Category: Uncategorized

Penny Wise & Pound Foolish

English scholar Robert Burton is credited with coining the familiar phrase, “penny wise and pound foolish.” Some of us can only be trusted with small amounts of money because when given more they make costly mistakes.

I am constantly looking for ways to wisely save money not only for my company’s profitability but for our customer’s success. One of the ways to accomplish this is to consolidate sources. Having too many moving parts causes confusion and unproductivity.

And business industry experts agree. Take for example The Hackett Group. The global strategic business advisory, operations consulting and finance strategy firm published an article in 2012 called, The Benefits of Supplier Consolidation Extend Far Beyond Sourcing Savings.  

Authors Pierre Mitchell and Christopher Sawchuk applied ten years of research in their discussion of three business benefits of consolidating suppliers. They are:

  1. Reduced purchased costs
  2. Reduced procurement and supplier management costs – businesses spend an estimated $700-$1,400 in internal costs to “source each supplier, set up in internal systems, transact with it and manage the relationship”. Doesn’t your workforce have more important tasks to complete?
  3. Reduced noncompliance – always makes stakeholders happier

After reading The Hackett Group’s article you may be thinking, this is great for large companies, but I’m a small business owner. I’m suggesting this line of thinking and action can be implemented by all business professionals who then will experience positive results. 

“…a successful vendor consolidation initiative is worth the time and energy you invest. Companies that rely on a consolidated list of vendors tend to achieve higher levels of vendor performance, internal productivity, and enterprise-wide cost savings (Choosing the Most Effective Approach to Vendor Consolidation,, Eric Staebell, 2012).

Join me in taking steps to become even more “pound wise” this year. Do you have multiple systems in place or third party suppliers that overlap? If so, why?

Thank you for continuing to choose Coastal as your one stop office and promo products supplier.

Serving You,

John Wilcox, President

Buy Local is for B2B, Too!

Support Local Business placard isolated on white

Bob buys lunch from Jan’s Diner. Jan buys produce from Ted’s farm to promote daily specials. Ted keeps his accounts at Bob’s bank. Many of us understand the benefits and try to Buy Local in our personal spending, but Buy Local is even more powerful in business to business spending.

As a business owner in Hampton Roads, I’ve recognized the best and fastest way to keep your local economy thriving is to keep spending as much as possible within locally owned or based business. B2B dollars spent locally spin out into our community to support other businesses that create jobs, enhance local prosperity and support the institutions and causes that improve our region’s quality of life.

And this is a proven fact…

Civic Economics did an analysis of the economic impact of office products procurement by comparing a locally-owned supplier in Arizona to a contract division of a national supplier with local operations (Procurement Matters: The Economic Impact of Local Suppliers, 2007).

The local supplier had a greater effect on the local economy than the national supplier. Thirty-three percent of the locally-owned supplier’s revenue was recirculated within the community whereas only 11.6% of the national supplier’s stayed in the region.

The conclusion of this study stated that “local suppliers generate dramatically greater economic activity than their chain competitors.” If this is true for office suppliers, what about the impact your business makes?

Most private and public sector businesses and institutions recognize their longevity in their community are very much related to the community’s health. Buying locally is both good for our bottom line and good for the community which is good for our bottom lime. It’s a positive cycle!

How can you get started in your business? It’s easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Review your current business vendors with a commitment to bring as much “home” as possible. Organizations that have done this have found world-class solutions right around the corner that provide greater service at a lower price.
  2. Look Local First. Make it part of your company culture.
  3. Understand that rock bottom price is often not the best deal for your business. The employees of that off-price, offshore website won’t be re-spending your dollars where you live.

If you want an example of a great company with a Buy Local ethic, look at the growth and success of Towne Bank.

What ideas to you have? Share in the comments section.

Buying local with you,

John Willcox, President

Spending Dollar$ to Save Dimes

money funnelToday’s task list is long. You’re looking to save time and money, but fighting to fit 12 hours worth of work into just 8. “Do More (jobs) with Less (time)” is the familiar mantra of today’s business world.

Shopping prices for every purchase can be tedious, time-consuming and often costs more than it saves.  In business, time is money. Shopping takes time. Cutting multiple POs. Receiving multiple shipments takes time.  Processing multiple invoices take time.

