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  • support 4:39 am on January 31, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , TL 9000 For Wireless Providers, TL 9000 Telecom Quality System, Wireless Segment   

    TL 9000 Benefits For Wireless Providers 

    As we mentioned last week, there are demonstrable benefits to implementing the TL 9000 Quality Management Standard.  Since the benefits are viable across all segments of the telecommunications landscape, it is difficult to pick out one or two that are particularly useful for a particular space.

    Cost reduction is a general benefit that can be realized by all, as are the improvement of customer satisfaction and the use of industry data for benchmarking purposes.  So you have to think about what one benefit might be really important to one industry segment, such as the wireless space.

    One clear benefit is having a specific “risk management” plan for the deployment of wireless service (service providers) or of product to wireless service providers, by their suppliers.  Risks such as labor shortages, single source suppliers, supplier shortages and others are common and lead to late and/or poor quality deployments.

    Management is now challenged by the TL 9000 standard to identify such risks and to have a plan to eliminate or mitigate these risks.   An example of a “risk” for a wireless provider may include not enough broadband backhaul. What about copper thieves preying on remote tower sites? Risks like this can be mitigated if there is a plan in place ahead of time.  Think about it.  Are there risks that could easily cause you to lose customers?  The key is to identify them in advance and plan to reduce the risk!  The TL 9000 quality management standard clearly addresses this aspect of service management, especially in the wireless space.

    Next week, we will review a third segment of the communications industry and provide another example of how TL 9000 can be applied to improve business operations.  For more information, please contact bclancy@bizphyz.com.

  • support 3:23 am on January 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , TL 9000 cable segment, , TL 9000 ILEC's, TL 9000 LEC's, TL 9000 VoIP segment, TL 9000 wireless segment   

    The Value of TL 9000 In The Wireless, VoIP and Cable Communication Segments 

    This past week, I was preparing for a QuEST Forum Executive Board Presentation on TL 9000.  It became clear to me while preparing this presentation that a current review of TL 9000 and its benefits in other communication segments would be an excellent topic to begin our blog/support desk for 2011.  Even though I have published two articles on this topic in the past, there have been substantial gains made with TL 9000 in recent years.

    Most of my familiarity with TL 9000 adoption has been in the traditional Local Exchange Carrier segment of the industry.  I started thinking–what TL benefits would be applicable or unique to the wireless, VoIP and cable segments of the communications industry? What is QuEST Forum doing to promote penetration of TL 9000 in these segments?  What is the chance that TL 9000 will gain adoption among all segments of communications? The next few paragraphs will hopefully wet your appetite by presenting some general facts about TL 9000 and the very real possibility of this adoption trend.

    QuEST Forum published some performance data results that are important to highlight.  At the end of 2010, QuEST Forum recorded approximately 1900 TL 9000 certifications, with the majority of them in Asia Pacifica and North America. The standard, in two Handbooks covering requirements and measurements has been updated through release 5.0 of requirements and 4.5 of measurements.  It has matured significantly, as volunteer representatives of major service providers, OEM suppliers and service companies improved the standard through lessons learned and by bringing in best practices from other frameworks such as the Capability Maturity Model (CMMI) and the automotive standard, TS16949.

    Initially, the benefits of TL 9000 that we hoped to see were the development and use of a common quality language throughout the telecommunications supply chain, greater network reliability, a higher rate of on time delivery and a reduction of customer problem reports.  Since the inception of QuEST Forum in 1998, many of these benefits have been realized.

    As I mentioned before, QuEST Forum released results of a compilation of industry data based on the standardized reporting of certified companies.  Data for 8 of about 32 different product categories was studied for the period 2007-2008.   The data revealed among other things that for on time delivery, the linear average of the averages of the 8 product categories had risen from 75% to 81%, while certain product categories had improved as much 130%. This is important, since many of the product categories studied deliver critical network services every day for users of the public network.  These improvements were realized by simply applying the time-honored principle of measuring what you want to manage.

