Save Big Dollars For Your Business Buy Janitorial Supplies the Smart Way

A necessary, but unglamorous expense for any business is janitorial supplies. Every business needs paper towels, toilet paper, hand soaps and cleaners. But because this area is so unglamorous, people often times neglect taking the time to examine the true costs for products they need, and spend way too much on their janitorial supplies. Here are some awesome and simple hints to help you save money, and time (which is money these days too) buying those janitorial products your business needs.Many people use janitorial services to clean their offices, which in many cases makes sense. However, they also then buy all their janitorial supplies from this cleaning service, without really looking at the bill for the products being used. Some janitorial services are fair with these charges, but many services use this to drive up their profits, charging as much as 100% over their cost to the customer for these products. The first rule of thumb is always buy your janitorial supplies and cleaning supplies yourself, making sure you are getting the best quality and value for the money. At a minimum you should always ask to see a detailed bill from your cleaning service, and check to see the prices they are charging you for supplies are in line.

The second way to save big dollars is by consolidation your suppliers of like type items. Today, many office supplies companies also carry huge selections of janitorial supplies at discount prices. Many online office products companies have a great selection and guaranteed low prices for everything in the office including janitorial supplies. What this does is save you time because you can order office supplies, janitorial supplies and break room supplies from one company, and also pay and track invoices once rather than two or three times.All companies use a lot of ink and toner, copy paper, staplers and file folders, so when you need to order those office needs, simply order your Kleenex tissues, Marcal toilet paper and Starbucks coffee at the same time. That’s right, Starbucks coffee from your office supplies company! This consolidates shipments, and also ensures you will get free delivery, as many of the online office products company’s today ship free with a reasonable order minimum of $75 – $99.Perhaps the biggest way to save is by purchasing commercial grade paper supplies for your office. It may seem you are saving money buying paper towels and toilet paper from the grocery or discount store, but their paper rolls are much shorter, and your average cost is higher. Commercial grade paper towels and toilet paper from companies like Kimberly-Clark, Georgia Pacific and Marcal are significantly tighter wound than mass market grade paper products, and more sheets to the roll means much better value. Don’t be fooled by what seems like a great low price, when the roll size or tissue count may be much lower than commercial grade. These items are typically sold by the case, so buying in bulk really does save.

Again, check the product selection of some of the new online office supplies companies and you will be surprised. The good ones have everything you need in janitorial and cleaning supplies, but also complete lines of break room supplies like beverage service items, coffee and coffee makers, appliances, beverages, condiments and more. In addition, several internet based office products companies offer full lines of cups, plates, utensils, condiments and more. I was shocked when I realized how many products are available from a single source. Every purchasing manager will tell you that buying supplies from fewer vendors saves big money.So, the next time you need some Dixie paper plates and napkins for an employee birthday cake celebration, the next time that paper towel roll is empty, or next time your low on the coffee that gets the office going in the morning, look to your favorite online office products company to take care of all your needs, AND save you money and time.

The Evolution of Business Service Management (BSM)

Looking back, the emergence of business service management (BSM) seems inevitable. This new generation of tools helps IT organizations manage technology infrastructures within the context of the key services they provide for their customers. BSM tools are critical enablers for the increasingly popular process-focused IT Service Management (ITSM) approach.

What’s driving this evolution to BSM and its related IT management paradigms? Executive Consultant Troy DuMoulin of Pink Elephant, an ITIL events and consulting firm, explains, “The interest in ITIL, the evolution of legislation like SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002), and the interest in standards is symptomatic of something much more rudimentary. At the base of this growing focus on formalization and legislation is a growing awareness of exposure and dependency that the business has on IT. Before, IT was seen as an enabler, supportive but yet somehow separated from the business processes themselves. But now there is a realization that there is no true separation between the business process and the underlying IT services and systems.”

Information technology has become so vital to business today – so ubiquitous in every aspect – that most businesses literally cannot function without it anymore. Even simple manual tasks like filling a car with gas or cashing a check now require the support of an IT system.

