By MICHELLE CONLIN, BUSINESSWEEK
Posted: 2009-03-10 23:55:34

 

 
Eve Gelb’s life was once a blur of hour-and-a-half commutes on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles. What memories: The NPR fatigue. The stale minivan air. The deep identification with the characters in Waiting for Godot. But that’s all in the past. Gelb, a project manager at a giant HMO, SCAN Health Plan, has given up her Ethan Allen-style office, yanked down the family photos, and moved into her home office. Members of the professional class normally have to beg their managers — or at least delicately negotiate — to allow them to work remotely. But in Gelb’s case, it was her boss’s idea.
SCAN is one of a growing number of companies encouraging workers to toil from home. Sure, employers have been doing this for years. But as the recession bites and companies look to save money on real estate costs, what was once a cushy perk is now deemed a business necessity. And that, along with a few choice enticements — voila!, a shiny new BlackBerry — is how companies are selling it to employees, whose emotions range from ecstasy to befuddlement.

The health-care sector is one of the few industries that is still expanding these days, and SCAN is no exception. “We needed to find a way to grow without incurring any more fixed costs,” says Chief Financial Officer Dennis Eder. To encourage more of its workforce to become post-geographic, the company has been offering free high-speed Internet access and gratis office furniture, complete with a couple of delivery guys to set it all up.

Gelb jumped at the opportunity but still found herself struggling to adjust. “I never thought to myself: What would I do with all that extra time that I wasn’t sitting in my car?” So she set about building new routines. “Instead of going on my commute in the morning, I go for a walk,” says Gelb, 40. That makes up for the cardio workout she used to get running up and down SCAN’s four flights of stairs attending meeting after meeting. Now that she simply dials in, “I don’t really move much,” she concedes. On the days when she does come into the office, Gelb shares her old digs with her three direct reports, who also work flexibly. She says they see each other more now than they did when they were squirreled away in their corporate warrens.

Still, persuading managers to embrace no-collar work isn’t always easy. Jack Weisbaum, CEO of accounting firm BDO Seidman, has spent endless hours over the past year managing what he calls the “yeah buts.” These are the old-school execs among his crew who have an arsenal of reasons why untethering workers is a lousy idea: They’ll become Facebook addicts, ignore clients, develop a bad case of alienation. Weisbaum went on the road to nearly all 37 of the firm’s offices to explain how he sees flexibility as a business strategy. He told the troops that allowing people to work where and when they want is enabling BDO to prevent layoffs. The real estate savings are a big reason for that. When BDO moves into its new Los Angeles offices in June, it will be taking over a radically reduced space. “Bricks and mortar are like a noose around your neck,” says Christopher Tower, BDO’s leader for the Western region.

“Homeshoring” has enabled BDO Seidman’s controller for the Western U.S., Grace Renteria, to essentially give herself a raise: the amount of money she saves by working at home, a café, a club—anywhere, in short, that doesn’t require a commute. There’s the $15 a day Renteria used to lay out for lunch. Then her $70 a week in gas. Add wear and tear on her Lexus LS 400. On top of that, she no longer has to lose productivity from co-worker interruptions. “I only go into the office,” Renteria says, “when I don’t have a lot going on.”

“THIS IS DESTINY”
Capital One is one of many companies where status has long been measured in square footage. The bank’s human resources chief, Matt Schuyler, has had to deal with executives made anxious by the prospect of losing their wood-paneled lairs as they begin new lives as laptop hobos. Schuyler, who is also in charge of corporate real estate, meets with them one on one, whipping out the stats showing how much a skinnier footprint benefits the bank. Then he delivers his sweetener: “The bad news is, I’m taking away your office. The good news is, here’s your new laptop and your shiny new BlackBerry.” Another enticement is the $1,000 managers can dole out to workers to freshen up their home offices. So far the company has cut 20% of its real estate costs. “This is destiny, and other companies will have to get there,” says Schuyler. “We’re at the tip of the iceberg with respect to this stuff.”

None of this is to say the corporate office will disappear. But hard times will accelerate a Digital Age makeover. Adieu to cubicle farms, fixed walls, and standing-room-only conference rooms. Hello to sliding walls, moveable furniture, and lots of lounge areas. Space will be allotted by function, not title. Square footage will be based on office presence, not rank. The flexibility will cut costs and at the same time accommodate both loud talkers and hermits. The new workplace will be less about working alone and more about working together. One thing, however, will never change: The office will remain the primary spot for meetings, collaboration, and, of course, gossip.

