Updated Modem Return Form to replace old forms on 20 April 2022

An updated Modem Return form is being introduced from the start of business tomorrow (Wednesday 20 April). This replaces the three previous forms used by delivery partners for modem returns, i.e.

(1) Skinny Jump Account Delinking & Modem Reprovisioning – Delivery Sites & Care Use Only – originally developed for modems that were returned mainly because they were no longer required and could be remotely de-linked from customers’ accounts and rest, ready for re-issue.

(2) Faulty Jump Modem returns – originally developed for modems that had been remotely tested by Skinny and customers were advised that the unit was faulty and should be returned to a nearby Jump partner. We have recently consolidated this form with the standard Delinking Form above.

(3) MOE Modem Activation and Returns – originally developed for modems issued by the Ministry of Education.

The new consolidated form is to be used by Jump Delivery Partners when they receive any Jump modem returned by a customer or if they require a particular Jump modem to be re-provisioned for any other reason. The Skinny Care Team may also use this form when a customer reports they have a modem but there is no coverage or capacity at their address.

The purpose of this new consolidated form is:
(1) to make it easy for Delivery Partners to get a modem de-linked from a customer account and then reset in a timely manner, so that it can be re-issued. This form provides a direct communication channel to the Skinny Support Team who are responsible for delinking any Skinny Jump accounts and resetting modems. Jump Delivery Partners should never call the Skinny Care Team on the customer 0800 number, as this Helpdesk team is not able to delink accounts or reset modems.

(2) to recognise modems issued as part of a special Jump Plan – MOE, CIENA or RED CROSS – and ensure these are recovered or correctly re-provisioned.

(3) to record customer details for the collection of unwanted modems or at locations where there is no network coverage or capacity.

The information provided in this form authorises the Skinny Support Team to delink an account and reset the modem. Faulty or defaced modems that are not suitable for re-issue are to be marked as “faulty” in the form and this triggers a response from the Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa (DIAA) team to send a courier bag to recover the modem for repair or recycling.

Once the modem is reset, an advice note is sent to the Delivery Partner at the partner email entered at the end of the form.

WANTED: Modem Recovery ideas

We are looking for a Jump delivery partner to join a small working group to brainstorm and test some ideas for recovering unused Jump modems.

Our original Jump distribution model was based on library systems that lend books (and other things) for limited periods. Our proposal was for Jump customers to keep their modems for as long as they like, but return them to their nearest delivery partner if they become faulty or if they are no longer required. The modems could then be repaired or simply reset and reissued to another customer.

This has been fairly successful with over 1500 modems being returned for repair or reuse during the last 15 months.

However, our records indicate that many customers do not bother to return the modem when they no longer need it and we are looking for new ways to encourage this.

While we are seeking someone who is currently actively involved in handling recovered Jump modems and who is able to participate in the working group during April, we welcome ideas and suggestions from all partners.

Need some more Jump modems – who are you going to call?

Well not Ghostbusters, that’s for sure. Not Skinny (refer to my earlier blog post). Not the Spark Foundation. Not a Spark retail store. Not Father Christmas.

Well then, who you might ask. Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa (DIAA)- now you are getting warm. But not Eleanor. Not Leilani. Not Sue (although she seems to be the hot favourite!). Who else is there?

Laurence, Alistair and Shelley of course! Laurence handles modem inquiries through DIAA’s Jump email hotline (jump@diaa.nz) and Shelley handles modem inquiries through DIAA’s phone hotline (0800 463 422). And
Alistair handles our back office systems that keep the supply of modems flowing to you.

So please DO NOT CALL OR EMAIL anyone else on the DIAA team if your inquiry has anything to do with modem supply or distribution. This just creates an unnecessary clutter in voicemail and email in-boxes.

We have weathered the Covid storm by putting our shoulder to the wheel and creating new delivery options to ensure the modems keep flowing, so even when partners have had to shut up shop, we have simply expanded our home delivery option. But we don’t have super powers and have no control over issues in the global market such as microchip or neon shortages, resulting from Covid lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine, respectively. Neon gas is a vital component in the laser lithography of silicon chips, and around 50% of the global supply comes out of Ukraine.

