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How to ensure seamless integration of subcontractors

Lauriane Potin
November 24, 2022
5 min. read

It cannot be overstated that the broadband industry places significant reliance upon the capabilities and expertise of third-party contractors. These are often companies with that undertake civil infrastructure and other specialised works in a range of industries, including utilities, construction, rail as well as telecoms/broadband.

The biggest advantage these companies can bring is the numbers of trained and qualified personnel able to install broadband infrastructure to many thousands of properties across the UK & Ireland, sometimes recruiting and training up field operatives to deliver a large contract.

Depending on their size and extent of operations, broadband companies will work with one or multiple third-party contractors.

The key advantage of maintaining a network of trusted subcontractor partners to carry out work on-premise is lower costs and faster response times than permanently employed engineers and field teams.

However, the key challenge remains the same, which is how to ensure seamless integration and enable the same standardised approaches across fleets and projects, in some cases when several third-party contractors, which in some cases may also subcontract aspects of projects, are involved in broadband installations.

FSM software has multiple benefits when it comes to implementing and maintaining standardised approaches across third-party contractors, for creating accountability and driving up productivity across subcontractors, or agency workers.

Large-scale broadband installation projects can entail many challenges, such as ensuring that safety standards are adhered to by all field operatives. FSM software can help by ensuring that any required information and training is completed by all installation engineers in preparation for projects and providing digital record keeping that necessary training has been completed, so that all field operatives from every contractor, are able to work safely and prioritise safety protocols among themselves and their teams in accordance with health and safety policies of their clients.

Manage multi-level subcontracting with ease

FSM can facilitate multilevel subcontracting where administrators and office teams can manage multiple contractors, and even their subcontractors, through gaining visibility that FSM solutions provide.

The software can facilitate creation of many different levels and groups for field technicians, whether they are your employee or they work for a subcontractor. From the engineers’ perspective the software is easy to use. Once they download the app, they can view their schedule and jobs and benefit from other features.

Standardise critical processes and activities

With subcontractor field service management solutions, tasks like engineer scheduling are simplified and standardised. With the app, every engineer on the job, including subcontractors, can be provided with their own schedule. The technology optimises the workday for engineers, so that they spend less time travelling and can use the app to complete reports or paperwork as they progress. It provides managers with peace of mind that everyone knows what they should be doing and where they need to

Support creation of teams and reporting structures

Building out and also maintaining broadband infrastructure has multiple aspects to it, from network design (internal and external), to audits and maintenance, to duct and chamber installation, to cable installation and termination to different types of fibre testing, such as insertion loss measurement.

Specific phases of projects can take different amounts of time, require different skills. FSM software can help with configuring teams and processes, based on people’s experience, skillsets and training credentials as well as other factors. It can also be used to allocate equipment and tools to different teams or jobs, providing oversight and control over all resources used in the field.

Monitor subcontractor engineer activity

Just as with direct or in-house employees, automation and other key features of field service management for broadband software helps contractors be more productive. Based on skillsets and other information, it can allow you to assign jobs to the most appropriate field service engineer, whether a direct employee or a subcontractor.

Ensure control over information exchange

It is important that information is protected, especially when more than one company may be involved in a broadband installation project or is providing servicing support. A key feature of field service management software designed for the broadband industry is that it can provide controls over data so that third party contractors and other subcontractors can only access information required to complete jobs and tasks.

Achieve the multiple benefits of seamlessly integrating contracted engineer fleets

Rolling out broadband infrastructure can be a disruptive activity for those living and working in areas where it is taking place. Providers need peace of mind that those engineers working for their third-party contractors are working to the same standards, ethos and levels of professionalism as their own in-house engineers.

Why risk engineers not finding where they need to be, not being clear about their schedules and tasks, or not being properly trained to your safety protocols, or not completing jobs properly, or taking too long, or committing too many errors, or completing reports and paperwork incorrectly? Field service management software for broadband can ensure that every subcontracted engineer working on your projects is working productively and safely, so that they are part of your team.

Ultimately, if you’re going to treat subcontractors like your in-house engineers, then giving them access to FSM software, means you are privileging them with the same means to work efficiently and productively on installations and jobs, whether maintenance activity or repairs. From the customers’ perspective they are your business, your brand. You should treat them the same in the field. Considering they are representing your business, so treating them as such by empowering them with FSM tools too, is the only way to ensure they are working to your standards.

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