Telecommunication and its allied industries have undergone terrific changes since past decade or so. The growing mobile users, easily affordable smartphones and internet consumer has gone up ever since. Many telecom service providers look forward to improve capacity management, which enables better use of the existing resources in addition to plan and speed upgrades; where they are most required to improve service quality and user satisfaction. JIT Capacity Management solution is one such technique that provides advantages as well as tangible benefits that can solve the problem of expanding capacity with its flexibility and strength.
Invented as a technique to improve production lines in automobiles, Just-in-time (JIT) is an inventory strategy that companies employ to increase efficiency and decrease waste by receiving goods only as they are needed in the production process, thereby reducing inventory costs. While planning and extending the capacity, JIT technique comes to the rescue of telecom service providers because rapid change in customers’ usage network planning has to be agile and careful with the excessive bandwidth investments.
What is JIT?
JIT refers to just-in-time with a primary aim of elimination of inventories. It is a way of working and managing to eliminate wastes in a process.It is an inventory strategy employed by telecom operators in order to increase efficiency and decrease supply only as and when required in the process, thereby reducing costs and handling the increased capacity of a volatile demand. However, it requires the producers to forecast demand accurately.
The benefits of JIT for capacity management
JIT assists the service providers in their efforts to plan as well as manage capacity more precisely. This helps in reducing the overall capex and opex alongside assuring the service quality. The capacity planning of JIT can be used to streamline business and IT processes in the networks of wireline, mobile and cloud data centers in order to reduce the overall time to market as well as time to revenue. It’s flexible, reliable, quick and cost effective when it comes to capacity planning.
Given the demand growth rate, service providers in telecom industry are now seeking to implement a Just-In-Time Capacity Management Solution. Apart from efficient traffic management it also reduces opex. This means capex can be reduced and/or reallocated to new services elsewhere in the network, thus improving the overall customer experience.
This means newer approaches to network operational planning and execution is required to reduce time to market new services and additionally protect the service providers’ competitive position.The increasing demand for data services has put on attending costs on the telecom service providers. A solution like JIT in capacity planning can help fix expenditure woes.
The challenges in JIT Capacity Management
There’s a gap that remains between the demand for the next generation services and the ability of the network to respond and deliver them efficiently and quickly. For most of the telecom operators, the biggest challenge faced by the service providers in network planning is the management of continuous change in user plans. This requires the network planners to respond to the contingencies like a last minute change in the uptake and usage of new services. Classically, a plan to upgrade speed or any other will need a huge consumer acceptability to justify the expenditure engineering and marketing the upgrade.
These arise from changes in assumptions of uptake and usage of new services, budget and budget allocations, equipment specifications, vendors selected and technical or operational problems encountered during the rollout process.
The problems encountered during the delivery process have a major impact, demanding a re-plan of the network build and delivery, which is itself a resource-intensive and time-consuming process. JIT method requires service providers to forecast demand accurately and well in time. A major drawback in this process is that it involves disruptions in the whole chain of telecom service. If there’s a breakdown at one point of transmission and it can pretty much hamper the delivery of the service or worse, could shut-down the chain entirely.
JIC (just-in-case) capacity management approaches work on the basis of long-horizon and highly conservative forecasts, which the mobile service providers over-engineer the network, adding more capacity to the website but potentially years ahead of demand. Over-engineering of the network results in higher capex outlays, similar to over-leasing from third-party service providers.
VAS and Capacity Planning
The value added services segment is rapidly emerging as a potential revenue generator for the telecom services industry and a mitigating plan can detect an opportunity for them to increase average revenue per user among other things. The increasing acceptance and usage of mobile commerce services is also boosting VAS segment.
The demand for new VAS services is definitely going to surge given that increasing number of younger generation has started using mobile services and are more inclined to adopt the VAS services. Also, when service providers are eyeing rural markets, economical and regional VAS and much more is likely to transform this industry. VAS would be used as a service differentiator and to retain their existing customers and attract new ones. The growing base of future will demand solutions like JIT for planning the capacity and make the most of the assigned bandwidths.
The road ahead
In the future, survival of such a fast- paced industry will depend largely on rapid introduction of a constant flow of new services. That’s when the time will be to bring out ‘just-in-time’ techniques that earlier transformed manufacturing and now, network planning.
Telecommunications will be able to build and use a ‘service-ready network’ that’ll incorporate tools enabling service providers to utilize their resources more efficiently and in turn add new capacity wherever required, simply on a ‘just-in-time’ basis. Even a half-point reduction in the operator’s multi-billion dollar annual spend on infrastructure expansions – possibly through more accurate network planning – would deliver a massive return on investment.
Operators and network providers are getting smarter at managing their available capacity. Network capacity has now become a company-wide issue rather than just for engineering department. Marketing departments now measure the impact their campaigns and promotions have on the network. The network is no longer seen as an unconstrained asset. Every promotion is carefully monitored, not only to measure its success, but also to ensure it has not brought any unforeseen demand/congestion onto the network.
Imagine how dramatically JIT Capacity Planning will cut down capital and operational costs!
The telecommunication industry is facing an explosion in the types of service offerings and the volume of traffic they will generate. In such a scenario, the new network planning tools like JIT are designed to optimize network, increase agility in order to maximize profitability.
JIT will become a crucial catalyst in faster rollout of new services in order to fine- tune customer experience at an efficient and accurate rate all the while, reducing their time to market and time to revenue. It will, most importantly, safeguard service providers’ competitive position in the market.