Posted by: Paul Millican
Earlier this year, a 14 year old boy was reported in the American press to have presented the government with a money saving solution adding up to $400million. By changing the font they used on paperwork, thus reducing the overall cost of ink and printing in general.
This is a perfect example of how a small expense may be tricking you out of a healthy bottom line; as with your own personal finances, you may find that the cost of a small overhead is adding up to something unexpectedly big. Stationery is one such expense that you’d think would constitute only a small part of the budget, but if mishandled, it can lead to a growing expense. It also doesn’t matter what kind of business you have – or even how ardently you champion the ‘paper free environment’ standard – stationery and printing will always creep into the overheads.
Now I’m not saying you should reach for the nearest pen and discard it out of the window – it’s a waste of ink and a perfectly good pen – or automatically switch fonts to a barely legible scrawl, but you can (and possibly should) consider managing the costs associated with your business’ stationery expenditure amongst all the bigger overheads such as utilities and rent.
Of course, there’s help available, and three top tips for an initial cost reduction to start you off on the right track.
Firstly – and most obviously – you should shop around for every utility, service and product. Stationery isn’t an exception to this rule – whether you use branded or own-label products. Doing some research on different prices is essential and a practice that not enough businesses put into action. For example, do you fully understanding what the discounts being offered actually mean? It is well known that many of the national suppliers of stationery products have varying RRPs, so what may look like a very attractive discount may be deceptive and very misleading on the actual end price you will pay (something I’ll be touching on in a future blog – keep your eyes peeled!).
Another thing to consider is how much stationery and printing is being used versus how much you need to order; I’ve known more than one client to be over-zealous with their ordering of pens, paper and ink toner and cartridges, when in truth they’ve ended up with over stocked stationery cupboards and redundant toners and cartridges. By analysing how much is actually used by the business you will be surprised at how much money can be saved by only buying what the business really needs.
Tying the two tips above together can be done with relative ease, whether it’s controlled through one individual, who is responsible for placing and processing orders, or through an online ordering platform, featuring specific levels of control and authority already built in. Whichever you’d prefer, it really does pay to have someone acting as the gatekeeper between unrealistic stationery requests and what actually gets ordered, to ensure the business’ needs for stationery are met and cost management standards are enforced.
So next time you put in a stationery order, make sure the question is asked: do we really need all of this? You’ll be surprised at how the little savings add up!
If you’d like your business costs reviewed, you can enquire here for a business Health Check.