Many times when we talk with small offices about their office and janitorial products, they tell us they just send someone out to pick them up. Running out to a big box store to take advantage of the flyer price for BIC pens might save you a few cents, but it will cost you in staff time and potentially expose you to risks associated with having staff on the road rather than in their place of work. The prices at the dollar stores sure are hard to beat…but what do you know about the quality or source of that box of highlighters that just saved you $2?
Given enough time and resources, you can eventually find a lower price on almost any given item. But we have to ask – at what cost? The time and expense is obvious, but the associated risks are no less troublesome, and questions abound. What happens if your employee is in a car accident while shopping? What is the cost or risk of them being away from their assigned duties? What do you know about the origin or quality of those impossibly cheap supplies? Are you really saving anything when you have to replace your whiteboard markers three times as often? And the phenomenon of impulse buying is real – how much are you spending on unnecessary items because they were well displayed in a store?
To have a more realistic picture of the true costs, we have calculated the labor costs below depending on what the employee makes per hour. - see our chart below.
Click Here for Price Increase Letters from Manufacturers
The first thing someone might tell you if they hear you complain about paper prices is to go paperless. Unfortunately, that isn’t the answer for everyone, especially in the business world. So, why is paper so expensive and what can you do to mitigate the costs?
What is causing pricing issues?
With the rise of ecommerce, corrugate is more in demand (aka those boxes your online order comes in). Companies are switching their paper making focus to corrugate, which means less supply of regular old paper.
Previous reduction in demand = elimination of many papers AND mill consolidations. Fewer mills = rising paper pulp costs. According to Strategic Sourceror, the price of wood pulp is forecasted to increase at an annualized rate of 5.1% through 2019. Another source, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the Producer Price Index for pulp, paper and allied products has risen from 177.2 to 216.9 in the past year and is NOT expected to slow down. (June 2017 to May 2018)
Inflation & Input Costs
In addition to pulp price increases, chemicals and diesel prices have also gone up significantly. According to International Paper, NBSK Pulp prices were up +37% vs last year in June, Producer Price Index for Chemicals were up +5.6% in Q2 vs LY and diesel Prices are up +28% in June vs LY. Higher input costs means higher output price.
Single stream recycling has resulted in contaminated paper. China used to buy our recycled paper for pulp, but they banned the use of mixed grade waste paper. This means they can’t use it for pulp, and this fact alone drove pulp prices up 40% when it hit last year.
Irma and Harvey resulted in the shutdown of up to 18 pulp and paper mills in the United States. It also led to costly supply chain disruptions such as transportation on railroads, roads and at ports and the cost of wood.
This perfect storm brings up memories of college Econ 101. Supply vs Demand. And now that demand outweighs supply, the mills that are left are in control and can raise their prices to become profitable again. And, if paper brands don’t want to accept the price increases? Well, too bad for them because another brand will and they won't be able to produce their paper (aka all brands are accepting the inevitable).
Ways For YOU To Save Money
If you printed something out that you don’t need, use it as scratch paper!
Print Double Sided
Print double sided to cut your usage in half if you weren’t already doing this. If your printer can’t do this, see below for a great quality printer option from Twist.
Think before you Print
Stop and think if you really need to print something out. Does each person at a meeting need a copy of your presentation, or can you project it/email it out? Does that receipt need to be printed out or can you just screenshot it and archive it in a folder?
Use Quality Printers
Quality printers don’t jam as much. Less paper jams leads to saving money on wasted paper. Other printer features such as printing multiple pages on a single sheet or shrinking website data to one page also help reduce paper usage. Check out this great Brother Printer here that is great for small businesses or contact our team if you would like to find the best printer options for your company’s needs.
Use the Right Type of Paper
Do you need fancy glossy paper for something only you are going to see? Make sure that you are using the right paper for the job. Check out the guide below for choosing the right paper!
When OSHA was established April 28, 1971 a new industry was born. By 1974, Federal regulations for health & safety standards were established, paving the way for mobile first aid companies to market their services with the support of OSHA’s 1910.151 medical services and first aid standard. The mobile first service industry flourished during the 70’s and 80’s while helping manufacturers stay compliant with these new regulations from the federal government.
Much has changed since 1974. Health & safety practices have developed over time, include more employee feedback and participation. Unfortunately, many of the mobile first aid service processes are still very much the same as they were 45 years ago and they come with a significant cost. With the new ANSI standards and updated First Aid Kits that offer smart compliance, it is easy and cost effective to bring the maintenance of these kits inhouse.
Here are our 5 reasons to fire your first aid service.
1. A sales person is making the spending decisions.
Most mobile first aid representative is a salesperson who is paid on commission. The more they sell, the more they earn. Quotas and incentives to sell are standard practice in this industry. Do you really need the items they are selling you?
2. Save 50 - 75% of the cost.
Paying hundreds of dollars every month adds up significantly. The cost for a service includes the drivers salary plus commission, vehicle costs, insurance, plus the cost of the product. You can easily reduce your costs by 50-75% when you maintain the cabinets yourself. Check your invoices, you are charged a monthly service charge even if nothing needs to be replaced.
3. Your paying them to do the job right - but are they?
Have you looked inside the cabinets and confirmed that the appropriate supplies are there? Have you given them a list of items you want them to maintain and are they following your wishes? Is what is there more than what you really need?
4. Invoice & billing practices.
Take a close look at your invoice and you will discover that specific quantities are usually not included for medicines, bandages and ointments. Vague product descriptions and quantities are common in this industry. Descriptions like "small box" are done intentionally to allow services to reap profits and make it difficult to do a product comparison or know how much your are really paying for the products.
5. Be a part of the process.
When a service maintains your first aid supplies you are distanced from the process. It is important to know what injuries are taking place so that training and awareness can be improved. Did you know, that companies where an employee monitors and maintains the supplies lower the number of accidents? Less accidents mean even greater savings!
Twist OP has several options to help you maintain your supplies. With only a few minutes a mont you can reap the savings and benefits of maintaining first aid supplies yourself. If you are interested in learning more about maintaining your own supplies, call your sales rep and set up an appointment to have our Facilities Specialist help set up a program and get you started today.
One of my biggest money saving tips when it comes to food is to bring your own lunch to work. That $5 you’re spending on a sandwich equals $25 a week, and $1,300 per year. This may not seem like a big deal, but considering that a homemade lunch only costs $2-3, you could be spending half of what you currently are, saving yourself $650 a year on workday lunches alone.
Most people probably realize that brown bagging lunch is the cheapest option, but the hard part is actually creating the habit of packing it. Here are my best tips for getting yourself to bring lunch to work a reality.
Some of my favorite healthy and budget-friendly lunches include:
Not only does packing your lunches for work save you money, it typically means a healthier meal. Win-win!