The perils of buying cheap toilet paper

Boyd, Fraser
February 2004
Management Services;Feb2004, Vol. 48 Issue 2, p34
Academic Journal
This article discusses the importance of material procurement to productivity practitioners. Buyers are looking for cheaper sources of materials. Price may not be the main criteria but there are others such as quality, consumption rate, replenishment, customer satisfaction, function, disposal and attractiveness. While most people use it, toilet paper is probably not a commodity of vast interest to people. It is one of those necessities which are taken for granted until something goes wrong. It may not have a great impact on the company budget either. If the buyers are getting very cheap toilet paper, which people do not like and which requires bigger or more frequent purchases, they might be doing the same thing with other commodities. It is much more spectacular to reduce production costs by 2% than to sort out the right kind of toilet paper. But seriously, a good case can be made to study these sorts of issues right across the board. Not only at the user level but throughout the supply chain. A campaign may be organized in which various work groups spend an hour looking at aspects of their workplace. These events are called Productivity Improvement Groups (PIGS). PIGS may encourage people to think in productivity terms rather than cost terms.


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