Our perspective:
The economy is challanging us to now think outside the box. Companies, besides fighting to survive, are still looking for the opportunity to grow and expand.
How can they be unique?
Robert Kennedy once eloquently stated that “some people look at things and ask why, I say why not?”
We got to where we are today, for we took our eye off the ball . This is not to say that we should turn our back on everything. There are many things that we can still incorporate. But it is time to also incorarate opportunities, to introduce efficiencies that will not take away from the ability to service our clients
There are only 24 hours in a day. Use our time more effectively. That is the key. Those willing to adapt will succeed.
What will we be looking at?
Teleconferencing…. Telecommuing…. Video Conferencing… Video Training
All of these play into raising efficiencies, lowering cost and challenging the norm.
Let us know your thoughts?
Should you like to knw more on incorporating these opportunities into your business? Leave a comment or email george@hbsadvantage.com

Conlin is the editor of the Working Life Dept. at BusinessWeek.

2009-03-10 23:39:19

 

As reported in AP

 

Wholesale prices post biggest gain in 6 months, propelled by energy and food costs

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wholesale prices bolted ahead in May at the fastest pace in six months as energy and food costs marched higher.

 

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that its Producer Price Index, which measures the costs of goods before they reach store shelves, shot up 1.4 percent in May. That was up from a modest 0.2 percent rise in April and marked the biggest increase since November.

 

However, stripping out energy and food prices, which can swing widely from month to month, the “core” rate of inflation rose 0.2 percent in May, an improvement from the prior month’s 0.4 percent increase. That suggested that other prices were fairly well behaved.

 

The overall inflation rate of 1.4 percent was higher than the 1 percent rise many economists were forecasting. But the increase in core prices matched their expectations.

 

 

Our perspective:

 

Food and energy are becoming the basic necessities nowadays. Throw in medical and other insurances and that seems to be all we are working for. To cover the basics.

 

We have to take a long hard look.

 

It seems that the last 20 – 30 years our economy has skyrocketed and at the same time it is becoming unaffordable. This would tell you that we are not addressing the issues properly.

 

We must be willing to look outside the box to define and create real solutions that work and benefit all, just not a few.

 

We do this in business everyday.

 

Hutchinson Business Solutions prides itself on “ Thinking out of the box,” creating opportunities to provide savings and increase efficiencies.

 

Whether it is Business Taxes, Energy, Communications or Insurance; we are addressing these topics with an eye towards the future. 

 

We would like to know your thoughts? You may email george@hbsadvantage.com

 

Hutchinson Business Solutions     …….     Your CFO on the Go

 

Creating Opportunities Today…..Providing Savings for Tomorrow

 

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

 

 

 

Summer is almost here and I think we had our first Heat Wave.

Lucky for us, the air conditioner went out and our office was 88 degrees for the last 2 days!

Maybe the heat got to me?

We have been working with several potential clients lately and they are with Verizon and / or ATT. When I asked them if they are happy with their service, they normally laugh and say:

 ” What service! Verizon / ATT is so difficult to deal with. You never speak to the same person twice and it takes tooooo long to just get a person.”

So why do Verizon and ATT have so many clients?

Name recognition!

When you want to order a new service, you pick up the telephone book and say, ” I guess we should just call Verizon. ”

Bigger is not always better!

Hutchinson Business Solutions have strategic partnerships with providers who do a great job servicing Verizon and ATT accounts. And the best news … they also cost less.

Our clients are saving from 15% uto 40%

As part of deregulation and to encourage competition, Verizon and ATT were told to open the door and that they could no longer be the sole providers. They were told to make their network available to other providers.

Thanks to deregulation, your telephone service will remain on the Verizon / ATT platform and your new provider will do the billing.

This amounts to a billing change that will provides savings!

Personal service is only a phone call away!

Competition is good.

Think about the normal cost for calling long distance 10 years ago. $.30 to $.50 cents a minute was not uncommon.

What are you currently paying for long distance?

If you are paying more than $.05 cents per minute, you are paying too much!

Did you know that Verizon charges local calling in message units? They assume each local call will last 5 minutes so they charge $.08 for each message unit.

Make a 6 minute local call, now you are paying 2 message units or $.16.

Suppose you were calling home and said, ” I’m on my way. ”

That cost you $.08.

Our providers charge local calling @ $.015 cents per minute. Now, doesn’t that make more sense?

Summer Special for all Verizon and ATT clients

Any current Verizon or ATT client, who contacts us as a result of reading this blog and agrees to change their telecom provider prior to 8/31/08, will recieve a 10% rebate of their 1st monthly bill with our new provider from Hutchinson Business Solutions.

Now there is no excuse!

You can increase the quality of your telecom service and we will rebate 10% of your 1st monthly bill.

You may email george@hbsadvantage.com to review and discuss your current telecom cost and receive a free proposal that will provide savings.

Yu may also visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com to learn more about opportunities to lower cost and increase profitability for your company.

 

It’s still happening

February 11, 2008

Recently we were referred into an account to review their local and long distance telecom bill. After speaking with the owner for several minutes they got up, went to the filing cabinet and pulled out their Verizon and ATT folders.

Opening the ATT file I found a single page summary bill showing a total monthly balance due of $1167.00.

Upon seeing this, I asked the client if there was any detail that went with the bill. As far as I know, that’s all we get.

We asked for a letter of authorization and told them we would contact ATT to request a breakout of the bill.

Returning to our office, we proceeded to call ATT.  Speaking to the billing department they told us that ATT does not send a paper bill for this account for they are trying to keep the cost low.

We asked if we could get a detail bill mailed or faxed to us. They said certainly; that would cost $100.00.

One Hundred dollars to get a detail breakout; can you imagine that! 

How about if we just take a few minutes to review the cost that make up the bill.

           

            What’s this $50.00 group charge?  That is a fee for ATT long distance

            There is a $90.00 toll fee?              There are 3 toll free #’s @ $30.00 each

            How much does it cost to make a long distance calls?…. $.1353 per minute

                       

                                     2158.8 minutes @ $.1353 = $292.09 

            How much does it cost to make a toll call?………………$.1348 per minute

                                     4926  minutes @ $.1348 = $664.02 

We took this information and put together a proposal.

            No Long distance Group charge………save $50.00 per month

            3 toll free numbers @ $10.00 each……save $60.00 per month

           

Long Distance 2158.8 minutes @ $.039 per min = $84.19 …save $207.90 per month

Toll Free  4926  minutes @ $.039 per min            $192.11 ….save $471.91 per month

Total Long distance savings $789.80 per month or $9477.60 per year

Have you taken the time to look at what you are paying for your local and long distance calling?

This client will be saving over 70% on their long distance charges. 

Most of our clients who were with Verizon and ATT find they are saving from 20% to 40%. 

Are you still paying Verizon or ATT for your local or long distance services?

How’s their response if you ever have a service issue?

Our clients are happy with they have switched from Verizon or ATT.

They are finding they can:

Keep their existing phone numbers!

Their services are exactly the same!

Their bills are easier to read!

They have someone to speak with should they ever have an issue or a question.

They are enjoying the savings!

Ask for our no cost evaluation.

george@hbsadvantage.com

You may be surprised at how much you will save!

I was meeting with a potential client the other morning and we were discussing a number of HBS saving opportunities. The subject came to their phone bill. They said wait a minute let me go pull it out.

My first question. Why is it so high?

A quick glance showed me that they were signed up on the Verizon custopak program. They also had unlimited local, regional and long distance calling. Why all these premium services and plans? This was only a small business.Still something didn’t look right.I started paging thru and saw they were being charged $29.99 a month for dial-up service.I thought you told me that you have DSL. Yes, I pay $59.99 a month for it.

OK, I see that. Why are you paying for dial-up?

I also see you are paying $49.99 a month for web hosting. What is that? I don’t know, I never ordered it.

They were being billed $80 a month for services they were not aware of, plus they were paying for premium services they never use.

We see this happen all the time.I wish it could be said that this was a rare occurrence.

That is what makes Hutchinson Business Solutions unique. Most companies would never have said anything and just flipped the service as is.

Is that the right thing to do?

It takes a little more time; we make a little less commission however we provided a genuine service and savings for our clients.

What’s on your phone bill?

Take a moment to pull it out. Having trouble understanding what it says. Don’t panic. That is why they set up the bills that way.Let us help!
 

You can email us  george@hbsadvantage.com or give us a call 856-857-1230.

You may be surprised at what your paying!

Say What?

December 6, 2007

 

 

Are you on the Verizon network?

