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Perfecting your Supply Chain with Asset Management


The impact to productivity has also been enormous: XO estimates a 50% reduction in work.

ALM for XO

The XO problems were similar to what all other large carriers face. They had a massive network infrastructure, with multiple database tracking all of those assets, with each database lacking the big picture overall. The warranty and repair process was manual and the lack of asset level tracking made it difficult to identify cases where unnecessary warranties were being procured, or where money was being spent to repair obsolete equipment. Synchronizing the operational and financial view of assets was also a manual and labor intensive process.

XO wanted a centralized asset database of record that would bridge the gap between financial and operational systems to provide a complete 360-degree view of assets. The system would rely on mobile data capture at every step of the process, routing the movement and handling of all equipment through the ALM system. At the same time XO wanted to improve upon the abilities of their existing ERP system for managing inventory levels, replenishment and redeployment of excess equipment. Given the different potential areas for improvement, the business case for ALM was obvious.

XO wanted an Asset Lifecycle Management partner who was nimble, collaborative, and willing to expand their application beyond traditional ALM to solve additional problems within the entire asset supply chain. They also wanted a partner that had deep Communication Service Provider experience. The solution had to be highly configurable, with a robust mobile front-end, and the ability to integrate with all relevant ERP, OSS, BSS and legacy systems.

XO ultimately implemented CATS ALM. All asset movements, from acquisition to retirement, shifted to using the CATS, primarily through CATS Mobility for Android and Bluetooth barcode scanners. In the warehouse this eliminated paper processing. In the field this allowed all of the technicians to remain mobile and avoid having to return to the office in order to perform transactions or lookup information.

Inventory management including min/max replenishment shifted to CATS Advanced Inventory, which could perform replenishment calculations significantly faster than the previous ERP system. This allowed multiple restocking runs to happen throughout the day, reducing lead time, speeding up service levels, and allowing for lower inventory levels.

Equipment requisition shifted to CATS Requisitions, which utilized advanced hierarchical excess reuse rules in order to reutilize and redeploy excess equipment from nearby markets and regions instead of ordering from the central distribution center. Integrating equipment reuse directly into the requisition process has significant benefits for cost avoidance compared to manual and disconnected schemes. The hierarchical rules also reduce the amount of money spent shipping items across the country.

CATS was also used to track repair options and pricing for each item. Actual vendor performance is also analyzed and monitored by the system. Combined with an accurate inventory of spares and asset level warranty tracking this allows technicians to instantly see the most cost effective option for replacing or repairing a failed item.

By providing a centralized asset database of record CATS combined previously disjointed data and translated this into actionable insights through reports and dashboards. Integrated self-service reporting functionality allows users to create and share dashboards and reports throughout the enterprise.

The impact to productivity has also been enormous: XO estimates a 50% reduction in work, primarily through the use of the of mobile application. These are all benefits that can help any sized Communication Service Provider in any geography.

The moral of the ALM story 

Other examples abound, with carriers saving millions of dollars through more accurate property tax payments, consolidation of spares, eliminating hoarding by technicians, reducing inventory levels, correcting invoice discrepancies, and eliminating the purchase of unnecessary warranties, service contracts or software licenses. The end result of ALM is a significant (and demonstrable) Return on Investment (ROI).

The fact is, telecom equipment and other assets move around frequently during their lifecycle – whether it’s due to regular maintenance, increasing coverage and capacity, technology upgrades, or mergers and acquisitions. Successful communication service providers who want to stay competitive in the future are putting ALM to work.

There is a Chinese proverb that says “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” This applies to ALM as well. If you haven’t already implemented ALM, the best time is definitely now. Only then can you truly get visibility, insight, and control of your asset supply chain from end-to-end.



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