Are you spending dollars to save dimes? What if all this time was spent growing your business instead of tightening your belt?

What can we do differently in 2016 to make sure man hours are spent finding the best value not just the lowest nickel?

PRICE: Just half of the story

Of course saving money doing a competitive price research is important. Consider that it may be even more critical to find a reputable distributor of the products your workplace needs and uses; one consistent in customer service, price, value and reliability for every order.

Finding one size does not fit all because every business has unique needs. And price is not your only chance to save money for your company. In fact, it’s only about half your opportunity to reduce your true cost of supply.

COST: The Other Half

While price savings can be fleeting, savings achieved in the total cost of supply are constant and significant because, in business, time really is money.

In Business, Time is Money.

Purchasing professionals say any item’s price is approximately 55% of the total cost of supply, which includes time spent selecting, finding, shopping, ordering, receiving, distributing, accounting and processing payment. These expensive components, plus price, make up the true and total cost of acquisition.

Eight Steps in the Procurement Process

The global business consultancy, The Hackett Group indicates that the cost of processing and paying an invoice averages just under $25.00. So that $10 you saved on toner from a new vendor just cost your company $25 just to pay the bill.

Finding the best value is good business. Shopping for the best price on big-spend items makes sense. But incessant shopping to save a few pennies in a category with little impact on your bottom line is spending dollars to save dimes.

For these categories, my recommendation is to foster a relationship with a vendor you can trust to serve the best interests of your operation. Review your vendor every so often but in between reviews trust their mutual interest in your success.

As you mull this information around, think about how you and your company can take more steps in experiencing soft and hard costs this year. Coastal customers who are utilizing our Home Team Service are already one step ahead. The service cuts your total cost of acquisition from first-need to final delivery.

And our new partnership with the Regency group brings powerful new opportunities to deliver significant cost savings up and down your supply chain. This includes having access to an unprecedented array of business supplies and services, with one website, one delivery and one invoice to streamline your acquisition processes.

Click here to request a login password, so you can check us out.

Serving you,
John Wilcox

Apps and the Old School

I like technology.  I love social media. I am app-addicted. I am stunned and amazed by how much its changed our lives in a very short time. It’s changed politics, friendships, buying influences, work habits,  entertainment-everything. Certainly, I am a digital dinosaur but even my little lizard brain knows the change has just begun.

For business, the change is deep, wide, scary and thrilling.  It’s seems everything is all about digital. Online everything. The Millenials are coming!  The Cloud is sexy.

But I believe it is a marketing mistake to think the “New School” is the only school. Traditional marketing tools and techniques combined with digital marketing can make both stronger and more effective.

a2 Theres-No-App-For-That

In the scramble to keep up with the speeding Bits&Bytes Bullet train,  I find myself rushing to force (insert latest social media app here) in my marketing plan, instead of examining my business objective and picking the right set of tools for the job.

Consider promotional products-all those items with your company name leaving a durable trail of brand impressions long after that online ad has left the screen. Advertising Specialties have been around forever, but they still work.  And, they often are overlooked as “old school” when they can be the key to enhancing digital campaigns.

Say you want to do an extensive online customer survey.  The results will determine the direction of your business.  Traditional estimate of survey return would be under 10%, but offer the right promotional product your returns could approach 80%, according to the Advertising Specialty Institutes’ annual study.

a1. Survey-Blue

In the 2016 edition of Advertising Specialty Institute’s eye-opening, Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study it stated that when considering cost per customer impression (every time a new customer sees your name), the average targeted mobile and internet campaigns cost the same as ad specialties (promotional items).

An added consideration, “Fifty percent of U.S. consumers own promotional bags. Bags generate more impressions in the U.S. than any other promotional item.”


Your average American adult male own 8 promotional hats.

a. Eight-Promo-Hats-Red_REV (1)

The  Impressions study revealed that Virginians consider the USB Drive to be the promo product that has the biggest impact on their opinions about the advertiser.  Sixty percent of those 18 to 24-years-old and fifty-one percent of those 25 to 35-years-old are likely to own a logoed USB Drive.

