Running an efficient office has never been any easy proposition. When personalities are involved, it can be difficult to get everyone to operate with a single vision. Personality flaws aside, in order to increase productivity workers must be given the proper tools to capably complete a task. Office managers are often charged with acquiring the products and office supplies needed for these tasks. Time management is naturally improved with the use of proper tools.
Office supplies are often viewed as nothing more than a nuisance item, an afterthought. But this could be a mistake. Office supplies are in fact the foods of a business . Disagree? Well, work can come to a complete standstill and productive time lost if the toner malfunctions or if all the copy paper is used up. thus, besides maintaining a healthy backup of these necessities, a wise office manager should consider newer products in circulation that might in fact save the organization money in the very short term.
The reality of difficult economic conditions has forced many firms to place bigger workloads on fewer people. Doing more with less has always been the goal of upper management but now with the harsh truth of an extended depressed economy staring us square in the face, this concept must be put into action now.
In house marketing pieces are becoming much common place assisted by both technological advances and the need to control expenses. Printing on demand rather than by the thousands is certainly attractive. Having a staffer create an email campaign instead of outsourcing it to a professional marketing firm has been infinitely easier thanks to simple and affordable web based programs. The idea to remember here is cost effective efficiency.
Therefore, office managers, while of course keeping in mind cost containment, should explore the new product options that exist instead of simply focusing on saving a quarter here or a nickel there. Often times, more money is needlessly spent under the assumption that one particular purchase is more cost effective and therefore better. This is not always the case. Take a shredder for example. The price range can be huge . What may look like a good deal might have some buried expenses. Let’s say you purchase a simple cross cut shredder. It seems to shred just fine, but the bulk of the shredded strips requires more shredder bags and more trips to the dumpster. Had a cross cut shredder been purchased instead the remnants would have been smaller and easier to compact. The cross cut shredder is more expensive but , the associated expenses would have been less.
Similar examples can be found in laser cartridges, high yield toner cartridges do cost more, but the extra toner ensures a longer print out and therefore longer periods of uninterrupted work. Binding machines have evolved to become considerably easier to operate and now requires fewer supplies. Take a look at a machine such as the Unibind. It is so simple and quick to use that no training or special skill is required.
It is said that office supplies represent 1% to 1 ½% of a business’s overall operating budget. And yet, many office managers simply look at the office supply budget and pound it yielding miniscule savings. Instead, the real expense is labor. Buying your office supplies online is certainly less laborious then faxing or phoning an order and light years more efficient than driving to an office supply store. Labor can represent almost 97% of an operating budget. Properly addressing this area is where the savings can be most effectively realized. The focus must be here and not necessarily on the products themselves.
Instead of using bland manila, color coding your filing system, while more expensive has a definite payoff. Likewise, using a tabbing system that allows a file to be viewed from the top down would assuredly cost a little more than those flimsy plastic tabs that are so difficult to insert. But, think of the productivity improvement from such a seemingly minor tweak. Filing away and retrieval becomes much faster…mis-filing infrequent. The office supply industry is filled with a plethora of such products designed to help with work flow. Unfortunately, so many great products are neglected simply because they are more expensive or the office manager does not examine other possibilities.