Rolling out a retail voice and data network in record time
When a major national retailer says to its service provider that it wants to roll-out vastly improved telecommunications services to every one of its network of nationwide stores, the natural reaction of the provider is an understandable excitement about the size of the potential contract.
The next reaction though is much more considered, because the retailer is now asking the supplementary question – how quickly can the provider complete the full roll-out?
That exact situation occurred here, in the USA, earlier this year when a nationwide retailer of reading glasses, contact lenses and other eyewear, wanted to upgrade the communications capability of all its 750 stores across the country. A move to a new digital platform, with better use of data sharing for inventory purposes, with the adoption of VOIP handsets and terminals in all stores, with much greater bandwidth in every outlet, was going to require site visits to every store to complete the digital rollover.
Not only that, but this was not a simple job to schedule. Firstly, the schedule of visits would need to align with the ordering and building of the circuits in the network to upgrade the service to each store. Secondly, the visits would need to take place at night when the stores were closed, and lastly because of the different installation, configuration and testing skills required, each store would need three visits to complete a job and send a new system live.
After considering the logistics involved the provider informed the retailer that using its existing labor force, the project would likely take two years to complete.
Fortunately, before the retailer could move on and open negotiations with another service provider, a second plan was put forward. Working with the Field Engineer platform and one of its trusted system integrators, the provider could schedule the work to take place over just three months. In fact, such was the speed at which the work could be carried out that the system integrator immediately ordered all of the required circuits in advance so that the network availability could not delay the speed of in-store commissioning.
As the roll-out gathered pace more than ten stores were being commissioned every day, a pace of change that would be impossible without the Field Engineer platform. In fact, on one day during the project, our field force carried out 12 new site inspection, 12 other sites had installation visits, and 12 others went through final testing and commissioning – making 36 locations visited in a single day.
Field Engineer’s new platform has hundreds of registered system integrators worldwide and more importantly a network of more than 40,000 field service engineers ready to spring into action. The platform works by matching locally available telecoms engineering skills to contracts ready to be commissioned.
Our customers simply upload the details of the contracts and projects they want to commission onto the platform, highlighting the exact skills and qualifications required so that certified engineers, registered on the platform, can bid to undertake projects based on their location, availability and price.
Customers then simply choose the engineers they want to undertake the project and track and manage its progress via the platform. The engineers get automatically paid by the platform immediately the job is signed off as having been completed satisfactorily by the customer.
By matching and managing engineering projects and trained engineers in this way, the Field Engineer platform is bringing the benefits of the shared or gig economy to the service engineer market – it is adding a layer of simplicity to the commissioning of often complex technical jobs.
Already the platform has been used to complete some 15,000 jobs in more than 100 countries. And as this latest project in the USA shows, the platform brings real speed to the pace of digital change in telecommunications.
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