Employee Savings Plan

EMC's plan to reduce company costs included a call to arms that attracted some interesting — and effective — employee recommendations.

Not sure where all your money is going? Try asking the people who spend it. In late 2001, faced with rapidly shrinking revenue, computer storage giant EMC turned to employees to help reduce costs. CFO Bill Teuber created the Office for Cost Efficiency, a cross-functional team led by his finance department. And in a companywide memo, he asked everyone for ideas. Since then, 2,000 suggestions have poured in—and 100 have actually been put into action, yielding total savings of more than $17 million. Here are a few.

  • Stop going postal: A manufacturing worker suggested reducing postage by handing out paychecks instead of mailing them. EMC went further, moving to online pay stubs.
    Savings: $200,000 a year
  • Consolidate coffee: Several employees noted the high overhead associated with multiple vendors for office coffee. EMC centralized suppliers.
    Savings: $200,000 a year
  • Hail your own taxi: EMC Japan was spending more than $60,000 a month on taxis. Workers suggested replacing a costly voucher program with an expense-form reimbursement scheme.
    Savings: $240,000 a year
  • Leave no box unopened: A finance worker found 34 unopened, forgotten boxes
  • in a warehouse. Inside: hundreds of company-logo clock-calculators. At the next event, Marketing didn't have to spring for new tchotchkes.
    Savings: $25,000
  • Repurpose that pencil: During one office relocation, an employee noticed unwanted office supplies being thrown away. EMC launched an effort to recycle supplies within the company, with excess donated to local schools.
    Savings: $100,000 a year

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