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What to Look For in Your Network Power Maintenance Provider

Selecting a maintenance provider for your mission critical network powering systems and devices is a vital decision. Your customers expect the highest level of network and service reliability, but selecting the wrong contractor can result in extended or repetitive service outages, damaged equipment, excessive costs, or even worker injury. So, how can you identify a service organization that will deliver consistent, quality service? Here’s a list of four (4) key things to look for:

1. Be Cautious of Subcontractors

Be Cautious of SubcontractorsMany service companies will subcontract work out to other companies as a way to cost-effectively provide service in areas beyond their normal catchment area, or to provide additional services that may not be commonly requested. Be wary of companies that simply pawn the work off at the lowest price, regardless of the suitability or expertise of the subcontractor.

Look for maintenance providers that have expertise in the entire range of services including installation & commissioning, preventative maintenance, training, emergency service, depot repair, and project management. When looking for a maintenance provider to cover remote areas where subcontracting will most likely be required, choose a company that has a well-defined standard of service quality that includes work performed by subcontractors and that accepts accountability for the work of their subcontractors.

Questions to ask: Does your company have a standard level of service quality that it requires from subcontractors? How does it define this quality standard? Do you stand behind your subcontractors’ work?

2. Large Field Service Organization with Sufficient Resources and Scale

Large Field Service Organization with Sufficient Resources and ScaleBigger is often better when it comes to choosing a maintenance provider. Larger companies often offer larger standard coverage areas, eliminating the need for you to coordinate service from multiple vendors. These logistical advantages can save you time and money by avoiding costly service calls that fall outside of the normal travel zone for smaller service companies, and reducing the number of vendors that need to be contacted when your inside or outside plant needs service.

Another thing to consider is your service company’s capacity to provide service when you require it. Whether a piece of equipment fails in your Central Office/Headend or at a remote site, waiting for a service tech to become available just isn’t an option. If you have a significant amount of plant, be sure that your maintenance provider is ready to handle both large and small volumes of service calls, within a guaranteed response time. You will also want to take into consideration the breadth of services offered when selecting a maintenance service provider. If your chosen provider is capable of addressing all of your service needs then you won’t need to engage with multiple vendors to get the job done.

Questions to ask: What regions does your company cover? How many service calls can you handle in my area simultaneously? What is your response time within given radius from your work centers? What is the scope of services that you can provide?

3. Personnel Recruitment, Training, and Certification

Personnel Recruitment, Training, and CertificationWhether you select a large or small service company to work on your network, you should be asking questions about its personnel. Your maintenance provider should be selecting the best available talent and providing consistent, quality training to ensure that its technicians remain at the forefront of Telecom/CATV/Broadband technology. Ask about your maintenance provider’s documented ongoing training programs including product certifications, six-sigma lean methodologies, health and safety certifications, etc.

Questions to ask: Do you have a documented ongoing training program? Are all of your technicians’ certifications kept-up-to-date? Are your technicians certified to work on our specific equipment?


4. Health & Safety

Health and SafetyWhile everyone wants to get home safely at the end of the day, many maintenance providers do not operate that way – choosing instead to take shortcuts and unnecessary risks when it comes to health and safety practices. As the person hiring a contractor to perform network maintenance, this is important, because you do maintain responsibility for the safety of your contractors. In addition, many activities that put workers at risk while working on your network equipment are the same activities that can cause significant damage and interruptions to the network.

Make sure that your own business’ safety protocols are up-to date and question your contractor on the safety standards that they employ. If your maintenance provider is safety conscious, they will perform routine safety audits and continuously review their processes to both improve efficiency and employee safety.

Questions to ask: When was your last safety audit? Does your company have a Certificate of Recognition (or equivalent) from the provincial workplace health & safety regulator? Has your business ever been cited for a workplace safety violation?

For More Information on Your Safety Obligations Visit http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/legisl/billc45.html

Selecting the right service provider to maintain your mission critical network powering systems and devices will contribute to your network reliability, improve the service levels you provide your customers and reduce your operating expenses. Careful consideration of the four key factors outlined in this article will help ensure you select the right service provider.

