"The industry has the good, the bad and the ugly, and only the good will survive."
BY FIA COUNCIL MEMBER MEJ YOUSAF
FIA council member installation expert Mej Yousaf who is the managing director of Micron Networks Ltd.
The FTTx industry appears to be in a bit of trouble. We've been saying it for a couple of years now - like the VM boom back in 2000, it will all come to an end for many.
We're now seeing it slow down, with redundancies left right and centre. Everyone from the top to the bottom chasing everything with no consideration for the future of the industry. Companies are dropping like flies, due to management not having a clue about the job. There's no planning for the future or legacy building, just chasing the money and making a mess by rushing, taking on as much work as they can, instead of taking their time and investing in their employees.
Using social media to recruit staff, who have been in the game for two minutes and change jobs every few months - does that not tell you something? Don’t get me wrong there are some good engineers looking for work through no fault of their own.
As a company, we have been offered everything, have we taken it? No. We planned for the future working in other sectors, such as renewable - that will be the next big thing. We provide all aspects of installation including advanced testing CD & PMD, Ribbon and fibre floating, to be ready for what’s to come with XGS-PON.
Saving money and considering the environment by recovering and reusing rope, repairing and upgrading plant in house not throwing away and buying new, doing our best to work close to home, to name a few.
We don’t employ from the pool of engineers available on social media, we employ from outside the industry and train them in-house, working on a buddy system for as long as needed. That way they only know the right way and the importance of 'right first time'.
In all our years, we have only had one employee leave after being trained up. We paid for their certs, then they decided to go and chase the money. I could see it coming in their attitude but gave them a chance anyway. They hadn't being doing it long enough to be called an engineer in my opinion, but someone else said they'd take him on as qualified. Lesson learned.
He will end up the same as most, with no security, changing jobs every few months, because that's the way things are going.
I would say reputation, quality and planning are everything if you want to survive in this industry. Look after your employees, help them in life outside the business, make it clear how the industry works and give them a secure future. Don’t get greedy and lose control.
My guys will tell you I have two sayings. It’s all in the planning and I don’t care how long it takes, as long as it’s done right.
The industry has the good, the bad and the ugly, and only the good will survive.