Nov. 19 2014 01:00 PM
Whether you do it yourself or bring in "fresh eyes" from the outside, here are some things to do when you suspect you might not be billing according to the actual work performed.

1. OBSERVE - There was a popular term in the 1970's called Management By Walking Around (MBWA). It still works! Get out of the office and watch production as it happens. Ask questions of machine operators; see how work is handed off from one operation to the next. Make a point to show up on third shift once in a while. Graveyard employees have been known to invent extraordinary workarounds that could be eliminated or improved.

2. BENCHMARK - Figure out what it takes to process an average job. How long to print? How many pieces per hour in finishing? What is the postage rate? How much is the bill? What is the turnaround time? Compare other jobs to the standard. Any not measuring up warrant further investigation.

3. AUDIT - Pick some jobs and look closely at every operation required to handle that work - from data receipt to invoicing the customer. Are all the steps included on the customer's invoice? Does the price charged for each operation include sufficient mark-up? Are you accounting for extra work such as manual operations?

4. GET HELP - If equipment isn't processing work at expected speeds or data processing steps are taking too long then vendors can be great resources to diagnose the problem and recommend corrective action. Sometimes solutions require the cooperation of multiple departments and an on-staff resource is caught in political mire. If so, it might make sense to bring in a third party to direct coordinated efforts.