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
Many 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
Bigger 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
Whether 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
While 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.