This section outlines the steps that should be taken when
planning and installing a telephone system. This requires
co-operation from the sales team and engineering staff working
together with the customer to ensure the best possible system
is provided. The larger or more complex the system being planned
the more important this stage becomes.
The initial stage in this process is very important. It is
at this point that all parties can influence the parameters
that will be used to specify the system to be installed.
As the first step the sales persons and the customer must
talk and a clear picture of what the customer wants from the
system be established. This includes the system size, types
of extension, networks (including computer and Internet) to
which it will be connected, features that the customer believes
important and those that they would like to have, the physical
characteristics of the customers site and proposed budget.
From this discussion the sales team will be able to generate
a draft specification, which will outline the system, the
Following the meeting with the customer the next step is to
send an experienced installation engineer to survey the site
and for the sales person to examine the proposed requirements
closely to verify their suitability to the actual customer
In many cases the customer will request features and facilities
which they have heard about but do not need or in some cases
fully understand. This adds unnecessary complexity and cost
to the system and are best avoided if possible.
From the survey and the examination of the wants
list the engineer and sales person will be able to assess
the true requirements of the customer.
Subsequent to the customer meeting, site survey and analysis
of the findings it is often possible to decide which system
or range of systems will be suitable for the customer. It
is expedient to produce a written requirement, which proposes
a system and addresses the requests of the customer. This
should be drawn up by the sales and engineering staffs concerned
to ensure that all proposals put forward are available using
the range of systems being considered for the task.
Where the original requests are contradictory or the proposed
system varies from the proposed system at the first meeting
clear reasons should be given for the differences. Similarly
additional equipment and recommendations should be explained.
This report must then be discussed with the customer, with
any changes arising from the discussion being highlighted
to avoid later confusion. When both parties are happy that
all requirements have been addressed they should formally
agree that the report be used as the basis for creating a
complete system specification.
Using the written and agreed requirements the engineering
staff can now specify the system, extensions and support equipment
required. They will also have the results of the site survey,
which will allow the positioning, wiring and main system location
to be determined.
The specification will give a detailed equipment list and
allow costing of the hardware and installation to be accurately
calculated. It will also cover much of the installation planning
for power and wiring saving time later.
Once the requirements have been agreed and the specifications
drawn up the installation process can be planned and costed.
Doing this will allow milestones to be set as
the phases of installation progress.
Milestones are targets within the project as a whole. For
a small system there will only be an end milestone, but for
larger systems there can be more. If a larger system is considered
some typical milestones might be:
Agreement of all features, specifications and costs
Installation of the network lines to the customer premises
Installation of the site wiring
Supply and fitting of system hardware
Programming and commissioning
Test compliance with the specifications
Customer staff training
Customer acceptance and payment
Each milestone will have an end date associated with it and
an overall completion date given. As each is reached it can
be a good idea to have the supplier and customer sign off
and date the milestone so that the progress of the project
as a whole is known to all parties.
The reports produced from the specification, costing and milestone
descriptions need to be combined into a single report, which
describes the whole proposed solution.
Where this differs from the requirements agreed previously
there must be clear reasons given. Normally only changes that
enhance the system for no extra cost or reduce the overall
cost will be acceptable to the customer, so care should be
taken not to vary from the agreed requirements.
The report is then presented to the customer and agreed. This
will be the last chance to vary any requirements before proceeding.
Once accepted the customer should place a formal order with