Finally… the TRUTH about your pricing program

If you’re in an executive role at your organization, we recognize that office supply procurement is just one of the many functions you oversee within your company. With so many responsibilities to balance, and office supplies not necessarily being at the top of that list, you need a program that makes financial sense, is easy to manage, and that you can trust day in and day out. With that said, we’ve been in this business for a long time; long enough to know that many office supply programs do NOT meet those criteria and it might be difficult to identify if your program does or not.

price increasesOur sales team has talked to a lot of prospective customers over the years and we’ve found that most were receiving inconsistent pricing and price fluctuations from their vendor without realizing it because they weren’t given any visibility into their spend. This is something that shouldn’t be happening – price increases and fluctuating prices are not “par for the course” when it comes to office supply procurement. While price increases DO inevitably happen on occasion, they should only happen if a manufacturer increases the cost of their product which may cause your vendor to need to pass some of that increase on to you. If a manufacturer increase does happen, your vendor should inform you of this increase and be able to provide you with a letter from the manufacturer showing the increase has come from them. With that said, price increases should never be across the board on all of the items you purchase.

So if you’re not hearing about any manufacturer increases, how can you identify if your prices are fluctuating behind the scenes?

  1. Ask your vendor to provide you with a monthly spend analysis showing which products you purchased and what you paid for them.
  2. If your vendor isn’t able to provide this analysis, make sure you’re holding on to your invoices. Start looking at your invoices monthly, or even quarterly to see if you notice any price discrepancies.

If you’re uncertain about the consistency of your pricing program, NEOS can help you analyze your current spend to determine if you’re A) receiving the best pricing on the items you purchase the most and B) if there are discrepancies in your pricing over time. Click here to speak to one of our procurement specialists about reviewing your current pricing program.


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Find out how your purchases can support the City of Hope through July 31st

city of hope logoCity of Hope is a cause that NEOS, along with the entire Office Products industry is proud to support once again in 2015.

City of Hope is an independent biomedical research, treatment, and education institution, and a leader in the fight against cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and other life threatening diseases.  Located northeast of Los Angeles, it is one of only 40 recognized comprehensive cancer centers, where scientists, physicians, and students work together to turn ideas and research into more effective treatments. City of Hope is an innovator in research, treatment, and education. Here are some highlights and some of the breakthroughs they’ve made –

The National Business Products Industry as a whole has been supporting the City of Hope since 1983 and has raised over $130 million for the cause – $12.4 million in 2014 alone! Over the past 9 years specifically, American Office Products Distributors (AOPD) in partnership with independent office products dealers and manufacturers has raised over $450,000 for City of Hope. AOPD who NEOS works with directly is eager to reach the half million mark in 2015 and you can help us all achieve this goal! This year NEOS is proud to again support City of Hope through the Inspired by Hope promotion which runs through July 31st. During that time, if you purchase products from certain manufacturers, a portion of the proceeds will go directly to City of Hope. To make it easy for you to support this cause, you can use this link to access all products that qualify for our City of Hope promotion.

City of Hope products

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The benefits of a chemical dilution system – save time, money, and reduce inventory

What is a chemical dilution system?

A Chemical Dilution System is a controlled system that takes concentrated cleaning chemicals and dilutes them with water to create a ready to use cleaning solution. These systems are used in place of purchasing ready-to-use product in bottles or buying concentrated chemicals and mixing manually.

What are the benefits of using a dilution system?

  1. Save Money –Dilution systems are less expensive and can be as low as a 10th of the cost dilution systemof ready-to use product.
  2. Save Time –Having an automatic system to dispense chemicals is much quicker than manually measuring, pouring, and mixing chemicals.
  3. Less Inventory – Free up shelf space and $ by not having to keep multiple chemicals in your inventory
  4. Reduce waste – Eliminates guessing which narrows the margin for error. Different ratios of the same chemical can be used for different tasks.
  5. Employee safety – These systems result in more thorough cleaning. Proper proportioning means that over or under concentrated solution is not being used.  These systems are also easier for training employees to use. They reduce the risk of chemical skin contact and eye damage from splash-back as well as slippery floors from spills.

Click here to speak to one of our Facilities experts to see how a dilution system could help your company save money – speak to our experts.

