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A powerful idea

Everyone is feeling the squeeze these days. Implementing a thorough review of your power distribution system can result in considerable costs savings.

August 1, 2003  

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As companies continue to outsource as a means of reducing expenses and increasing shareholder value, thousands of people have been laid off or taken early retirement.

While everyone is feeling the squeeze, we really only have two options available to us at this time. The first is to take the “wait and see approach”(otherwise known as hide-and-seek) and the other is simply to accept the current climate and look for solutions.

There are two questions you need to ask yourself: How can I improve the bottom line and how can I protect the integrity of the network?

We know that profits are down and organizations are looking for ways to reduce expenses to increase shareholder value. We also know that since 9/11, disaster recovery is the second most important issue next to profits.

Three key areas

The key is to accept today’s economic times and look at ways to control it, rather than fear it. You also need to look at potential options to reduce operating expenses while improving performance, disaster recovery possibilities and network management options that will improve system availability and reduce downtime.

Organizations are focusing on these issues and will continue to do so for the next few years. By including a well-researched ROI document, you will create work to help kick-start the economy and ensure your own job in the process.

So, where do you start? That will depend on specific corporate needs as well as the economic climate within your company.

I would begin by looking at reducing operating expenses, as it’s always easier to sell your idea and get approval for a project that will result in cost savings. Three areas to consider are energy conversation, power quality, and network and security management.

I attended a Power Care Conference a few weeks ago, which discussed potential cost savings that could be achieved by reducing power consumption.

I would recommend hiring an electrical (energy efficiency) consultant to review your power distribution system and create a power efficiency report. You would be best served if you included a review of the power quality as well since 70 per cent of our buildings were built before 1980 with low efficiency transformers that are approaching end-of-life.

A review of the distribution system and installation of high efficiency transformers will result in considerable cost savings.

The office of Energy Efficiency (Natural Resources Canada) runs programs to help with the reduction of green house gases and provides advice, training and incentives to companies to reduce emissions and operating costs.

Once you have the operating expense cost savings and the power quality recommendation identified you can then look at the possibilities of implementing an interconnectivity (cable management system with a twist) network management offering that integrates the logical layer and the physical layer (with a 9th wire) of the network infrastructure.

This technology performs diagnostics, analysis, reporting and management on the assets in the network and operates with enterprise management tools.

It also operates as a disaster recovery tool as it can generate real-time accurate and immediate reports remotely during a disaster, which will allow you to be up and running within hours or days rather than weeks.

You can also incorporate an environmental (includes such things as temperature, humidity, airflow alarms with video security), and equipment monitoring system that allows you to troubleshoot and design network requirements from an off-site location.

This not only saves money in travel costs it keeps you up to date with any (troubleshooting or project design) on-site situation that may arise exactly when it happens. It also provides you with a higher level of security and allows you to photograph any unauthorized activity that may occur.

The challenge is not the downsizing or outsourcing in today’s corporate sector. It’s rather how you interpret what you see and what you do about it.

Remember, today’s problems are only tomorrow’s solutions. You can choose to either make things happen or watch them happen. The choice is entirely up to you.CS

Keith Fortune, C.E.T., is Communications Facilities Manager with the Bank of Montreal and a member of Cabling Systems’ Editorial Advisory Board.

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