Business and Customer Services
Through a variety of services, OfficeMax helps our customers manage their business and reduce their environmental impact. Some of these services include customer insight and usage reports, online ordering, obsolete electronics recycling and, through an initiative from our Canadian Grand & Toy subsidiary, electronic invoice presentment.
Customer Insight and Usage Reports
Account teams within our Contract business segment can access customer data to generate two types of useful reports. Customer insight reports help our customers better understand their own ordering habits and behaviors. From an environmental standpoint, this information tells them, for example, whether they place frequent small orders or consolidated large orders, the latter of which reduces our transportation requirements and, indirectly, our customers’ carbon footprint. This management tool is unique to OfficeMax in the office products industry.
Product usage reports tell our customers the types and quantities of products that they have purchased. Using this report, we can recommend alternative products which help reduce environmental impacts. This might include switching to recycled paper or reducing overall paper usage. Usage reports can also be used to compare environmentally preferable purchasing to other companies in the customers’ industry as designated by Standard Industry Classification (S.I.C.) code. Specific company names are not included in the reports.
Using this information, our customers can adjust their ordering policies to achieve their own environmental stewardship goals. For example, if there is a recycled alternative that corresponds to a product that a customer has ordered, the customer can designate in advance that the product is to be automatically substituted with the recycled alternative.
OfficeMax is dedicated to providing our customers with ordering options that best suit their needs, including online, telephone and in-person purchasing. The OfficeMax Maxi catalog is offered in electronic format, thus reducing paper and the need to transport paper catalogs. Electronic ordering also reduces the need for paperwork for both customers and OfficeMax.
Obsolete Electronics Recycling
Obsolete electronic equipment is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the United States. This is a serious issue because such equipment generally contains lead, mercury, and other toxic materials, which can leach into groundwater if improperly handled.
OfficeMax helps its customers find environmentally and socially responsible ways to shed unneeded electronics. In some cases, that means arranging for the equipment to be donated to a charitable organization or remarketed to the customer’s own employees, after being scrubbed of the customer’s data. We can also help customers get their equipment disassembled into its component parts and then recycled, as we do with our internal obsolete electronics.
Electronic Invoice Presentment
Our Canadian subsidiary, Grand & Toy, prints and mails hundreds of thousands of invoices and statements to our business customers annually, consuming over four million sheets of cut paper and large quantities of envelopes.
In 2007, Grand & Toy implemented a Web-based invoice presentment solution that enables customers to view, approve, download and archive their invoices online. This system is part of Grand & Toy’s robust ordering Web site that provides customers with a single destination for ordering products and viewing their invoices.
Small business customers use Grand & Toy’s electronic invoicing system because it is simple and easy to use, and they can view their invoices online the next day, following delivery of goods. Large, multi-location customers find that online invoice approval saves them time and money. After individual departments (who are only able to view their own section of the invoice) review and approve their invoice sections independently, a centralized office can then approve the total invoice. This saves the customer from having to photocopy and distribute invoice copies throughout their organization.
Grand & Toy estimates the annual cost to print and mail invoices and statements to the average customer to be in the $35 to $40 (Can) range. In 2007, they presented 120,000 invoices online, representing a 6 percent reduction in paper volume and a savings of $90,000 in printing and mailing costs.