mssociety.org.uk