Your time is valuable
Each day we all start out with an agenda and then….
The phone rings or…..
Someone walks into your office
Another fire breaks out
You drop everything
All your energy goes into putting out the fire
Sound familiar
It can leave us all frustrated
What is normal
Is this normal
What are my options
HBS we allow you to do what you do best…

 

Run your day to day business
 
Are you getting what you paid for
 
 
 
I have seen many surprised faces in my lifetime
 
 
I was told I was only going to pay…….
 
 
 
Are you getting what you paid for
 
 
Let us review and validate what you are currently paying
HBS looks at every day cost
That most people take for granted
As the cost of doing business
  • Communication – Voice, Data, Hosted, Cloud, Disaster                                         Recovery
  • Utilities – Natural Gas, Electric
  • Business Taxes – Payroll, Sales, Property
  • Business Insurance – Group Health, Package Policies
 
HBS will keep you in the driver seat
We are dedicated to providing opportunities
That will lower your cost…
Increase efficiencies….
Grow your bottom line
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Remember Your Bandwidth

October 24, 2014

Bandwidth directly correlates to backup and disaster recovery. The need for internet speed is going to keep increasing as more people adopt cloud strategies and move their CRMs, accounting, servers, and more to the cloud. These services are mission critical. In order to make these work, more bandwidth is necessary to create more efficiency.
The need for more bandwidth goes hand in hand with having a good backup and disaster recovery plan. Having a failover – additional connection – gives additional protection. Planning for future growth with additional bandwith is just as important as establishing a good disaster recovery plan.

Life Line

June 7, 2011

The life line to any business is the phone.

 

 

It is your connection to the public.

 

The Customer calls and you are on stage.

 

 

 

My Pop always said,

 

 

“That people hear you before they see you.”

 

 

 

What image are you projecting when your clients call?

 

 

 

Some companies place a low priority on this…..

 

 

 

Trying calling Dell, Comcast or Verizon.

 

 

 

All their words tell you they are customer oriented

 

 

Geared to handle your issues,

 

 

but you are so frustrated by the time you get a chance to
talk to someone!!!

 

When you finally do get a human voice…

 

 

You start to panic…..

 

 

Please don’t hang up!!!!

 

 

If we get disconnected…..

 

Can you call me back at 856……….

 

 

Is that true customer service?

 

 

 

 

Service is Key

 

 

Companies personally answering each phone call

 

Is rare these days….

 

Almost unheard of

 

 

Guess what????

 

HBS has a client who does just that.

 

 

Recently, we met with the client who had a 12 year old phone
system

 

 

Yeah, the phones worked….

 

But we were having trouble finding parts for it

 

 

They were dealing with an accident waiting to happen.

 

 

When we met with them,

 

we asked….

 

What are you looking for a new phone system to do?

 

 

Besides the ability to personally answer each call

 

They were also looking for management tools

 

  • How long calls were lasting
  • Who is available to answer overflow
  • How many rings does it take to answer
  • How can we get in touch with people who hang up

 

We took all their suggestions into account and spoke to many
of the phone vendors we deal with to define a solution that would work.

 

We found a solution with

 

The new Hosted VOIP system designed by Evolve

 

 

It has not only addressed their questions

 

but their ability to service the client has

 

Shot thru the roof.

 

 

Here are some of the comments we have received

 

 

I couldn’t believe we had over 900 calls the other day.

 

We had 9 people answering the phone in the past;

 

Now we have up to 15 people available to jump in and help out.

 

 

We found that many people hang up after they have been on hold for more than 20 seconds,

 

Now, we are able to retrieve those #s and call them back up

 

 

 

I was out of town last week and was able to log in remotely to see what was going on in our call
center.

 

 

The tools and products now available to business……

 

Continue to literally evolve.

 

 

When VoIP was first introduced;

 

QOS (quality of service) was a major issue.

 

 

Voices sounded delayed, in the distance and always had static.

 

 

 

Hosted VOIP solutions have put these questions to rest.