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How to Determine the Best Value Battery

Energizer and Duracell have done an amazing job promoting their products and earning brand loyalty. Is there anyone who doesn’t recognize the Bunny or Coppertop? I can’t even venture a guess as to the amount of $ invested in advertising over the years to promote the longer life of their product. But does most well known mean best performing?

We have recently been asked to take on the Rayovac brand. Rayovac has always been a lower cost battery, but how does the quality stack up to the other brands? Lower cost for lower performance does not create greater value for customers. To showcase the quality, Rayovac provided these results from American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Battery Performance Testing.

Rayovac ANSI test

Rayovac is at the top of the results for most batteries but they also state that a difference of 5% cannot be detected by consumers so the conclusion is that there is little difference between brands. You can see more detail about the tests here, ANSI Battery Testing.

I also did some research and found an article, Test Results That Will Change the Way You Buy Batteries Forever, describing a test performed by a team of students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  They found no significant difference in performance between brands and state that it is not worth spending more for premium brands.

Our conclusion is that Rayovac, Energizer, and Duracell are all great batteries, and any of the 3 at a better price provide greater value. Save $ by shopping Rayovac batteries here.

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The 4 major benefits of standardizing your office furniture

eO-plus-TMP-newOrdering furniture for your office can seem like an overwhelming task. There are so many things to consider – cost, style, colors/fabrics, etc. You want to make sure your office looks good, but you also need to stick to a budget. Standardizing your office furniture can make ordering furniture seem much less daunting.

Developing a standard for your office furniture can be done by choosing a brand, color scheme, and style of furniture for your entire office… or even better – choosing the actual furniture products to be used in your office going forward. Here are 3 benefits of standardizing your office furniture:

Consistency – Standardization creates a consistent look throughout your office and all other locations.  You don’t have a mish-mash of different styles and colors throughout the office… everything looks cohesive and matches.

Company Image - If you put in the effort up front to choose specific furniture that upholds your company image, standardization then ensures that your company image is maintained across all locations.

Quality Control – Standardization prevents people from ordering one-off items that do not meet your company image or standard.

Ease of ordering -Without standardization, each time you order office furniture you have to go online and research different products, prices, etc. Having a set list of furniture to choose from for your office significantly lessens the time it takes to order furniture – you know exactly what to order.


Want to speak to our furniture team about standardizing the furniture in your office? Click the link below!


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How to protect your company’s brand

brand imageYour company’s brand is one of the most important aspects of your business – whether large or small, B2C or B2B. An effective brand will give you a major edge against the competition. Your brand is your promise to your customer – it tells them what they can expect from your company and it differentiates you from your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be. Since it carries such a crucial message about your business, it’s obviously critical that that brand stay intact and remain consistent wherever it’s presented.

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NEOS CEO, Indira Patel to speak at Women’s Connection event

There are lots of exciting things happening over at New England Office Supply recently. You’re probably aware now of our merger with Universal Gold, a facilities company in Rhode Island that we announced earlier this month. We’re also excited to share that NEOS has just been named #10 on the list of Largest Minority and Woman Owned Businesses in Massachusetts by the Boston Business Journal!

Indira PatelOur CEO Indira Patel will be the featured speaker at the women’s entrepreneurial series, Women’s Connection: Women Driving Business Forward, hosted by ACG Boston next week. The series features women who are collectively driving corporate growth in Boston through starting, running, and advising companies in the area. The event will be held on the evening of September 23… if you are interested in attending or learning more, visit the event page.

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2 Big Reasons to Order Your Ice Melt Now

The winter of 2013/2014 was unusual. In many areas the snow started in December and did not stop until end of February. Most winters vary from heavy to light in different areas of the U.S., but last winter all areas of the country, from Minneapolis to Washington D.C., had consistent cold and snowy weather. There were not many severe storms, just more storms, more often. Cities and states that normally had a surplus ran out of salt.

I’m not one to panic before a big storm and not fond of scare tactics. You’ll also never find me at the market filling my cart with all the water and canned goods I can get my hands on. But our Facilities Category Manager, Kevin Henry, gave me this article, Salt, or lack thereof, from Snow Magazine, and the author makes a good argument to buy your ice melt ASAP. Here are the two best reasons I see.

