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How to Differentiate Your Cabling Company (Part 1): Why Your Approach to Labeling Matters

by Chris Lee | November 14th, 2017
If you’re in the cabling business or thinking about starting one, you probably already know that the barrier to entry is actually quite low in most states. Just about anyone with the technical know-how can buy an old van, ladders, and a 4-pair tester and become your competition using low price and no overhead to win business in your market. However, if you’re paying attention, you’ll soon realize that leaders in the space have learned certain best practices that set themselves head and shoulders above the crowd. In this 3-part series, we’re going to teach you the key techniques that will take you from just another trunk slammer, to a well-known and sought after cabling practice. The 3 areas we’ll be covering include: Part 1 – Why Your Approach to Labeling Matters Part 2 – Envious Telcom Rooms Require More than Bottom of Ceiling Skills Part 3 – Close-out Documentation—A Key Driver to Winning More Business

Why Your Approach to Labeling Matters

Labeling is one of the most overlooked aspects of a cabling project, but according to a recent survey of over 50 enterprise level IT Managers, it ranked as the most important characteristic aside from cable plant performance. Here are the ways you can take your labeling to the next level: Pre-label your floor plans to TIA-606 standards: This may seem counterintuitive, but it ensures plans are labeled in sequential order (yes, this is possible) and that the appropriate labeling scheme is used. This improves as-built creation as the work is mostly complete and your PM can read the “typically” illegible handwriting on the field drawings. Ditch the sharpie and use wrap around labels: While this is a published best practice within the industry, most companies still handwrite cable IDs with sharpies on cable runs. This slows down cable separation down the road (ink rubs off or illegible) and lacks professionalism. In addition, by having pre-printed wrap around labels in hand, your team will begin a project with a plan in place and no guess work, allowing them to focus on pulling cable. And did I mention, it just looks better? Faceplates with label windows: It goes without saying that if you’re doing commercial work, you should be using faceplates with cable ID windows and not windowless faceplates. If you’re not, stop now and throw away those part-numbers. Not only do the faceplates look bad, your techs cannot level the labels properly and waste time trying to do it. Tip: If you purchase the right faceplates with windows (same cost), your tech’s don’t have to remove the release liner from the back of the label and this speeds up the process and reduces error correction and waste. While labeling might seem like an afterthought, it’s one of the first things your customers notice. Think about it, they take over the facility with usually only a weekend to standup the network and start plugging in phones, computers, wireless devices and testing. Any issue will likely be exasperated by their aggressive schedule and, deserved or not, will likely leave a bad taste in their mouth with regards to the infrastructure cabling. Not to mention, the frantic call at midnight to tone out a cable run will likely result in an unbillable service order. In the next blog of this 3-part series, we’ll give you the low down on creating a telecom room that IT Managers drool over.
Chris Lee
Chris Lee has an extensive background in preconstruction management as a former specialty contractor and business owner. As the Chief Estimator at Esticom, he’s helped thousands of specialty contractors digitize their preconstruction process to increase revenue and profitability while decreasing unnecessary overhead.

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