Equipped to Keep up With Technology

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Joëlle Larente, National Rolling Stock Manager for Telecon, manages a diverse fleet of some 2,500 units.
This hydro-excavator allows digging while removing the mud produced during excavation.
One of the many bucket trucks working on the overhead networks.
This trencher for pipes is used to bury cables.
A division of Telecon, Promark-Telecon, offers the service of locating underground infrastructures, which avoids problematic situations during excavations.
PHOTOS Telecon

Telecon is a national company offering services for the design, construction and connection of telecommunications network infrastructures. As such, it manages a large fleet of specialized and strategic mobile equipment.

The field of telecommunications is in turmoil. Think of the pandemic that highlighted the need to quickly connect remote areas to high-speed internet or the arrival of 5G.

“There is a very strong demand,” says Joëlle Larente, Telecon’s National Director of Rolling Stock. “We work mainly for the country’s major telecommunications companies, which entrust us with the planning, installation and maintenance of their infrastructures, whether aerial or underground, on a piecemeal or turnkey basis.” The company also offers an expert service in locating underground infrastructures, a service required before excavation work.

To carry out this colossal and neuralgic task, the company counts on a fleet of some 2,500 units. Of this number, 500 are light vehicles. The rest of the fleet is made up of adapted vehicles, sometimes particularly specialized. One example is the mobile hydraulic moles that are used to dig underground passages for cable conduits. “We also have the heavy equipment needed for landscaping work, since we often work in urbanized areas and restore the site to its original condition,” adds Ms. Larente.

Managing dimensions

The management of the fleet is done in close collaboration with the operations department. “We have to take into account the seasons, emergencies and also the contracts won to ensure that the necessary equipment will be available for our teams at the right time,” explains the manager. I will regularly reassign certain vehicles and equipment according to needs. Sometimes, we have to be creative and remain flexible. In this sense, we have several suppliers who are able to quickly rent us the additional vehicles we need.”

The distribution of equipment according to needs is facilitated by the fact that almost the entire fleet is geolocated. The data from these tools can also be used to plan replacements and monitor the maintenance program. In this regard, Telecon will leave the responsibility of servicing light vehicles to dealers or independent shops. Users have a service card that manages this maintenance and fuel.

The heavy vehicles considered strategic are maintained in their workshops by qualified technicians. Those with highly specialized equipment are the responsibility of the suppliers. Here too, numerical data can be used to validate that preventive maintenance is being carried out. Finally, vehicle-related data also tracks the proper driving behavior of users, especially in the event of complaints.

Planning the equipment

In its sphere of activity, Telecon must plan for the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment in a context where delivery times can sometimes be unpredictable. Before disposing of a vehicle, the manager ensures that it could not undergo a career change in another division. “I try to stay ahead of our needs,” says Larente. It’s not always a simple thing and sometimes we have to hold onto vehicles that we had planned to replace for longer. Generally, when it comes to strategic items, I reserve what I need from our suppliers a year in advance. It’s always more complicated when we get an unexpected big contract, but we get there.” Constant communication with the operations teams is the key to identifying priorities and finding solutions, according to this rare woman in a similar position in Canada.

Recently hired by Telecon, the experienced manager is developing a plan to gradually green the park. “I’m analyzing some divisions that are better able to keep up with this change, especially those that use a good number of light vehicles. You have to look beyond replacing a vehicle with its electric counterpart,” she explains. “We need to validate the logistics, including the charging infrastructure. However, this evolution of the fleet is in the works.”



Categories : Editorial, Fleet
Tags : Management, Technology


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