 

Clients are now able to ride on the providers’ network and
the results are amazing.

 

 

How old is your phone system?

 

Are you on borrowed time?

 

 

HBS represents all the major PBX and Hosted VOIP providers.

 

We offer a free consultation.

 

 

Prices for updating your phone system have never been more
affordable.

 

 

 

Hosted VOIP solutions

 

Will revitalize your efforts to

 

Stay in touch with your clients

 

 

 

 

For learn more about Hosted VOIP solutions email George@hbsadvantage.com

Or call 856-757-1230

The Little Things

November 30, 2010

I was driving down the Garden State Parkway a couple of weeks ago and I was enjoying the full color spectrum of the fall trees. Some of the trees were beginning to lose leaves but looking on a mile or so ahead, it presented a beautiful view. 

I really love this time of year and how God uses the landscape to paint a perfect picture. 

Turning onto the Atlantic City Expressway, I started to notice that the picture was fading. No longer could I see the brilliant colors ahead, for the trees were almost bare once I got to mile marker 13.5. 

I was a little surprised, for you would think that the fall splendor is universal in the area? 

I didn’t realize that there exist little pockets; that have their own hours to shine. 

We all must exist on our own timeline! 

What made mile marker 13.5 the breakpoint? 

That started me thinking. All the little things we just take for granted on a daily basis. 

What made me stop and take notice of the difference? 

Why? 

Because that is part of my character and that is what we do here at HBS. 

We look at the little things, the cost that most companies just take for granted. 

Most of our items are just budgeted for. 

What did we pay last year and how much do you think it may go up? 

     Electric…. Natural Gas…. Voice… Data…. Unemployment Taxes…. Sales Tax 

Need I say more? 

We call these costs the unsung heroes! 

These are daily cost of doing business that most companies tend to ignore. 

We find many people are resistant to change but: 

The only thing constant in life is change!  

Each client is unique. 

Each opportunity opens the door to defining what the client is currently doing; 

Exploring various options and 

Providing solutions, designed to increase efficiency and savings. 

We understand that the current economic climate has been difficult for many businesses. 

HBS provides: 

Smart Solutions for Smart Business

Many times, it is the little things that provide the best opportunities. 

Would you like to know more? Email george@hbsadvantage.com or call 856-857-1230.

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

Overpaying Telecom

April 9, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Andrew Backover

For 6 months, Nelson Human Resource Solutions paid $1,000 a

month for 80 phone lines that weren’t being used.

The staffing company also paid $600 a month for empty voice-mail

boxes.

Workers would switch offices and order new service. But they would

not disconnect the old service, Nelson says. The Sonoma, Calif. firm

only discovered the problem after hiring a consulting firm to check its

telecommunications expenses.

Many companies like Nelson are throwing money away as bills

skyrocket for telephone service, cellphones, wireless handhelds,

Internet accounts and laptops connected to networks.

The cost of telecommunications now ranks in the top five expenses

for most companies, up from about No. 10 a decade ago, companies

and consultants say. Companies spend 5% to 35% more than they

need to, experts say, because they pay for services they don’t use. Or

they fail to find the cheapest calling plans. They miss billing mistakes.

And employees make calls they’re not supposed to. As telecom costs

rise, so does the potential for excessive expense.

“The waste is enormous,” says Scott Schaefer, CEO of QuantumShift,

which helps companies manage communication services. “Every

single company that has over 100 employees is waking up to the fact

that (communications) is one of their largest expenses . . . and the least

understood.”

The expense isn’t minor. This year, U.S. businesses will spend an

estimated $403 billion on local and long-distance telephone service

and equipment. That is up from $274 billion in 1998, says the

Telecommunications Industry Association. In 2004, the total will

approach $600 billion, or nearly twice the Pentagon’s annual budget.

Financial services firms, where fast communication is key, spend an

average of $3,000 per year per employee — about five times the

amount of 15 years ago, says Bill Moore of consulting firm

PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In a time of layoffs and belt tightening, more companies are eyeing

telecom budgets, says analyst Maribel Dolinov of Forrester Research.

