Vision Point

The loss of revenue losses is a permanent concern in the daily management of public and private corporations. Budgets quickly turn negative when expected income erodes and threatens the sustainability of the corporation. Often, this erosion of revenue is affected by billing and collection of revenue errors, unapproved variances, or even fraud.

Revenue Assurance is the savvy manager’s response to issues that affect the operational performance of any ongoing concern. It is the application of disciplined metrics, dispassionate analysis of results, inspection, and the prompt resolution of deviations found.

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Product Description

Truenorth’s Revenue Assurance solution uses our process-management methodology and software tools aimed at the ultimate goal: securing and protecting our client’s income. To date, that has led to the recovery of over $550MM in “lost” revenue. The goal is achieved through the implementation of business strategies that improve the quality of business practices, achieving an increase in billing steadily over time through monitoring tools aimed at stabilizing processes, continuous monitoring of improvement, and tracking head-on deviations and anomalies.

To establish a successful Revenue Assurance Program for your corporation, be advised that it needs:

  • To be part of your business objectives and be part of your company culture;
  • To involve many business units, like Marketing, Finance, Sales, Customer Service, IT, Logistic, Human Resources, and others, to reach an effective solution;
  • An empowered leader orchestrating all Revenue Assurance activities and its sustainability; and
  • Adequate and measurable controls to correctly establish the return on investment.

At Truenorth Corporation we are keenly aware of the importance of managing revenue losses. We typically serve high-risk revenue clients. We have implemented our revenue assurance program within the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) and the Power and Energy Puerto Rico Authority (PREPA) to manage their commercial losses in reducing non-revenue water index.

Using our proven methodologies, we create strategies to identify gaps in business processes such as:

  • Register of Users
  • Meter Reading Activity
  • Billing Cycle and Process
  • Service Disconnection
  • Collections
  • Fraud
  • Customer Care.

By implementing our methodology and software tools we improve the quality of business processes, achieving an increase in cubic meters and KWh billed steadily over time through monitoring tools. These tools are most effectively used in high-risk areas where erosion is already occurring or the risk of erosion due to fraud is increasing.

We have the operational capability to conduct ongoing programs of revenue-loss management. These programs focus on the following critical factors:

  • Detecting clandestine customers,
  • Recognizing unallocated meters,
  • Identifying meters
    • with zero consumption
    • with low consumption,
  • Providing reading abnormalities solutions,
  • Awareness recognition of rising fraud,
  • Identifying clients with inaccurate demographic billing parameters,
  • Discovering inactive accounts with consumption, and
  • Defining the Meter Replacement Policy.

Truenorth’s Revenue Assurance program design and execution is supported by our highly qualified and trained personnel, at both operational and administrative levels; and our analytical tools to measure the economic impact of the recovered volume. The program’s ultimate objective is determined in a combined effort between our client and us.

In short, the philosophy of Truenorth for the management of revenue losses is a blend of a proven methodology, the use of software tools, in-depth operational knowledge, and follow-up actions undertaken; thus, ensuring sustainable increase in cubic meters and KWh, reduced commercial losses and increased revenues, positively affecting the fiscal health of the client.

Business Drivers

Our Revenue Assurance Program works and has recovered over $450MM of revenue since its inception almost ten years ago. During these past years, Truenorth Corporation has designed, developed, and executed several revenue assurance programs, from which we present two success stories:

Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA)

Before Truenorth, the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) had implemented a partially effective Revenue Assurance Program. However, in fiscal year 2009, the public corporation decided to hire our services to take advantage of our integrated approach. After the completion of the initial Assessment, the execution was divided into six main activities:

  • Meter Replacement
  • Water Theft Reduction
  • Disconnections
  • Inactive Accounts
  • Data Inconsistencies
  • General Processes

DRAFT_TrueNorth_Graficas_09

Within its first year of implementation, Truenorth achieved $68 million in gross recovered revenue for PRASA, with a return on investment of 466%. Since its inception, the program has accumulated a total of $494 million in recovered revenue for a gross return on investment of 626%.

Over six years of revenue assurance operations, Truenorth helped to normalize 53,000 theft accounts, replaced 700,000 small meters and 3,500 large meters, and handled more than 200,000 service disconnection per year. Over 40,000 clients visited the PRASA Commercial Offices per year to pay lawfully earned revenue for the agency.

