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Black Bear Group

Practical Solutions for Schools and Business


Buying Group For Schools

Key Points

For Teachers...

We can supply a wide range of educational products for all ages. With a comprehensive catalogue or easy to use website it is easy to find what you need. Contact us for the latest catalogue.

For Reprographics...

With a wide range of papers and card in an assortment of colours we can provide everything for the busy reprographics department. Contact us for a swatch.

For General Office...

We can supply all your office needs from paper to furniture, branded or own brand with free next day delivery. Contact us for a catalogue.

For IT Department...

Branded or own brand toners, inkjet and other IT consumables are available at value for money prices. Contact us for details.

How the buying group works...

Launched in 2010 under the Purchasing Power for Schools banner, our buying group offers even greater benefits to schools and is now free to join ...

So why would you want to join a buying group? Well, by consolidating the spend of all it's members we are able to leverage prices down to a level generally enjoyed by the bigger multi-national companies. This saves members money on the various categories of spend that we cover. (see Categories page) Typically between 10% and 26%.

This is how it works. We collate the spend of all group members in each category, so if we take paper, a typical secondary school would buy around 4,500 reams of A4 copy paper a year. So a hundred schools would buy 450,000 reams a year. Go to the supplier and say "I represent a group of organisations and I am going to buy 450,000 reams of A4 copy paper, what is the price?" I think you can understand that as a group we will get much better prices than a single school could. We apply this process to each item and category of spend.

To make sure we get the right prices we do two things:

1. On most categories we put the entire spend out to tender every 24 months and unlike some organisations we insist that every items has a price - not just a basket or core list of products.

2. On the three key categories: Office Products; Educational Supplies; IT Consumables; we price check key items (which we vary) against alternative suppliers to ensure buying group prices are competitive. We carry out this process every three months and these price comparisons are available to members on request.

So what sort of savings can you expect as a member of the buying group?

Well that depends on what you are buying, from where and how much time you are prepared to invest in the process. Typically our members save between £8.25 and £17.80 per pupil per annum. All our suppliers provide value for money, excellent service and backup support, they may not be the cheapest on every single item you buy but overall they will be. The reasons for this are down to the marketing techniques companies use to entice customers. For example stationery suppliers have baskets or core lists of products that they heavily discount, then overcharge for everything else. We have seen a major UK supplier sell a box of 50 Bic Blue pens for £3.54 (Core) and 50 Bic Red pens for £7.53 (Non-Core)! Neither price is correct, the real market value being around £5 whatever the colour!

Joining the buying group will save your school time and money. So why not contact us, we will be happy to come and talk to you.