Five Ways for Heads of School to Save Money and Get Control of Their School Supply Process

Keith Cincotta, ISS Director of School Services


At this time of the year a lot of schools around the world are getting together their annual orders for US based materials and sending them on to their School Supply partners in the US. It’s also the time of year that Heads of School frequently look at the process (and expense!) of annual orders and wonder what they can do to save money and time. At ISS we’ve worked with International Schools for more than 40 years on School Supply and our current team of reps and warehouse staff have hundreds of years of collective experience.

Here are a few tips that experience has taught us can help any school save money and time:

  • 1Do an Inventory
    It sounds basic but by giving teachers and other staff a structure and some time to document what they already have you will save plenty of time and money on redundant materials (how much construction paper is in the elementary supply room right now?)
  • 2Set Some Deadlines
    Start this process well before your Winter break. Give staff some deadlines that allow them the opportunity to fully consider their needs and options and your principals and business office time to check, approve, compile and submit their orders. It is a fact of life that the earlier orders are submitted to vendors the more likely you are to receive complete and on time orders.
  • 3Define a list of vendors and ask your teachers to stick with it
    Limiting the number of vendors you place orders with will help streamline the process, ensure better discounts and cut down on cancelled and back ordered items. We know the English teachers are tempted by those $2 novels being sold on Amazon by a reseller but in the long run sticking to the most reputable and experienced vendors pays off.
  • 4Buy commodity and bulk supplies
    Copier paper? Paper towels? Toilet paper? Most schools have local suppliers for these consumable bulk items but if you’re shipping a container from the US and have the storage space you can cut down on the burden to your business office and save money by buying consumable and commodity materials in bulk.
  • 5Mitigate your backorder shipping
    Consolidated shipping is the best way to save money when bringing in school supplies from the US. Shipping everything you need in one ocean container saves a considerable amount compared to shipping many smaller air shipments. However, there are inevitably some items each year that do not arrive in time to be included in the container. Think hard about whether you need those items before giving the go ahead to have it shipped by air or courier like DHL, UPS or FedEx. Those courier and air shipments add up quickly.

As always ISS is here to answer questions or help you with your School Supply needs. We’ve shipped to hundreds of countries all over the world and our staff’s experience can help you get your supplies on time and for as inexpensively as possible.

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