And no item is too small. Investment banking firm Salomon Smith

Barney recently suggested that its employees stop dialing 411, which

costs about $1, to get phone numbers. A handful of branch offices

have banned it. Consultants who help companies rein in telecom

expenses say most businesses waste money because of:

* Billing mistakes.

 

 

Last year, refrigeration equipment and laundryservices firm Mac-Gray upgraded its telecom network linking

regional offices in 11 cities with its Cambridge, Mass., headquarters.

But when AT&T upgraded the service, it continued to bill Mac-Gray

for the old service as well. Mac-Gray, with 500 employees and $150

million in annual revenue, failed to catch the mistake for several

months because the bill was so complicated, it says. The overcharge:

$75,000.

AT&T reimbursed Mac-Gray — but only after Mac-Gray hired a consulting

firm to handle its telecom services and to help with the dispute.

AT&T won’t comment on customers. But even it says billing disputes

are more common as customers buy more services.

Businesses aren’t the only losers. A billing error caused the county

government of Lee County, Fla. to pay $13,000 too much for longdistance

service over 4 months this year, says telecom management

firm Stonehouse Technologies. The money was refunded after the

problem was found.

How often errors occur is disputed. Consulting firm Rand Associates

says its business clients see billing mistakes on phone bills about 80%

of the time.

Often, tax-exempt organizations, such as municipal agencies, are

wrongly charged state or federal taxes, says Rand President Rudy

Richardson.

Also, computer systems that turn telecom services on and off aren’t

always in sync with billing systems. So customers might get billed for

several extra days of service, says John Gonsalves, vice president at

technology consulting firm Adventis.

Phone companies dispute that billing mistakes occur so often. The

Federal Communications Commission doesn’t track billing errors.

BellSouth, for one, says its bills contain mistakes less than 2% of the

time.

Regardless, it is up to customers to catch billing errors. And few businesses

go through bills line by line. The monthly stack of bills for

Nelson Human Resource Solutions stood 8 inches high. “There was

no one to analyze the paper,” says Chief Financial Officer Deborah

Mings. It now has QuantumShift handle its telecom operations.

* Carelessness.

 

 

Companies and organizations cannot always blamephone companies. Pricewater-houseCoopers had one client that paid

 

 

 

$80,000 in monthly service charges over 18 months for 36 cellphones

sitting in a crate in a warehouse. “It’s not that clients are lazy,” says

PWC’s Moore. “It’s simply impossible to stay on top of it.”

Eisai Research Institute, a drug research firm in Andover, Mass.,

thought it was on top of it when it banned employees from calling 900

numbers frequently used as sex, astrology and gambling hotlines. But

Eisai forgot to put the same block on its fax lines.

This year, in 1 month, an employee ran up a $1,300 hotline tab. The

company will say only that the worker wasn’t calling a sex line.

“That’s a perfect example of . . . (what) can slip through the cracks,”

says Eisai Treasurer Paul Drahnak. He expects Eisai to save $100,000

a year by turning its telecom operations over to a management firm.

* Inefficient contracts.

 

 

Because of an outdated long-distance contract,law firm Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker wasted $300,000 last year.

The Los Angeles-based firm was in the middle of a 5-year contract

that charged 7.8 cents a minute. When the contract was signed, the

firm saw it as a good deal. But long-distance prices have plummeted.

Businesses now often get volume discounts in the 3-cent to 4-cent

range. Finding the best deal, and anticipating market trends was

beyond the 800-lawyer firm.

“We just don’t have that capability,” says Chief Information Officer

Mary Odson.

Likewise, hotel operator Windsor Capital Group estimates it was

paying $100,000 too much each year on maintenance contracts for

telecom and other technology equipment in its 24 hotels.

One California hotel, for instance, paid 40% more than a Colorado

hotel did for a maintenance contract on telephone switch equipment,

which allows guests to use the phones. The contract was negotiated by

hotel managers, who aren’t telecom experts.

