Christmas Lights And IT Costs

December 1, 2008

Like many, I try and put the Christmas lights on the house before there is 10 inches of snow on the roof making the chore more difficult than necessary.

So, a couple of weekends ago I stretched out my two strings of lights, tested them, and found about 10 burned out bulbs.

That forced me to schedule a stop on my trip home from work one day to visit Canada’s favourite hardware store to purchase 3 packs of replacement bulbs.

The following weekend I replaced my burned out bulbs and hit the roof of the house to install my seasonal lights.

After the chore was complete, I plugged them in;

Three more bulbs died instantly. And over the next several hours, four more died.

I admit, my comments were not seasonal.

So yesterday I had to visit the hardware store again; had to fight through seasonally choked aisles to get three more packs of replacement bulbs. Hit the roof again and replaced the burned out ones.

Money Value of Time

As a business manager in the small to mid-sized business space, you are most likely familiar with the time value of money.

But don’t neglect the money value of time.

Based on my story above, what would have had less cost?

* Two new strings of lights at about six dollars apiece, and one trip to the roof

* Or six packs of replacement parts at about a buck each, but four to five hours of time made up of testing, installing, two trips for parts, and two visits to the roof?

The takeaway.

As in many cases, there comes a time where direct (labour) costs, plus indirect (downtime, loss of productivity) IT maintenance costs outweigh a replacement cost.

And these maintenance costs often start out as small nickel and dime maintenance costs that on the surface seem quite inexpensive and reasonable.

But over time …….

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