Office Supplies - Best Cost, or Staples contract ?

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atticusewig
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Office Supplies - Best Cost, or Staples contract ?

Postby atticusewig » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:25 am

As the financial clerk for the Agent Ward for our building,
I recently suggested that we take advantage of purchasing
copy paper and other supplies from local stores that offered
them for less than the online Staples(tm) [ formerly Corporate Express ]
cost.

My Bishop said we needed to order from the Staples site because
the Church had setup the agreement with them.

Has anyone seen any policy on this ? I'm of the opinion that church
funds should be conserved, and that the Staples site is an option,
not a mandate. If I can find better deals locally, why not purchase
from them ?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:42 am

atticusewig wrote:My Bishop said we needed to order from the Staples site because the Church had setup the agreement with them.

Has anyone seen any policy on this?


The only place I've seen a very strong suggestion in this area is to buy actual OEM toner for printers and copiers, and that we would be hard pressed to beat the prices at Staples. See this post from a couple of years ago (it references Corporate Express, since that thread was written right about the time that Staples acquired Corporate Express), but even that position was softened somewhat later in the thread in this post, which still made it clear that we were free to shop elsewhere if we can beat the price for the same item.

And for standard office supplies like paper, I've never seen any statement that says we have to use Staples. Our stake gets paper at a variety of local stores -- we've never worried about using Corporate Express or Staples for standard office supplies.
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rpyne
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Postby rpyne » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:58 am

atticusewig wrote:My Bishop said we needed to order from the Staples site because
the Church had setup the agreement with them.

Has anyone seen any policy on this ?


When the original contract buying with Corporate Express was released to local units, it was accompanied by a letter from the Presiding Bishopric urging local units to purchase through the contract even when local prices were lower because doing so helps reduce costs for Church units who do not have the benefit of large local outlets.

crislapi
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Postby crislapi » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:02 am

I've never seen anything saying we were required to use Store.lds.org. I'd bet there are wards and stakes that don't even know about the site or the price cuts. As aebrown pointed out, the only thing I've seen is in reference to toner cartridges - using refilled or non-OEM cartridges voids the warranty. However, nothing says you have to order the items through store.lds.org. Do what gets you the best price. However, you'd be hard to beat the price on OEM toner cartridges. I just purchased one today - it was $240 on the Staples page and $164 through store.lds.org.

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Postby jdlessley » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:05 am

atticusewig wrote:My Bishop said we needed to order from the Staples site because the Church had setup the agreement with them.

Has anyone seen any policy on this ? I'm of the opinion that church funds should be conserved, and that the Staples site is an option, not a mandate. If I can find better deals locally, why not purchase from them ?

There is no requirement to purchase supplies through the online store or the Staples site that I am aware of or can find. This capability to purchase through the online store and Staples is provided as an alternative to local purchase and when local source prices may not be competitive. The online store paper order has this as the description for the paper product:
All-purpose plain white copier paper. Purchase paper for copiers and other uses through a store in your local area when possible. (500 sheets/ream, 1 Case of ten reams)
Local purchase may be cheaper than purchasing through the online store. Shipping costs add a significant cost to the online purchase for heavy items like a case of paper. It only makes sense to use the source with the better price.

Toner is a bit different due to warranty requirements. Even then the source of toner is not the issue but the EM specifications. Paper obviously does not affect the warranty of the printer or copier.
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russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:13 am

rpyne wrote:When the original contract buying with Corporate Express was released to local units, it was accompanied by a letter from the Presiding Bishopric urging local units to purchase through the contract even when local prices were lower because doing so helps reduce costs for Church units who do not have the benefit of large local outlets.


I believe that was the case many years ago, but AFAIK, is not longer in effect.
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Postby lajackson » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:19 am

RussellHltn wrote:I believe that was the case many years ago, but AFAIK, is not longer in effect.


It is still true, but it is an encouragement, not a requirement. The Church is able to get lower prices based on volume, and if more units buy through the contract, the prices should continue to come down.

That being the theory, our bishop's actual practice is to price both sources, and then use the less expensive one, unless the contract is only a little more than the local cost, in which case he sometimes authorized the slightly higher cost.

Another factor is that someone can go get the local item today and have it at the building this evening, which is not quite true if it is ordered online. But that is a different "planning ahead" matter.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:20 am

lajackson wrote:It is still true, but it is an encouragement, not a requirement.


Your source for this claim is....
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Postby lajackson » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:26 am

aebrown wrote:Your source for this claim is....


The Church Purchasing Department. Since they do not work for the bishop, we follow the bishop's direction, with the full blessing of the stake president whose has stewardship for the budget funds the stake receives each year.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:28 am

lajackson wrote:The Church Purchasing Department. Since they do not work for the bishop, we follow the bishop's direction, with the full blessing of the stake president whose has stewardship for the budget funds the stake receives each year.


Is that policy/guideline/suggestion published somewhere, or is it just something you heard from someone who works there?
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