“They are in the guest-services business,” says Windsor Capital Vice

President Sam Sansone. It has since hired outsourcing firm United

Asset Coverage to handle its maintenance contracts.

Complicated contracts

Buying telephone service used to be simple. Before the breakup of

AT&T in 1984, customers essentially bought local and long-distance

service from one company.

But the splintering of AT&T led to hundreds of long-distance

competitors, each clamoring for business customers with slightly

different deals.

In 1996, when Congress mandated more competition in the local

phone business, hundreds of tiny competitors started offering service.

And wireless service, once a luxury, is now a staple. In fact, 51% of

workers with cellphones say their companies pay at least part of the

monthly tab, says research firm Telephia. Also, companies are paying

to connect more employees to the Internet.

As telecom expenses have grown, companies have struggled to

respond.

Most large firms have designated employees watching over telecom

and computer systems. But in small firms, the chore often falls to

chief financial officers, who lack expertise. “Every company in the

world can’t afford to have an expert in house,” says Eisai Research’s

Drahnak.

Also, telecom expenses can be hard to track. For example, Internet

access charges might fall under the budget of a company’s information

technology department. But cellphones, often purchased by employees

and then expensed, might fall under travel budgets.

Consolidating bills can be hard, too. Law firm Paul Hastings has

seven U.S. offices. It buys telecom services from 24 companies. The

bills came in so often, at different times of the month, that they sometimes

got lost or sat on desks until they were late, Odson says.

Getting help

Last year, Odson handed management of the $1.8 million domestic

telecom budget to QuantumShift. Odson expects to save $700,000

this year. One big help? QuantumShift found it a better long-distance

contract.

QuantumShift’s software also searches for billing errors and unused

lines. It consolidates bills, which saves time, and lets Odson more

easily order new services. And it lets her analyze expenses to a single

phone number.

Even after paying for QuantumShift’s services, Odson expects

telecom costs to be about 26% less this year.

Companies that help others cut telecom costs are doing a brisk

business. Privately held QuantumShift had 116 customers as of June,

up from 45 the year before. It posted a 300% year-over-year revenue

gain in its first fiscal quarter. Stonehouse Technologies recently added

20 employees, bringing its total to 60. Veramark Technologies says its

outsourcing revenue has grown 30% in the past 10 months.

Phone firms, too, are trying to cash in. AT&T’s consulting arm

recently redesigned a customer-service system for First Union. It will

save the bank $38 million over 5 years, says AT&T executive Randy

Johnston. That’s because First Union’s customer service agents will

have faster access to more information, which means it’ll take less

time to handle customer calls.

Just as regular consumers can save money on phone costs by shopping

for calling plans that fit their needs and checking bills for errors,

companies can save money by taking simple steps:

* When billing errors occur, report them to the phone companies’

customer service team — not the sales team, says AT&T.

* Make sure disputes are noted in computer systems. That way, a

response is likely to be faster. Also, customers won’t have their service

turned off because they didn’t pay disputed bills.

* After ordering new service, ask for a detailed explanation of the bill.

Companies that don’t pay attention could find themselves in the same

place as Mac-Gray Chief Financial Officer Michael Shea.

“You wake up some morning and say, ’Holy cow. How am I spending

$1 million on communications,’ . . . and no one knows.”

Our Perspective:

This is an old article that appeared in 2001. As the old saying go, “The more things change, the more they stay the same. We see instances like this happening constantly.

How much are you paying for Telecom or voice and data services. I thinks this presents a strong case on why you should be looking at this now!

For more information email george@hbsadvantage.com  or call 856-857-1230

Learn more by visiting us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

 

 

March 17, 6:18 PM Political Buzz Examiner Ryan Witt

By now the health care reform bill has become something like Bigfoot in that everyone talks about it but few know what it really looks like if it exists at all.  For clarification there is in fact a “bill” which is set to be voted on by the House of Representatives this weekend.  The current bill was already passed by the Senate and has been analyzed extensively by experts. However in addition to the Senate bill the House also plans to vote on a “fix” to the bill which will then go back to the Senate.  The “fix” is not all together settled and is still being written after going through markup in the House Budget Committee (picture on left).

