How to procure two-way radio

Following on from last month’s Business Radio 101 feature, Sam Fenwick takes a deep dive into the factors that need to be considered when procuring two-way radio systems and terminals

In our last issue, we looked at some of the basic aspects of buying and using two-way radio systems. In this article, we’re going to go into a bit more depth on the procurement side, which can be boiled down to two main activities: deciding on what you require, then selecting your supplier(s) and arranging for the system’s deployment. The first of these breaks down as follows:

1) Decide on the problem(s) you’re looking to solve
2) Choose the capabilities you need for the radio system
3) Consider the most appropriate device form factors and features for your users
4) Choose accessories.

The first step is arguably the most important. Jonathan Hamill, an independent consultant with in-depth experience in telecoms and IT and who has previously been responsible at VP level for a global line of business with a two-way radio manufacturer, says: “When you think you need a DMR, TETRA or whatever solution it might be, the first thing you should do is close the book, stop looking at technology and define your business problem, because the danger is that you’ll become dazzled by [technology]. There’s always going to be a vendor, reseller or technology company who is going to say ‘we’ve got this whizzy shiny device which can do [this and that]’. And if they’re good, they’ll say ‘this feature can save you money, and this feature can do this, it can add value, it can generate savings, it can boost operational efficiency’… but that’s them trying to tell you how to solve [a] problem [that] you haven’t yet defined. So the best thing to do is try and frame in a paragraph what [your] business problem is, and once you’ve got that you can have a much more intelligent engagement with the market before you go to procurement.”

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