Telecommunications Challenges in the New Economy

Written by Angel Candelario


I have worked for almost fifteen years in the telecommunications industry, managed in areas ranging from different Supply Chain functions such as Customer Service Supervisor, Global Order Fulfillment Management, Business Analyst, Project Scheduler, Materials Manager and Transport Order Manager within very respected companies like Verizon, Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent and AT&T in the Caribbean and Latin America

Many experienced telecommunications professionals have been witness of the fundamental transformation in the global economy as businesses and individuals, due to new technologies and trends, new opportunities and investments in wireless and mobile, computing, information, and communications technologies.

The Telecommunications industry is facing strong competitive forces resulted in launching hundreds of new technology and operational change projects with limited internal resources.

The employees are pressured to execute more projects, faster, with fewer resources. The operational environment is complex; it consisted of thousands of technologies, vendors, partnerships, supply chain challenges and last minute processes undergoing change at the same time. The number one management challenge is the size and speed of change.

Due to these challenges, the right course of actions is to identify and implement process improvement plans designed to increase customer satisfaction and improve service delivery process.

Customer Satisfaction and Service Delivery

Customer satisfaction can only be achieved with an extraordinary service delivery. Simple and effective workflow is an essential component of a service delivery.  Therefore, a workflow needs to be simple enough to reconfigure and adapt to different projects, situations and emerging market needs. As a consequence, the technology used in the workflow (software solutions like SAP, Oracle, etc.) are a key enabler of service delivery.  The technology platform needs to be modular, flexible and reconfigurable. Therefore, this platform must integrate easily with external systems and process to support customers and suppliers teamwork in order to be effective on a global operation.  Please remember that telecommunication industry competition is not only intense, it is global.

Total Quality Management

The direct benefits to develop, implement and support a cost effective operational processes that improved staff expertise, enhanced communication and collaboration between various operational teams and improved customer service management will be the achievement of objectives to improve operational speed and excellence as part of the competitive strategy.

The quality of products and processes is the responsibility of everyone at any organization. We need to capitalize on the involvement of management, workforce, suppliers, and even customers, in order to meet or exceed customer expectations.

Total quality management is a management system for a customer focused organization that involves all employees in continual improvement of all aspects of the organization. TQM uses strategy, data, and effective communication to integrate the quality principles into the culture and activities of the organization.

A dedicated team of quality management with an expertise in methods & procedures/process sounds like a plus for any organization. The employer should invest on key personnel with useful trainings and certifications like Six Sigma, Project Management and other quality trainings.  As a result the employer will have a solid team that will fulfill company’s goal in a time and cost saving manner.

Effective Coaching

In my article “The teams are the ones who win and the coaches are the ones who lose” I emphasize on the importance of an effective coaching.  Michael Jordan once said; “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”  That is why my point of view have always been that there are not ineffective employees; there is only ineffective supervision and guidance (or ineffective monitoring and coaching).  Supervisors are sometimes the victims of their own success. They become supervisors not because they have good people and management skills, but because they are good at their job. This can lead to a manager who doesn’t know how to motivate and constructively criticize their employees.

Clear Documentation: Taking the Fog Out of Your Internal Process

Have you ever picked up a reference manual and found yourself more confused after reading it than you were before you started? A clear reference manual for your employees is an essential tool to quality processes.

If an employee need to consult an internal reference document in order to clear a doubt related to a process and the document is to complex (or worse, there are none), the results may be unfortunately and undesirable. For this reason, clear reference documentation will decrease the number of questions to the supervisor or coworkers thereby providing the team with more time to concentrate on complex situations.

Writing clear documentation is not easy.  Have a colleague or a professional writer review your text thoroughly for simplicity and accuracy. A documentation specialist or technical writer could be of great help in this type of situations.

In conclusion, telecommunications challenges need to be addresses with several strategies. Customer satisfaction, service delivery, total quality management, effective coaching and clear documentation are key elements to overcome these challenges. Be careful when you adapt process and procedures from other departments or companies. We need to be reflective in our borrowing of ideas from other operations. The one-size-fits-all mentality in corporate policy and process has proved a disaster.  You may read more about this topic on my article “Does One Size Fit All? A fundamental problem for desirable results.”

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