Nor can we solve New Zealand modem suppliers problems caused by large numbers of their staff having to self-isolate. Unlike many of us who can continue to work from home, these staff are hands-on, provisioning and packaging Jump modems.

What all this means is that we are all going to have to be patient. You will run out of modems. Customers waiting for home deliveries will call you to find out when their modem is going to arrive.

Please use the systems we have put in place to keep you and your customers informed:

(1) Make sure you are completing a Jump Profile form for every modem issued – this controls the re-stocking process.

(2) Check your Jump GDoc to find out when further supplies have been ordered, either from Ingram or transferred from another Jump delivery partner.

(3) Use the NZ CourierPost tracking number associated with each modem shipment to monitor progress with the delivery of modem supplies.

(4) For individual home delivery inquiries, please email jump@diaa.nz and we can give you a status report. But please note that we currently have a 7-10 day backlog with over 150 households waiting for a modem. By the time we get further supplies this backlog will have increased to over 200. We expect to make these deliveries next week.

(5) Any partner with surplus modem stock, please contact Shelley. During the last week, she has arranged the transfer of nearly 100 modems between delivery partners. Thank you to those partners who have assisted with this. She is still looking for another 200 modems to transfer.

Toy Libraries are not eligible for Jump

We regularly receive inquiries about whether community groups such as toy libraries, scout groups, rowing clubs etc. are eligible for Skinny Jump. I can understand that a low cost pre-pay service such as Jump would suit the needs of many community groups, who only require internet access from time to time.

But Jump is a highly subsidised service supported by the Spark Foundation and intended for households that can not afford monthly ‘on account’ internet plans. Eligible groups are clearly identified in Jump promotional material as well as on the Skinny Jump website.

Partners are asked to explain this to any community groups that might apply. We have heard stories from some partners that community groups can be quite argumentative when they are turned down, claiming that other similar groups are using Jump connections. If this is the case, a mistake had been made in issuing modems.

We suggest you ask for details of groups who are claiming to have been provided with Jump modems and by whom so that we can correct this misinformation.

Don’t call Skinny for modem supply issues

I have been receiving a few redirected calls from the Skinny Care team with requests from partners about modem supplies.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE SKINNY CARE TEAM FOR ANY DETAILS ABOUT MODEM SUPPLIES.

The Skinny Care team has no role in the supply of modems. This is our (DIAA) responsibility, working with you, our Partners.

Any inquiries about modem supplies should come to jump@diaa.nz

Thank you.

“I am down to my last Jump modem; when will more supplies arrive?”

This is one of the most frequent questions that we get asked. We do try to respond promptly to individual requests, but with over 300 delivery partners, we do get a bit swamped at times with email and phone requests.

You have access to the same information that we do, so we would like to encourage you to check this out first.

Let me remind you how to do this:

(1) Go to the GSheet Jump register for your organisation. You may need a Gmail account to do this. If you don’t know how to access this, send us an email (jump@diaa.nz) and request access. Please make sure you identify your role with Jump deliveries so that we know you are legit, as these registers contain confidential customer information. We will send you a URL link.

(2) Check Cell F4. This represents the number of unallocated modems that we think you have. If this doesn’t align with the number of modems that you actually have, then this could mean that modems have been issued without Profile Forms being completed. If this is the case, you should mark up in Column B any modems that you no longer have. Type in the word “Allocated” and you will see you stock count (cell F4) reduce by one.

(3) Note Cell G2. This is your re-supply trigger. When the number in Cell F4 reduces to the number in Cell G2, cell F4 is shaded red and this signals to us to arrange for further modems to be sent.

(4) When we place an order, we enter IMEI numbers in Column W and include the date, initials of person placing the order and the source of the modems (e.g. ex Ingram) in column X.

(5) Note the IMEI number is a 15-digit number commencing in “86…”. When modems are shipped from Ingram, there can be a short delay before we get the shipping schedules so we enter a dummy set of numbers, e.g. 860501, 860502, etc. We replace these with the full IMEI number as soon as possible.

