Here at United Imaging, we have over 157,000 discount office items at our disposal. Some of it is the exact name-brand stuff you’ll find at every office supply store, while other items might be “generic” names that you’ve never heard of before (a term that we’ll get into more later). But that doesn’t mean that they’re not every bit as good as the name brand items. So when we say discount office items, you don’t have to think of them as being lesser in any way; it just means that you’re getting a great price on them, and that’s what makes them discount!

Today we’re going to take a look at the differences between name-brand and generic office supplies, and how a representative from United Imaging can help you make the decisions that can save your company a lot of money!

What Does Generic Mean?

In general, generic items are those that are sold with the product in question being the main selling point, with no clout of a brand name behind it. Generic items often have simpler packaging and will have no marketing behind them. While they can still be quality items, their primary means of competition relies solely on price.

It can be difficult to find products that have truly generic packaging anymore. This only occurs when the contents — blue pens, pinto beans, long-grain rice — are the only printing on the package. Even the lowest-quality dollar store items often have a company name attached (even if the company is imaginary) in order to give it the feel of having some clout.

Most generic products of today have evolved into store brands, with Safeway or Walmart putting their own brand names on generic products. Some “generic” items can even be well-regarded, such as Costco’s Kirkland-series of products or King Soopers’ Private Selection. You might even call these types of products “premium generics”!

Are Generic Items of a Lesser Quality?

Before we start discussing the quality of discount office supplies online, let’s discuss something that most of us think about when we have to make a decision between name-brand and generic: food. The most common time we’re presented with the choice is at a grocery store, because right next to the Oreos are the Great Value Twist and Shouts. Kroger peanut butter is right next to the Jif. There are as many generic sodas as there are name-brand sodas! Until you try each out, it’s impossible for you to know which you prefer.

Name-brands certainly want you to think that they are better, and they market heavily and invest in package design to make you think that they are, indeed, a higher-quality product. Consumer reports did a small test showing that name-brand foods seem to taste better in about half the instances, with generics tying the other half. Going in blind, you seldom know what you’re getting with generics.

Now let’s take a look at what you’re here about: discount office supplies. And we’ll ask the question again, “are generic items of a lesser quality?” Here’s your answer: sometimes. Sometimes a cheaper item is of a lesser quality, and having to deal with it could drive you up the wall! If you purchase 1000 pens and they dry out before you can make use of them, then it really doesn’t matter how good a deal you got on them, does it?

Most of the time you really don’t have to worry. The fact is that many generics are just as good, and sometimes better, than their name-brand versions (more on that under the next heading). Just because you’re not familiar with the name on your memo sticky notes doesn’t mean that they’re going to stick less than the 3M version. And if your invisible tape dispenser spends most of its time in your desk drawer and works as well as any other tape, what does a name-brand really matter?

In the end, you might simply have to test one product against another before knowing if it’s going to meet your needs. Or you could rely on someone like our representative at United Imaging who deals with direct office supplies all day, every day. Alan knows what types of generic office supplies are worth it and what kinds you should avoid, all determined by how important they are to your business.

Who Is Making Generic Office Supplies?

Earlier we mentioned that generic foods taste as good as name-brand foods about half the time. Do you know why that is? Because it’s the exact same product! Not only is it the same product, but it’s sometimes made in the same facility with the same machines. Having one name-brand item in a grocery store only gives a product so much shelf space. Having a name-brand and a generic product doubles the shelf space and gives a company a chance to sell to someone who would have passed over the item if there weren’t a cheaper, generic equivalent.

The same can occur in the world of wholesale business supplies. Those “generic” universal file folders that you purchased might not have the brand name attached, but they came from the same factory as the ones that cost so much more at an office supply store. While large office supply manufacturers might be making less money per piece, they offer their own generic equivalent so that they can compete with other manufacturers making their own generic products.  

How Important Is It To You?

If you find that at generic item offers better quality and is cheaper to boot, then, by all means, go with the cheaper item! Unless you’re trying to impress people around the office with name-brand merchandise, then it’s pretty much a no-brainer

But what if the generic product only provides 90-percent of the quality you’re looking for? Well, there are simply some situations in which a lower-quality item is perfectly fine for your needs. Perhaps you don’t use the item very often, or the amount of time lost to a lesser item is made up by the steep discount you’ll get on that item. Take bulk copy paper, for instance. If it causes a jam one extra time in every 10,000 sheets and it only takes 30 seconds to remedy the problem, maybe it’s worth a little extra hiccup if it saves you tons of money.

So What Should You Do?

You should talk to someone who really knows their discount office supplies. Because we work with so many products every day and are constantly hearing what our customers think about them, we have a bead on the quality of office supplies and can make recommendations appropriately. If you are creating high-quality reports but still want discount copy paper, we can help you find the best option for you. On the other hand, if price is your primary concern, we’ll get you the absolute best price on copy paper…guaranteed!

We want to help you save money, and we will produce an itemized report proving that we can find you the best price available on each and every item you use. Contact Alan Comeaux today to get the process started!