#Immediacy on speech making

Once the peak is reached, however, enthusiasm starts to wane. It is ...

Once the peak is reached, however, enthusiasm starts to wane. It is better to end the investigation with a few projects still to be tidied up than to let it drag on. The law of diminishing returns applies to cost-reduction campaigns just as much as to other activities. I suggest that you start off with a target of presenting a report in one month after which you will wind it up unless there is obviously justification for continuing.

The main factor which decides how long the investigation takes is, of course, how much in the way of resources you assign to it. It may be possible to release people from their normal duties for one month, whereas you just wouldn't consider it for say, 3 or 6 months. Consequently, by setting a target of one month, it is easier to assign more people to make the target self-fulfilling. As a very rough rule of thumb, for a business with more than about 50 staff, I prefer a full-time team of three.

That is a good number to stimulate brainstorming within the team.

They should preferably be young twenties/thirties but have been long enough in the business so that between them they have experience of most parts. They should all be somewhat extrovert, able to get people to talk to them, but at least one should be numerate, like playing with figures, and familiar with any computing facilities you may have. The above is an ideal; you will have to make do with the best you have and it should be the best I would not put more than three in the team, even if you have them; the more you have the more easily they get side-tracked For a business of less than 50 staff, I suggest one young person, extrovert and numerate, with a reasonably broad knowledge of the business. It should be possible to release one person full-time how do you manage for holidays? but, if not, it should be agreed clearly with his superior how the time should be shared, mornings on the normal job, and all the rest of the time on cost reduction.

Whether full- or part-time, the investigator should be able to ring upon part-time specialist help as required. It is also helpful to provide an older person not his superior as a guide with who he can discuss problems encountered. It is essential that you conduct the cost investigation with the same standard of efficiency as you are trying to achieve in the rest of the business. This means that the effort you make investigating a particular cost element should bear some relation to the prospective savings.

It also means that there is a minimum annual expenditure below which it is not worth investigating.

It is for you to decide this cut-off point, but it will probably be somewhere in the region of £1100. Write these items down in a vertical list in 'extended form', eg show the details for wage related costs National Insurance contributions, luncheon vouchers, etch as separate items under the main heading. In another vertical list alongside put the budget expenditure for each item breaking down the costs to correspond with detailed items, and in a third vertical list alongside put each item as a percentage of the total cost, and then cross off those items which are below the figure you decided as a minimum cut-off point for investigation.

Make a new list of cost elements, starting this time with the ...

Make a new list of cost elements, starting this time with the biggest item and then proceeding in descending order of size. At the bottom put 'minor ... read more

It is not enough to reduce costs you have to keep them ...

It is not enough to reduce costs you have to keep them reduced. The opening paragraphs of this section describe how inefficiencies creep into any business, no matt... read more

It is doubtful too if you could sustain such artificial behaviour for ...

It is doubtful too if you could sustain such artificial behaviour for any length of time If you are normally on friendly terms with your staff, then no problem arises