Simon Creasey, PrintWeek
We polled a group of industry experts for their top tips to enable PrintWeek
readers to save their company as much as £10,000. Simon Creasey reveals some of
Managing director, Webmart
Tell your mobile phone provider that you are terminating the contract. That then
goes to their ‘retention' department who can offer much bigger discounts than
you could ever negotiate with a salesperson. Always get three prices for
everything over £100 you buy - you'd be amazed at the range of prices you will
get back and you could save £10,000 over a year easily, even if no one
individual item is worth more than £1,000 - it's well worth the time investment.
Always ensure you get a quote for any ‘extras' or on-going costs for anything
that you buy. Even if it is unlikely that you will go for them, at least you can
compare the ‘whole-life' costs. Give your salespeople the tools to work out
estimates for standard work on their own rather than going into a commercial
team (who would only have to set the pricing level once a day) - this saves up
to 80% of their activity.
Managing director (North), BPIF
There are devices such as the Power Safer (www.powersafer.net/en-gb), which
turn machines from ‘standby' to ‘off'. For fridges and freezers there's SavaPlug
(www.savawatt.co.uk), which replaces the fridge's normal plug and has a sensor
that reduces the amount of electricity used to pump the refrigerant around the
fridge. Install ‘presence detection' controlled lighting in places not in
constant use. Purchase mains electricity timer plugs for appliances (such as
coffeemakers and vending machines) and office equipment (laser printers and
photocopiers) that do not need to be left on outside office hours. Run a ‘Switch
Off' campaign covering, for example, computers, lights and printers. Source food
for the canteen from the UK wherever possible. Connect PCs directly to the fax server to prevent
unnecessary paper use and use multifunctional devices in place of photocopiers,
fax machines and printers.
Director, Close Print
By paying off your invoice discounting or factoring facility with asset-based
refinance over three years readers would save massive amounts of money.
Production director, Lick
We spent £5,000 on an automated tabbing machine which has saved us well over
£10,000 in labour costs. The tabbing machine only requires two people to operate
it as opposed to the 10 people previously required on the hand-tabbing station.
Richmond Capital Partners
There are many ways of saving £10,000 or more in most print businesses. In
particular, general housekeeping issues should be addressed. Look at utility
bills; check consumption levels and shop around for the best tariffs. Reduce
standby costs by switching off equipment not in use at the time. It's surprising
how often lights and equipment are left on overnight unnecessarily and the
cumulative costs can be significant. Introducing ‘good housekeeping' disciplines
can also have a beneficial knock-on effect as it sends a message to all staff of
the need to avoid wastage in these difficult financial times. Look carefully at
other waste issues such as paper ‘overs' allowances on jobs. In Japan, for instance, their overs are much lower than in the
UK. It's surprising how unaware those on the
shop floor may be of the costs involved and the potential savings. Look at
machinery; are there machines in dark corners of the factory which only see the
light of day on rare occasions? They may be costing you money as well as tying
up capital. Consider selling off unnecessary equipment and putting the proceeds
into equipment which will be used regularly to good and profitable effect. There
are many options for under £10,000.
Consultant, Clare Taylor
If printers are not already doing it, they should take a look at the waste they
are producing and think about ways of preventing or reducing it. Makereadies,
spoils, using over-size sheets, over-orders of ink, etc can all be reduced.
Vision in Print (www.visioninprint.co.uk/LeanHub.ink) is a good source of ideas.
What waste can be segregated for recycling? Can unprinted or very lightly
printed paper be separated from heavily printed? Can waste cardboard and
plastics be separated and baled? This can increase the value to recyclers.
Baling cardboard and plastic means that recyclers are transporting solid
material, not mainly air, and thus gives it a value to them. Stack used ink tins
neatly for disposal, that way they take up less room and need fewer collections
(and the fees that go with this) than if they're just thrown into the skip or
container. Look at ways of saving energy; opportunities to save money range from
investing in power-factor correction equipment, where appropriate, to simply
making sure everyone switches off office equipment, lighting, heating and air
conditioning when it's not being used. The Carbon Trust is a good source of
information and ideas.
Managing engineer, Vision
You need to measure productivity in terms of run times, down time and
makereadies and use the data to make changes. Printers often find that
makereadies are taking longer than expected. This can be for a number of
reasons, but often it's because shopfloor workers are receiving incorrect
information - there are too many errors on the job bag or they receive
conflicting instructions. Until you start to look at the time it is taking you
to do things you often don't realise how significant it is. Also you need to
look at the total cost of things and not the price that you pay for it - to do
this you have to understand how items are used. Waste is a big factor. Make sure
that you segregate white waste from grey waste and then talk to waste collection
companies and negotiate with them. Some people are paying to have stuff removed
when the waste companies might be prepared to pay them to take it away if you
negotiate the right deal. Purchasing is another big area - there's a best
practice guide on our website that you can download for free
(www.visioninprint.co.uk). It's important that you listen to the people on the
shop floor - they will often tell you where the waste is and how you can save
money. The main lesson is that you need to measure things so that you know
objectively where the biggest costs are and then you can start to address them.
Commercial director, The
The best tip for saving £10,000 (or a lot more) would be to incentivise staff
for making savings on purchasing. I have found this to be one of the most
TOP TIPS: PRICE DEFENDER
For many businesses, 2008 was all about increasing prices as a result of raw material, transport
and other cost increases. In 2009, a common theme is defending these gains as
customers are now expecting price reductions on the back of decreases in raw
materials and other costs, as well as the tough economic environment.
Here is a basic 10-step approach to holding firm on your prices:
1. Have a clear pricing model or strategy for the year.
2. Condition the customer. Be humble, but resolute.
3. Who goes first? Get the timing right.
4. Make sure you have a watertight rationale for maintaining prices.
5. Help the customer achieve their objectives.
6. Remember, every little counts regarding timings and amounts.
7. Segment your customers into A, B or C grades based on margin analysis.
8. Lock in customers with non-price trade-offs.
9. Reduce account costs.
10. Have plausible responses to customers’ top 10 objections.
David Barnfield, Founder, PiP Associates
(Profit Improvement Programmes)
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