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The Hidden Cost of Resource Contention

POSTED BY: Ashley Little on 04.26.2016

The Hidden Price of Resource ContentionWe frequently discuss the time and monetary constraints many joint use departments face, often in the context of resource contention. This is an issue that affects many, if not all, of our clients in some way.

We have discovered that beyond the typical "cost" in dollars that comes with resource contention, there are other costs to your organization. Examples include missed revenue-generating opportunities such as collecting back rent from unauthorized attachers or backlogs of work requests and potentially fines resulting from NESC violations. These examples demonstrate that there are often less obvious things that make resource contention a "pricey" problem to have.

Let's discuss a few prominent issues:

Being constantly underwater means everyone has to hold their breath.

Resource contention means staff is likely working at capacity and is often feeling pulled in multiple directions. This can be stressful, and research shows that long, jam-packed workplace hours actually lead to decreased productivity. Employees burn out more quickly and get less done despite increased demand. Further, staff who do not have the chance to catch up never, ever get the chance to plan ahead. Proactively addressing resource contention is much more productive than simply struggling to keep up and being forced to be reactive in every situation.

Hiring is not always the solution.

A new full or even part-time employee hired to take up the slack in an overworked joint use department may sound like a great idea, but it only works if the work bogging the department down is persistent and steady. In situations like rapid one-time expansion or the clearing of backlogs to make room for business-as-usual tasks, work may only pile up for a short time. Hiring can be expensive. There is the cost of salary as well as a new need for working space, benefits and the cost in time and effort to bring the new person up to speed—then start all over again if that person is not a good fit. Fortunately, managed service partners can offer short to long-term staffing that brings experienced joint use professionals to a department for as little or as much time as necessary in a cost-effective, no-strings-attached manner.

Relationships suffer.

If resource contention means a joint use department is unable to connect with or respond to things like requests to attach or transfer within a reasonable timeframe, relationships with partner entities suffer. We have seen it time and again: a pole owner is so underwater that they cannot effectively deal with requests coming in. The attaching company asks and asks, then in frustration may attach their equipment anyway, deciding to beg forgiveness rather than ask permission. Neither is ideal, and both situations challenge relationships that joint use departments need to maintain stability.

What has resource contention cost your company?

These are likely just a few of the hidden "costs" of resource contention. What might you be paying for by not finding ways to lighten the load on your joint use department?

Have you ever worked with a third-party managed services provider? What was your experience? Answer in the comments below.

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