It is a common human tendency to search for the best price. However, price is only one aspect amongst many when evaluating a variety of options in a purchase decision. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for…” In our office supply department, we have found that for binders, choosing the cheapest option will actually cost facilities money in the long run. One of the recommendations that we make to facilities is to replace their run-of-the-mill notebook binders with the stern, hard-backed medical binders, especially for activities that involve frequent and consistent use of the binders.
We got the idea to make this recommendation because we noticed that a facility was ordering dozens of the medical binders. When we inquired about how they were using them, they told us that they got tired of ordering and re-ordering ordinary 3-ring binders because they all seem to break with frequent use. The medical binders, however, are specifically designed for long-term use. Even though they cost a bit more, they outlast the other binders by a few years. They even come with a 5 year warranty (by the way, always keep in mind that the warranty is a signal of confidence to the consumer: the longer the warranty, the more confident the seller is).
The current cost of a 2.5inch medical binder at the Prime Source rate is about $13.50. The cost of a typcial 2.5inch binder is about $2.50. This means that, within a 5 year period, once a facility buys its sixth binder for the same purpose, it has lost money. Of course, this number does not include the lost time in re-ordering and transferring the papers not to mention the disorganization that results once the binders break. Obviously, if a facility is using typical binders for patient charts or other medical purposes, the facility will lose out in the long run with the constant wear and tear on the binders. For office and administration purposes, this savings is less obvious. Therefore, it makes sense for managers to look at their binder usage and think about which binders will have constant, high-frequency, long-term use. For these binders, managers should pay a little more up front to save money and hassle in the long run.