Ten Ways to Take Control of Hidden Costs at the Office

Opportunities for savings can be discovered in nearly every area of business. Continuous, incremental improvements add up to big savings. Our tips can help.

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1. Make cost control everyone’s business.
Nobody knows the details of your company’s business processes like your employees and coworkers. Ask them to uncover the time wasters and tasks with a poor return on investment. Get their ideas on how things could be done in less time and/or for less cost. Share the results of ideas that are implemented.

2. Communicate expectations.
Set guidelines and train employees and coworkers on expectations. For example, implementing policies for travel expenses is far more effective if travelers understand both the policies and the reasoning behind them. The extra time spent training will pay for itself in more efficient administration and processing of expense reports.

3. Take control of your printing costs.
The majority of businesses with five or more printers don’t track or manage their office printing costs. Outsourcing using a managed print service can track use and expense. With visibility of how your resources are used you can take control and reduce costs and more effectively manage your printing devices.

4. Leverage technology.
There’s a nearly endless supply of free or low-cost solutions to common business needs. For example, check out the web-based document, spreadsheet, and presentation tools from GoogleTM. Replace cross- country and cross-town travel with web conferencing. Shop online for the best buys on office supplies. Convert your hard copy filing system to digital archives to reduce storage space and speed data retrieval. Replace offsite training with computer-based learning.

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5. Real time availability.

With a high-quality printer or multifunction device, businesses can have their documents available real time. This solution is ideal for small quantities of marketing and promotional materials, and other business documents such as stationery.

6. Explore your telephone and fax options.
With the proliferation of cell phones and electronic communication, take time to rethink your hard-wired telephone strategy. Consider a virtual or hosted Phone Branch Exchange (PBX) provider or convert to a Voice Over IP (VOIP) solution. Replace fax and fax connections with a scan to PDF solution that can be emailed
via your computer or a Xerox® multifunction printer.

7. Reduce energy bills.
Convert lighting to energy-efficient bulbs. Put lights on timers or motion detectors to turn them off when not needed. Lightly colored walls reflect light more effectively, reducing wattage requirements. Use programmable thermostats to control heating costs. Turn off equipment when it’s not in use. Use timers or powerstrips to “unplug” idle equipment and reduce “phantom” power use. When buying equipment look for ENERGY STAR® qualified products. Ask your power company to conduct an energy audit of your office for additional power reduction ideas.

8. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
If it’s a common business need, chances are someone has already created a solution. It’s easier to make a few adjustments to existing tools than to start from scratch. Leverage
the web and your suppliers for free design templates for presentations, business cards, forms, labels, brochures, stationery, direct mailers, etc. Xerox offers hundreds of free templates at office.xerox.com/small-business to get you started.

9. Partner to increase your clout.
Whether you’re purchasing group insurance or hosting a sales event, consider the power of numbers. Partner with business associations or trade groups for preferential rates on horizontal needs like insurance, office supplies, and services. Team-up with neighboring or complementary businesses to share costs on sales events or marketing campaigns.

10. Ask suppliers and vendors to help.
Your company isn’t an island. Challenge your suppliers and vendors to uncover and reduce the hidden costs in their products and services and share their learning and rewards. Trade success stories with complementary businesses to stay ahead of the curve.

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