So, you should google up some flash drives from an online catalog for the Millenials, right? Not so fast! A promo product expert (like Coastal’s!) will point out that that target  market probably got a drawer full of thumb drives last year and suggest we find you the right product for your job this year.  It might something new and fresh, or a proven winner:

a4 Promotional-Shirt-Blue

As you consider your business objectives, seasoned marketing concepts and new technology tools are a powerful combination. Coastal’s promo and logo apparel experts can help you find the right tools for the job. Just another part of our exclusive, Home Team Service.

Our new partnership with the Regency group continues to bring powerful new opportunities to unify the “old school” with the “new school”. This includes having access to special values on promotional items, corporate apparel and custom printing all on one website, one delivery and one invoice to streamline your acquisition processes.

Click here to request a login password, so you can begin today.

Happily serving you,
John Wilcox, President

Standing Out in the Internet Age

coastal-servicesMy head is swimming with possibilities and ideas. You’ve probably heard the initial report that the 2015 holiday online sales are estimated to have increased 13.9 percent from 2014. Astounding but not surprising.

I think you and I can agree that online sales has a lot of room to grow before it plateaus. An important priority for Coastal in 2016 is to stand out in the internet age. After all, we recognize that our valued customers can shop the globe.

Question: How does Coastal or your workplace stand out from competitors?

Answer: Utilizing our existing products & services? Maybe. But consider this first…

Take for instance a successful local Hampton Roads car dealership. What does providing free manicures and a movie room have to do with their core competencies of maintaining or buying vehicles? Nothing.

But if the customer has a chance to relax for a few minutes in a theater style seat or get pampered while waiting for their car versus sitting on cold hard plastic with a bad television…need I say more?

Besides lowering prices, how can we as business people add services that customers would see as a value?

Coastal has moved into 2016 with these thoughts in mind. Through our recent partnership with Regency, we are not only able to continue to provide our customers with office supplies, but also help with streamlining the supply process. This allows you to spend more time on your business and less effort on orders.

It is a New Year for Coastal! We’ve launched a NEW WEBSITE and look forward to coming alongside all of our customers as you experience a prosperous 2016.

Until next time,

John Wilcox

Something BIG is Here!

cheering for coastal
On January 1, 2016 Coastal will ring in an unprecedented level of convenience and savings for you, our valued customer! As part of this excitement, welcome to our first ever blog. Coastal’s John Wilcox and team will be sharing tidbits and industry news helping you to be even more prosperous in the workplace.

Your Home Team is proud to announce its alliance with the Regency Group network. This partnership will help you “Get It All Together” with even more products and services, national buying power, leading-edge eCommerce and billing options.

Why is this so exciting?

  1. National Buying Power: Coastal’s customers will enjoy Regency’s  enterprise level pricing on more than 60,000 office, printing, promo, and apparel products plus business printing, shredding and other services.
  2. Single Source Savings: You will save money and time by consolidating your spending with one local vendor of multiple products. One website to buy from. Fewer deliveries to manage. One invoice to pay.
  3. Automated Spend Management: Manage costs throughout your business with an array of automated controls and multi-level approvals customized to your preferences.  
  4. Integrated Invoicing: Reduce the amount of hours your “accounts payable” team spends by using Coastal’s consolidated invoicing which is pre-coded to your cost and profit centers formatted for direct import into your payables system.

On January 1st, Coastal will Offer…


Office & Bank Supplies
Cleaning & Break room
Office Furniture
Business Printing – EXPANDED
Promotional Products – IMPROVED
Corporate Apparel – IMPROVED


Corporate E-Store- NEW
On/Offsite Shredding – NEW
Inventory & Fulfillment – NEW
Managed Print Services – COMING
Spend Management Solutions – NEW
Integrated & Pre-coded Invoicing- IMPROVED

Next Steps…

Throughout the month of December, our valued customers have been transitioning to Coastal’s new e-commerce platform and learning about their new options. In January, these new product lines and capabilities open up to the commercial, education, and public sector organizations throughout Hampton Roads.

If you’d like to learn how Coastal’s new capabilities can help your organization please contact John Willcox (; 757-366-5502)

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