Puerto Rico Energy and Power Authority (PREPA)

In Fiscal Year 2012, PREPA hired Truenorth to initiate a revenue assurance program. The main objectives of the project were:

  • Process Reengineering
  • Software Development
  • Organization Implementation
  • KPI Definition
  • Strategic Coordination
  • Tracking of in-progress cases

DRAFT_TrueNorth_Graficas_08

The project had a duration of 10 months in which Truenorth recovered approximately $18.4 million in energy theft, $34.5 million in debt collection, and $0.7 million in wholesale clients review. The following chart reflect the accumulated revenue during the 10-month period:

As seen, the project produced an accumulated additional revenue of $53.6 million for PREPA.

After successful completion of our initiatives, PREPA decided to insource these vital processes and we turned over the project to PREPA employees which to date continue to carry our methodologies and recommendations.

Beyond Utilities

Truenorth’s Revenue Assurance program applies not only to utility corporations, but also to any industry. Aside from the unquestionable success earned in the public utilities industry, we specialize in the following industries:

  • Telecommunications
  • Government (Tax Collection)
  • Medical Insurance Industry
  • Health Industry in General

As described earlier, our methodology can be fully customized to cover your revenue-recovery necessities.

Truenorth has only presented an overview of the Revenue Assurance possibilities. If your organization faces revenue erosion, and you are concerned with theft, inefficiencies, or unexplained variation of expected results, we are your solution to more predictable results.

METHODOLOGY

Taking into account our vast experience and knowledge, we have designed our Revenue Assurance methodology to cost-effectively produce quick results. We measure and diagnose the root causes of revenue erosion in order to design, develop, implement and monitor applicable initiatives to resolve and mitigate the anomalies. We use our proven methodology to assist you to build an adequate organizational structure designed specifically for your Revenue Assurance program.

After we have clearly identified and measured your challenges, we draw from the use of Project Management Methodology (PMI), Lean Six Sigma Methodologies, Financial Management, and specialized software tools to allow us to identify any opportunity of improvement. Your Revenue Assurance success is based on the sustainability of the incremental gains achieved through the implementation of pilot projects and intensive functional programs aligned with your Strategic Objectives and Initiatives.

Truenorth’s approach to Revenue Assurance Methodology has five (5) steps, each having a series of tasks that are completed before moving to the next step. These are:

These Five (5) Phases are :

The process starts with an assessment of the daily operations, performing, but not limited to, the following analyses:

  • Process Analysis: Designed to look for opportunities that might be causing revenue loss within the internal processes of the company.
  • Data Analysis: In some cases, revenue losses can be found in the way the data is handled, or simply an error of calculations.
  • Financial Analysis: Financial performances of the services provided or rendered give insights to the actual revenue flow of the corporation. A complete understanding of the financials gives us the starting point or baseline for the program.

Once these analyses have been completed, the second step involves the development of initiatives from the results of these analyses. The initiatives go through a process of:

  • Quantitative Analysis: Each initiative is quantified to be used in the process of prioritization based on the ROI or impact to the organization. We strive to identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which become the entire focus of our Initiatives.
  • Qualitative Analysis: There are some initiatives that might not have a monetary or quantifiable value, but which may help future process designs and, thus, are considered important. In the qualitative analysis those initiatives are given a numerical value to be used in the process of prioritization.
  • Initiatives Prioritization: Once the Quantity and Qualitative analysis are finished, we add all of the initiatives and, using a prioritization tool, we select the order of implementation based on importance.

All of the prioritized initiatives are part of the Revenue Assurance Implementation Plan. The challenge is to visualize all of the initiatives in one document and establish a roadmap for the execution. In this step we consider:

  • Timeline: We design a timeline so the company can allocate the necessary resources by month, quarter, or year for the implementation of the Revenue Assurance Program.
  • Guidelines: By clearly defining the implementation guidelines, the “rules of the game” or program scope is established. The guidelines will serve to create a perspective of what is going to be targeted and what is going to be overlooked.
  • Goals: In the Implementation Plan the high-level expected quantitative and qualitative goals for the Revenue Assurance are established.
  • Organization: We analyze the quantity of personnel needed for the program implementation, as well as the skills required for this resource.

