The challenges of hardware procurement for an ISP

Posted by Karen on Nov 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM
The Internet connectivity market is an increasingly competitive place, in order to stay ahead of the pack Fluidata have always endeavoured to provide the best level of quality and service to our clients.

The provision of fully in-house tech-supported hardware is a key foundation in our ability to successfully support all the lines we deliver. Sourcing that hardware though can present more challenges than you might realise.

One problem that we are witnessing increasingly is faulty hardware. For all suppliers cost is important, however it appears that the exercise of sourcing hardware at the lowest price from around the globe can result in faulty, defected, insecure and at times counterfeit hardware finding its way into their distribution chains.

Another challenge faced by those distributing hardware is when manufacturers decide to end production of certain models in light of technical advances or just overall improvement. The issue that ISPs have is that at times these changes can happen very quickly and without much prior notice. This can create time pressure’s - as not only does new hardware need to be sourced, but also needs to be tested and potentially trouble-shot - before it is dispatched to the client’s site.

One way that ISPs overcome this is ensuring that they hold sufficient stock of all hardware to see them through the transition period. There are however some occasions that even with best efforts cannot be rectified easily. During a manufacturers audit month their production stops completely. The challenge that ISPs and suppliers face is that dependent on stock availability some will panic buy remaining quantities to sell onto private end users. This usually has a domino effect resulting in at least one product becoming unavailable throughout the UK and abroad between an eight and twelve week period. Such a situation can again encourage suppliers to source hardware that might not be of UK standards; resulting in some of the problems discussed earlier.

Through continued expansion and development Fluidata have asserted ourselves with manufacturers to enable us to receive in depth information regarding “end of life” models or low stock (on a national or international level). This enables us to offer a calm, high standard, precise procedure from manufacturer to client’s site while reducing these risks to a minimum. All stock is stringently tested in-house and accredited before dispatch to ensure the best quality of service is maintained throughout.
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