Raising the performance standard for technology rollouts
We recently set a new industry benchmark for technology deployment performance. Again. The benchmark is for “Done Right First-Time” (RFT) installation precision and we achieved a measurement of 99.78% for Q1, 2017.
The new record supersedes the previous record of 99.65% – which was set by us last September. The new benchmark is based on analysis of over 9,000 installations performed during the period January 1st to March 31st, 2017.
In this article, we will explore RFT in more detail, in order to understand how it relates to rollout quality performance.
What is “Right First Time” (RFT) and Why is it Important?
The RFT – aka the Zero Defect – metric, is used to measure system performance in quality management methodologies, such as Lean Manufacturing, or Six Sigma.
RFT reinforces the idea that defects are not acceptable, and that everyone should strive to “do things right the first time”. By following an RFT philosophy, you dramatically increase job profitability: both by eliminating the cost of failure, and by increasing revenue through improved customer satisfaction.
When RFT is discussed, a question often raised is whether it is truly attainable, or does it just set you up for failure? The answer is simple: RFT is not about being perfect, it is about changing your attitude to quality, which requires you to:
– Recognize the high cost of quality issues,
– Continuously think of the places where flaws may be introduced,
– Work proactively to address the flaws in your systems and processes that allow defects.
When it is used this way, RFT becomes the standard against which rollout performance can be analyzed. When zero defect becomes the goal, every aspect of your process can be subjected to scrutiny, to see if it measures up to that goal.
Why Apply the RFT Metric to Technology Rollouts?
RFT is applicable in this case because achieving scale in a multi-site technology rollout mandates that you minimize job variances from site to site, along with the disastrous impact they have on rollout schedule and cost.
As the inventor of the Maestro system of methodologies for mass-scale technology rollouts, our founder Dennis Mazaris is a long-time advocate for the application of established quality management metrics and methodologies like RFT, to Field Services work.
Mazaris says it best, “The Maestro system fuses our internal processes with elements of Project Management and Manufacturing Process Management best practice, to create a new model that virtually guarantees that the job is done right the first time – every time. It’s time that other rollout companies stopped blaming poor installation performance on Field Technicians, and instead ask themselves ‘what are we doing to put local resources in position to deliver a great installation experience?’”
How Do You Achieve Great Performance at Scale?
Andrew Crone, our Vice President of Operations, explains, “Our performance is the result of relentless focus on eliminating the variances that cause installation errors, and reduce consistency. Even though our error rate is under 3 in 1,000 we’re not satisfied. Our goal remains an error rate of zero.”
Crone continues, “We are able to achieve this level of performance because our Project Managers are expert practitioners in the technologies we deploy. They also take time to ensure that all customer requirements are fully understood, and that every aspect of a job’s logistics are synchronized before the Field Tech ever leaves for the site.”
The Bottom Line: You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure
Delivering a successful ethernet site readiness rollout is not easy. To perform at a high level, takes a significant investment in skilled management resources, along with the right processes, methodologies, and technology to support them.
But all this investment goes to waste if you don’t measure performance. If you don’t define and then monitor meaningful KPIs for your rollout performance, you have no way of managing your workload: either within a multi-site technology rollout, or across multiple rollouts. When you cannot manage workload effectively, variance can creep into job quality and the Customer Experience becomes volatile.
So, if you need to deploy new technologies at scale, and you want your customer experience to be a great one, you need to find a technology rollout company who will partner with you to manage the workload on your behalf. Before you begin your next technology rollout, ask your rollout company what quality metrics they use to manage and ask them to show you the data.
DENNIS MAZARIS WINS BICSI HARRY J. PFISTER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE TELECOM INDUSTRY
Concert Technologies President and CEO, Dennis W. Mazaris, was recently presented with the 2017 Harry J. Pfister award, during the BICSI Winter Conference & Exhibition. Awarded by the University of South Florida’s College of Engineering, the award recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of telecommunications/information and communications technology.
Named for past BICSI president and Winter Conference founder Harry Pfister, the award promotes the efforts of individuals who promote the profession and enhance the scientific, technical, or educational aspects of the industry, or who promote the professionalism of the industry.
As a long-time active BICSI member, Mazaris regularly presents at its conferences, and has participated in many panels. In a telecommunications career spanning over 30 years, he has worked in a variety of roles. Today, as President and CEO of Concert, Mazaris sets strategic direction for the company and promotes the value to the industry of using skilled Project Management resources to run large-scale technology rollouts.
