Some of you might have heard by now, as this has become quite the story, that several Trenton, NJ public buildings are either running very low or are completely out of paper products. The Trenton police station has been without paper towels for weeks and just this week exhausted their supply of toilet. Officers are using external facilities for their needs including local businesses and hotels. City council members were expected to vote this week on a $42K order for disposable paper goods in the city.  

So how do things get that bad? Apparently this particular feud started with a potentially inflated order for paper cups in November due to the suspicion that employees were taking stock home. This is not an uncommon accusation from employers. Sometimes this may very well be the case, but other instances may just require better controls around the use of supplies. Employees need to understand that management has to factor in tactical costs like consumables, and while toilet paper is something of a necessity, paper cups are not.

The story’s global reach has even prompted support and offers from manufacturers and other organizations. Marcal Manufacturing LLC offered to supplier toilet paper for free to the city’s employees. Even PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), offered a free six month supply of toilet paper, of course that came with the condition that the council promote the discontinued use of animal related products.

Situations like this do not need to get to this point. With the appropriate level of tracking and reporting of purchases, usage and costs associated, management and purchasing can address the small issues before they turn into a big mess!
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Jennifer Ulrich

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  1. Nice blog! They were talking about it on the NJ radio station too like I mentioned to you :) Definitely some entertaining commentary and callers!

  2. So true - budget control which requires spending control which requires monitoring what actually is necessary can either keep a business afloat or take it under.