Business Phone Systems

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#21915 04/14/09 08:46 AM
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Does anyone know how to conduct a proper inventory of all phone and data assets paid for by a company to sereral vendors?

Thanks


tangoe09
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#21916 04/14/09 09:01 AM
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This can be troublesome, since the billing is often not detailed enough to tell how it maps to equipment. The person/people who ordered the services, and the order paperwork, will have to be involved. Roughly, you need to build a list of every service, facility,and piece of equipment supplied by a carrier which you can physically confirm exists and is functional, and then try to match that to the billings you get.

It's an excellent idea; I really ought to do it to.

And of course, there are companies who will do this billing audit for you for a fee... I'm sure some are better than others.

#21917 04/14/09 09:49 AM
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Thanks much for your input Baylink.


tangoe09
#21918 04/14/09 03:36 PM
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I've done several of these before. I usually start at the dmark and take notes of every circuit in the building. Then I follow the cable see what they connect to. Many times they connect to nothing or a piece of gear that is powered off. Those are fast, easy wins. Once I have a physical inventory, I go to the bills and CSR's (Customer Service Records) from the service provider. I cross reference everything to make sure that my physical invertory matches the CSR's and bills. That's it.


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#21919 04/14/09 04:13 PM
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A customer of mine did something like this. He made a list of every phone line and took pictures of the various demarks and jacks so if the accounting people wanted to know why they were paying X for a certain line, he could easily tell them what it was.


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#21920 04/14/09 04:43 PM
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I did this task for the last 8 years I worked for SW Bell. That was part of my ACCOUNTING gig.

I would say the best place to start is with a DETAILED RECORD of what services, circuits and lease/maintenance agreements the customer has from the various vendors.

When I did this job with SWBT, we used a detailed record of service and equipment known as the 2733.

I would imagine you will encounter many problems in getting such detail until you can get in touch with a KNOWLEDGEABLE sales or MARKET person as in an ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE.

Once you know what they are being billed for, you can use that as a template to see what they may or may not have.

That would be where I would start.

Those 8 years were a very interesting part of my BELL SYSTEM CAREER. SWBT at the time, (Early 80's) seemed to have problems removing things from customers bills. It wasn't rampant, it just happened. There wasn't that much, it just happened.

What made it VERY INTERESTING was the fact that some CONSULTANTS figured this out and ran a bit of a RACKET where they would obtain the records we would use for our inventory (before we were involved). Then they would do their own inventory. Of course, if they found that SWBT was billing for something that they DID NOT FIND, they would hold SWBT accountable for each and every monthly charge for that service/phone/circuit from DAY 1. (Imagine, $5.65 X 12 Mo X 10 Years)

With the data they gathered, they would promise the customer a BIG REFUND from SWBT but, only if they got 1/2 of it.

Usually these guys got everything done by intimidating some clerk in the business office.

If the Business Office did not get us Accounting types involved, the Consultants would just make a killing.

Of course, if we did the inventory, we would find things like a single line set that we had billed the client for over the last 10 years under the lift out floor, that of course, the Consultant wouldn't look for period.

GOOD LUCK!


RULE NUMBER 2, "THINKIN' WON'T GET IT, YOU GOTTA KNOW!" RULE NUMBER 3, if you need TIER-3 SUPPORT on a LEGEND or MAGIX, go to http://home.comcast.net/~merlinman -
#21921 04/14/09 05:29 PM
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Merlinman-

Not to contradict a senior craftsmen (Lord knows there aren't too many older then me here), especially one who's knowledge and opinion I respect...But let me give you my take on this, based on my experience.

In 1972 I worked as a telecom consultant. We would get the NY Tel SN-981 forms and would go out to the customers location and count what was there. And what wasn't. (Here's something to jog your memory - how about RSCCs and RSCCWs! [For those of you uninformed -Hold circuits - with and without winking lamps]). We counted phones, trunks, key equipment etc., etc, etc. Every item got checked off against the SN-981.

