While communications can lend considerable value to the typical business, it can also be a source of considerable expense. This is especially true for the organization that operates multiple locations with a wide geographic distribution. Without clear guidelines and monitoring in place, communications solutions can get out of hand and do more damage than good.
Such challenges became a reality for a building material National Distributor, a company with more than 3,500 employees with 200 locations throughout the U.S. The company’s annual telecom budget, according to an Ernest Communications (News - Alert) case study, was in excess of $6 million and managers spent considerable time each month wading through countless service invoices trying to manage multiple vendors supporting their various locations.
The numerous providers were managed with an internal help desk that launched a multi-step process toward resolution if an issue arose. One full time employee was dedicated to auditing and managing telecom invoices each month in an effort to protect the company against erroneous charges, and ensure the application of accurate contracted rates. This massive amount of overhead eventually led the company to explore the potential in consolidation of its local services to just one provider.
Such a move required a complete examination of evaluation of potential providers. The National Distributor considered a variety of options, each one measured according to billing capabilities, geographic coverage, pricing, plan flexibility, conversion project management and post conversion support. To assist in the communications solutions selection process and eventual migration of their telecommunications lines, the National Distributor selected Renodis.
When the National Distributor’s communications solutions challenges were clearly identified, Renodis recommended Ernest Communications as the carrier to deliver a total service consolidation package. In doing so, the distributor would consolidate all of its local lines while also providing a single invoice solution and dedicated customer care. Before making a complete organization-wide change, however, a small test batch in a single location was migrated to measure the process and determine the needed resources for project management.
The test included a service bill review to measure the accuracy of rates, and correct any issues with the formatting of customized fields. Once the test was complete, both companies looked at response times and service levels. After a 60-day evaluation period, the National Distributor launched a full migration of its communications solutions that included a state-by-state implementation strategy.
While the National Distributor was seeking to minimize its communications solutions expenses and streamline billing, auditing and managing of its processes, there were a few other lessons learned along the way. Billing consolidation turned out to be more beneficial for a reduction in cost than originally estimated; the pain of migration was mitigated considerably just by selecting the right partners; and through this process, the company was able to save more than 20 percent on an annual basis.
Now that costs are under control in terms of its communications solutions, the National Distributor can use full time employees to focus on core competencies, effectively improving productivity and overall satisfaction within the organization.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli