BRAINFOOD: Look after the pennies - Tightening the belt

It's no longer rare for a company to spend big bucks on redesigning staff uniforms. Alitalia chose Armani, British Airways opted for Julien Macdonald, and Air France invited Christian Lacroix to produce its latest collection.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Attitudes used to be more down-to-earth. Take the case of a Network South East employee's cost-cutting measure at the height of '80s fashion excess.

John Suman worked as a senior railwayman in Dartford, Kent. Like all railwaymen, he was issued each year with two pairs of uniform trousers and a belt.

He noticed that the trousers wore out more quickly than the belt and suggested replacing the belt every two years instead of annually. His idea saved Network South East £10,500 a year and earned him an award of £1,050. How times have changed - though the trains still run late.

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