Salt mines are struggling to replenish supplies that were depleted last winter. Mines and suppliers may not be able to replenished supplies by this winter. Some experts are saying that it may take as long as three years too catch up.

Anticipate a reactionary market place. Many customers were out of rock salt by last February and just could not find any in the market. Suppliers had many unhappy customers who were calling their competition. Both may overcompensate and buy larger quantities to avoid another unpleasant situation.  If demand is high enough there could be a price increase.

So let’s cross our fingers and hope the 2014/2015 winter is more like 2012/2013. And may your salt bin, bag, or pail remain overflowing.

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NEOS is proud to announce merger with Universal Gold, Inc.

NEOS and UG_blogNew England Office Supply (NEOS) announced today, September 8th 2014, its merger with Universal Gold, Inc., a premier supplier of janitorial, industrial, paper, rags, wipers, safety and packaging products located in East Providence, RI.

“We are proud to partner with Universal Gold and look forward to working together.  With locations in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island we will be able to offer many more options to our customers” said Indira Patel, President of NEOS.

The Universal Gold, Inc. East Providence, RI location will join NEOS’ Braintree, MA and Auburn, MA locations adding a strengthened presence in Rhode Island as the company expands operations at this location. Universal Gold brings an additional 30+ years of industry experience and extensive product knowledge in the janitorial industry to the New England Office Supply team. The merger of the two companies will create a larger selection of products and expertise to further establish NEOS’ position as a single source provider for customer’s business needs.

“As owner of Universal Gold I could not be more excited than to be partnering with NEOS. Our partnership will create a competitively priced, expanded product offering for our customers. NEOS’ customer support, knowledge, and overall vision will be a boon to all businesses in our area” said Jonathan Weitzner, President of Universal Gold.

New England Office Supply is a minority & woman owned company founded in 1993 with locations in Braintree MA, Auburn MA, and now East Providence, RI. NEOS is one of the region’s leading distributors of office supplies and furniture, custom printing, janitorial & breakroom supplies offering complete custom programs that consist of competitive pricing, spend analysis and reporting, e-procurement tools, and a consultative approach to doing business.

For FAQ’s regarding the merger, visit our FAQ page.

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5 tips to help you prepare for taking a vacation from work


We all enjoy having some “me time” and taking some time off from work to travel, spend time with family, or just have a stay-cation at home relaxing. While taking a vacation from work is relaxing and fun, you can’t really say the same for the first day back at work. Your first day back typically consists of sorting through the hundreds of emails you received while you were out, getting caught up on what happened over the past week, and trying to figure out where to even begin with all of the work you left behind.

Below are 5 tips to help you prepare for your vacation ahead of time so you can truly “unplug” while you’re away from work and not have to be stressed about what awaits you when you return to the office.

Set pre-vacation priorities. Prioritize what needs to be completed before you go on vacation and what can wait until you get back. This will ensure that you complete everything you absolutely need to before you leave and you will have a good starting point for what needs to be done when you return.

Let people know ahead of time that you’ll be out of the office. Let members of your team and other people that you work with frequently know that you’ll be going on vacation 1-2 weeks before you leave… that will give them enough time to contact you if they need anything before you leave. To cover anyone else who might need you before you leave, set up an out-of-office message 2 or 3 days before you leave to alert people you will be out.

Designate someone to be a point of contact while you’re out. When you compose your out-of-office message for your vacation, be sure to include the contact information of the person to be contacted in your absence. This may be a different person based on the needs of the person emailing you.

Give your team members a status update before you leave. Make sure to let team members know where you left off on projects and deliverables before you leave the office.

Use email rules to help organize emails while you’re away. There’s nothing worse than coming back from vacation to a full inbox… especially when half of the emails don’t even require a response from you. An easy way to avoid this is to create rules in your email client to sort the emails coming in. You could create a rule to put all emails from members of your team into one folder – that way you’ll know those are higher priority. You could create another rule to put all subscription based emails (blogs, newsletters, et) into another folder – you can easily do this by creating a rule for all emails that contain words like “unsubscribe” or “view in a browser”.


By taking these steps to prepare for vacation before you leave, you can actually relax and really enjoy your vacation without worrying as much about having a mess to deal with when you get back to the office.

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