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  • support 6:49 pm on February 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 340 Club, , , , NTCA, , , , , , TL 9000 Requirements R5.5   

    Update From The QuEST Forum Leadership Summit 2014: Driving Sustainability in ICT 

    The QuEST Forum Leadership Summit took place in Dallas a few weeks ago and the summit officially kicks off the new year for TL 9000 and QuEST Forum business.  A great deal was discussed and the networking at this year’s summit was very productive.

    Reports were provided by each of the working committee chairs, Executive Board initiative(s) chairs, regional chairs and QuEST Forum CEO, Fraser Pajak.  BIZPHYX Senior Vice President Bob Clancy taught new Board members during the Executive Board Training session.

    Great progress was made in 2013 and the Board is looking for even greater accomplishments in 2014, especially in different industry sectors by bringing in new members, addressing regional needs and broadening the scope of influence of both TL 9000 and QuEST Forum in the global ICT domain.


    New Initiatives

    Two new initiatives that were discussed at the Leadership Summit were Sustainability and Cell Tower Safety.  QuEST Forum is looking at its role in driving sustainability in the ICT supply chain.   Also discussed was how QuEST Forum can work with cell tower companies to improve performance and safety.  In light of recent cell tower accidents (employees), safety has become a critical topic on the wireless side of our industry.

    These are two pressing topics for discussion in ICT and we’re encouraged to see how QuEST Forum will address both sustainability and cell tower safety going forward in 2014 and in the years to come.


    Small Business Membership Continues To Grow

    Sue Clancy presented a very encouraging update on Small Business to the QuEST Forum Executive Board.  Small business is now 33% of the membership of QuEST Forum, after adding 12 new members in 2013.

    How important is Small Business to QuEST Forum?  Small Business contributed $50,000 in sponsorships in 2013 and increased attendance to our monthly lecture series by 27%.  That’s how!

    Small Business is alive and well in QuEST Forum and Sue Clancy will continue to lead this effort in 2014.  For more information on small business membership or engagement, please contact sclancy@bizphyx.com.


    New Sector Engagement Through a New QuEST Forum Board

    QuEST Forum also welcomed new board member John Greene in 2014.   John Green is the Chief Engineer for Great Plains Communications.  Great Plains is Quest Forum’s first Tier 3 Service Provider to serve on the Executive Board, which begins a long overdue and critical dialogue with rural Telcos many of which, are members of the NTCA: The National Rural Broadband Association.  BIZPHYX has been a member of the NTCA for many years.

    John’s enthusiasm and insight into the Tier 2 and Tier 3 service providers has already generated excitement with regard to this new sector.  He was instrumental in arranging Fraser Pajak’s speaking engagement at the NTCA’s October “Telco Vision” event, helping to formally introduce QuEST Forum and TL 9000 to a new audience.  John participated in two different panel discussions during this 3-day conference.

    As Chief Engineer with Great Plains Communications, John is highly respected by regional Telcos and is an incredible addition to the QuEST Forum Executive Board.  Great Plains Communications is a diversified telecommunications company providing local and nationwide long-distance telephone service to 77 Nebraska communities, and digital cable television service to 41 Nebraska communities.  Based in Blair, Nebraska, Great Plains is the largest Nebraska-owned telecommunications provider.

    We’re all looking forward to working with John Greene in bringing a knowledge of TL 9000 to rural telecom!  Please click on the blue links above for more information about John, Great Plains and the NTCA.


     New Revisions: TL 9000 Requirements Handbook R5.5

    As many of you are aware, new TL 9000 Requirements Handbook R5.5 is upon us.  As of Feb 10, 2014 it is available for use by organizations for audit purposes.  Organizations can still be audited to the 5.0 version of the Requirements Handbook until Jan 1, 2015.  On or after January 1, 2015, all audits must be conducted to the 5.5 version.  For information on the changes between the two revisions, please listen to a podcast tutorial here on our blog, on our website or in I-Tunes.

    This podcast is presented by BIZPHYX SVP, Bob Clancy. There is a new requirement called Product Security, so be sure to listen!


    BIZPHYX Makes The 340 Club

    BIZPHYX was also recognized for achieving participation in the QuEST Forum 340 Club.  The 340 Club is for those members of QuEST Forum that exhibit exceptional membership participation in forum activities through their employee’s investment of time and efforts in multiple work groups, sub teams and regions along with generous event sponsorships.  This is the third straight year BIZPHYX has been recognized for our contributions to QuEST Forum!

    BIZPHYX CEO, Sue Clancy was recognized for her role as an Executive Contributor to the Executive Board in 2013.  As an Executive Contributor, Sue has led the efforts of the Small Business Group and will continue in that role in 2014.   Sue was also reappointed to her role as Executive Contributor for the 2014 term.  Please visit our Flickr page for all photos and releases.

    The ICT landscape continues to evolve into the cloud, M2M and into public utility grids and so will TL 9000.  Data and network Security, as well as safety and sustainability will be front and center, so stay tuned, it’s going to be a very interesting year!

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  • support 4:00 am on February 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , John Greene, NTCA, , Telco Vision,   

    QuEST Forum, TL 9000 & The NTCA: Navigating Necessary Change 

    In late October 2013 (after the publication of our Q3 edition of The Standard), Fraser Pajak, CEO of QuEST Forum participated in a keynote panel discussion at Telco Vision, a signature event hosted by the NTCA (The Rural Broadband Association).  BIZPHYX has been a long-standing member of the NTCA.

