Author Topic: Office supplies abuse and the boss  (Read 6055 times)

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shhh its me

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2014, 02:43:17 PM »
  It would be nuts for a CEO to count the number of pens used daily but it would also be negligent for a CEO to never check the office supplies aren't being abused.  And supplies can be abused without Theft.  Ive seen people go nuts deciding............ I need all new in-boxes  and I want yellow hanging folder not green ohhhh look post its !!!  I may have to add something at some point so adding machine and a financial calculator , ohh and a dry erase board for the wall (that i never give presentation but I like to doodle on it.  Of course I need all 48 colors of dry eraser markers to do this. so go ahead and order 24 packs of 48 since thats the only way they come.  Yes I know this is the only dry erase board in the entire company) Then add in "why do we have 400 yellow hanging folders we only use green? throw these out "and wow there are 500 dry erase markers here I should get a dry erase board and 2 gross of pens I need 5 but since they are so many I'll grab a few handfuls , I set my pad down somewhere I could look for it but I'll just grab a new one there are so many Then add in intentional theft.

No in reality no one ordered 500 dry erase markers but someone did want the 12 color pack for a dry eraser board people only doodled on and wrote if one actually work related message per month I would have been surprised and people did order grosses when they needed 5 of something and people have decided to re color code the office without speaking to anyone and redecorate there offices every few months etc.

magicdomino

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2014, 04:20:04 PM »
We noticed that the smaller office supplies tend to evaporate.  Our solution was to lock up the bulk of the supplies, and stock shelves with a selection.  Things like pens, packed by the dozen in boxes, are taken out of the boxes -- that way people have free access, but grab two or three instead of a whole boxful.  If something runs out, they can ask She Who Holds the Keys if there are any more. 

Larger items like in-boxes and trash cans are often ordered as needed, but people also put unwanted in-boxes and file holders in the supply room for use by others.  Sometimes, She Who Holds the Keys knows where some extra new ones are stashed. It pays to be nice to She Who Holds the Keys.   ;)

wolfie

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2014, 04:23:40 PM »
  It would be nuts for a CEO to count the number of pens used daily but it would also be negligent for a CEO to never check the office supplies aren't being abused. 

I think that depends on the company. I work at an international corporation with over 100,000 employees. It would be nuts for the CEO to check on all the sites office supplies - he could spend his entire day doing that and still not see them all. That is what office managers are for. A smaller company it might be doable.

I am trying to think of the last time I took office supplies... it was years ago. I just don't need them and if I do I like to buy my own. I don't like the notepads provided so I just buy some at office depot for under a buck - lasts me years. I don't need paperclips or a stapler or anything else so I am pretty set for the most part with what I got when I arrived.

jayhawk

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2014, 04:53:47 PM »
The CEO kept track of office supplies??? He had nothing better to do with his time? I wonder how many good people left because of those draconian policies.

I worked at a place once where the CEO sent out a company-wide memo that there wil be no more ordering of pens until the next year. pens! i'm talking about the el cheapo pens. this company wasted thousands of $$ each month on food, transportation, etc (wasted as in "oops i [again] forgot to cancel lunches or transportation because shifts were changed"). but pens, now there is an important place to save money. Story was that the CEO needed to cut down and was going through bills and pounced on a bill for pens - "what? we spend XX$ a year on pens? that's crazy!" - and decreed no more pens.

If people are stealing - then they should be fired. If people are using office supplies legitimately, then the office manager should order what's needed and the CEO should stop wasting everyone's time.

I am the office manager at my job- i order what's needed, but i don't order frivolous things and we don't waste money. If a colleague says they need a pair of scissors or a pen, they get what they need. if they want a new chair, or a fridge or some other big ticket item - that goes through the big boss.

About 15 years ago, I worked for a regional bank in the US Midwest. It was bought by a bigger bank. Bigger Bank's CEO sent out an edict that no pens or post-it notes purchases would be allowed going forward. There are enough floating around that should be used up first. IIRC, any office supply expense over a certain amount ($200? $400?) had to be approved BY HIM.

