SPICE – TELECOM (Telecomm.)

SPICE – TELECOM (Telecomm.)

When StarJet is selected to produce telecom invoices in India.

Bangalore is a worldwide well known city located in India. State capital of Karnataka, this city hosts some of the software giants such a INFOSYS which are quoted on the US NASDAQ. Of course, such an active high tech area is covered by mobile GSM phone operators. Three are allowed today to operate in this state, Spice Telecom being one of these three.

While walking to visit this company, surrounded by India’s colors and smells, one may feel being in some vacation area, enjoying warm temperatures and sunshine. Visitors are welcomed in a very British hall where wood is the prevalent material and where the air conditioned environment stimulates activity. Forget vacations, you will meet with Mr T.V. LAKSHMINARAYANAN, VP Finance who also covers IT. When you meet this gentleman, we can guarantee you that your mind will go into high gear, to keep up with the ideas and activities of this forward thinking gentleman !
Photo : Mr T.V. Lakshminarayanan – V.P. Finance and Sathya Karthik R. – Sr. Manager, Revenue Assurance

Spice Telecom is a venture of two companies: Distacom of Hong Kong, and the flagship company of the Modi group, one of India’s largest corporations. Over three years old, Spice has approximately 85,000 subscribers and is growing rapidly.
Spice is committed to offering their customers the most progressive products and services possible – and that extends even to the billing system.
The billing system generates approximately 350,000 pages of telephone bills each month, which were printed with a single 90 pages per minute laser printer. Spice had issues relating to the bill format (difficult to get it changed), print quality, and the printing time it took to finish a billing cycle. Compounding the billing time problem, the printer was failing frequently and there was no backup system – production would just stop until the printer was repaired. Reprinting single bills, or restarting interrupted print jobs was complex and time consuming. As with all companies, they were also interested in reducing the cost of generating the bills.
spice Appic teamed with Canon to provide solutions to all of Spice’s billing issues – as well as offering « value added » capabilities that Spice did not realize were even possible.
The physical printing issues were resolved with a matched pair of Canon 85ppm laser printers – giving a combined production rate of 170ppm. With the faster speed, the bills get to the customers faster, and with less labor cost. They find that the quality is much improved at the same time, giving a better corporate image. Having two printers means that, even if one fails, they can still get the bills out in time. And, even with twice the production throughput, the cost was substantially less than with their previous vendor.

The other issues were resolved with the use of Appic’s StarJet Design and StarPage document composition and printing software.
StarJet Design’s advanced document design capabilities enabled a new bill design to be completed in a few hours – solving some problems that had existed for years. The bills can be « intelligently dynamic »: that is, the format and the content can change « on the fly » depending on values in the data, or set by the operator at run-time. For example, showing of the local call details can be enabled or suppressed depending on whether that customer paid for that option. Other uses of the dynamic features will be described below.

The new design conveys a better company image, and also saves money! Where, previously, different sections of the bill had wasted space, and each section started on a new page, the Appic version uses all of the available page space. Even a reduction of 5% in the length of the bill would represent a possible savings of 15,000 pages each month (a stack 4 1/2 feet high). That saves paper, printer « click charges, » handling and postage.

The StarPage printing software has the capability of dividing a print job over multiple printers – simultaneously. And, by generating 1,000 – 3,000 pages per minute, can drive a whole platoon of printers. The architecture is scaleable – as Spice grows, all they have to do is to add more printers to stay within their production window.

Their StarPage system can also restart an interrupted job in the middle, or even just reprint a single bill that has been spoiled during handling, or mislaid by the customer. There is no longer a need to reprint the whole set of bills, or to have the billing computer re-generate the unprinted bills, or to re-create a single bill – that can all be handled by the production operator with StarPage.

Personnal Thank You
from the APPIC founders to
Mr T.V. LAKSHMINARAYANAN (VP Finances, Spice Telecom) for his confidence and a very special meeting
Mr Sishir MODI (Director, Madhuraj Docutech Pvt Ltd)
Mr K. Bhaskhar (Regional Operation Manager, Canon)