It was a very time consuming, labor intensive job.

I only remember one job in the entire time I worked at the firm who NY Tel was not way overcharging and that was a major Fortune 500 company (Sealtest?) who had their own in-house staff double checking NYT. ( I think they were still about $20 over). There were stories in the company about people who had been undercharged but I never saw any of them or met anyone who had worked on one of those jobs. I considered those stories as fairy tales for the very young or the mentally infirm.

It was my opinion, based on my personal observation, that new circuits and equipment made it on to the bill, but nothing, nothing, nothing ever came off.

We would sign a contract with the customer before we started. We became their agents and could ask for their paperwork from NYT. If we didn't find anything we didn't get paid. If we found something we got 1/2 of the rebate and 10% of the savings for the next year. We never intimidated anyone. We never needed to. Personally I don't think I ever spoke to anyone in NY Tel's offices.

Speaking of big savings. Joseph Love Children's Wear had their offices in Herald Square in Manhattan and their factory in Queens. They had a 555 cord board in each location and a bunch of Single lIne telephones. No key equipment. Huge monthly bills. I remember asking my boss: "How do you put a 4-wire E&M tie trunk on a cord board?" The customer had been billed for 4, 4-wire tie trunks for 10 years, when what they actually had was 2, 2 wire loop tie trunks. That one was a nice rebate. NYT only wanted to refund money for 7 years but the customer had all his bills going back 10 years so he got the BIG refund.

Two sides to every story.

Sam


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#21922 04/14/09 06:12 PM
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I have to agree with Sam......NEVER saw a case where the client had something that they weren't paying for and always find old "removed" equipment being charged for.

Case in point. Client had a Nortel Vantage 4 that Bell had sold him. Only needed a couple of SLT's, so I removed the system and took it back to Bell for him. They claimed that he still had a 1A2 system on record & were billing him for it & had been for 6 years. Had to get the PBX foreman to call the business office and explain that it had been removed when they installed the new electronic system.


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#21923 04/14/09 06:13 PM
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Sam,

Don't get me wrong, I knew both sides.

There was the one client that I asked "Where is this private line?"

Let's just say I had to make a HASTY get away when he realized that his guy in charge of such stuff took it out of service, but failed to get a disconnect. (Of course, I was still the messenger that needed to be killed)

And YES, I know of some underbilling.

During the "TWILIGHT ZONE" of when I was floating between SWBT and AT&T, I figured out that there would be no conflict of interest if I was to be a "CONSULTANT" in GENERAL TELEPHONE Territory, just a little ways from where I lived. After all, it was not SWBT or AT&T.

Well, I landed a rather LARGE CLIENT, some CRAFTY Food Company.

I got all the Agency letters and copies of Equipment records from General Telco, and found that their BILLING was just as MESSED UP as their SERVICE.

I got minimum wage to determine that the Client wasn't paying for about a third of what they were getting from General.

Needless to say, that was the last of my Consultant career.

But of course, in the SWBT days, I (and the rest of the staff I was with) probably gave clients back more than a few Million Dollar$ due to overbilling.

We were fair, but there was this one consultant we considered a VULTURE!

The break up of the Bell System probably put him out of business.


RULE NUMBER 2, "THINKIN' WON'T GET IT, YOU GOTTA KNOW!" RULE NUMBER 3, if you need TIER-3 SUPPORT on a LEGEND or MAGIX, go to http://home.comcast.net/~merlinman -
#21924 04/15/09 06:44 AM
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Like many of you here, I too spent a career with Bell going back to the mid 70's. Just prior to divestiture there was an internal study done that revealed that as much as 90% of ALL WATS bills EVER rendered contained one or more errors!!! At the time of this study I was working for the divestiture team in Basking Ridge working for none other than Arch Mcgill himself!

In 1983 I went to work for an interconnect that, as part of their maintenance agreement/warranty program, did bill studies for their clients. We found HUNDREDS of those old line protection devices still on bills even though they had supposedly been removed several years earlier!

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