This heightened reliance on IT has placed companies at a crossroads. They are compelled to address this new dependency by putting processes and technology in place to ensure IT does its job serving the business effectively. So the move to BSM can be seen as a natural reaction to the new way IT interacts with and enables business.

“BSM is a way for a company to agree on what the business expectations are, and manage the IT performance to those agreed upon expectations,” clarifies Brian Childers, a consultant who also serves on the Board of Directors for itSMF USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting best practices in IT services management. “Once we understand the expectations, we can build the processes to suit the expectations, and manage against them.”

Vendors are responding rapidly to these new service management imperatives. Leading software providers – like HP, BMC, Mercury and Managed Objects – are already introducing new BSM-versions of their popular tools to help revolutionize the way IT managers gauge technology performance and leverage that knowledge to meet business needs. And new kinds of automated, self-learning software from companies like Netuitive, are making it easier than ever for managers to cut across their technology silos and tie together their existing management tools.

“Over the years – especially during the frenetic IT build-out of the late 1990s – companies cobbled together a mishmash of systems within their IT organizations,” adds Tony Gilbert, vice president at Netuitive. “The result now is a heterogeneous set of components in the IT environment, and individual departmental silos for managing each one. The right set of BSM tools makes it possible to tie together all of these pieces of technology across an enterprise and to monitor IT from the perspective of the service it delivers.”

BSM tools help IT groups see technology in terms of how it impacts their business services, and zero-in on the cause of a particular performance issue that is affecting that service — a capability companies do not have when they manage IT solely through technology silos. The new BSM tools can also enable a company to prioritize resources based on the relative importance of multiple business services. For example, a brokerage firm could manage online trading or online banking services holistically instead of piecemeal within silos: the server group, the database group, the application group.

More Than Just Technology

But completely changing a management approach is not easy. “For the last 20 years our industry has been focused on managing technology. Management of IT has been by domains, such as mainframes, networks and databases. But those domains don’t truly live in isolation.” Pink Elephant’s DuMoulin continues, “A basic premise is that there is a business requirement for IT to understand how any given IT component relates to another and how these devices support or potentially disable a business process. When you understand IT from this perspective you see that you cannot manage by technology or device. You need to understand the relationship between those devices, and how they relate to IT services, and ultimately how IT services are consumed by business.”

The people factor remains an issue, too. For many organizations, BSM often requires a corporate culture change. IT personnel must learn that they don’t just manage boxes and applications, but actually provide services that the business consumes in order to survive and thrive. Most experts agree that the tools are out there, and are necessary, but they go hand in hand with changing processes and changing the way companies perceive the value of IT.

“Some people believe that it doesn’t matter what technology you use as long as you have the right processes in place,” comments Ken Wendle, the ITSM Solution Lead at HP. “But I have always said that IT service management is a combination of people and process, enabled by the right technology, all working in synergy with each other. It is about the intelligent blending of technology to enable and enforce the right processes, which then will allow an organization to execute around business priorities.”

“I have seen companies that put the right processes in place, and trained the right people, but then created process silos,” HP’s Wendle also notes. “But ITSM is about cutting across the technology silos, not just creating another set of process silos on top of them. ITSM is about taking a holistic approach.”

The BSM Evolution Continues

Where is BSM going from here? “One of the missing ingredients today is the enrollment of the business community,” itSMF’s Childers believes. “They need to understand what BSM is and why they would want to support it. I think the better job everyone does with bringing the business side onboard, the faster BSM will progress.”

“I don’t think companies have gained all the benefits of technology that they could,” HP’s Wendle agrees. “The business people need to understand and appreciate what IT can do to help the business side of the organization.”

Clearly there is work to be done, but the adoption of ITSM and the BSM tools that support it continues to gain momentum as more companies realize this is a prerequisite for success in a new world where business and IT have become one.

“The prediction is that over the next five years, ITSM will be as impactful as ERP systems were, or maybe more,” itSMF’s Childers concludes. “I don’t think ITSM is going away, because it makes too much sense.” And innovative BSM vendors will continue to develop new tools to help.