 

 

Have you looked at your bill recently?

 

 

Just what services are you paying for?

 

 

Custopak -What is this Custopak program? Are they just regular lines?

 

 

Centrex – Wait a minute, this says Centrex and it even cost more? What does this do?

 

 

Welcome to the Verizon hook – line – and sinker!

 

 

Many clients when they called Verizon to install plain old telephone (Pots) lines are told that Verizon was running a special and that installation charges would be waived if they signed up for the Custopak or Centrex programs. The problem is that 95% of the public never knows just what these programs do and as a result do not use them.

 End Result: 

You telecom charges are higher than they should be. Are you interested in saving from 15% to 40%? 

Take a moment to look at your current Verizon bill.

 

 

Are paying for Custopak or Centrex services?

 

 

What benefits do these services give your business?

 

 

If you do not know this answer to this question, then give us a call.

 

856-857-1230 

 

 

You are paying for a service you don’t use or need.

 

 

Hutchinson Business Solution clients are saving from 15% to 40% by switching to other independent providers who use the Verizon platform.

 

 

These savings are available to you. All you have to do is ask!

 

 

You may email george@hbsadvantage.com to take the first step.

 Let the savings begin!

HBS…Your CFO on the Go.

 Defining Opportunities Today,…Providing Savings for Tomorrow.

Visit http://www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com/ to learn more about saving opportunities available for your company.

Where did the day go?

December 3, 2007

 

 

Where did the day go? I had a whole list of things I wanted to get done but that went out the window as soon as I walked in this morning.

 

 

Sound familiar! Are you running your day or the day running you?

 Ever think of outsourcing? 

Companies have come to realize that outsourcing is a fairly powerful and effective management tool. It allows you to address an issue, provide a solution; increase efficiencies and profits while keeping your pulse on daily activities that demand your attention.

 

 

When a company approaches outsourcing for the first time the most challenging question is the most basic one: Where do we begin?

 

 

A recent executive forum favored starting with generic, transaction based business processes such as finance, accounting and information technology. They felt that these fields offer quick wins, attractive returns with relatively low levels of risk.

Hutchinson Business Solutions….Your Outsource Solution

Today it is more important than ever to take an objective look at your operating expenses.

 

 

Below are areas with great opportunities for savings.

  • Payroll Taxes – There is a 50% chance you are overpaying payroll taxes.
  • Sales Tax – Long thought to be the “cost of doing business.”
  • Telecom – Clients are saving from 10 % to 40%.
  • Fleet Management – You can now “put your fleet in the palm of your hand.”
  • Data Solutions – Ask about our Virtual CIO Managed Service Program.
  • Utilities – Deregulated savings for large volume users.
  • Insurance – Cost continue to trend from 10% to 20% a year.

Many clients are enjoying the savings and have received refunds for overpayments.

A new global study on business outsourcing relationships finds that

:·        74% use “business outcomes” to measure performance

·        61% say outsourcing helps their companies perform better

·        74% are satisfied with their outsourcing experience

Thinking of outsourcing?  Contact Hutchinson Business Solutions.

 Your CFO on the Go.  

Defining Opportunities Today,…Providing Savings for Tomorrow.

Visit http://www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com/ to learn more about saving opportunities available for your company. Should you want to know more contact george@hbsadvantage.com

 

 

They say, “The only thing constant is change.”  Now a day, gas prices seem to be the most visible symbol of that old adage.  It’s a constant reminder that we are paying more for the same thing.  And this is happening across the board.  Even in the supermarket, prices are going up but the package has gotten smaller.

 

 

Telecom…       We are paying less per minute, but more for services.

                        Our clients are saving from 20% to 40%.

           

Data …           Downtime is the hidden cost.

                        Ask about our Virtual CIO program.

 

 

Fleet Management … Gas is over $3.00

                                     “ Put your fleet in the palm of your hands”

  

If you’ve found yourself troubled about these same issues, feel free to contact us george@hbsadvantage.com . We review and validate your specific costs of doing business, and provide strategic solutions that will increase your cash flow and your bottom line.

 

 

Our team brings over 25 years of experience, independence, objectivity, and responsible analysis to the table.   We stand behind our work to make sure every client is satisfied. 

 

 

Contact us today and ask about our Free 50-minute consultation.

 Spread the good news….. share this information with a friend. 

Should you like to discuss opportunities available for your company to increase profits call us at 856-857-1230.