Past winners of the Harry J. Pfister Award, include notable individuals such as 2010 winner Jonathan Jew, Co-Chair of the TIA-942 Data Center Standard; Bob Stoffels, noted author and editor; former BICSI President Dunn Harvey; and Joe O’Brien, recognizing his lifelong efforts to promote fire safety.
Modern business models demand affordable, high-availability, high-capacity Internet connections at every location. Fore carriers and local service providers, Ethernet is the preferred method to deliver reliable, scalable, high-bandwidth customer connectivity.
But There Are Challenges to Getting Service
If the move to Ethernet is badly managed, the outcome can be site revisits, poor site preparation, cost overruns, and delay of service switch-on. This is because the End User Customer Requirements (EUCR) that must be captured and delivered to provision Ethernet service are far outside the experience of most customers. Without the experience to anticipate issues and prevent delays, avoidable obstacles prolong frustration for all parties involved and make the path to Ethernet service expensive and disruptive. For these reasons, which are aggravated further when looking at a project that spans many locations, customers should be encouraged tp work with a proven Ethernet Readiness partner.
Getting There Faster and Better
Concert Technologies has delivered thousands of Ethernet site preparation projects for major carriers and local service providers. We deliver sites every day so that our partners can rapidly connect customers to their service. Concert has the knowledge and the skills to mitigate Ethernet deployment issues and their associated cost. A Registered Telecommunications Project Manager (RTPM) manages each Ethernet job and knows exactly how to coordinate between stakeholders.
We survey the site to build the EUCRs. After this we look for ways to reduce cost and accelerate the install. Once the scope of work is agreed, we manage the entire process keeping everyone advised of project status the whole way. Capabilities that we offer as a part of this service include:
Turnkey Ethernet Site Preparation with LEC Validation of Requirements
Includes Inside/Outside Plant (ISP/OSP) installations
Includes Power Outlet and Grounding installations
Includes Inner Duct and Backboard installations
Local Techs in all US states and 165 countries
There are multiple benefits of this approach, including:
So, if you, or your customer, needs a proven, trusted partner to deliver high-quality Ethernet site prep on a nationwide basis, click on the ‘Contact Us’ button on the top right of the page. We’ll get back to you quickly with a plan of attack.
A recent article in American Banker, “the ‘Branch of the Future’ Will Still Be a Branch” discusses how banks are working to deliver a great Customer Experience at branch-level using new technologies to enhance face to face interactions. Adoption of new customer-centric technologies, such as in-branch Wi-Fi and Digital Signage are all used to create an environment where Customers can drop-in to do their work, as well as conduct transactions that they prefer to do face to face.
The following point may be surprising because so much energy has been devoted to “digital channel customer engagement” in the Retail Financial sector over recent years, but a study by McKinsey actually shows something that seems counter-intuitive, the more that customers use digital channels, the more they want human interaction.
Because of this shift in customer behavior, banks areworking to increase the value of those human interactions, for example by delivering “big data” driven applications that transform the function of branch staff by enabling them to make informed proactive recommendations to customers rather than passively responding to inquiries.
These advances mandate that branch-level connectivity is transformed from the 20th century capacity-constrained model to one that offers high-availability, high-bandwidth network connectivity at every branch. Carrier, or Metro Ethernet, is the model of choice for network operators to deliver this connectivity.
Connecting branches to this new infrastructure is seldom simple though; It takes coordination between multiple parties and may even require physical trenching to be dug between the branch and the local point of presence. Doing this at one location would be no small job, but managing this for a regional or nationwide portfolio is a massive undertaking.
We can help. At Concert, we collaborate with network carriers and local exchange carriers (LECs) every day to plan and manage the deployment of next-generation network infrastructure for Federal Government agencies and Fortune 1000 organizations alike. This gives us unique insights into how to plan and manage complex projects like this and deliver them on-time and on-budget.
Is your organization rolling out new technologies and applications to your branch network? If it is, give us a call – there’s a lot to talk about!
Twenty-five years after the FCC amended its definition of the demarcation point, extending the demarc can still give some private-network owners fits.
