Supply chain tip of the day: Rein in office supply costs with a limited formulary

Office supplies are typically a large expense for hospitals. Developing and implementing an aggressive, limited office supply formulary can help control these costs, according to Tom Fox, a managing director at healthcare consulting firm Nova Strategies.

He shared the following tip with Becker's Hospital Review.

"Hospital supply chain managers should ask their office supply distributor for a monthly detailed sales report to identify specific items for cost-saving opportunities. Taking a closer look at these reports may reveal that 10 different ballpoints pens or 20 different types of paper are being purchased by various departments across the hospital.

"Significant cost reductions can be achieved by adjusting the office supply formulary and narrowing the options available for purchase by various departments. Contracting directly with vendors and buying supplies in volume for certain items can also create cost savings. You may find that regularly purchased items, such as coffee, tea, cups and water are more cost-effective if bought through a specialized vendor that can often provide the items direct and with a volume discount."

If you would like to share a tip, please email Mackenzie Bean at

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