Exceptional reputation retains clients, attracts employees to this office supply business

Oct. 15, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by Interstate Office Products.

Curt Reinschmidt was looking for a change.

After two decades working with office supplies from Gateway computers to mailing solutions, he wanted to put his industry knowledge to work for a local company with a great reputation.

That led him to Interstate Office Products, where he recently became a workplace specialist.

“Even when I was working for a competitor, I never heard anything negative about Interstate,” he said. “And when I first met with them, we had a conversation about culture and philosophy, and it just felt right.”

Since he started, “it’s even more than what I expected,” he continued. “The team environment is amazing.”

Interstate Office Products combines commercial design services with furniture and office supply sales, working with business clients of all sizes.

At Avera Health, where 18,000 employees require everything from pens and staplers to toner and tape dispensers, it has become a seamless relationship.

“It’s amazing. We work with many hundreds of different manufacturers, distributors and vendor partners. And if we gave an award for vendor of the year, IOP would win every year. They’re really, really good,” said Kevin Jordanger, business development director for Avera’s PACE, which supports Avera partner facilities with purchasing and other services.

While Avera has access to more than 100,000 office supply items through IOP, the two have worked together to create a database of 900 most commonly used products.

“It’s the best product at the best price, and they help us go to bat with the manufacturer to get even better pricing for our group,” Jordanger said. “If there’s anything special that gets ordered, it gets flagged and escalated for approval.”

Because space is always at a premium, IOP also offers next-day delivery to avoid items being stockpiled in offices.

“They can be done per person or per department, but it means we don’t stock a lot of unnecessary small-dollar-value items,” Jordanger said. “They’re delivered the next day to your department or even to your desktop, and that’s something they offer any customer.”

While it has been a long relationship, Avera frequently analyzes it, and IOP still comes out ahead, he said.

“We’ve averaged a major analysis on our spend every year for the last five to six years, and every time we’ve done it, our pricing is better than all the national contracts we have available to us – Staples, Office Depot type of contracts. Sometimes it’s double-digit savings.”

A couple of years ago, IOP did its own analysis on different toners Avera was using.

“They presented a business case back to us to help save us about 50 percent by moving to a compatible toner,” Jordanger said. “They’re taking a loss in margin, but to be a good partner they saw an opportunity we didn’t even know existed and brought it to us. So we switched toner, and we’re saving tens of thousands a year. There aren’t many businesses that would do that.”

The attention to detail is impressive too, Jordanger said.

“Errors happen. We catch errors in purchasing all the time. But most of the errors that have happened, of which there have been very few, IOP has caught them, fixed them, credited us and brought it to our attention. We don’t even have to ask. There are some vendors we have to chase for a year to correct an error in pricing. That saves time and a lot of money.”

That’s the sort of workplace culture that attracted Reinschmidt.

“The company as a whole shares the same values I try to treat my customers with,” he said.

In his new role, he’s looking forward to developing a new promotional products and printing division for IOP.

“That will allow us to assist customers more in their marketing strategy, whether it’s with pens, pencils, corporate awards, corporate gifts or anything with your company logo on it,” he said. “And with the resources we have, we’re competitive with any of the providers out there. But just as importantly, we’re delivering exceptional service.”

To learn more about how Interstate Office Products can keep your office supplied, visit i-o-p.com or call 605-339-0300.

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Exceptional reputation retains clients, attracts employees to this office supply business

“If we gave an award for vendor of the year, IOP would win every year. They’re really, really good.” If you’re not buying office supplies here, you’ll want to reconsider after this.

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