Most people probably do not pay much attention to the boxes on the side of the road called remote terminals or RTs. Most probably they do not realize they house equipment and function as important extensions to telco central office locations.
Remote terminals—much like central offices—are full of “stuff”; mostly “plugs," or circuit packs responsible for the routing and switching of communications that keep our world chatting, conversing, reaching out, responding and doing business 24/7. In the context of inventory, however, they are just more far-flung locations in which mission critical equipment is stored, used, and sadly, oftentimes misplaced, mis-organized and forgotten.
What can go wrong inside a RT?
Vital assets—such as network plug-ins for telecommunications—necessarily have a “home." The system counts on those assets being where they are needed. They may be in-use, stored as spares or sitting around decommissioned, waiting to be shipped away. Things get confusing, however, when an asset’s location or status has changed, but that alteration is not logged into the enterprise inventory system. Suddenly, RT plugs end up at other locations or simply go missing. This is problematic for a number of reasons.
- Assets should be be booked specifically to a location. If a vital asset is removed and not replaced, when it is needed, it will not be immediately available. Service outages and other problems can ensue.
- If left unmarked or not properly stored, damaged or broken assets can be easily confused with working ones in inventory.
- Overall, with asset disorganization, a company loses the ability to account financially for its assets. Assets written off the books as “lost” might not be lost at all. They may simply be in a different location.
Ongoing asset management is key for success
A quality RT or CO inventory starts with good questions, including those that inform a thorough analysis of what equipment resides in which locations, where excess assets have come from and what should be where. Unfortunately, information like that is only as good as a company’s data. That’s why ongoing asset management is key to ensuring good Remote Terminal, Central Office, and general outside plant health.
We have offered some tips on starting, planning and conducting inventories that really make a difference in the past. Check out the following network asset management posts for more information, and get sorting, scanning and tallying your RT assets today!
Further reading for the inventory-inclined:
· Inventory Basics: Five Tips to Get You Started
· Plugs: Eight Criteria for Creating Optimal Inventory Safety Levels
· The Inventory Cycle: When and How Often?
· Three Ways to Improve Inventory Management