Six Sigma Telecom (or why Quality is paramount over cost)

Over the holidays I was able to catch up on some reading. The book I finished was “Eccentric Orbits – The Iridium Story” by John Bloom. In a future post I plan to give a short review of this book and a few other books on telecom that I have recently enjoyed.

Eccentric Orbits: The Iridium Story

One of the items that struck me in the book was the description of the Six Sigma management philosophy pioneered by Motorola (the builder of the Iridium constellation of satellites) in the 1980’s that was famously adopted by Jack Welch and General Electric in the 1990’s. The focus on Six Sigma is on eliminating defects and reducing variability. It takes its name from statistics, sigma being the term for a standard deviation from a normal distribution.

In layman’s terms Six Sigma can be summed up as “…if you build things that don’t break, you don’t have any costs of fixing them later…”.

This is the central philosophy we have at AurorA and it resonated strongly with me. In our view the concept of Least Cost Routing (LCR) for international voice traffic is outdated, ultimately more expensive and leads to substandard business outcomes. Choosing the highest quality termination, i.e. a direct route that passes true Calling Line ID (CLID), actually leads to better value and over a longer period of time, higher revenue and lower overall total costs.

Direct costs are lower if you choose premium quality over a cheaper but lower quality route. The LCR way will lead to call failures and trouble tickets. Customers will complain.The cost of chasing trouble tickets can be substantial as well as the re-routing necessary until the faulty route is fixed. Customer service staff to take the calls and service technician costs will increase. These costs can quickly eat up the lower rate per minute of the cheap route.

Secondly, only a small percentage of customers that experience poor quality or call failures will actually complain and take the time to put in trouble tickets. The silent majority will simply stop using your service and use an alternative. They will, however, complain internally to their management team about the poor experience.

Top-line revenue will then also decline over time, initially from customers not using your sub-quality voice service, but further once your organization develops a reputation for poor quality. The maxim “How you do one thing is how you do everything” describes that phenomenon. Customers will not renew, or would look more favourably on competitors offerings. One poor niche allows a competitor an advantage and an avenue to exploit.

This is especially true if your customers are enterprise or business customers. Commercial customers demand excellent quality from your entire service offering. International voice termination may be only a small fraction of your portfolio but if they cannot rely on the calls completing each time, every time with superb “pin drop” audio quality than it would reflect poorly on the rest of your service offering.

This is why at AurorA we insist upon serving you with the highest quality, premium international voice termination. The Six Sigma philosophy highlights that the penny pinching of using a LCR is not worth it, and over the long run higher revenues and lower costs accrue from providing superior quality service to your customers.

Treasures Versus Trinkets

photo-1
August has been very busy in my household. I have decided to finally clean and de-clutter the entire house; basement, garage, attics, closets .. the works.

There have been many loads brought to Goodwill and Worth a Second Look in Kitchener-Waterloo. I have brought an entire truckload of paint cans, batteries, oil and fluorescent tubes to the Regional dump for proper disposal. Countless items I left at the curb for my neighbours and other KW residents to enjoy. There was no need for a garage sale, some ads on Kijiji ensured that all went quickly.

The rest has then gone out in the weekly garbage.

It was the accumulation of almost 20 years worth of “stuff” from living in our home with my two daughters as they grew up into adulthood. It left me to wonder why I felt such a sense of relief to see it gone, to see our home now clean, spacious and orderly.

I was reminded of a quote by Jim Rohn, “We must teach our children not to spend their money a dollar at a time. If you spend your money a dollar at a time, you’ll wind up with trinkets instead of treasures. You can’t buy much of value a dollar at a time.”

Much of the accumulated stuff, was just that.. trinkets. The things that I treasure are far fewer.. my home itself, and especially the memories of my kids lives growing up here. The day to day experiences, the triumphs and the sorrows of lives shared with loved ones. Being present in those experiences is what I treasure.

Share with me in the comments below what you treasure, and are grateful for this lovely day.

Canadian Telecom Summit

From June 3 to 5 I was lucky to attend the twelfth annual Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto . Organized by Mark Goldberg and Michael Sone, the CTS brings together the prime movers of our industry for some thought provoking presentations. This year also saw some major announcements from the CRTC and also the Canadian government.

The CRTC issued a new Code of Conduct for the wireless industry to try to reign in some of the worst anti-consumer practices in the industry. Then the Industry Minister, Christian Paradis, sent a clear message to the industry by blocking the Telus proposed purchase of Mobilicity. The direction of the government and the regulator is clearly being signaled as “pro-consumer” which I applaud and support.

I am lucky to have been in the telecom industry for over 30 years and have witnessed incredible growth and advancements in that time period. When the Canadian market deregulated in the early 1990’s I was an executive at ACC. CRTC Decision 92-12 in 1992 opened the door to true long distance competition in Canada and many new entrants such as CallNet, fonorola, STN and ACC fought hard for consumers against the established incumbent telcos.

Fast forward to 2013… all those early long distance competitors are gone, bought by the telcos… our new wireless entrants are all in danger of being bought by the telcos. The Canadian telecom market is controlled by three companies Bell, Telus and Rogers. Some things have changed, some things have not.

Here at Amitel, we support the “pro-consumer” approach, and we strive to earn your business every day. We are proud to compete fairly in the market, using our premium quality as our competitive advantage. We don’t believe in long term contracts, or bundling, or unfair consumer practices.

We look forward to serving you, and being a vibrant part of the Canadian competitive telecom landscape and seeing what the next 30 years will bring.

CITC is now Amitel !

We are proud to announce the rebranding of our Company to Amitel. This rebrand reflects the expansion of our Company’s services and product offerings and our move online and into social media.

We will continue to provide the premium quality international long distance service to you, our Customers who demand excellence. This we do at a fair and reasonable price that provides value and savings compared to the traditional phone companies.

Amitel now provides its direct dial long distance service for your home or business lines all across Canada. Choose Amitel as your preferred long distance carrier regardless of who your local telephone service provider is. Keep your bundle with Bell or Rogers but have your overseas calls, all long distance, come to Amitel’s service directly.

Amitel has also expanded its dial-up service from beyond the Greater Toronto Area to include Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, London, Hamilton, Kitchener/Waterloo, Ottawa and Montreal. Many of you enjoy our premium quality and savings by accessing this service from your cellular phones and home phones. The coming months will see us adding more services too. From convenient flat rate monthly calling packages to smartphone apps that will make accessing Amitel even easier from an iPhone, BlackBerry or Android smartphones.

Visit us online at www.amitel.com . The site provides more information about Amitel services, rates and portal numbers. The website also provides access to Myamitel, which will allow you to log-in to your account to access your most recent invoices and to update your billing information. Please follow and “like” us on social media;

Facebook www.facebook.com/AmitelCorp
Linked-In www.linkedin.com/company/amitel-corp
Twitter @TimoVainionpaa

The on-line and telephone banking arrangements will be changing on July 4, 2013. After July 4 you will need to change the Payee to “Amitel”. Your bank will have all the information to assist you. Use the six-digit customer number near the top right hand corner of the invoice to identify your payment so that we can credit your account accordingly. Our mailing address remains the same. We continue to encourage our Customers to enroll for email billing to save the costs of paper, printing, envelopes and postage. We also encourage you to enroll for automated payment with a credit card or debit card for peace of mind. Never have to worry about late payment fees with automated payment!

May I take this opportunity, on behalf of Khurshid, Hasan and myself, to thank you for your continued support. We are committed to providing outstanding service and value to you, our Customers, and earning your patronage and loyalty every day.

Yours sincerely,

Timo Vainionpää
President, Amitel