Broadcast News

Bookmark and Share
29/09/2015

After Sales Support – What To Look For

News Image
In this third article by Tom Swan of system integrator dB Broadcast, Tom turns his attention to the period after a successful broadcast system implementation.

The SI role is not only to build systems but also to provide after-sales support options. Broadcasting often involves time critical applications, and periods of downtime just cannot be tolerated. So what is involved in after-sales support and what should broadcasters be looking for from their suppliers?

A basic requirement is to ensure that manufacturers' warranties are in place and secure; these may be accessible either through the SI or direct. Customised warranty, spares and support packages can be developed to meet the customer’s specific needs; these will include warranty on the supplied equipment and installed cabling. To add further value, dB Broadcast has a policy of negotiating extended warranties on third party products to be passed on to the benefit of the customer.

Accessing an effective spares inventory is the second essential element of ensuring long term operational readiness. Once the final Bill of Material has been established, a proper review of the equipment can be made and spares holding agreed. dB Broadcast recommends a spares holding of 2.5-5% of total equipment value, held either at the customer or in an accessible location. Important factors to be considered include the quantity of items in the system, whether the equipment is in the critical path, the service level agreement (SLA) offered by the equipment supplier, cost, turnaround times for repairs, review of the MBF figures quoted by manufacturers and any problems experienced during the commissioning and acceptance phases.

Another 'hygiene' factor is the availability of a full set 'as-built' documentation, third party manuals, software, safety test records and asset register details. These would normally be supplied after system commissioning, although the SI may also offer a service for maintaining this documentation and updating it as changes occur.

External support to the customer will be important at critical operational periods. A clear Service Level Agreement should be in place, covering the range and metrics of services to be provided; these typically include onsite support during critical operational periods, telephone support, remote monitoring and diagnostics, product software updates and system enhancements. For example, dB Broadcast's commissioning engineers can provide on-site support during a migration phase, go-live period or any other crucial times. dB's approach of maintaining a permanent in-house engineering team pays dividends here as the same personnel who undertook the project are used during these periods and have an intimate knowledge of system design and operation.

Despite the best plans, there will be times when emergency support is required, and this may well be out of normal business hours. The response time for support telephone calls will be stated in the SLA and is typically 4hr, 2hr or 1hr depending on the time of day and the nature of the problem. Having said that, remote monitoring and diagnostics are now an increasingly attractive option.

dB provides optional remote diagnostics and monitoring of installed systems via a VPN.

For a number of its clients, dB is providing in-sourcing support. In this arrangement, dB is brought in to work inside the company's facilities and provides the customer with a broader range of benefits that would be difficult to obtain without the shared investment of time and energy in relationship building and system understanding. These benefits include more efficient communications as the more trusting relationship allows for open commercial terms, with a minimum amount of time needing to be spent on negotiations and contracts. Greater resource flexibility results from the scalable pool of expertise and maintenance of the knowledge base as dB uses the same team of engineers and wiremen with their intimate understanding of the technology and processes involved.

Perhaps the most important benefit of insourcing is the commitment to a "one team" relationship where everyone is focused on delivering the best technical solution.

www.dbbroadcast.co.uk

This article is also available to read at BFV online.
Solidmate Ltd Memory Card Hire London

More Systems Integration Stories

08/03/2017
AKA Design Welcome The Rise Of Flexible Working
Sit-stand desks are said to be beneficial towards a person's health, mood and productivity, according to research, so it's no surprise that AKA Design
15/12/2016
Timeline Television Completes Design & Build Of BT Sport's Home
We were delighted to have been selected by BT Sport to lead on the transformation of part of the former International Broadcast Centre at the Queen El
15/12/2016
System Design Should Include Service Design
The term 'tech support' can conjure up some not-so-flattering images of sun-shy geeks speaking their own kind of binary language… but when a system cr
09/12/2016
SIs Pour Their Hearts Into Software & IP Tech
Vendors don't want to fight with their SI partners: George Jarrett plays it again with SAM and talks to ATG Danmon and TSL Systems about the technical
20/07/2016
Altered Images Completes Coventry University Project
Coventry University is a forward-looking, modern university with a proud tradition as a provider of high quality education and a focus on applied rese
20/06/2016
System Integrator Looks To The Future
The transition to 4K and IP architecture implies more sophistication, and for systems integrators such as dB Broadcast, more intelligent systems mean
11/03/2016
IP Infrastructure Is Ready For The Challenge
In this second of two articles, Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director of dB Broadcast, explains how the system integrator keeps abreast of all the ch
16/02/2016
IP Infrastructure Is Ready For The Challenge
In this latest article, Tom Swan of system integrator dB Broadcast considers the extent to which IP / IT infrastructure is ready for all the challenge
21/01/2016
Broadcast Systems Integration Trends
Some decades ago, the opinion was expressed by an industry veteran that television broadcasters should climb the ladder up to higher technical standar
20/01/2016
Continuing In Business
A robust disaster recovery and business continuity plan is essential in any business. Thankfully, major events such as terrorist threats, earthquakes,