Tips to help drive office costs down


In the current economic climate, it's essential that companies keep a firm grip on the costs of their business. We have implemented a number of policies and actions that have helped us reduce our costs over the past few months and take this opportunity to share some of the things we have done. This is by no means a comprehensive list and is in no particular order, but hopefully it will generate some thought.

Let's start with ...

 

1 - Analyse your Call Expenditure


When you sign off the payment for your company's phone bill do you understand what the profile of your calls are? We published an article in our last client newsletter that recounted a true story of a customer who had moved their lines and calls to us last year and thanks to the free online call billing analysis tool were able to identify over £5,000 of premium rate calls and nearly £500 worth of directory enquiry calls.

Check your call analysis and find out if you could eliminate certain calls to reduce costs. If you don't have access to free online call analysis software you should talk to us about joining our PSU Talk plan. Call 0800 1313416 to find out more.

Read the article here

 

2 - Ask the Accounts Departments not to just renew service contracts


A comment we hear all too frequently from our 'new business' team is that a company they have been talking to about maintenance renewal for the past four months has just found that their Accounts Department has processed the renewal for payment and hence tied themselves in for another year. "But we explained how they could save money and get a better service" they say before heading back to their department, coffee in hand.

Simply ask your accounts department to advise you when any service contract renewal invoices relevant to you arrive in the post. Investigate alternative suppliers who may be able to offer you a better service for a lower price.

Irrelevant of your renewal date, PSU would welcome providing a competitive quote for your system maintenance; simply call our sales team on 0800 1313416. We'll even split your payments into a monthly plan if you prefer.

 

 

You'd be in good company....four organisations a month who use Inter-Tel telephone equipment are moving to PSU for all of their IT and telephony support arrangements.

Source: PSU Technology Group CRM System March 2008 to Jan 2009


 

 

3 - Highlight Cost Saving Requirements to Staff


Last October, PSU sent out a staff memo entitled 'Is it necessary?'. The purpose was to remind people of the looming economic turmoil and highlight the fact that during 2009 it would be everyones responsibilty to ensure that needless costs were kept to a minimum. A selection of the content is reproduced below.

  • Do you need to make that call to directory enquiries?
  • Next time you pick up the phone to talk to a colleague, friend or family member ask yourself, is it necessary?
  • When you leave for home at night is it necessary to keep your PC and monitor on?
  • When working away from home and eating out, is it necessary to buy the fillet steak and bottle of wine to use up the full expenses allowance?
  • When travelling to a customer location is it necessary to travel in multiple cars?
  • Can we share cars?
  • Is it necessary for that job to be done outside of working hours?
  • Is it necessary to book the hotel nearest the location when a hotel 1 mile away will save 20%?

 

Nobody took offence to this. In fact everyone rose to the challenge and we've noticed small but significant cost reductions over the following four months.

4 - Do you really need to buy that new telephone system now?


If you're in the process of looking at alternate phone systems because you're Inter-Tel Axxess system doesn't offer some features your business now needs you may want to pause and read the next issue of the Inter-Tel User Group in two weeks time.

In conjunction with Mitel, PSU are offering a heavily subsidised upgrade program to help Axxess customers move up to the latest Mitel 5000 product. This is great because not only will you be able to keep your handsets (usually the biggest outlay) but you'll also get all the latest technology for a fraction of the cost of replacing with an alternate system. It'll also be a much easier transition for your staff.

This offer is time limited so watch out for full details in the next issue. If you'd like to find out more in the meantime call our sales team on 0800 1313416.

 

 

5 - Analyse Mobile Plans and Call Spend


According to a 2006 poll by T-Mobile UK and YouGov, 32 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses have not reviewed their bill payments during the last two years, despite spending around £763 per month on these bills. Of the 935 SME owners who were questioned, a third claimed that their mobile phone bills were difficult to understand and 60 per cent said that it was hard to choose between different price plans.

The following 2 years has seen a rapid improvement in the transparency and flexibility of plans. Likewise many providers will now send out electronic versions of bills enabling you to export and analyse the call patterns.

