While there’s always going to be what business people call “overhead”, or “the cost of doing business” – this process of expensing things can get very out of hand. As you start to account for costs in your company, and realize they aren’t actually making you money; you can begin to move them from the “investment” category to simple “waste.” It is impossible to eliminate all waste in any modern office, but there’s a lot you can do to reign it in, and curb some of the wasteful resource binging you probably don’t even know is happening. In this article, we’ll take a look at just how you can reduce waste in your small business or large company – and how it’s not about being stingy.
Defining Waste: a New Mindset
While you might think a diatribe about reducing office waste and spending is a simple as some tightwad ranting to his employees “Don’t use so many paper clips! Stop only printing on one sheet of paper!, etc.”, this is not the case. In fact, most people aren’t trying to be malicious when they create waste, they just don’t have the best mindset about what waste in a modern office really is. The fact is, even if you are wasting paper and office supplies, this cost probably can be justified as an investment – if it’s saving you the one resource you can’t afford to spend extra on: time.
Time Management: a New Culture
Since time is the number one wasted resource in any modern office space, the first step in stopping the bleeding is to change the way people think about it altogether. If employees do think about the time they waste, and feel badly about it – it’s probably about the time they spend chatting at the water cooler, or maybe even checking facebook at work. In reality, these activities (practiced in moderation) are actually good time investments in your employee’s happiness and well-being. What wastes even more valuable time, and leads to amazing amounts of unseen costs – are the processes and work-related tasks that are repeated, re-done, or done in an inferior manner. These little bits of waste add up to thousands of man-hours each year, and potentially millions of dollars of wasted money.
Identifying Waste in Your Company
If you’re managing a sales staff, and can’t figure out how you can improve their work habits to start eliminating waste – or don’t know the first place to look; the answer is probably right under your nose. For starters, anything that’s been unchanged or unevaluated for years at a time is an obvious place to start. Take the process of moving an order through your CRM Center – has any new technology been invented to speed this up? Is anything – even a single number, or statement – typed twice by two different people, instead of auto-repeated or selected from a radio button? These kinds of simple fixes that “don’t seem to matter much” on an everyday basis, will save you that invaluable resource in the end: time. And we all know time is money.
Technology and Waste
While technology can’t fix everything – and is expensive in itself – some simple solutions of current technology can end up saving thousands of man hours at year end. For example, the online printing company, Printingforless.com made the decision that no employee would have less that 2 monitors at their desk. “Why” critics may ask, “that’s so much more expensive?!” The answer is, PFL followed statistical data about how much time modern office workers spend clicking between windows as they accomplish tasks. After some simple calculations, PFL found that the monitors paid for themselves quite quickly, and their employee’s output was noticeably higher and faster!