Operational Business Intelligence and Supply Chain Performance Management – The SCOR Model

With enterprise application integration driving so many changes within organizations, traditional methods of measuring business performance need to be augmented.Organizations must not only perform well: they must be able to identify how they perform, well or poorly – and why. Internal information isn’t enough: companies need to look at and analyze information from business partners all along the supply chain.Operational business intelligence and performance management are processes that provide your company with the ability to retrieve and act upon business critical, timely information from throughout your operations. Today’s companies need real time business intelligence software that captures, processes and analyses information from all events and transactions, across functions, departments and organizations. This data must be integrated for feedback to operations systems.As businesses increasingly search for the best ways to maximize supply chain performance, important answers may lie in a unique model called SCOR. In the relentless search for ever improving returns on investment and market competitiveness, some of the world’s biggest corporations are applying a model that is known as SCOR – the Supply-Chain Operations Reference model – to maximize efficiency.

Siemens, Hewlett Packard, Intel, BASF, and Coca-Cola all use the SCOR model because they know survival in today’s fierce markets demands detailed scrutiny and reengineering of every link in the supply chain – from the supplier’s supplier to the customer’s customer. Recognizing the strength of the model, many integrated supply chain management software companies are developing stand alone software products to manage and analyze performance based on SCOR.The SCOR model is the industry de facto standard for providing Business Process Modeling data, metrics for evaluating Performance Management and Best Practices information derived from practitioners’ experience. It is entirely vendor and technology independent and is the only real independent in-depth reference model for the complete supply chain of all companies.SCOR makes it possible to make supply chain performance comparisons between companies by industry. It also provides mapping processes to make more effective relationships between partners, suppliers and customers: it is a tool for revitalizing your ERP solution internally and externally. Companies deploying SCOR have dramatically cut costs and boosted returns. Using the SCOR-model, Siemens Medical, for example, has been able to cut costs by 30 percent, reduce inventory by 60 percent, and cut order lead-times from 22 weeks to just two. The SCOR model is organized around five key management processes: Plan, Source, Make, Deliver and Return.

Each of these processes is examined on three levels of detail. The first level is strategic, what the company wants from each process area. The second level maps out exactly what is currently happening within each process area. The third level examines the operational level of the process areas, the area where execution can be altered.SCOR doesn’t tell you what changes to make but it maps out where the weak links are. It is then necessary to apply appropriate execution adjustments specific to the particular chain. Successful supply chain management is about consistent scrutiny, getting real time information so you can react to less than optimal performance. It also means getting quality operational business intelligence. Companies that will be successful in the long run are those that realize the answer lies in maximizing supply chain efficiency.

Stress Gave Birth to a New Business – Baby Feeding Supplies

They say necessity is the mother of invention. In Jennifer Marko’s case, it spawned an Internet search. Marko was the owner of a public relations firm when she had a baby in 2006. She took only two weeks’ maternity leave.”I had an image of myself working at my desk as usual and the baby quietly sleeping in the bassinet behind me,” said Marko, president of Marko Holdings, DBA Bottle Snugglers. However, “Max, my son, would not stay in the bassinet at all. So, I only had one hand to work with. And when he had to eat, I had a bottle in one hand and a baby in the other. Feeding time would last 20 minutes. So up to four times a day I was unproductive. I would find myself so stressed.”

Thinking she couldn’t be the only one with this problem, Marko searched online for a product to help. She found three. “Only one worked and it was a Bottle Tender,” Marko said. “It was like magic. I could hold the baby and it would hold the bottle, and I could still finish the report I was doing or send an e-mail. That lightened my stress level immensely.”

Marko later tried to place another order, but she kept getting a “sold out” message. “I finally called the owners and said, ‘What’s happening? I love the product and want to buy another.’ They said they both had other jobs and were busy. It was a mom and dad who created and patented the product, but never optimized it and never advertised. [My husband and I] made an offer to buy it,” for $100,000.