 

HBS…Your CFO on the Go.  

Defining Opportunities Today,…Providing Savings for Tomorrow.

Visit http://www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com/ to learn more about saving opportunities available for your company.

Where did my day go?

November 16, 2007

 

Where did the day go? I had a whole list of things I wanted to get done but that went out the window as soon as I walked in this morning.

 

 

Sound familiar! Are you running your day or the day running you?

 Ever think of outsourcing? 

Companies have come to realize that outsourcing is a fairly powerful and effective management tool. It allows you to address an issue, provide a solution; increase efficiencies and profits while keeping your pulse on daily activities that demand your attention.

 

 

When a company approaches outsourcing for the first time the most challenging question is the most basic one:

 

Where do we begin?

 

 

 

 

A recent executive forum favored starting with generic, transaction based business processes such as finance, accounting and information technology. They felt that these fields offer quick wins, attractive returns with relatively low levels of risk.

Hutchinson Business Solutions….Your Outsource Solution

Today it is more important than ever to take an objective look at your operating expenses.

 

Below are areas with great opportunities for savings.

  • Payroll Taxes – There is a 50% chance you are overpaying payroll taxes.
  • Sales Tax – Long thought to be the “cost of doing business.”
  • Telecom – Clients are saving from 10 % to 40%.
  • Fleet Management – You can now “put your fleet in the palm of your hand.”
  • Data Solutions – Ask about our Virtual CIO Managed Service Program.
  • Utilities – Deregulated savings for large volume users.
  • Insurance – Cost continue to trend from 10% to 20% a year.

Many clients are enjoying the savings and have received refunds for overpayments.

A new global study on business outsourcing relationships finds that:

·        74% use “business outcomes” to measure performance

·        61% say outsourcing helps their companies perform better

·        74% are satisfied with their outsourcing experience

Thinking of outsourcing? Call 856-857-1230 or email george@hbsadvantage.com to discuss what opportunities are available. 

Hutchinson Businees Solutions…Your CFO on the Go

Defining opportunities today, increasing profits for tomorrow.

Take the First Step Today

November 16, 2007

HBS goes beyond the “bottom line” by introducing fresh, bold ideas that set the pace for future profitability.  Opportunities to increase profits are available; take the first step today and continue reading …

Below is an overview of some of the projects HBS has been working on recently and the opportunities presented to our clients. We invite you to be one of our success stories.

Opportunity: Payroll Tax

Client spun off from major area bank and set up new company in spring of 2004. New Federal ID numbers were issued and tax rates were assigned by both State and Federal agencies.

 Solution:

Upon reviewing the assigned tax rates, it was determined that the client made duplicate payroll tax payments in three areas. Our client received a substantial 5-figure refund from these agencies.

  

Opportunity: Voice and Data

Major South Jersey non-profit health organization invited HBS to review their current voice and data configuration and costs.

 Solution:

Multiple solutions were initiated to provide substantial savings as well as insure quality of service. All Verizon platform lines were converted to a local carrier, servicing the Verizon network, for over a 40% savings. The long distance was also ported to the same provider for a 50+% savings. Total annual savings totaled over $50,000.

  

Opportunity: Sales Tax

Major South Jersey Company, building multiple locations in three states, retained HBS to review the effects of sales tax liability in those states.

 Solution:

Upon reviewing multiple invoices of multiple vendors involved with the construction of these locations, it was determined that our client had overpaid sales tax on real property issues in all three states. Customer received over a $3m refund.

  

Opportunity: Voice and Data

Growing area Mortgage Company requested that HBS review their current voice and data configuration and costs.

 Solution: Multiple solutions were initiated to provide substantial savings as well as insure quality of service. All Verizon platform lines were converted to a local carrier, servicing the Verizon network, for over a 40% savings.  As a result of our efforts, the customer was able to cancel multiple lines that showed no usage. We are currently reviewing their long distance and data contracts – potential savings over $100,000.

Spread the good news….. share this information with a friend. 

Should you like to discuss opportunities available for your company to increase profits call us at 856-857-1230 or email george@hbsadvantage.com

 

 

 

Hutchinson Business Solutions has a 90% success rate providing savings and getting refunds for our clients.

 

Hutchinson Business Solutions…Your CFO on the Go. 

Defining opportunities today, increasing profits for tomorrow.

Visit http://www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com/ to learn more about saving opportunities available for your company.