I’ve been working for the same company for thirteen years. For the first decade I didn’t have much to do with ordering but some people have left, position duties have shifted and my boss has been handing some tasks over to me. I wrote before about ordering from Costco business which has been a huge time saver. I actually used to do the shopping in person – for huge amounts like 10 cases of soda, 15 cases of bottled water, huge boxes of candy bars and 10 pound cans of vegetables. That’s the way it is where I work. If we did it that way 30 years ago, we are going to do it that way now (read the linked up post to see how in years past they used their sewing machines to sew raffle tickets – serious).
For some items we’ve been ordering from the same company for decades – like company that supplies our toilet paper, cleaning supplies, disinfectants and soap. I’m still not in charge of ordering those products, but I am in charge of ordering the kitchen supplies which includes coffee. We provide coffee to our elderly clients who pay 25 cents for two six ounce cups. For a quarter they get one cup and a ticket. When they are ready for their second cup – the same day or the next day – they hand over their ticket.
I’ve been ordering coffee for a while now but since this job was handed to me and I don’t really have time for it to start with, I haven’t paid much attention to how much we were paying. I was told to order this much and that much, from this company or that company. I followed instructions.
But the company from which we buy the coffee makes it difficult. It’s hard to get hold of our salesperson and they don’t have an online ordering system. When we finally do get an order placed, there is often something wrong. We order just a few products from them every time, so I don’t understand how they keep messing up (our salespeople are always burly, rough-around-the-edge or super-slick looking guys – I sometimes wonder if the company is just a front for a different kind of business). We order a certain kind of paper napkins for serving lunch, we order the same size foam cups for coffee and one for soup, coffee, creamer, sugar, that sort of thing. I tried getting the product numbers, thinking that would help. But it didn’t. Then our salesperson left, and a new one would take his place. More wrong products. It’s so hard to even get hold of my salesperson to place an order. They don’t check their email, and I have never gotten through to them on the phone. I always have to leave a message and the greeting doesn’t tell me who I’ve reached and then I don’t hear back for a few days. It’s a terrible babysitting job.
So I’ve been slowly switching the items we order from that company to other companies. Most often Costco has had the best prices.
Last week it was time to put in an order. I was dreading ordering the coffee, so I decided to see if I could find it from Costco. I know, you’re thinking, it’s just coffee, what’s so hard about that? Well… we’ve always ordered coffee in these little bags, you see. Because that’s the way we’ve always done it. I knew I was going to get flack if I didn’t order the little bags so I went looking for them on Costco. To my amazement I was able to find them! They are called “Kirkland Signature Frac Packs Colombian” – that link will take you to Costco where you can see what I’m talking about. Right now they cost $18.85 for 42 little bags – each bag weighs 1.75 ounce.
Whoohoo! I found the little bags. And I almost fell over when I calculated how much money we’d been paying for the little bags through the other company. $0.77 per ounce! So each little bag was costing $1.35. Through Costco, we’re going to be paying $0.45 per bag or $0.26 per ounce.
We order about $600 in coffee each quarter, so that’s about $1800 each year. By ordering through Costco we’re going to spend about $600 a year.
Next I went looking for the decaffeinated coffee in the little bags. Boooo! No such thing, at least not at Costco.
But I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I decided to push just a little. I asked if we could buy coffee in the 3 pound cans and use a scoop. Yeah, I did that. Hey, I’ve had my head nearly lopped off for asking permission to borrow a fan! So I’m a little paranoid sometimes.
We’ll be spending about the same amount for decaf in the 3 pound can. We’ll figure out how much to scoop.
One last thing. Those 1.75 ounce bags make 12 cups of coffee. The coffee maker holds 24 cups. They’ve been using 3 bags all these years. They’ve been making extra strong coffee.
If they take my recommendation and use only two bags of coffee, instead of three, we’ll be able to drop the cost of coffee from $1800 a year to $400.
Do I rock or what?
Do you ever get a chance to save your company money?