Sunday, 18 November 2007

Life in Ukraine

Explaining the GCMP
Corporate HQ have instituted a Global Cost Management Programme (GCMP) and there's nothing wrong with that.

One of the first expenses they have targeted is stationery and, well, I suppose we do use a lot of it: in fact I checked my departmental expense report: stationery accounts for 0.01% of 2007 expenditure (2008 target: 0.005%).

From now on we must treat the company's money as if it is our own and we will be mostly printing in black and white. Yes, even the monthly traffic-light status report, don't be flippant.

But how to go about persuading people to use less stationery in a big company? I mock but if that's what you really want to do then it's not, in fact, a trivial task. Especially if you start from a premise that your employees are spendthrift wasters who wantonly bend paper-clips and sharpen pencils down to stubs for their own amusement. Certainly it's hard to imagine a real free-market solution.

Our solution? Centralise: Stationery buying has been restricted to a few select individuals, who have been told to scrutinise all requests carefully and make tough.

As far as I can ascertain the secretaries here on on the 43rd floor have never been to the Ukraine and have never heard of collectivisation, which is curious because that's exactly what they have invented in response
"In order to use our stationery more wisely", reads the memo, "we have agreed that all stationery on the floor should be pooled. This means that any local stores of paper or pens or suchlike that you have in cupboards or pedestals must all be moved to the photocopying room next to staircase E (the one that leads to the canteen) where they can be managed centrally".
The result will not surprise any student of Soviet history, or economics: hoarding leading to shortages and surpluses.

Neither love nor money on our floor, now, will find you A3 (though there's a stong rumour that they have some in Sales) but red biros are two a penny: ten will buy you a black felt-tip.

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