Anytime anyone went to a conference, we would scavenge pens and post-its like they were gold.

shhh its me

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2014, 06:15:03 PM »
  It would be nuts for a CEO to count the number of pens used daily but it would also be negligent for a CEO to never check the office supplies aren't being abused. 

I think that depends on the company. I work at an international corporation with over 100,000 employees. It would be nuts for the CEO to check on all the sites office supplies - he could spend his entire day doing that and still not see them all. That is what office managers are for. A smaller company it might be doable.

I am trying to think of the last time I took office supplies... it was years ago. I just don't need them and if I do I like to buy my own. I don't like the notepads provided so I just buy some at office depot for under a buck - lasts me years. I don't need paperclips or a stapler or anything else so I am pretty set for the most part with what I got when I arrived.

Again I don't mean going to each office and checking.  I mean checking at an appropriate level for a CEO...this CEO asked for an audit and check the inventory once then put a lock and the door and put in place requisitions for non standard items.

onikenbai

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2014, 12:57:47 AM »
Our office has two levels of supplies.  Regular bic pens are a free for all and we do go through mechanical pencils by the boxful because we get sand jammed in them all the time, and they don't bounce back that well after a few weeks of -30C weather.  They're cheap and the company doesn't care.  What we keep under lock and key are the write in the rain and cold pens that are $4 each.  Our field guys would grab a dozen at a time and would lose them all within the week.  Now we give them one and they pretty much have to come back to us and exchange the dead pen for a new one.  And lord help you if you're caught in the office using the special pen for general paperwork and not field work.

greencat

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2014, 01:35:08 AM »
I had a boss - he was in general kind of nutty and not very nice - who once yelled at me for $5 worth of my work time over a one-time use of the office label maker to make labels (gasp!) for two file folders and some records instead of hand-writing them.  Heaven forbid I use 15 cents worth of label maker tape...that we never used for anything.

staceym

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2014, 08:50:57 AM »
If I worked in a place where the office manager got fired as a way to place blame for the employees pilfering office supplies and where you had to submit a requisition for a pen or a pad of paper, I'd be the one looking for another job.

If there is really a problem with people stealing supplies, then the solution is to find out who is doing it and address them directly, not to fire someone who is presumably innocent and then punish everyone else by making them jump through hoops to refill their stapler.

I was going to agree with your first part but then I thought about it.  I am the person who orders supplies for our office (well everything except toner, the IT guy orders that because he gets a deal).  But, anyway our supplies are kept in the open and people take as needed.  I also have a surplus put away that I restock when someone lets me know they took the last of something.   BUT..if I kept getting told that paper and/or toner was out I would question it.  I would be "wait, I just ordered toner two weeks ago, how could it be out already".  And, when after looking into and couldn't find an easy answer (like a big job was happening and printing was at a maximum, etc.) then I would order again and then keep an eye on it to see what was going on.  So, yes, the Office Manager's time shouldn't be to constantly watch over office supplies; but I think she should have had warning bells or red flags going off and it seem like she didn't and maybe the CEO felt that made it look like she wasn't doing her job.

ShadowLady

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2014, 04:30:44 PM »
I'm the admin for our program, and we have an "open closet" for most of our supplies.

I do keep most of the pens in my cube, and take a few out to put  in the supply closet, because it does get 'poached' by other units.

And I am happy that I was keeping track of our paper usage.  All of a sudden my need to order paper doubled.  Found out it was because a couple of the neighboring units (from a different division) had started using our printers, but weren't giving us any supplies to compensate.  So my manager talked with their manager, and now we split paper and toner supplies so that they can use our printers, instead of having to go across the hall for their prints.  And let me tell you, they are using the crap out of our color printer, but they are ponying up for the toner for it.  So all is good for now.

Minmom3

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2014, 11:46:50 PM »
Good thing - I've had to order those fahncy dahncy color toner cartridges, and they are NOT cheap....
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camlan

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2014, 02:27:32 AM »
When I worked at the Circulation desk of a university library, we were always getting in trouble with the Head of the library, because of all the pens we used.

Only we weren't using the pens, they were being "borrowed" by patrons who were using the library catalog right across from the desk.

We suggested getting pens on chains, like you see in banks, but those were deemed "unfriendly," and we were in the middle of a big push to be friendly to the patrons.

