How Networks Centre Solves Cable Supply and Distribution Challenges
What steps does Networks Centre take to create the right specification network for a project?
We start by gaining a thorough understanding of the project and finding out what a particular customer is trying to achieve, both short and long-term. This enables us to find the best solution for their requirements and suggest alternatives if we don’t think a particular product will meet their needs.
Often, subcontractors are already engaging with the customer and this can make it difficult for us to recommend different specifications. However, in most cases, we still have the opportunity to influence the materials used in the project if we don’t believe a specific product will suit the customer’s environment and meet their needs.
How is the specification delivered into the project and what is involved in that process?
We engage with our manufacturers and vendors to find the right product for the application. Our team researches a wide variety of products to identify the best solution for the customer’s environment.
Often, a customer will contact us and ask for a specific product, whether that’s fibre optic cable, power cable or cable accessories used to protect cabling. We find out why they want a particular specification and what it is going to be used for. In many cases, we can find a more cost effective alternative for the customer to give them the control of what they are spending.
What factors can influence the project cost?
Changing the design of the equipment specification details can reduce the cost of the project. For example, one of our recent customers used ribbon fibre cable instead of single fibre cable on a product to reduce labour time and associated costs.
We can rethink the specification design or suggest ways to reduce cost in other ways. We simply offer advice to facilitate their needs and wants, whilst still keeping the company in complete control of the project management. In some cases, the customer does not need a top-of-the-market specification stock – a lower cost product will be just as effective and efficient for their needs.
Take a car as an example. You wouldn’t purchase a Rolls Royce if you only need a run-around to get to the shops. A cheaper vehicle such as a Ford Fiesta would get you from A to B just as effectively, and choosing a cheaper model would save you significant amounts of money.
The same applies to our solutions. There is no point paying for a high-tech product and installation if a cheaper alternative will be just as effective. We suggest different products throughout the design process to save our customers time and money.
Are projects ever delayed due to a lack of product availability? Can you suggest a different solution to speed up the process?
There are lots of legacy products, especially in fibre. We come across many instances where old-style connectors are used on products. For instance, ST connectors are no longer as popular so they have long lead times. If a customer requests ST connectors, we’ll recommend they choose LCs instead as these have a much shorter lead time and are often more effective.
In situations involving legacy products or legacy installations, we can certainly offer an alternative solution to avoid delays and speed up the project time frame.
What makes Networks Centre standout from other cable suppliers?
One of the things that makes Networks Centre unique is that we have internal specialists with expert knowledge about design, installation, testing, and terminating. Our team of specialists can suggest products based on the customer’s specifications, rather than us having to look for opinions externally.
We offer a consultative and supportive service, paired with excellent customer service and we can tailor our solutions to meet our customers’ exact requirements.
Our technical expertise also allows us to offer customised training. We worked with a company that needed to provide its engineers with training in fibre terminations. They were interested in one of the standard courses that we offer, but they couldn’t give their engineers enough time off to complete the full 5-day course.
After discussing the company’s requirements, we created a shorter bespoke course which focused on the components of the training regime that were most important to them. This course fitted their requirements and ensured minimal disruption to their business operations.
Who is responsible for the installation, testing and sign off?
Testing is always done on-site by the customer. There are several things we do if the customer is not getting the results they want from the solution. We can analyse the test reports and visit the site to identify and resolve any troubleshooting issues.
Our customers can also contact us at any time to ask for technical advice from our experts. In many cases, we can resolve issues and support customers over the phone without visiting their site.
If you’re not sure what your next step should be, get in touch with one of our experts.
Technical Services Director
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