(6) When the modems have been shipped we enter the NZ Post Courier tracking number in column Y (shaded yellow) and the shipment date in column Z. You can monitor progress by entering the tracking number into NZ Post’s website.

If all this is too confusing, or for some reason you are unable to access the GSheet, just let us know when your modem stocks are low and we can review for you.

Jump Modem re-supply triggers reduced to shrink the pipeline

We have been progressively reducing the Jump modem re-supply triggers for Jump delivery partners in an effort to reduce the number of modems in the pipeline (we define the pipeline as the period between order placement and allocation to a customer).

The Jump modem pipeline currently includes 2364 modems and we would like to tighten this up. These modems have a combined value of over $350,000 and with the move to the new Smart Modem 2, this value will increase.

One of our strategies is to start reassigning modems that are no longer needed by partners. My recent post refers to this.

Our other strategy is to progress towards a ‘just-in-time’ approach, to avoid large numbers of modems being held by partners, sometimes for many months.

Re-supply trigger levels have historically been set at between 6 and 12, depending on the turnover. We are now progressively reducing these to match the average number of modems issued by each partner within a two-week period. With the current modem supply delays, this should provide up to two weeks for new supplies to arrive.

This does assume that your Jump modem registers are up to date; this does require careful attention to ensure that Jump Profile forms are completed for every modem issued.

Partners can identify their re-supply trigger in cell G2 of their Jump GSheet.

Pipeline Transfers to plug the Jump Modem shortage

With over 300 Jump delivery partners, it is not surprising that at any point in time there are reasonably large numbers of Jump modems in what we call the pipeline, i.e. somewhere between order placement and allocation to a customer.

As at this morning (Tuesday 8 March 2022), there are 2364 Jump modems in the pipeline. While 74% of all Jump partners have issued a modem during the last three months, there are 78 partners who haven’t.

We understand there can be very good reasons (many of which are Covid-related) why partners are not currently issuing modems and we really appreciate partners’ efforts in helping your customers complete the online application form as an interim measure.

However, we would would like to redistribute any modems being held by partners and unlikely to be issued within the next month or so.

We did our first transfer yesterday from the Bream Bay Trust to Papakura Library. Thank you, Charlie at Bream Bay, for your help.

The way this works is as follows:

(1) Shelley will contact partners who have stocks of modems and who appear to be inactive (we define ‘inactive’ as no modems issued during the last 3 months). It could be just a matter of Profile Forms not being completed so that our records are over-stating the number of modems being held.

(2) Assuming the partner does have surplus modems, Shelley will negotiate the number that could be transferred (typically, quantities of 5 to 10). We then ask the partner to notify us of the IMEI numbers of the modems available for transfer.

(3) Shelley will then arrange for a courier label to be sent to facilitate the transfer. For transfers within Auckland, we may even arrange a same-day pickup and delivery.

(4) We then update the two partners’ GSheets by removing the transferred modems from the donor’s sheet and adding them to the recipient’s GSheet.

New Smart Modem 2 for Jump customers

Some partners will have noticed a new Skinny Jump modem that arrived last week. Current supplies of B315 and B618 modems are exhausted and the Jump team has decided to use the same modem as for other Spark and Skinny customers.

This modem works as a 4G wireless modem (for Skinny Jump) as well as for fixed fibre connections. Apart from being a bit bigger than the B618 modems, the Jump set up process is exactly the same.

Partners may see further supplies of B315s and B618s from time to time as repaired units become available for redistribution.

Jump home deliveries impacted by modem shortages

As at this morning (Tuesday 8 March) we have 280 families waiting for their Jump Modem to be delivered by courier. Our last courier deliveries were on 23 February 2022, so anyone who has applied since then will still be waiting.

We are expecting 100 of these to be on the courier this week, but the others are unlikely to be sent until next week.

This is a direct result of the modem shortage discussed in my earlier post. When modems don’t arrive after soon after online application forms are completed, people do start to call partners to find out what’s going on.

Partners are welcome to get in touch with Shelley on 0800 463422 and she can check the status of the delivery.

Our goal with online applications is to ship modems the day after the application is received, but of course we can’t do this when we don’t have any stocks! So if customers do call, please kindly explain that things are taking a bit longer than usual.