Justifying Resources: 10 Tips to Get What You Need
Cost justifying the equipment and software your in-plant needs is certainly a challenge. One manager offers some tips that have worked for him.December 2011 By Wes Friesen
IN MY CONVERSATIONS with managers across the country, one challenge constantly surfaces: justifying the resources (people, budgets and equipment) needed to run an excellent operation. This is one of the biggest challenges that I face too, but over time I've learned ways to be successful in acquiring these necessary resources.
Before we dive into specific tips, here are two general principles: First, normally we will not get anything if we don't ask. Second, we need to make sure when we do ask that we are asking for resources that benefit one or more of the key stakeholders: investors, customers, employees and the community we do business in.
Here are some tips that can help you improve the probability of acquiring the resources that you need to benefit stakeholders:
1. Identify the important goals, initiatives, values and business needs of your organization.
Then figure out how you can help satisfy those goals and make your organization more successful. Linking the resources you need to specific corporate goals and initiatives will help build a compelling business case for authorizing funds.
For example, many organizations have some form of customer focus or engagement initiative. I have recently justified new equipment and enhanced software in part so that our company can provide more personalized and relevant communication with our customers.
Many organizations have a strong emphasis on sustainability. Finding ways to use physical mail prudently and avoiding waste will be positively received. In the past, I have received approval for a second printer so we could go from two-page simplex bills to one-page duplex bills.
2. Find ways to save your organization money.
An almost sure-fire way to justify a proposed expenditure is to demonstrate that it will result in savings to your organization. My company, Portland General, used to pay external vendors 50 to 60 cents per color copy. My team developed a proposal to lease digital color printers and showed that we could provide color copies at a significant savings.
We have also found ways to save money by offering CD burning services, scanning services and by maximizing postal discounts. If you are not maximizing the pre-sort and automation postal discounts, investing in relevant software and/or sorting equipment can often be economically justified due to the incremental postage savings.
3. Know your costs and how they compare to the external marketplace.
About the Author
Wes Friesen is the manager of Revenue Collection & Community Offices for Portland General Electric, a utility in Portland, Ore., that serves more than 820,000 customers. He manages the bill production and payment processing teams with the able assistance of supervisors Eric Houger, Tom Laszlo, Gil Rodriguez and Rick VanBeek. Friesen teaches university classes and is a featured speaker at national conferences like the National Postal Forum, MailCom, IPMA and others. Check out his personal Web site (wesfriesen.com) for free information, or contact him at Wes.Friesen@pgn.com.