What to Look For in Your Network Power Maintenance Provider

5 Reasons Why You Need a Service Contract

Service contracts are an excellent way to keep costs and disruptions to a minimum while maximizing your system’s performance through timely preventative maintenance. Whether your power equipment is the backbone to Telecom, CATV, Traffic & ITS, Public Safety, or any other type of critical communications equipment, a service contract can simplify your repair and maintenance commitments. Here are five reasons why a service contract is actually a very cost-effective deal:

#1 – Save Money, Control Costs

Save Money, Control Costs

The most expensive repair is the one that needs to be done at peak hours or in the middle of the night. Service contractors charge higher hourly labour rates for overtime or on-call service. With a service contract, your service provider will schedule routine maintenance during off-peak hours, ensuring that your equipment is in good condition so that peak-hour failures are kept to a minimum.

DID YOU KNOW? On average, Alpha’s Service customers save 30% by avoiding off-hour service calls.

#2 – Save Time

Save TimeYour equipment won’t wait for the moment that’s most convenient for you when it decides to fail. Instead, it will almost certainly fail at a moment that will be inconvenient and most costly for you and your business. Once it does fail, you will incur costly delays and outage time while an available field technician makes his or her way out to the site to identify the problem and make the repair. In Telecom and CATV systems, this translates into very costly disruption of service, leading to unhappy, disconnected customers, as well as liability concerns from major data customers. In Traffic & ITS applications, this translates into dark intersections and increased risk of traffic accidents and injuries.

Service contracts ensure that your equipment is maintained in optimal condition, mitigating possible failures and reducing the probability of post-outage scrambles to arrange for emergency restoration.

#3 – Minimize Equipment Downtime

Minimize Equipment DowntimeAn article by Light Reading pegged the cost of network outages and service degradations at $15 billion per year with hardware failures being the number one cause of outages. Equipment failure/downtime impacts the efficiency of your entire system, negatively affecting the experience of your customers. With a service contract, your equipment is kept in top shape to minimize unexpected downtimes and the cost impact of disruption of services to your customers.

DID YOU KNOW? Although a battery bank can last for many years if properly cared for, it can also be ruined in a short period of time if neglected. Alpha’s Service Contract includes comprehensive battery maintenance and testing to optimize your investment.

#4 – Improved System Performance

Improve System PerformanceAs part of your service contract, your service contractor will ensure that all of your equipment is functioning correctly. By conducting disciplined preventative maintenance routines and testing, repairing or replacing any necessary hardware, updating factory installed firmware, cleaning, inspecting and testing, your network will continue to function at top efficiency, rather than being bogged down by worn out or faulty equipment.

DID YOU KNOW? Part of Alpha’s Service Contract includes updating firmware for equipment making use of older versions. Ensuring that your equipment is running the latest firmware is a great way to ensure that it’s running smoothly at peak performance.

#5 – Trusted Service Provider

Trusted Service ProviderThere are a lot of field service providers in the market. Making use of a service contract from a reliable supplier means you’re engaging with a qualified and certified professional in power equipment. Get the best service by the people who design and make the equipment – they’ll always use genuine parts and never need to guess how to fix problems.

DID YOU KNOW? Alpha provides a documented site report & inspection along with a site equipment audit during each preventative maintenance service call.

Visit Alpha at Joint Annual Meeting of the OTA and WITA

Please join Alpha Technologies at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Oregon Telecommunications Association (OTA) and Washington Independent Telecommunications Association (WITA) on May 16-18 at the Motif Hotel in Seattle, Washington.  Alpha will be presenting the talk, “Speed Kills … Especially if You Move Too Slow,” an overview of how to power Loop Reduction programs that increase broadband speeds to telecom customers.    Andrew Dickson, Advanced Development Electrical Engineer, will be presenting on Tuesday, May 17, at 2:45.

Alpha Technologies is a proud sponsor of the OTA.  For more information on powering loop reduction programs, you can check us out at www.alpha.ca/linepower.

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