October 10, 2017

How a Messy Desk Costs You Money

By Paul Bieber

I have been in thousands of glass shops in my career. Ninety-five percent had one thing in common and the other 5 percent had something else in common. What were these two underlying traits? Read on, dear friend.

The 5-percenters actually had two traits. The owners and the employees had neat desks and could find what they needed when they needed it; secondly, they were profitable.

The other 95 percent had messy desks and operations. Some of them were profitable, but not all. I ran a fabricator and distributor that had more than 2,000 accounts; occasionally I went on a collection call with our salespeople. Everyone who owed us money had a messy desk. ‘Nuff said.

A clean desk allows you find phone numbers quickly, keeps important work papers right where they should be and allows you more time to work, rather than hunting around your office for the phone number of someone you owe a quote to.

If you are in that 95 percent, spend a Saturday really cleaning up your work area. Get a rolling file folder holder to put all of your quotes and other files in. Keep this by your desk and you will save time. Maintain an active address book, whether on your computer, phone or a desk planner. Don’t keep scraps of paper all over with phone numbers, but no names.

Throw away all of your junk mail that you thought you would read someday. If you have a new project in mind, create a folder and put all of your notes in it.

Hire a computer geek to sort all of the various files in your computer, setting them up in a way that you can easily get information and quotes you need.

Throw away all of the product literature you picked up at a glass show three years ago. Everything has been improved since then.

Build a storage bin to hold all of the blueprints you are working with. They belong anywhere other than your working desk.

Put your checkbook and accounts payable in a locking desk drawer. Keep your personnel records in a locked file drawer.

Where do you meet with a client that comes into your shop? Maybe you have a conference room, but most shops don’t. Your office is the place. Put up pictures of your family and jobs that you have done. Maybe a few baseball pictures. No porn or near porn. (I once walked into a glass shop where the owner had ten or twelve full frontal nude pictures of a very pretty woman scattered around his office. He asked me what I thought of her. I answered in the same ribald way he asked the question. Then he said, “Aren’t I a lucky guy. She is my wife. She used to be a porn star.” I got out of there as quick as I could and never offered to sell him.) (Yes, this is an absolutely true story!)

If you are organized you will be more productive in your use of time. If you gain a half-hour per day, which is easily obtainable, you will work with more customers, which will make you more profitable.  This is an absolutely true statement also.