What challenges are posed by cable certification?

Wednesday, 18 March, 2020

What challenges are posed by cable certification?

The challenges faced by those using cable certifiers have been revealed in a new white paper published by IDEAL Networks.

The publication, entitled ‘Cable certifiers – what really matters?’, compiles over 60 hours of in-depth research interviews with cable installation companies in the US and Europe.

Findings include cable certifier usage trends, what cable installers consider the most critical when choosing a certifier and how the current available certification solutions perform for the end user.

“In our research, we identified that having an accurate and easy-to-use fault finder was one of the most important factors when choosing a certifier,” said Tim Widdershoven, Marketing Director for IDEAL Networks.

“However, despite it being so critical, we found that it was one of the areas where certifiers were performing most poorly for users.

“Good cable installations tested with a correctly configured tester should not have many faults but when they do occur, it is important that installers can fix them quickly,” he continued.

A need for simplicity was also expressed when it comes to set-up in order to test the installation. During the research, IDEAL Networks found that technicians may make hundreds of inputs on average for set-up. This includes typing the address and labels, selecting standards, moving between functions and configurations.

“Incorrect set-up or misconfiguration can also lead to project delays affecting cash flow and retesting reduces margins with unforeseen labour costs,” Widdershoven said.

“Therefore, the installers we observed were keen to have access to products which make setting up the tester as simple as possible and consider the way that engineers work, not just the standards they are testing to.”

Cable installers on site also need to be able to accurately record the links tested using the correct naming convention to properly detail location. According to the research, the most significant improvement that customers wanted in this area was a reduction in the time spent correcting errors and adding missing details before submission for warranty for the customer. The white paper states that there is great demand from users for ways to automate this process, and to have more ways to collaborate among teams.

“Another thing that cable installers told us time and again was that the process of transferring results from their cable certifier can lead to delays, and in some cases lost results,” Widdershoven said.

“The most common feedback from engineers was that they want to be able to ‘press one button’ to send the results back to the office [from] the job site.

“At the end of the project, they just want to get the results off the tester and back to the office or project manager quickly — the faster they do this, the sooner they can submit the finished project and get paid.”

As well as speaking to cable installers, the research also covered the challenges encountered by project managers. For example, many explained that they must follow a structured formatting and quality checking process when creating reports.

This takes a significant amount of time but assures customer acceptance, warranty approval and quality, which in turn reduces call backs. The right management software helps minimise the time required to organise reports for customers, helping to ensure payment can be invoiced more quickly. However, satisfaction in this area in the research from IDEAL Networks was low.

“These are just a few of the important areas raised in the white paper,” Widdershoven said.

“Cable installers work in an industry which is constantly changing, so research like this helps us to develop solutions which genuinely address their biggest day-to-day challenges.”

To read more about IDEAL Networks’ cable certifier research, download the free white paper here.

Image courtesy of IDEAL Networks.

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