So we ordered golf pencils (short, presharpened pencils) instead. And then got in trouble for going through too many of those, as well.

Why people who are planning on doing research don't bring writing implements to the library, I will never know. But it got to the point where, when you were working out at the desk, you couldn't put your pen down on the desk, because someone would lean over and snag it. And since our supply of pens was being rationed, to teach us a lesson on how to use supplies better, we had no replacements.

Don't get me started on the printers for the catalog that constantly ran out of paper or toner or went off-line, requiring patrons to go in search of pens. We were not considered capable of reloading paper or toner, so all we could do was put in a request to the IT department downstairs. And since "downstairs" worked 9-5, and the library was open 8 am to midnight, there were a lot of long hours where all we could do was tell the patrons the printers would be fixed the next day.
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blarg314

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2014, 04:29:36 AM »
In the OP's case it sounds like there was a flagrant abuse of office supplies, given that the CEO noticed the increase in cost to the company, and restricting access to the supplies caused the costs to plummet. I'm not sure that the office manager should have been held totally responsible, although keeping an eye on the usage of supplies may have been within their responsibilities. And quitting over the issue sounds pretty extreme - in that situation I would bring up the prior experience with the new boss, and then carefully track costs. If the cost of supplies started to increase, then you could report this up the chain, with details of where the money was going (like - we're using 10x as much toner). If the manager would be fired at that point, then it's the kind of place where they should have been looking for a new job already.

Personally, I think a system where you have to make a requisition and wait half an hour for pens or post-its is too draconian, however.

In my office, we have a cabinet in the main admin office that has pens, pencils, rulers, post-its, notebooks, staples, etc., and a notebook to sign when you take stuff. The coffee and tea (which we need to pay for) is kept in the break room, so you can refill the machine.  Toner is managed by the tech staff - if the printer is out, you tell them and they replace it. Things like computer equipment, a new phone, office furniture, etc. has to go through appropriate channels, and would involve paperwork and a named recipient.

As an aside - in the first case, I kind of wonder if the office manager had been taking advantage of the system and diverting supplies themselves. That would be a firing offense.


BeagleMommy

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2014, 02:43:27 PM »
I order supplies for my department.  We have an open closet for our supplies and I usually replace the frequently used items on a regular basis.  If someone wants me to order something I will ask if they checked the supply cabinet first.

One professor didn't like the "hideous green" hanging files and wanted me to order "something pretty".  :o  I had to run that past the director, who promptly said "No, she can use what we have or buy her own".

When I order, I have to list who requested the supplies.  If I, or the director, notice someone is using an inordinate amount of something that person is spoken to about the problem.  I guess you'd call it nipping the problem in the bud.

Morty'sCleaningLady

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2014, 09:30:29 AM »
  I get free pens from banks and hotels. I buy notebooks at the grocery store.

This infuriates me!  I keep snagging free pens too.  I own my scissors, notecards, tape and paper clips.  I don't share them.  Ever! 

Getting a small notebook was such a hassle.  On my first day, I was asked why I hadn't brought anything?  Umm, because normally employers provide paper and pens?  I'm even more infuriated because a popular department just get a new employee -- the department manager and the office manager went on an Office Depot run to get the new employee set up.  I'm envious.  I realize that the envy is my problem, but, seriously, why does she get a stapler and myself (and a couple others) have to 'borrow' one from the office manager every single time we need to staple something? 

There is a happy medium between letting employees have access to a legal pad and pens and locking down expensive stuff like toner.
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pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Office supplies abuse and the boss
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2014, 01:09:10 PM »
Was it actual pilfering that caused the huge costs, or like someone else mentioned: was there no rein to what was ordered? 

We once had a clerk put in an office supply order that was nearly the entire year's budget for the branch.  Well, someone was reorganizing the files, and instead of ordering a box of Pendaflex files, they had decided to throw away all the ones we had and replace them with new ones so everything would look nice and new.  Two calculators needed new print heads (part = $8 each), but she decided to order 2 new calculators - no, make that 3, so we would have a back up at $125 each.  And on and on.  Fortunately, all orders had to be signed by the branch manager, so we were able to put a stop to it, but there are people who never question what is being ordered. 
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