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General Chat Thread, Do you sell cartridges - is this a cartridge shop! in General; I find grumbledooks advise to be generally sound. My method might seem ethically unsound but I only use suppliers who ...
  1. #16

    nephilim's Avatar
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    I find grumbledooks advise to be generally sound. My method might seem ethically unsound but I only use suppliers who we have a good raport with and have consistent pricing. If we can drive down the price a bit more then so be it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveyboy View Post
    @Dook - Ain't you fell off that fence yet?
    I did fall ... unfortunately someone put a slightly smaller fence next to it!

    I know ... the idea of procurement for just a tiny thing such as toners (if only spending 2 or 3 thousand a year) might seem over the top ... that is why I mentioned purchasing and procurement ... and that there is a difference. My advice is about general views on purchasing and procurement, and not limited to just toners.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    I've mentioned this before, but about a different area of procurement and that is the requirement for us as people in a school to get best value.

    Now, as everyone has said, 'best value' doesn't mean 'cheapest' all the time, but to an auditor and to a manager trying to save money in the already tight budget, arguments about damaging a private company who are out to make a profit, or arguments about propping up other schools (this was my point about internet connectivity a while back) are simply not going to hold water.

    Sure, I've gone for a more expensive supplier many times because I know I have a good relationship with them, but when push comes to shove, 95% of the time, the cheapest company wins. If this can be done by Dutch auction, by setting a baseline price for everyone to beat, or whatever other method - then from a school's point of view this should be done. £20 saved on toner is £20 that can be spent on more books.

    Yes, it is a balancing act of ethics but i'm afraid that to someone under increasing financial constraint (as many of us are in schools), the ethics of saving money for our school, to advantage the current kids being educated that day comes in at the top of the heap.

  4. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveyboy View Post
    Procurement Course to buy toners.

    Sweet Jesus, Does my time spent doing this count towards the final cost?
    As you ask, no, I believe it doesn't.

    Simple. If you are not getting the service you want for the best possible price, with the least amount of hassle......
    And straight away you define the problem. You use the phrase "best possible price" here; "best price" to a supplier won't be the same as "the absolute rock-bottom cheapest they can do it if they sell the warehouse team to be melted down for glue and offset that against the cost of selling to you" which is what you presumably want.

    And do you really think they give a toss about 'doing the right thing' to get your business? - Like many, I'm getting fed up of suppliers using some very underhand tactics to get to me, and the classic 'I sent you an email last week' - or 'I spoke to someone in your office' gets them a mouthful.
    Well I have two comments to this - first of all purchasing through a framework with a formal bidding process eliminates this (though I appreciate this is overkill for a few toners) and secondly, with respect, salespeople bugging you all the time is an entirely separate issue from actual purchasing processes


    This is costing my time and therefore my school money, which to coin a phrase 'affects Teaching and Learning'.

    Sorry, toners just don't demand that much of my time. Learners do.

    @Dook - Ain't you fell off that fence yet?
    Be thankful you don't, from the sound of it, work in a FE College. We have to jump through this procurement hoop for most things we buy. It might well be annoying, it might well be a waste of time, and its certainly debatable whether or not it saves us any money, but we're required to use the process Tony describes for much of our IT procurement.

  5. #20
    soveryapt's Avatar
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    I have this a lot with printing and such. Being a graphic designer and being back in educational IT to help pay the bills, I do the design for the school. Just last week I was looking at the few printers I use to get pricing for the kind of turnaround we needed and I had a quote from a few.

    I gave one of my printers a quick call (basically, I've never had an issue with the printing they have done for my clients and I, but their online quote is for a 5-day turnaround, too long for this particular need - so, as I said, I gave them a quick call...) and spoke to them about it. Pointed out what I was after (this was Friday morning, needing delivery for tomorrow morning) and he was upfront with the costs etc (added postage, which I expected - added premium for faster turnaround etc) and he still worked out cheaper than another printer I like to use who said they could delivery for the same time ..

    Anyway, went with this guy as I know that the printing would be first class and that the staff were happy with a before 9am delivery for tomorrow .. came in this morning to find they had already been delivered this morning!

    So, all done above board and ethically, but that one phone call has saved the school money (ok, only about £65 but it was only a small print run of stuff so actually about 20% of the total price saved!), affirmed the schools faith in my design skills (I'm the designer for the school paid additional as freelance, all at the request of the SLT so above board as far as I'm concerned) and affirmed my faith in this particular printer to deliver the goods each and every time.

    It's a worth while process to go through, and whilst most of the time, I end up spending a bit more on the kit from my preferred supplier of the past 11 years or so in my IT career, I know from those 11 years experience that they provide a great service and follow-up support .. it's all about the overall cost, not just who's the cheapest. If the procurement method is simply get 3 quotes, go with the cheapest then you run the risk of not getting the goods in the time frame you want, or even the goods you want, and then when you need support (warranty backup etc) that the company fails on it.

    If the process is "go to suppliers you know and get quotes and then work from there" then it's much better. I have a few companies that I buy bits from, out of those there is 1 preferred supplier, but I will always go to all the companies and see what they want. For instance, my preferred supplier wasn't able to get me RAM for an older server we have, but another one was, so I'm going with the other one in this situation, but looking to also get a new server in which will probably end up with the preferred supplier ..

    It's all good, but you do have to consider the hidden value of the goods you buy as well as the physical cost of the stuff.

    I think that makes sense .. it did in my head anyway .. probably won't now as it's been a mad weekend and I'm a bit at a daze today! lol ..

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