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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

January 28, 2005

Office supplies for your department

Online ordering option moves to Central Stores

Anne Krapfl

In November, ISU departments' option for purchasing office supplies online changed -- from a University Book Store program to a university program. The university, through Central Stores and in a contract developed by ISU purchasing, now is part of a large-volume contract with Office Max. ISU purchasing is part of the Iowa Biotechnology Association purchasing consortium, and the Office Max contract group includes members of the consortium, the state's administrative services department and, most recently, the University of Iowa.

The Office Max contract replaces an online arrangement between the University Book Store and Boise Cascade. Boise Cascade has purchased Office Max and is selling office supplies under the Office Max name.

The new contract was developed specifically for ISU purchasing card use. The intent is to reduce administrative overhead, offer off-hours convenience and provide discounted prices to university departments.

The bookstore currently does not have an online ordering option, but it continues to stock office supplies at its own discounts and fills special orders. Orders phoned or faxed in typically are filled within 24 to 48 hours.

Central Stores manager Norm Hill and director of business affairs Arlo Meyer responded to Inside's questions about the change.

How do I get signed up?

If you already have an ISU purchasing card, e-mail Belva Weers in Central Stores, She will set up an account. (Accounts from the previous Boise Cascade contract automatically transferred to the Office Max program.)

If you need an ISU purchasing card, contact Lesley Lackore, coordinator of the purchasing card program in the purchasing department, 4-4589. Additional information is online at

How does the Office Max process work?

The ISU employee with departmental authorization places an order online (click on "Office Max Supplies" on the Central Stores home Web site. Orders are assembled and boxed at an Office Max distribution center in west suburban Chicago and trucked overnight to campus. Central Stores doesn't actually stock office supplies -- but merely receives and delivers orders placed online to Office Max.

If an order was placed by 4 p.m. on a workday, it will be delivered by 4 p.m. the following workday.

Upon request, catalogs also are available from Office Max at no charge.

Is there a minimum order requirement?

No. You can buy a single box of paper clips, if that's what you need.

Do I have to use this service, or can I still shop at the bookstore or off-campus stores?

Use of this service is not mandatory. The Office Max contract provides discounted pricing for those with purchasing cards who prefer to shop online -- and can wait for next-day delivery. If you need something immediately, the bookstore is a good option. We think departments will find they save money by using a university supplier, rather than an off-campus vendor.

Which option is going to save the most money for my department?

Because of ISU purchasing's competitive bid process, the Office Max contract offers prices that are more deeply discounted than the previous Boise Cascade contract. ISU departments should benefit from the prices. The University Book Store continues to offer competitive pricing through its bookstore buying group and wholesale purchases. We encourage department customers to contact Central Stores and the bookstore for prices, to find the option that best meets their needs.

Do I use this Office Max system for everything I used to buy through Central Stores?

No. Central Stores still has its high-volume contracts for items such as paper products, printer cartridges and transparencies. The process for buying those items remains the same. Office furniture still is ordered through ISU facilities planning and management and ISU purchasing.


There's a new option for purchasing office supplies. Here are some answers for common questions about the new system.