Thought Leaders 2024: Glenn Parsons
What growth opportunities do you predict for your industry in 2024?
In 2024, I see several growth opportunities for the industry as an increasing number of higher density optical fibre cables and connectors are deployed in international and national markets. The thirst for higher bandwidth services such as 5G wireless and 250 Mbps fixed line services, along with massive growth in cloud-based services, is driving demand for increasing levels of connectivity.
Telecommunications is constantly evolving and improving. The technology never stays still. New networks can take years to roll out and as they approach end of life, they are eventually replaced with the next generation of equipment. In this environment, the opportunity for growth can be realised through innovation, end-to-end next-generation solutions, maintained quality control and an unwavering focus on the customer and the challenges they face in transitioning their networks.
What are the three biggest challenges or threats facing your industry in 2024?
Three of the biggest challenges facing the industry in 2024 are as follows:
Maintaining supply chain stability
Maintaining reliable and consistent component supply for production and finished goods is critical to meeting customer requirements. Recent global events such as the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 have shown us how supply chains can be disrupted causing long delays in material supply. As a result, carefully considered alternate supply chain options should be implemented wherever possible to mitigate the risk of supply chain disruption.
The global economic outlook is uncertain. Rising inflation and rising interest rates are a common thread across many economies. The wars in Ukraine and the Gaza strip are adding to the uncertainty. Minimising increases in costs can be a significant challenge in this environment. Further escalation of global instability in 2024 would provide a significant challenge to the industry.
Continuing to fund R&D activity
Continuing to fund the required R&D activity in the current climate of rising interest rates is a challenge. However, as described above, to grow the business in 2024, ongoing development will be required.
How is your company mentoring staff and developing workforce skills in 2024 and beyond?
In recent times, employee training programs have been conducted on an as-need basis to assist employees with their current role. Most of the training has therefore been on-the-job training as required. The company has spent considerable time and effort focusing on quality control procedures to enhance the efficiency of the production line. This has reduced the lead time of product deliveries and enabled the production line to become more agile in its approach.
Attracting and maintaining a strong, capable workforce is a priority for the company in 2024. To assist with this endeavour, the plan is to further enhance the workforce development program by introducing additional online training focusing on developing the individual. It’s a more holistic approach which I hope will greatly benefit the employees and the company alike.
What resource recovery initiatives is your company planning to implement in 2024?
WBT is planning to expand our resource recovery initiatives in 2024 through a reduce, reuse, recycling approach. We have a well-established recycling process for metal, cardboard and electronic waste. In 2024, we are looking to further reduce and minimise our reliance on non-recyclable packaging materials. We are also looking to explore schemes that promote reuse of packaging materials with our customers for specific products where this makes sense. Some of these initiatives can be implemented in isolation. Other initiatives will require significant cooperation across the industry including suppliers, logistics partners and our customers.
We recently established a repair centre supporting the refurbishment and repair of legacy equipment for our customers. The repair centre has the capability to determine the failure modes of active equipment, repair it and then test against required specifications. In 2024, we are looking to extend the number of products supported by the repair centre allowing customers to extend the life of aging devices (as required) by repairing and reusing legacy devices in a cost-effective way.
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