The Real Cost: Sourcing Networking Materials

Sourcing Networking Materials


Installing new cable infrastructure or overhauling an existing infrastructure can be a costly endeavor, so it’s understandable that organizations want to minimize expenses where possible. Some companies may try to contain costs by buying their own cabling and network component materials, rather than having their technology partner order the necessary materials. But is this really a savvy way to trim your bottom line? Let’s look at the real cost of sourcing your own materials.

“It’s like needing a new sidewalk and hiring a concrete construction company to install it, but trying to buy your own concrete material elsewhere.” That’s how our experts refer to the concept of sourcing your own materials while having your cable infrastructure partner design and install your new network. In fact, sourcing your own materials can actually result in higher costs and put your project at risk.

Every cable infrastructure provider has established relationships with a variety of highly competitive cable and materials distributors. Full-service “design, implement and manage” companies continually work to negotiate substantial discounts on materials for clients’ projects. It’s a very competitive environment and this is an ongoing necessity. Even though clients believe they are reducing costs based on the discount they receive, those discounts typically do not compare to the purchasing power that results from the volume of business done by a large infrastructure provider. If the time is taken to compare self-sourcing to a full labor and materials solution from the provider, the result generally shows the full solution to be more cost-effective.

Additionally, customers receive a number of other critical benefits that include reducing their own risk and achieving project success by acquiring service and materials as a package.

Points to Ponder

Sourcing Networking Materials

1. The Cost Advantage – Ordering high volumes of cabling, patch cords, patch panels, outlet jacks, workstations, fire-stopping materials, cabling supports, and wiring closets are everyday business for large providers.

For example, commercial cabling providers see routine savings on cabling from a manufacturer or distributor, just for being a regular purchasing, major contractor. Another common practice among large cabling providers is to encourage multiple vendors to bid competitively on materials for a particular project, which yields additional project savings.

Tip: Clients often ask potential providers about labor rates, but not material costs. It’s OK to ask!

2. The Right Stuff – Project components are often a matched solution and should be ordered together to ensure compatibility. Your purchasing department may have much expertise for your business, but they are most likely not IT infrastructure experts. They do not always know what networking materials will—or will not—work correctly together. Don’t waste your staff’s time and risk failure in terms of performance down the road. Rely on experts to make sure that the components ordered will work for your application. An experienced and trained project manager will take responsibility for this part of your project’s success.

Tip: Don’t waste time, incur additional costs or risk errors by having the wrong parts for the project that compromises performance or void warranties.

3. The Right Time – Materials need to arrive on time for cable technicians to begin and complete each phase of your installation per the project schedule. An appropriate project plan that shows the many moving parts of your project and dictates the delivery of correct materials — and it’s complicated.

If materials do not arrive when needed, extra charges may be incurred for driving to a supplier to pick up materials or placing a costly rush order – not to mention expensive overtime that may be required to make up for lost time on the project. Why risk a logistics nightmare that will involve extensive staff time and extra installation labor along with frustration at your site?

Tip: Let professionals do the job and protect your interests for an on-time, successful implementation.

4. Warranties = Real Money – Your IT people know the value of a good warranty. Experienced full-solution providers work to secure the best warranties on network components. Suppliers may offer a 20-25 year warranty, based on fulfilling the proper configuration of the manufacturer’s matched equipment.

As required by warranty, installation technicians test your configuration after installation and then send detailed, numbered drawings and documentation to the manufacturer. In return, you receive a certificate with a registration number for the project, guaranteeing that the installed software will run properly on your network.

What is the real dollar value of a warranty? In case of a failure, your provider will analyze the problem and call the manufacturer to report any defect.

Tip: A good partner will help protect your investment with a top warranty program. Be sure to review the details of your materials warranty prior to installation.

Organizations that ask cabling providers to design and install their new communications network but provide their own cabling and materials components will likely face higher project costs and risks. Consider the advantages of a full solution with an established cabling provider. Discounts secured based on volume purchases and negotiated discounts are hard to match independently. Also consider critical side benefits of reduced risk and project timeliness.

As a trusted partner, CC&N is pleased to help clients analyze their needs and design the best possible solutions. For more information, see CC&N’s Cabling Infrastructure website information.

About CC&N

CC&N’s blog contributors are experienced, certified members of our sales, technical and infrastructure design and project management team. At CC&N, we are committed to providing premier communication technologies, network cabling and IT integration services that accelerate your business success. Please feel free to share this blog information with your associates.

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