Pre-testing for productivity

March 11, 2013— Brockville, Ontario

EIT Ltd. now tests telecom equipment in a simulation lab before installing it, a move that has increased its productivity, reduced errors and boosted its reputation.

Over the course of 37 years in business, Eastern Independent Telecommunications Ltd. (EIT) has experienced its share of ups and downs: from a high of 280 employees before 9/11 and the telecom sector crash, it dropped to about 20. Now back up to 30 employees, with sales growing comfortably again, EIT is an industry veteran and experienced innovator specializing in telecommunications products, services and support.

EIT is a servicing distributor for global telecommunications equipment manufacturers such as Genband, Acme Packet, Emerson Power and others. Genband is a U.S.-backed developer of internet protocol (IP) infrastructure, soft switches and application solutions, with research and development facilities in Ottawa. In 2010, Genband purchased the voice carrier division of Nortel worldwide, including Canada. EIT installs telecom equipment for Genband and other manufacturers during complex operations that often require the equipment to interface successfully with legacy equipment. As such, each installation presents unique challenges.

Saving by simulating

Mike Barre, an Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA) with the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), had worked with EIT in the past and was familiar with its plans and opportunities. When the NRC announced its new Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program (DTAPP), says Barre, the wheels started turning. After some brainstorming, Barre and Clifton T. White, EIT’s president and CEO, realized that if the firm had a simulation lab in which to test the inter-operability of new telecom equipment with clients’ existing equipment, it could save significant time and money.

Barre proposed that DTAPP help EIT create a lab that would permit the firm to model the various environments in which new telecom equipment would be installed. DTAPP is designed to help small- and medium-sized enterprises enhance their productivity by adopting digital technology.

“The idea was that if the equipment could be tested in a controlled lab environment prior to installation, it could greatly increase the speed of deployment and vastly reduce errors, leading to significant productivity increases,” says Barre.

“Support from DTAPP accelerated the project and allowed us to capitalize on increased productivity sooner than we could have otherwise.”

—Paul Donovan,
refurbishing division manager, EIT Ltd.

Cementing a reputation for quality and speed

“In the new lab, EIT can recreate a client’s environment, work out the connections, the software and hardware linkages, and identify ahead of time anything that could possibly go wrong,” Barre explains. “That way, when they’re ready to install, the job can be done in days—including the full install, testing and evaluation—instead of weeks. This saves EIT a tremendous amount of time and money, and increases quality for the client.”

The project also enabled EIT’s engineers and technicians to substantially increase their knowledge of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and internet data technologies ahead of the need to deploy the new products into live service situations.

How is EIT’s DTAPP project supporting Canada’s economy?

  • Strategically, EIT adds Canadian content to global products by distributing and providing in-country support services.
  • EIT’s strategy gives the firm access to the most advanced technological products and training from global manufacturers, sustaining and creating new high-tech jobs in Canada.
  • The DTAPP project has helped increase productivity with regards to many projects, including the sales and software configuration for a Huawei optical network (approximate value: $280,000) and the software development and implementation of a fibre-to-home network (approximate value: $1.2 million).

Thanks to DTAPP, EIT is completing a variety of new projects more quickly and efficiently, furthering its reputation for speedy, high-quality installations. Its new lab is leading to substantial improvements in overall productivity and showcases the value of integrating digital technology into a business’ operations.

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