Teen thinks he can save the US government $400m: A simple cost cutting strategy for SMEs

Having a cash flow crisis or just looking to save a few dollars? One 14-year-old thinks he can show you how.

Suvir Mirchandani has uncovered a way for the US government to save $400 million, and it could help your business cut costs too.

The teen was thinking of ways to save money at his Pittsburgh-area middle school when, in a stroke of genius, he thought of an easy solution – switch to a new font.

Mirchandani calculated changing all federal US government documents from Times New Roman to Garamond would save $136 million a year.

Currently the US Government Services Administration spends $467 million a year on printing costs and if the state governments also switched, an additional $234 million could be saved.

Mirchandani discovered ink is two times more expensive by volume than expensive French perfume, and for a school project he collected samples of his school’s handouts and looked at the most commonly used letters (e, t, a o and r).

For a science project he looked at how the letters were used in four different typefaces, Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans, and measured how much ink was used for each letter using commercial software, before personally verifying his findings.

Mirchandani detailed this process to CNN and discovered using Garamond could reduce his school’s ink usage by 24% and save $21,000 annually.

While small businesses are unlikely to save hundreds of millions of dollars like the US government, it’s quite possible changing the font type of printed documents could save SMEs more than a thousand dollars annually.

Mirchandani is also hoping his research has a broader impact.

“Consumers are still printing at home, they can make this change too,” he told CNN.

“I definitely would love to see some actual changes and I’d be happy to go as far as possible to make that change possible.”

But changing the font of printed documents might be a step behind the game, as reducing printing all together can help businesses save on printing costs, file cabinets and storage space.

Another simple change which can help businesses save money is to set up digital communication systems to hold client meetings over the internet.

By using programs like Skype and Webex, businesses can save on travel costs when communicating with staff or clients in other offices.

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