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Corporate stationery supplier Red-Inc wins “Big Four” tender

November 25, 2020 | Posted by Amy

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Corporate stationery supplier Red-Inc wins “Big Four” tender.

Life at Red-Inc is so much more than stationery, you know that right?  If not, take a look at what people say about us here

We have been on a quest since 2008 to reinvent a business model that might survive in the long-term, when all around there are changes and challenges in our industry – and that’s before COVID 19.

Our mission statement says it all; “To build a new low impact business model; to innovate, create value and make a positive difference”. Yet this would be no mean feat!

You could also say that our mission is firmly on course because we have accomplished so many of our goals. So should we be content? No chance…


Why we keep pushing forward

I don’t think the Red-Inc machine knows how to take it easy. Our driven team of talented people just keep working harder and harder to achieve more and more for both the company and our clients! There is no sitting back on our laurels here.

The team has that inner burning drive and desire to be the best – and by saying being best, that certainly doesn’t mean the biggest. We look at our selves as a niche corporate stationery supplier and a ‘go to’ guru, with our depth of knowledge around sustainability.

And as a result of this drive, we have done some pretty cool things over the years and ticked off some amazing goals along the way.

LIKE; Winning the WWF- UK stationery tender which was definitely a badge of honour for us, and thinking back to 2017 when we became the first UK certified B Corp stationery company. Subsequently, we got to meet and work with so many inspiring people and companies, most of whom we now call friends.

We also work with some of the top legal companies in the UK and have been responsible for changing cultures and procurement protocol that was donkey’s years old. Not to mention introducing some great ideas and schemes like the Christmas card recycling scheme.


What has that meant to us  

To sum it up I’d use the word PRIDE. We all have pride in our actions, behaviour, and therefore in our results. We conduct ourselves in that fashion from start to finish, each day, each month, and each year. It’s what gels the team together, a uniformed belief in doing the right thing every time. Oh, and stacks of care and patience!

Perhaps we were always going to be a slow burner, like the hare and the tortoise. But we stayed on course and kept pushing the boundaries even when no one else was bothering or listening to what we were saying. Building a new business model that’s been previously referred to as a “build it and they will come” model, takes an enormous amount of time and effort. Very few corporate stationery supplies companies are a brand, they are just simply another stationery company. We were keen to build a brand that people associated with ethics and values and service first and foremost.


Tender win 2020

Perhaps all that hard work that the team has put in over the years lead us to where we found ourselves back in 2019;  in the biggest tender of our lives, up against the biggest and best corporate stationery supplier and various stationery companies in the UK- all with eyes on the prize – a global giant with more than 20,000 staff.

It was quite remarkable really, and thinking back it seems a bit like a dream. Don’t forget we don’t employ any sales staff.

The tender was the toughest thing we have ever done – hands down – and due to some complications of timings including initial Brexit proposals and the like, the tender ended up running for around 15 months. I know that sounds a bit bizarre now… just imagine living it for that long.

We could have said no to start with or anywhere along that journey, BUT we felt we had what it took. We really did. The past 10 years all felt like they closed in and that expertise, learning, knowledge, incentives, and passion came together in a great big ball of hope.

Nevertheless, it was very tough and we had moments wondering if we were wasting our time. Others around questioned why we stayed in it without any relationship and knowing how the corporate stationery supplier giants would play their hands as they always have.

But we held up, mainly because we don’t just say we are a “sustainable” office supplies company, we are. We know we can deliver the best service in the industry – unquestionably!

AND ultimately the proof is in the pudding, right?  we couldn’t have won this tender without a very meticulous model around what we do.

It’s safe to say this win, is significant for both the client and for us as the supplier. I can’t think of many companies of our size that have ever achieved such a mighty scalp. It’s the true definition of David and Goliath.


Why is this so significant

Well, on top of everything, this is ground-breaking in our eyes, not just because of our size . This company was looking for a true sustainable supplier- not one that is just tick boxing – or claiming to be “green” like many do.

They wanted a true partner and supplier that could match their ambitions and shine in their supply chain.

When delivering a sustainability meeting to some of the UK’s best, we knew “ talking the green conversation” just wouldn’t cut it. We needed to be the best and provide evidence of our skills and expertise.

We were required to demonstrate our understanding of impact, how we measure emissions and co2 data. This was far from an easy ride.

And throughout, we had to prove how we can really service a client and our understanding of pain points and solutions. An area massively overlooked, but was also one of the highest elements of the tender.

So here is a snap shot review for the first 6 months from the client.

“We moved over to Red-Inc in the second week of April this year, during some very strange times, both globally but also within the stationery industry. The move was seamless, with Red-Inc just a pleasure to work with on every point. We have far higher levels of service, which during these distant times has been invaluable as we tried to obtain hard to come by items that everyone else was also trying to source. We have also been able to start on our journey to purchase more sustainable products and target less carbon emissions. A really strong start to our new relationship.”

Final word from founder Adam.. “what we have achieved here as a team is quite simply nothing short of exceptional. Every person counts at Red-Inc and it’s that which makes the company what it is. Our tireless commitment to true sustainability throughout the supply chain and through our products has paid off.  Red-Inc has now placed itself firmly in the position as one of the UK’s leading corporate stationery suppliers”