Better Cabling, Better Business

It can be difficult to get excited about cables.

When compared to next-generation digital signage or interactive touchscreens, cable design isn’t a topic that’s often talked about in our industry. It can be difficult to get excited about cables when 4K videowalls and Cloud solutions are the hot topics.

Without proper cable design, infrastructure and installation, none of this powerful technology would function correctly (or even exist). Everything, from nurse call systems to fire alarms and surveillance systems, now has the capability of riding on the network. Cabling serves as the nervous system of every technology integration project: You can’t see it, but it has to be there. Choosing the wrong cables or installing them incorrectly can ruin a job.

The way we work, interact, communicate and live is drastically different than just a few years ago. Technology is advancing at a faster speed than ever before. Communication happens in an instant, with information always at our fingertips. And the infrastructure supporting this technology is what keeps it all running.

Knowing how important structured cabling truly is, my company, CEC, decided to become a BICSI Authorized Training Facility. As of April 2015, we are one of two authorized facilities in Iowa (and the only one in eastern Iowa). As a resource for cabling professionals, BICSI provides education and knowledge assessment for the information and communications technology community.

To meet BISCI’s Authorized Training Facility requirements, we followed strict procedures for classroom design and lab setup, and appointed our own BICSI Certified Trainer. To maintain eligibility, the trainer must also complete regular training courses and continuing education.

By replicating a BICSI classroom environment in-house, we now have the ability to offer our own training to employees about the proper methods and best practices for installing data, voice and video cabling in commercial buildings. In the future, we may offer this combination of classroom lectures and hands-on learning to other industry professionals; for now, though, we’re focused on education for our employees. By sending our installers and technicians through this training, they become BICSI-certified cable installers.

When it comes to professional development and separating ourselves from the competition, we think this is a good differentiator, and here’s why:

•    Professional Development for Employees: CEC’s growth over the past decade has routinely put us in a position where we needed qualified installers and technicians quickly. It’s not always easy to find employees with the background and qualifications we expect. Once new hires are brought onboard, we want to give them proper training and education while getting them out into the field as soon as possible.

By following the requirements set forth by BICSI, an Authorized Training Facility receives increased access to training in the proper methods of installing data, voice and video cabling. This allows us to develop the strengths of every CEC installer and technician. It also gives us the flexibility to teach cabling classes on a schedule and timeframe that works best for us, based on the number of employees who need to go through the program, the time of year and customer commitments.

•    Improved Customer Satisfaction: More customers are starting to look for BICSI-certified cable installers, so investing in these employee credentials provides more project opportunities. It helps CEC ensure that customers get the cabling infrastructure they’ll need to support current technology, as well as any technology investments that may occur down the road.

With all the professional development options available for integrators, BICSI credentials are a good differentiator.

BICSI credentials make sure that our installers meet certain standards. It’s one thing to tell your customers that you do quality work, but following established guidelines and standards from a third-party, vendor-neutral organization helps validate your promises.

With this partnership, we can better serve our customers and ensure a quality experience because certified BICSI installers are doing the cable work. (And not only is the cabling being installed correctly, but it’s also being installed safely, which is just as important.)

•    Better Communication: When everyone follows the same cabling best practices, it’s easier to communicate with customers clearly and effectively. Our customers receive the same information and message, no matter who they talk to. Our installers can confidently plan jobs, not just do the cabling work in the field. With this training under their belts, they’re empowered to help customers understand why we’re following certain cabling standards in everyday installation projects.

And when employees are all on the same page, and held to the same expectations, internal communication between project managers and certified technicians and installers in the field goes smoothly.

Becoming a BICSI Authorized Training Facility and investing in these credentials for our employees helps CEC provide not only basic training requirements, but also helps our installers grow and develop skills to succeed. We’ve always focused on a business culture surrounding best practices, industry standards and continuous improvement.

Becoming a BICSI Authorized Training Facility is just one more step in that direction.

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