Still the fixes are relatively small because they must be in order to be passed through the reconciliation process in the Senate.  We therefore know most everything that the bill would do if it is passed this weekend.  Here is a plain language summary of the major provisions of the health care reform bill.

Would I Be Forced to Purchase Insurance?

Probably not.  If you already have employer-provided insurance you can keep it.  If you do not currently have any insurance you may have to purchase a plan by 2014.  Beginning in 2014 most Americans would have to purchase health care insurance or be forced to pay a fine.  If someone already has insurance (including through their employer) they would not need to worry about this provision.  For those who would be affected they could purchase insurance from anywhere but if they do not they would need to pay either $750 or 2% of their income, whichever is greater.  Exemptions would be granted for those in financial hardship which is measured using the poverty line.

Would My Current Insurance Be Affected?

Yes and no.  Yes in that any new plans would be regulated by the federal government.  The regulation would make plans provide a minimum of amount of benefits but not a maximum.  It would also implement consumer protections and an appeals process for consumers who want to dispute the decisions of their insurance companies on individual coverage.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that premiums would go down under reform compared to the rate premiums would go up without reform.

Having said all that the reform plan “grandfathers” plans already in existence.  Therefore a plan currently in existence would be exempt to any changes at least for a while under the current bill.

What About This Exchange Idea and the Public Option?

There is no public option or new government provided insurance plan under the current bill.  Instead each state would have a health care insurance exchange where any individual can purchase health insurance.  The insurance plans in the exchange would have to meet federal regulation that would ensure they provide minimum benefits, etc.  Individuals who are currently covered by an employer-provided plan could not purchase form the exchange.  Undocumented immigrants could also not purchase from the plan. 

All plans in the exchange would be regulated by the federal government.  These regulations would include requirements that the plans provide a certain minimum level of coverage, that they do not discriminate based on pre-existing exclusions, that they spend a high percentage of their premiums on actual care (around 80%), and that they follow certain consumer protection laws.  In addition plans could no longer limit how much costs they are willing to cover.  In the past insurance companies would be able to limit their liability to $250,000 for example and stop paying once that limit was reached.

What Would Happen to Medicare?

The proposal would set up a board that would research and propose solution to reduce the costs of Medicare.  The board would be specifically prohibited from proposing anything which would amount to rationing care for the elderly.  Instead the proposal would focus on reducing waste and fraud while making Medicare more efficient.

What if I Can Not Afford Health Insurance?

Individuals who make between 100%-400% above the federal poverty level would be eligible to receive credits to assist them in purchasing health care insurance.  The amount of credit would generally go down the more income an individual made.  For the poorest the credit may pay for all of their health care premiums.

Would Employers Be Forced to Provide Insurance?

Maybe.  If a business has over 50 full-time employees they will be forced to offer health care coverage or face a $750 fee per employee.  Businesses with less than 50 employees would be exempted from providing coverage.

What About Medicaid?

Medicaid would be expanded to cover all individuals under the age of 65 who make less than 133% of the federal poverty level.  Currently the poverty level is around $18,000 for a family of three.

Does the Bill Pay for Abortions?

The bill keeps the current federal law on abortion funding in that federal funds could not be used directly to pay for abortion or abortion-related services.  The current bill does not include the abortion language in the House bill which put restriction on funding which were even more strict than the current law.  Essentially the House bill would have prevented individual receiving federal assistance from purchasing any health care plan (private or not) that provided abortion coverage.

What About Small Businesses?

Initially small businesses would receive a tax credit for up to 35% of the money they pay to purchase health insurance for their employees.  By 2014 that percentage would increase to 50%.  The idea is to help small businesses pay for health insurance coverage since they currently do not have the bargaining power of larger businesses.

