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On Feb 27, 2010, at 12:00 AM, RECMGMT-L automatic digest system wrote:

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> From: Maureen Cusack <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: February 26, 2010 5:15:14 PM EST
> Subject: Re: Vendor Service Issues/Sales Rep Turnover
>
>
> Yes, in my case the larger issue is vendor service in general, not  
> merely
> account rep. turnover. In my case we don't actually have a contract  
> in place
> because the vendor will not agree to many requirements.

If you do not have a contract in place then their standard contract is  
what rules. When they refused to modify the contract and you declined  
to change vendors you accepted their contract you just didn't sign it.

You also surrendered other rights as well. Oftentimes, the negotiation  
only begins when you issue a notice that you are pulling the records.  
You better bring legal in on this or you will be slaughtered.

There are many vendors out there who will treat you fairly and will  
negotiate.
>
> Obviously, in an ideal world, the contract is tight and
> includes incentives for the vendor to improve service.

I have watched records managers accept a lengthening delivery window.  
When the industry was made up of thousands of little suppliers, the  
standard delivery window was "Call me on Tuesday morning and delivery  
will be set for next day."  Now the industry has accepted two day  
delivery without a whimper.

I have watched the fixation of a huge Hostage Fee on the industry. (Do  
I hear a whimper?)

> A tight contract ideally should preclude the need for the customer  
> to research legitimacy of monthly
> charges because invoice content, reports, and service processes  
> should be spelled out in excruciating detail.

I have been told that no one reads the Invoices and that is why the  
phantom fees start to creep in. Just compare an invoice from 10 years  
ago to today's invoice and notice the difference. Honest vendors  
establish pricing that they can stand behind.

A good example is the reboxing fee. ($9.00 per box) Many times the  
reboxing was not even provided it was just another bill that was  
slipped by. Sure a few of you caught it but think about all the  
companies that paid it without any comprehension of what it was about.

> And then ideally the vendor agrees to the lengthy customized  
> contract. Which vendors big and small rarely do.

If you do not have a contract in place, I could see many people in  
California who would be willing to talk to you as you have no Hostage  
Fee in place, although they will try to enforce it.  That is why legal  
needs to be part of your team.

> It's important to get that reality out in the open for
> us records managers. Another reality is that there's collusion across
> vendors on issues like insurance (e.g. per-box minimums). This list  
> serv has
> discussed it in the past.

Yes but out of 1,600 listserve participants, how many stepped and  
enforced their demands or left to search for another vendor. RM's  
assume everybody is cut from the same cloth and that is not true.

> Collusion also happens with NFPA standards (for example the  
> Technical Committee) where there's underrepresentation by records  
> managers. Records managers need to assert themselves to vendors and   
> consortia that dominate standards committees.

The NFPA actively sought out records managers to participate. But  
corporations will not pay for their records managers to participate.  
(air travel, hotel and days for the meeting and staff time off) The  
minute Alan Andolsen applied, he was accepted. It is unfortunate that  
he passed away weeks before the meeting.  But who will take his place.  
Bill Benedon also could sit at the committee and holds a spot but does  
not attend. Larry was not granted time off or expenses to travel to  
the meeting.

The Technical Committee was balanced if everyone just showed up. It is  
not the fault of the offsite storage industry that ARMA ignores their  
responsibility. If the Board of ARMA was required to send four members  
to every meeting you would have a voice.  But in this area, ARMA does  
not exist.  I wonder why?

Maybe this Listserv should ask for donations like for Shareware  
software.  Donate $2.00 to send a member to the NFPA.  Then ask that  
one person from this List go and represent your voice.

How many of you ask management to allow you to become a member of  
NFPA? The primary Standard for your industry is NFPA 232 Protection of  
Records.  How many use it or even have a copy?

You better buy the 2010 copy when it comes out as it makes the Records  
Manager or the Owners of the business directly responsible. Then ask  
legal to read it.  Couple the new 232 with the SOX legislation and I  
could easily see a records manager or the C-level officer in companies  
with no records manager paying large fines, spending time in jail or  
other fun stuff.

The final meeting to lock in changes is in October and the deadline  
for joining this committee is March. You still have an opportunity to  
comment.  You should since you are specifically called out as the  
"Responsible Party" in this standard.  In my opinion it is willful  
negligence on the part of ARMA to not participate.  What about the  
ICRM Board?

Yes records managers were under-represented but take a look in the  
mirror. NFPA begged for people to step up from the records management  
community. You don't have much time. March is the date to submit for  
next years' technical committee. The last president to become involved  
was Jaunita Skillman and she was amazing in protecting the RM's  
position.  Since then............??


Hugh Smith
FIRELOCK Fireproof Modular Vaults
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