By Patrick McLaughlin
It has been 16 months since this publication covered the idea of customer-premises demarcation in detail (“Demarc extension is mostly uncharted territory,” December 2013). In those 16 month, by nearly any measure, little has changed related to the tasks and challenges associated with the stretch of cabling commonly called the demarc extension. Demarc Extension Nationwide (www.demarcextension.com) defines that stretch of cabling as follows: “The transmission path originating from the interface of the access provider’s side of a telecommunications circuit demarcation point within a premises and ending at the termination point prior to the interface of the edge customer premises equipment [CPE]. This may include in-segment equipment, media converters and patch cords as required to complete the circuit’s transmission path to the edge CPE.”
Veterans of in-building wiring systems likely are unsurprised that nothing has changed over the past 16 months; many would argue that nothing has changed in the nearly 25 years (August 1990) since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) amended its definition of the term “demarcation point” to help clarify confusion that existed over the location(s) of demarcation points in multi-unit buildings. That 1990 amendment sought to ensure the demarc would be near the minimum point of entry (MPOE), which is the point at which the service provider’s cabling enters the premises.
In a recent article from Cabling Installation and Maintenance Magazine titled “Demarc Extension is Mostly Uncharted Territory” it discusses extending the handoff point between public and private networks and why it remains an area largely unstandardized despite it being crucially important to the telecommunications industry.
The article also covers:
The role of key players in the telecommunications industry, such as Concert Technologies
The FCC and a brief history of deregulation of the phone industry and demarc extension regulations
Products and technologies that facilitate a demarc extension
Click here to read the full article from Cabling Installation and Maintenance Magazine
From the December, 2013 Issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine
Extending the handoff point between public and private networks remains an area largely unstandardized yet of critical importance to user organizations.
by Patrick McLaughlin
The demarcation point is a nearly universally recognized portion of corporate networks and today, even personal residential networks. The “demarc,” as it is commonly called, is most visible in residential networks in the form of the network interface device (NID), which typically is mounted onto a home and is the handoff point between the carrier/service provider’s network and the customer-owned network of the homeowner. In these networks, the NID is the very point at which the service provider’s network ends and the customer’s network begins.
In corporate networks, the situation can be significantly murkier. The confusion is not so much a matter of the point at which the service provider’s network ends; a NID does the job there as well. But from a technical standpoint, the matter can be confusing when the service provider network ends in a space physically distant from where the customer-owned network resides. Take, as a typical example, a demarc inside the basement of a multi-story building. A tenant on the fifth or sixth floor of that building must somehow connect its network–contained within a single floor–to the demarc in the basement.
In most cases, a network and associated cabling project begins with the consideration and consultation of standards related to the system or technology being deployed. In the case of extending a demarcation point into a building so it physically meets a customer-owned network, standards are scant. System specifiers, designers, installers and owners are challenged to plan and carry out such a project.
Stake in the ground
For several years Concert Technologies (www.concerttech.com) has made efforts to shed light on the challenges associated with demarc extension. Concert provides what it describes as technology rollouts nationwide. On its website, the company explains, “We provide, manage and support a worldwide field force of local onsite technicians to deploy technology infrastructure on a nationwide and global scale. This includes the dissemination and relay of technical knowledge quickly and accurately to our onsite Concert techs for the installation and service of each location.”
In 2010 Concert launched a separate brand and service called Demarc Extension Nationwide (www.demarcextension.com), aimed specifically at serving the needs of network owners facing the mostly uncharted waters of extending the demarcation point. When announcing the brand’s establishment, Concert stated, “There are thousands of circuits delivered weekly to organizations across the country, with each circuit requiring a demarc extension. Without the standardization of terms and installation practices, there is a high risk of negative impact to the delivery, performance and maintenance of critical telecommunications circuits and their access to the Internet and other network connections outside of a facility.”
Also at that time, Concert’s and Demarc Extension Nationwide’s founder Dennis Mazaris said, “This has been a problem in the industry for over three decades. With a decade and a half of experience deploying technology nationwide and globally, we have taken the initiative in defining and standardizing a demarc extension–the single most critical cabling component within a facility.”
On its website, Demarc Extension Nationwide provides a significant amount of information that is basic yet difficult to find in standards or other technical documents within the industry. Included among the information is a definition of the term demarc extension, as follows: “The transmission path originating from the interface of the access provider’s side of a telecommunications circuit demarcation point within a premises and ending at the termination point prior to the interface of the edge customer premises equipment [CPE]. This may include in-segment equipment, media converters and patch cords as required to complete the circuit’s transmission path to the edge CPE.”
