West Midlands companies are wasting thousands of pounds a year on unsuitable telecom systems, according to experts at Assurri Communications.
They say that employee misuse of the telephone, being signed to inappropriate tariffs and continuing to pay for unused lines and equipment are the three main reasons why businesses are wasting around a fifth of their telecoms expenditure.
Azzurri has audited 1,200 corporate UK customers with a combined telecoms spend of £300 millin per year and has identified £60 million worth of achievable savings across all these companies.
Based on the fact that there are approximately 4,800 large corporates in the UK, British businesses are wasting £240 million on excess telecoms spend.
"Most companies don't make regular checks on how they are using their telephones, whether they are paying the cheapest rates or if they are continuing to pay for unused lines," said Azzurri Communications' managing director central region, Jason Standerwick.
"We also see an incredible amount of employee abuse of company phone systems. One of our customers employed a security officer who had run up a bill of £8,000 calling relatives living overseas - and this is far from uncommon."
Azzurri's survey also found that most companies are committed to buying services on price and seek out the best pence-per-minute (PPM) deal from their network provider. However, they neglect fixed costs such as people, line rental, equipment rental and maintenance costs.
"It's like having really cheap petrol and making unnecessary trips. Why do people in the US drive big SUV and Cadillacs and drive everywhere? Because the petrol is cheap.
"It's the same principle here. As long as people think that they are getting really cheap PPM rates, they think they are saving money. What they don't look at is whether their employees are making unnecessary calls or wasting money on rental for lines that they don't use," added Mr Standerwick.
Key findings from Azzurri's audits included: n Six out of ten companies are on the wrong tariff. n Nine out of ten companies could save money by switching providers. n Ten out of ten companies are paying for unused telephone lines. n Ten out of ten companies could benefit from tighter control on telephone usage.
House- builder George Wimpey says it is one of the first companies to have benefited from Azzurri's audit process.
George Wimpey ' spe y ' s operations demand the frequent opening and closing of site offices and show homes as developments progress.
"Working with Azzurri we have eliminated 'forgotten lines', reduced fixed-to-mobile call costs, removed unauthorised premium rate and international calls and raised awareness among staff of the true costs of making calls," said Jolyon Ingham, IT director, George Wimpey UK.
Meanwhile, experts at Coventry-based Harry Shaw Business Computers are claim firms are losing out because they are ignoring cutting edge telephone technology.
It has tailored its systems to allow phone calls to be transferred via the internet rather than through the telephone exchange. In the process it has saved £5,000 in the past six months.
Spokesman Anthony Woods said that firms looking to adopt the new system will have to upgrade their hardware, but those custs are quickly outweighed by the savings.
"This is very much the cutting edge of communication technology. Not only is the quality of the exchange better, it is a cost-cutter too," he added.
"Harry Shaw as a company is practising what it preaches in this sense because this is the way all of our calls are now processed and it is working superbly well.
"Whether it is an internal transfer or from one site to another, it all happens via the internet and is swift and effective."