    In addition to the benefits outlined previously, I believe that there are at least three more that have recently been introduced into the TL 9000 standard, risk management, sustainability and additional emphasis on testing.  That’s a big scope of impact.  In the next 4 installments of this series, I will highlight how these areas of impact are just as critical to the delivery of service in wireless, VoIP and cable market segments.  TL 9000 is proving its worth as a “communications” industry standard and its migration—may be an inevitability.  Stay tuned for this series, as it may get you to think about your product or service in a more strategic way!  For more information contact bclancy@bizphyx.com.

  • support 5:15 pm on December 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    TL 9000 Project Planning (3): Risk Management 

    In our last two articles, we discussed the major milestones for your TL 9000 project implementation and how to plan the intervals necessary to complete the project on time.  In this article we will cover risk assessment and management relating to your project plan.

    Someone once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”  Chances are that won’t actually happen to you as the project planner, but barriers come up and it is best to anticipate as many of them as possible.  TL 9000 actually has a risk management requirement that relates to project planning, so this is a great exercise in applying the technique.

    You can probably make a pretty good list of risks yourself, but you certainly cannot address them all.  Therefore, you should engage key managers and process owners in risk assessment.  I’m sure you will have engaged them as you developed the plan.  Now is the time to reengage them to “shoot holes” in it.  You can use brainstorming for this activity in order to encourage a free-flow of ideas.  However, if you choose to orchestrate the risk assessment, consider these minimal risks along with others that are raised by the team:

    •    Holidays and non-work days
    •    Shift schedules impact on accessibility of participants
    •    Availability of resources to complete process and procedure work
    •    Availability of resources for training, consulting and internal auditing
    •    Availability of registrar and other auditors
    •    Approvals of necessary expense and/or capital spending

    Once you have a list of the risks, determine the best strategy to mitigate them.  Let’s take one of the examples above.  If there are capital dollars required for a new system, or modifications to an existing one, you will need to carefully consider the approvals needed, whether you can reasonably expect to receive approval and how long this will take.  If input from key participants working second or third shift is needed, how will you obtain approval?  If everyone is already stretched to the max with their regular work, how will they help move the project forward?

    All of these considerations should be made.  Once you’re convinced you have a good handle on risk management-finalize the plan, distribute it and keep it current and relevant.  We’ll provide some tips on how to do this next week.  If you need more detailed assistance with TL 9000 risk management planning, please contact bclancy@bizpphyx.com

  • support 3:58 am on November 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Marketing Your TL 9000,   

    Selling Your TL 9000 Certification: Doesn’t Everyone Know The Benefits? 

    You have achieved TL 9000 certification and now companies should rush to your doorstep right?  Unfortunately too many executives, especially from smaller firms think this way.  They expect that once certification is achieved, getting new business should be a snap.  To be blunt it’s not.  Certification to TL 9000 or any other quality standard is not easy or cheap, so here are some pointers to help you obtain new business.  You have to learn to “SELL” your certification, by educating your potential customers.

    Consider why you did TL 9000 in the first place.  What advantages does certification give you with your customers?  TL 9000 allows your firm to minimize risk in your customers’ supply chain through better testing, a disaster recovery plan, a security plan and a risk management plan.  In many cases, certification helps you reduce the cost of your products to customers.  How?  By eliminating or reducing rework and shortening cycle time.  You can be as much as 15% more efficient than you would be otherwise.  This means you can be the low cost and high quality provider which is a winning combination in anyone’s book.  Do you include any of this in your company’s “value proposition”?

    When you meet a new prospect, they don’t automatically know about TL 9000 or its inherent benefits.   Avoid the mistake of assuming that your prospective client knows why TL 9000 is important. Actually the reverse is likely to be true.  You have to take the time to explain to your prospect that you’re better because you have stronger testing, because you plan to be in business if a disaster strikes and because you manage risks.  In other words, during your sales conversations lead with the benefits you bring, NOT with the fact that you are TL 9000 certification.  Point out the benefits first, then talk about how TL 9000 helped you achieve them.