Once the Revenue Assurance Implementation Plan is designed and approved, the Revenue Assurance Program is presented for final approval. Some of the techniques or activities used are:

  • Process Improvement: The results rendered from the analyses will show which process needs improvement.
  • Standardization: Once a process is improved, we make sure that it is repeatable every sequence by writing and establishing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
  • Field Auditing and Quality Assurance: As part of our Revenue Assurance Solution we perform field inspection, monitoring and auditing. By doing so, we ensure that our table top scenarios and analyses are correctly put in place.
  • Gap Analysis: By performing Gap Analysis we can correct most situations found that affect the company’s bottom line. This Gap Analysis will give us a perspective of where improvements are needed and how much revenue will be generated.

As we execute our Revenue Assurance Implementation Plan, we monitor the KPI’s results obtained and compare them with the KPI goals set on the Implementation Plan. The results evaluation will quantify the amount of recovered revenue. As part of this vital step we develop:

  • Periodic Reports: These reports document and organize the analyses performed and all of the activities done in order to recover the lost revenue;
  • Return-On-Investment (ROI): An index will be used to evaluate the program as a whole. It will compare the amount of recovered revenue and the amount invested in Revenue Assurance Program; and
  • New Goals: Once the results are recorded, we set a new set of goals as a new starting point or baseline to start a continually improved Revenue Assurance culture.

Once the five steps described herein are completed, the program typically starts again annually. In order to reach operational optimization and stability, it is recommended that the Revenue Assurance program is performed every year in a continuous improvement cycle and protect the new revenue found.

Our Team

Product Offering

Tools

Our Revenue Assurance Methodology is backed up by a series of business tools. Truenorth, as a technology transformation firm, is eminently qualified to employ these tools, and is keenly aware of their benefits, drawbacks and traps. These tools help us identify revenue loss in the field, in current processes, in the data, or in equipment, among other areas. These vary, depending on the client’s operational reality. The following is an overview of some of the tools that Truenorth employs to reduce and control any company’s revenue loss.

Geographical Information System (GIS)

We have a team specialized in GIS solutions. What can we do with GIS? We combine technology, databases and the knowledge of our field employees to identify the geolocation of every account of your organization. The information includes the location, average consumption, and active or inactive customers. Analyzing the data collected and filtered with our predictive analytics tools helps us determine any deviation from the consumption and help us identify if the variance is a cause of revenue loss.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

In each Revenue Assurance program, identify specific KPIs to go along with the solution designed and developed. By establishing the right KPIs we can establish a goal in conjunction with the management team, as well as measure it accordingly to monitor the compliance of the program. Also, these help the overall organization by ensuring that everybody is onboard with the same goals.

Process Design

We design or redesign processes and train the employees accordingly. The process design is to ensure a proper balance between field inspection, table-top analysis, and customer service. Any revenue assurance implementations require that all departments work in conjunction upon a common goal. An adequate structure of the program will provide harmony among all employees involved in the process of recovering the revenue loss.

Business Intelligence (BI)

One of the tools that we use is the management and organization of Big Data, also known as Business Intelligence. We gather all pertinent data and analyze it in order to find any deviation. This is compared with the data collected in field inspection and GIS to study and correct any variance that may arise. Our specialized BI employs a combination of software-development skills and business-analysis skills to help any type of business.

Case Management (CM)

Our Field Staff turn a series of potential anomalies, into tangible revenue for your organization, able to survive the most stringent attack by those who would take advantage of your organization. Our Field Staff are experts in the field of evidence gathering, and our team of legal advisors support us in the adjudication of unquestionable evidence. This information is kept in a consolidated Case Management system specifically designed for the Revenue Assurance Challenge by our team of experts that allow the business to track every transaction, geospatial locations, and routes impacted.

Business Solution Software

Truenorth has the experience and resources to design any type of business-solution software. Our deep application management skills are applied to your business needs in order to control revenue loss. Truenorth provides custom software from design, to development, and training and implementation. We then work closely with your IT Department to use your established Standard Operating Procedure when executing new software within your system.

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