Demarc is short for Demarcation Point, or the spot in a building where telecom companies must leave their services. As mandated by federal law, all telecommunications carriers must hand off their telecom circuits to each subscriber, leaving their service at the building’s demarcation point, which is usually a ground floor telecom room. From this point, the demarc extension is the subscriber’s responsibility, extending their telecommunications circuit to their suite or network room, and begin using the telecom circuit.
Let Concert Technologies accelerate all your telecom circuit requirements through our Demarc Extension Nationwide program specifically developed to extend and test telecom circuits.
DULLES, VA, March 26, 2012 – Concert Technologies, the national technology rollout and global deployment leader, has been selected to present at the 2012 Spring Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. The session titled “Using the Force! Increasing Your Value With Field Services” will feature Dennis Mazaris, President and CEO of Concert Technologies, as a panelist. The presentation will be held Wednesday, March 28 from 10:15-11:15 am with no advance registration required for those attending the 2012 Spring Channel Partners Conference.
“Using the Force! Increasing Your Value With Field Services” is part of the Track Three: New Opportunities series to help companies boost and diversify their revenue stream by adding professional and managed services. Mazaris will join other industry experts to expose the added value of utilizing a field service organization for nationwide technology rollouts and global deployments. With VoIP and other IP technologies as the focus of service deployment at customer sites, the value added by field services to the telecom agent or VAR’s business can make or break the opportunity to win the business of the customer. Subjects covered will include:
The technology industry is changing every day with developments in new technologies and the continuing growth of the telecommunications field. It has become increasingly important for business practices to reflect the growth in the industry with scalable models. When evaluating a Technology Rollout Company, it is best to not only determine how well they will manage and complete your current technology deployment project, but consider how their system of methodologies for deploying technology will be scaled to work efficiently no matter the technology, number of sites or services required.
Commodity Service Viewpoint Technology rollout services are sometimes incorrectly viewed as a commodity service. Some assume that most anyone who has any kind of deployment business model has the ability to manage and deploy a rollout on a nationwide scale to the quality and efficiency you desire. This rationale can be equated to that of the fast food industry in which you have a drive-thru providing the same level of service on every corner. However, the difference is that when you drive off after receiving your order, you find out that you didn’t get what you paid for. Now, compare this to a restaurant that specializes in not just food, but also the process of preparation and service experience. Not only are they able to provide rapid service, but it is accompanied with the highest quality of standards from the time you enter the establishment to the time you exit and if your order is not to your likings they are there to correct it immediately. The commodity service viewpoint is a huge risk in the industry because it assumes that technology rollouts do not require in-depth expertise, long-term established partnerships and a Technology Rollout System to ensure management of all aspects of the Rollout Life Cycle.
Applying the Technology Rollout System to a Multi-Site, Multi-Service Project No two technology rollout projects are the same. As part of a Technology Rollout Company’s system of methodologies, a Rollout Services Model consisting of integrated components that are flexible and scalable to any project size and scope allows the Tehnology Rollout Company to provide multi-site, multi-service, multi-technology rollouts efficiently.
Multiple Sites: The ideal system would work as effectively for a project consisting of thousands of sites as it would for one site. The Rollout Delivery Team varies from company to company, but always should define the essential roles relating to the execution of the project. With a defined management processes and an efficient communication channel, a Technology Rollout Company can take on a project of any size with the same quality of service- from one site to tens of thousands of sites.
Multiple Services: The deployment method utilized will have an effect on the ability to meet site-specific requirements such as services, deployment technologies, technical support and communication specifications. Using local resources allows the Technology Rollout Company to get the job done no matter the technology or equipment required.
How is this Flexibility Possible? The integrated components under the Rollout Services Model with Project Management as its cornerstone component, allows the Technology Rollout Company to apply their system of methodologies to any project size and scope. The Rollout Services Model is universal and technology independent allowing it to be applied to all types of projects no matter the technology, equipment or services required. Finally, the Project Manager, as part of the Rollout Delivery Team, manages the rollout process and serves as the customer’s single point of contact ensuring all project activities are completed to the customer’s specifications.