Take a look at:

Vodfone Total Business Plans for SMEs - Mobile News Article - Vodafone Site

02 Business Plans - PDF

Orange Business Plans - Business Plus or Business Advance

T-Mobile - Business Tariffs


There's a more comprehensive list of mobile phone providers here. Of course, you should ensure that there is adequate coverage at your remote workers houses or offices before you commit to changing providers.

 

6 - Review and drive down your energy consumption


According to the Carbon Trust, an independedent company set up by the UK government in 2001 to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy,  office based business activities are responsible for the emission of around 6.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

They estimate that energy savings of up to 20%, equivalent to more than £157 million, are possible across UK business.

 

  • A single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day could cost over £50 a year. Switching it off out of hours and enabling standby features could reduce this to £15 a year.
  • Don't turn up the heating unless you really need to. Heating costs will increase by 8% each time you turn the temperature up by just one degree.
  • Switch lights off in empty rooms. You could cut your lighting costs by as much as 15% just by making sure you turn off lights in areas that aren't being used.

That first point caught my eye. They're saying that we could save £35 per member of staff per year. Equate that to a hundred staff and thats a saving of £3,500 per year on it's own.

 

www.carbontrust.co.uk 

 

 

7 - Travelling and Homeworkers- ADSL or Mobile Broadband?


This is an interesting idea that we have part implemented. If a home or remote user doesn't have a requirement for an IP phone but does need access to the internet and company applications for e mail, CRM, etc. why not consider setting up a 3G mobile account and getting a 3G USB adaptor for their laptop / desktop. This could work out cheaper than having a line and ADSL installed for them and also allow for connectivity whilst they're out and about.

It wouldn't work for everyone, but worth a thought.

 

 

8 - Facebook, a right or a privilege?


This is not really a cost saving idea but more of a productivity booster. We have barred access to certain social networking sites during office hours. Access is granted before work, during lunchtime and after work. We monitor browsing activity and add other sites when appropriate but since this implementation the level of non business related browsing has reduced.

 

 

9 - Business Cost Consultants


This is something we've considered but not investigated further. There are companies who specialise in finding savings for business. We may condiser it for some of our utility providers such as gas and electric. We'd ignore the telecom side as we already offer some of the cheapest per minute costs in the market but the other services may be useful. Of course you'd have to mitigate costs against savings, but still worth investigating.

 

Here are a few results from Google:

http://www.businesscostconsultants.co.uk

http://www.smithbellerby.co.uk

http://www.buyingsupport.co.uk

http://www.thecostconsultants.co.uk

 

We do not endorse any of the companies above as we have never used them. The list is purely the first few natural listing results from Google.

 

 

10 - Other ideas that came out during brainstorming


Ensuring that the users printer default is set to the most economical printer

Mains timers on printers

Buying lunches/sandwiches for meetings at supermarkets

Checking and calibrating outside PIR activated halogen spotlights

Reminding people to use the duplex unit on the printers

Reducing the cooling in our server room by 2 degrees

Having a central controller for air conditioning and heating

Reducing the frequency of window cleaner visits

Cancelling the plant contract and buying our own

.....

 

Conclusion


We hope that the above ideas have given you some food for thought. Of course they are of little use unless discussed and acted upon. Why not put together a focus group with key members from your team and investigate savings that could be made within your company. Set targets, review activity, involve all the staff then monitor the results. You never know, the money saved could go towards making the 2009 Christmas party even more memorable.

 

There are some aspects of the above that we could help you with so follow the links below to the relevant services or call our sales team today on 0800 1313416.

 

  - Free Online Call Billing Analysis and cheaper business calls

 - Lower IT and Server Support Costs

 - Lower Telephone System Support Maintenance Costs

 - Heavily Subsidised Mitel 5000 Migration Offer for Inter-Tel Axxess Users

 

 

 

 

 

Links you may find of interest: Mitel Phone Manual | Mitel phone System