After you’ve recruited the company decision-maker, the next step is to know the inventory. On the surface, this sounds like a no-brainer, but it isn’t as easy as you think. In my experience, most companies assume they know their inventory, but you know what the acronym assume stands for. You can be dealing with different wireless providers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Alltel, Helio, etc), and among those different providers, you may have people who submit expense reports, and others whose invoice is billed directly to the company. You may also have single users who have family share plans (not individual plans), multiple devices (such as a cell, blackberry, and aircard) and those devices may be with different providers. That leaves ample room for people’s complete inventory of devices to fall under the radar. Can you now see how un-simple the inventory issue can be?
You can’t control your wireless spend until you can control your wireless inventory. There’s no one silver bullet to this situation, but here is a comprehensive approach that is as good as any I can think of:
- Talk to your wireless rep for each provider and have them generate a report of all users they bill for on all company accounts and sub-accounts
- Work with accounting and get all wireless expense reports
- Get an HR listing of all employees and their cell phones (there is a fine line between corporate and private use, so use discretion with this)
- Consult the general ledger and see if all costs in the first two points have been captured in wireless spend GL categories
Another issue with inventory, is once you know what you’re paying for, you know what you can get rid of. There may be spare phones sitting around that have had no usage in the past six months and aren’t even on stand-by and you’re footing the bill. Dump those devices. This is the cross-over with usage I alluded to. You can get rid of those devices without penalty if you’re slick about contract negotiations, but that’s a post I’ll get to down the road.
As I hope you can see, inventory management isn’t simply about having a head count. It has implications that are very broad. This is the foundation to get you on the path to wireless savings. Next time, I’ll speak about the different types of minutes. Until then, enjoy your weekend.