    Finally, be patient.  Sales cycles can be long and it takes time to build a relationship that will make people want to buy from you.  Don’t get discouraged. If you have something people want and you can show why buying from you is a SAFE purchase, you are well on your way!

  • support 1:06 am on October 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Clause 7.3.1.C.4 of the Release 5.0 of the TL 9000, Design and Development, Service Delivery, TL 9000 7.1.V .1, TL 9000 7.3, TL 9000 For Service Organizations, TL 9000 Risk Managment Requirements   

    Applying Risk Management Plan Requirements For Service Organizations 

    Clause 7.3.1.C.4 of the Release 5.0 of the TL 9000 Quality Management System Requirements Handbook-Risk Management Plan, requires the certifying organization to “develop and document a plan for the identification, analysis and control of risks to the project that can impact cost, schedule, product quality or product performance”.   While this requirement is in section 7.3, Design and Development, it also applies through clause 7.1.V .1, Service Delivery, to service companies that may not design their services, but just provide them.

    The requirement is specifically intended to address the impact of risk on projects. For service companies, such risks may affect individual projects in the case of installation or outside construction work, or affect the general service you provide as in the case of a network operations center (NOC).  As a manger, your responsibility is to identify potential risks to your projects or services.  The accompanying note provides some guidance on what to look for.  The note says, “Risk Management should be performed during all phases of product development (also service delivery see 7.1.v.1) and should include:”

    a) The means to determine risk sources, categories, and priorities,
    b) Identification of significant or critical characteristics and failure modes, including customer experience,
    c) A definition of risk parameters (e.g., probability of occurrence, severity of impact) to be used in determining risk priorities and any scoring mechanisms to be used (e.g., FMEA – Failure Mode Effects Analysis),
    d) How risks will be managed (e.g., tools to be used, actions to reduce risk, mitigation strategies, monitoring and reporting requirements),
    e) Inputs from appropriate functional disciplines, and
    f) A mechanism for capturing and applying lessons learned.

    This means identifying risks may include management review or review by project experts, or a review of lessons learned from prior projects.  It may include common sense risk items that simply need to be listed and then prioritized and managed.  Your plan should also record how you plan to manage risksLet’s look at a quick example:

    Mythical Installation Company’s management knows this requirement has to be addressed.  So they conduct a series of brainstorming sessions to determine risks.  They recall that several years ago there was a significant shortage of chips that caused the products they were installing to be delayed, thus delaying their projects.  Another employee suggested that there could be a repeat of the severe shortage of skilled installers that happened two years ago.  Finally, several individuals suggested that natural or manmade disasters could cause the interruption to their installations.  Once the risks were identified they were prioritized and a management plan was developed.  The plan included customer notifications of delayed product, alternate staffing companies to mitigate possible labor shortages and a detailed strategy to relocate alternate facilities in the case of a natural disaster. These conditions and resulting strategies, were all documented in the plan.  Furthermore, management scheduled reviews during the year to ensure that the plan would continue to be appropriate.

    Naturally this is a fairly simplistic example, but hopefully it will provide some food for thought.  If you have further questions regarding risk management requirements, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@bizphyx.com.  Next week, we begin a 3-part series on the value of ISO and TL 9000 certification and some tips on how to market your certification.

  • support 3:36 pm on March 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    How often do we need to review our disaster recovery plan? 

    Like your other QMS documents, there is no defined time frame; however, the disaster recovery plan should be reviewed when there are changes to the business, such as new employees, responsibilities, locations or infrastructure to ensure the plan remains current.

  • support 3:30 pm on March 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Business Continuity Planning (BCP),   

    As a small company what should I include as business continuity? 

    Business continuity is especially critical to small companies.  It is imperative that a small company consider the events that could interrupt your business and determine how you will respond in order to continue to deliver your product or service. For a small company an interruption in your delivery could impact your position in the supply chain and jeopardize your long term growth.

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