Never underestimate the impact of back operations, especially as it pertains to your bottom-line. The decisions you make with your back operations will slim down your overhead expenses and streamline your business. Your front-line customer service is important, but they rely on your back operations to look good.
There is increased pressure for companies to go green. It can be a challenge to stream-line operations and save your company money while maintaining high environmental standards. A little does a lot, so here are a couple suggestions that we have worked for us. These are similar to the tips featured in our newsletter, but we wanted to elaborate more here:
Have your front and back operations use less paper. At our office we have a recycling container within ten paces of every desk. They are bright blue so you can’t miss them. The proximity of the cans makes it tempting to “shoot hoops” with paper-basket-balls and -airplanes. But if your employees are having fun recycling then that’s not a bad thing. In order for a system to work, everyone needs to be on board. We’ve also implemented paperless invoicing for our clients. We now send secure email attachments as PDF’s with all applicable billing information. No more stamps, envelopes, or paper. That being said, we still send the occasional letter in the mail, but we prefer to do everything online. We also send electronic emails too (because a mailing list to over 20,000 people can use a lot of paper). There is no reason why companies shouldn’t push hard to have their customers switch to online services. Not only will you save paper costs (and the environment) but your man power will significantly drop because everything will be done automatically and your back operations will feel better.
If you need a few more ideas, then here are some suggestions. First, implement a two-sided print policy for all inter-office documents. In addition, eliminate unnecessary pages such as cover sheets and tracking pages. Beside your photocopier store a box for recycling. When possible, reuse this bin of paper by cutting the sheets into smaller notepads and using them at your desk. You can also reuse this paper when you do “test prints.” Find a supplier of low-cost paper that you can integrate into other parts of your back operations… whether it is letterhead, napkins, or recycled boxes. Lastly, encourage a “sober-second-thought” rule, where you ask your employees to think twice before printing anything to make sure it’s absolutely necessary.
It won’t be long before you start seeing an ROI in your back operations. Paper costs a lot less to dispose than it does to purchase.