Lew Hoff doesn't have the luxury of a huge research staff. But his company, Bartizan, in Yonkers, N.Y., deals with all sorts of thorny technical questions in the normal course of business. In the past two years Hoff has relied on an outside service called Teltech.
The service is provided by Minneapolis-based Teltech Resource Network, whose target market is "companies that are technology driven," says spokesperson Dean Anderson. But Hoff's $7-million company has turned to the service with both technical and nontechnical questions. Bartizan, a manufacturer of both credit-card-processing equipment and a combination car seat and stroller, has used Teltech to locate new vendors, find experts to solve manufacturing problems, conduct patent searches, and research the French car-seat market.
Teltech provides database searches and refers customers' calls to a network of university and laboratory technical experts who are prepared to answer questions. The service is expensive, but Hoff remains a big fan. "I find it hard to believe that someone couldn't make a case for this," he says.
For an eight-month trial period, with unlimited usage for up to 10 people, Teltech charges $12,000 for its full service. After that the cost for such a group is $225 a month, plus per-use charges that average $175, according to Teltech vice-president Ron Helgeson. For more information, call Teltech at 800-833-8330.