Small businesses would be allowed to join forces in order to purchase insurance for their employees.  In other words five small businesses could all negotiate with an insurance company together in order to get a lower rate as big businesses currently do.

How is It All Paid For?

First there is a cadillac plan tax.  If an insurance plan costs $8,500 for an individual or $23,000 for family it would be taxed at 40% for any amount above those amounts.  Most health care plans cost much less than those amounts in premiums.

Secondly there are taxes on health insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, and medical supply companies.  Each of these companies would be assessed fees.  Pharmaceuticals would pay $2 billion, medical supply companies would pay $2.3 billion, and health insurance companies would pay $2 billion starting in 2011 and increasing to $10 billion by 2017.

Finally the bill would count on increased efficiency and reduced waste in Medicare to offset some of the other costs.  Overall the bill was projected to save a little over $100 billion in the first ten years of its existence and well over $700 billion after that.  Those projections were done by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

3 Ways a Telecom Management System Will Save You Money
By Steve J Murphy

As reported in Ezine Articles

A telecom management system is first and foremost a money saver. If the telecom system cannot provide a clear reason for you to invest your time and money (but, you may not need to pay for the system, more on that later), then why would you pursue it as a strategy? The return on investment, both hard dollar costs and time and energy invested, needs to be clear before the investment is made.

So, where do telecom management systems generate their payback? Telecom systems certainly create efficiencies in terms of automating manual processes within the IT and finance organizations, but our focus is on the hard dollar savings telecom management systems are renown for delivering. These hard dollar savings are in the “indisputable” elements of the telecom program. The hard dollar savings create a solid business case that managers can take to their executives for concurrence to move forward. If the investment element of the telecom system is low or free, then the only expenses that need to be covered before generating a clear return to the company is the set-up effort.

Where do these returns come from? Hard dollar savings can only be generated buy lowering the telecom bills of the user. This lowering can occur one of 3 ways: 1) by reducing the rates that the existing carrier is bill, 2) by changing the services the user is paying for so service is maintain or even enhanced while costs go down, and 3) by introducing new carriers with superior value propositions. A comprehensive telecom management operation will accomplish these three things and more.

Reducing rates charged by an existing carrier can be challenging. After all, you are typically bound by a contract or tariff, reducing the flexibility that the carrier has in changing what is being charged. Getting rates changed is possible, but it requires work on your part and may also force a contract extension. If you are happy with your carrier, a contract extension may be tolerable. The telecom expense reductions seen in this scenario typically range less than 10%, Telecom carriers in a re-negotiation proceeding do not have a significant incentive to reduce rates, so some sort of loyalty discount is typically rolled out. The two remaining methods of reducing your telecom expenses, however, are preferred.

Changing carrier’s services is a very effective means of lowering current spending without interrupting or interfering with an existing telecommunications carrier contract. Evaluating the specific services at each of your locations, determining whether you can simply disconnect a service, consolidating service to more efficient facilities, or up-grading to a newer technology can yield savings of 10% to 20% if the network has not been optimized for quite some time.

The best savings are usually obtained by actually using new telecom service providers to replace existing services with much more competitively priced services. There are many quality service providers that supply similar quality to the larger carriers at rates in excess of 30% below what the larger telecom carriers charge. Strategies are available for every comfort level, so using an alternative carrier to lower your cost can be extremely beneficial.

Consider using a telecom management platform to tie these three strategies together. Platforms that detail telecom inventory, analyze billing trends, as well as provide flexible analytics are best suited to support cost containment and reduction initiatives.

Our perspective:

If left unchecked, voice and data cost can become a major business expense. As the industry continues to evole, the cost of voice and data have become more competitive while the increase efficiencies will take your business to a new level. For too long business has settled for the mediocresy of service provided by the major carriers.  Significant savings can be found by shopping your account.

Hutchinson Business Solutions provides corporate financial solutions. We are an independent broker who represent over 50 of the major voice and data providers.

Each business is unique. We will work with you to find the right provider that will allow you to increase your efficiencies and address your needs.

To learn more contact george@hbsadvantage.com