    Approximately 1500 rural telecom executives and suppliers attend Telco Vision.  During the panel discussion, Fraser presented a short overview of QuEST Forum and TL 9000.  He and the other panelists also answered questions about the challenges rural service providers face in light of technology changes, increasing customer demand and the ever-changing landscape of regulations.  As rural telecom evolves in terms of services and technologies, embracing quality standards will become critical to the survival of these telcos.

    Fraser received positive feedback and numerous questions about QuEST Forum and the ability to set quality standards and benchmark results.  Fraser’s comments were also referenced in an article published in Light Reading, a web-based ICT technology blog.  We now have a link to that article: Rural Telcos Admit Major Changes Are Needed (click to view).

    It is important to note that one of QuEST Forum’s newest Board members, John Greene was instrumental in arranging Fraser Pajak’s speaking engagement at Telco Vision, helping to formally introduce QuEST Forum and TL 9000 to a new audience.  John is Chief Engineer of Great Plains Communications, based in Blair, Nebraska.  John participated in two different panel discussions during this 3-day conference as well.  You can read more about John in an upcoming article on the 2014 QuEST Forum Leadership Summit.

    If you require more information on QuEST Forum, the NTCA or the implementation of TL 9000, please contact us at info@bizphyx.com.

  • support 12:30 am on February 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FCC, , NTCA, Rural Telecom,   

    A Case For TL 9000 Quality Management In Rural ILECs 

    We attended the NTCA (The Voice of Rural Telecommunications) Annual Conference in San Diego last week.  The rural telecom industry is certainly in a state of flux as a result of the new FCC order regarding telecom reform of the USF/ICC, which was released in late October 2011.

    While there were many great wireless, video and broadband technologies represented on the EXPO floor, the majority of the conference centered around this theme.  Meetings also took place regarding the potential merger of the NTCA and OPASTCO (Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunication Companies).  We have posted a few brief video clips on our YouTube channel.

    Our article is not about the FCC order and the various interpretations and implementations that will begin as a result.  Instead, we contend that TL 9000 quality should be a part of the rural ILEC “toolkit”, as a way to deal with the business implications they will now face.

    However, it’s important to understand the basics and how they do apply to rural telecom:

    The US Federal Communications Commission has approved major changes in the country’s Universal Service Fund (USF) aimed at focusing more on broadband expansion.  Starting from 2013, the FCC will also change its cost model for determining the level of funding, adopt a competitive bidding system for awarding the funds and tighten controls to ensure that subsidized operators meet the coverage promised.  The order as it currently stands, will likely reduce the compensation and revenues of many rural ILECs.

    Those are just a few of the changes with the new 700+ page order.  Here are some supporting articles that help put things in layman’s terms, such as links to Telecom Paper, the AT&T Public Policy Blog and an opinion piece from GigaOM.   If you want to delve deeper, you can visit the US government sites for the National Broadband Plan and the FCC (read the actual documentation of the order).

    What we do know is that many rural ILECs are going to experience a reduction in their compensation (reimbursements) and revenues while being driven by the marketplace to compete with increased product and service offerings that must include wireless, broadband, video, IPTV and/or “triple play“.  Let’s face it; it’s all about video and download speeds.  They must do this while cutting their own operating costs, improving productivity and scaling their organizations to grow, consolidate or possibly face sale or closure.

    Some of the larger ILECs, many of which have their roots in rural telecom, are embracing telecom quality by implementing TL 9000 either in their own operations or by driving it through their supply chains.  CenturyLink and Windstream are just a few examples.  Many of the largest equipment and service providers that supply rural telecom such as ADTRAN, Alcatel-Lucent, Calix, Ericsson, Fujitsu, GENBAND, Juniper Networks, KGP Logistics, MasTec, Shields Environmental (and so many others) are either TL 9000 certified, obtaining certification or are active in QuEST Forum, the governing body over the standard.

    Yet, there is hesitancy on the part of small to mid-size ILECs to consider TL 9000 as a tool that can be used during these times to improve profitability and their chances of survival.  For us in quality management, we know the value of measurements and the risk management aspect of TL 9000.  We see firsthand from our work with clients, the many ways even the smallest of companies (10 employees or less), benefit from TL 9000 and ISO 9001 implementation:

    • productivity and operational efficiencies
    • reduction in rework and operating costs
    • revenue growth
    • ability to scale operations
    • improved partnerships with suppliers and supplier quality
    • engaged employees for overall business innovation

    Some of the smallest Telco providers (less than 50 employees) can implement TL 9000 for the cost of attending a few NTCA meetings and networking events.  It’s that cost effective (and possible), through a webinar based program.  The statistics and case studies (found on our knowledge base and at QuEST Forum) document the bottom line “payback” of improved quality.

    As more ILECs begin to rollout new broadband products and services, how do they cost effectively integrate these services with their existing installation, engineering and billing structures?

    Specific to rural ILECs, who wouldn’t want to reduce field costs, truck rolls, outages and faulty installations?  That low hanging fruit in terms of reducing the cost of poor quality and rework (which is often 10-15% of operating costs) could more than make up for the compensation reductions resulting from the FCC order, while making an ILEC better able to compete in a “triple play” marketplace.

    We hope as a greater clarity emerges between the meanings of “benchmarking data” vs. “compliance measurements”, that rural ILECs will begin to take serious notice of what their key suppliers and their largest competitors employ: TL 9000, the Telecommunications Quality Management Standard.

    As an associate member of the NTCA, we wish the best to these very needed rural providers as they navigate through tough times and uncharted territories.  If you need information on TL 9000 implementation or TL 9000 training, we are happy to provide a complimentary overview webinar for your executive team.  Please contact info@bizphyx.com.

    You can also visit the TL 9000 website and the QuEST Forum website to obtain further information, including a database of TL 9000 certified companies.


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