And the winner is…..

What a great response from partners with your 1 June Skinny Jump Refresh displays. What was particularly impressive was the amount of effort you put into your displays – orange was definitely the colour of day, balloons, jumpsuits, wigs, masks, glasses, hi-vis vests, traffic cones and even an orange teddy bear. And all that Jumping! Good exercise I suppose. I hope we don’t get into trouble with your bosses for creating this distraction!

And the winner is: Sarah Tansley from Marlborough Libraries.

The Marlborough Libraries entry was selected from all the entries received, using a random number generator. Dinner for your Jump team is your reward, thanks to the Spark Foundation.

Shelley has put together a slide show from the entries received. You can find this here (as this is a rather large file, it works best if you download it before playing).

Towards a better approach for supplying Jump modems

Every day I receive emails from at least one of our 300+ Jump delivery partners saying they have run out of modems. Our goal is for this never to happen and despite the supply chain challenges caused by Covid, we have tried a variety of approaches to smooth the flow.

We appreciated the support of many of our partners in March this year to redistribute modems they were holding to partners who were desperate for further supplies. But after a month of modem shuffles we became reliant again on the supply of new stock from Ingram Micro.

At any point we have up to 2000 modems in the pipeline, between the time of ordering and the time they arrive at a delivery partner. The challenge is to ensure that supplies arrive, where they are needed and when they are needed, without spending too much time sitting on partners’ shelves.

So today, we have implemented a new approach, called dynamic triggering. Historically our approach has been to set fixed re-supply trigger levels – when a partner’s stock dropped to the trigger level, we automatically placed an order for more supplies. This worked reasonable well when re-supply times were measured in terms of days, but now that we face up to 3 weeks (or at times even longer) to replenish stocks, this approach is not working that well.

Our new approach is to continuously adjust the trigger level, based on historical data. The trigger level for each delivery partner is now based on the number of modems they have issued during the last 3 weeks. For example if a partner has issued 10 modems during the last three weeks, their trigger level becomes 10. Assuming a relatively smooth distribution of modems, the partner should have adequate supplies to last for a further 3 weeks. If delivery times reduce, we can adjust the trigger level to a shorter period, say 2 weeks.

Partners can monitor this themselves in their Jump registers by viewing cell G2 (the dynamic trigger point) compared to their current stock levels (cell H2). When the stock level equals the trigger point, a new order is generated.

We recognise that customer demand will not always be as smooth as the above algorithm requires, but we think this is worth a shot. In particular we expect this will drive supplies to the partners with high turnovers, while minimising the amount of stock held by partners with low turnovers.

BUT, and there is one very big BUT, this does depend on partners ensuring that Profile Forms are completed for every modem issued. We need these to record the number of modems issued, which directly impacts when new orders are placed.

My measure of success will be the drop in emails to jump@diaa.nz requesting further supplies.

1 June nearly here with Jump refresh

What a fantastic turnout from our Jump partners for last week’s webinars with the Spark Foundation team, explaining the key changes to Jump that take effect on 1 June 2022. In case you missed one of the briefings, the changes are:

  1. $5 data package increases to 35GB (up from 30GB)
  2. Number of monthly plan renewals increases to 6 (up from 5)
  3. Monthly free 15GB is here to stay (applied on the first day of every calendar month)
  4. 6GB daily boost ends on 31 May 2022

These changes take effect on 1 June 2022 for all Skinny Jump customers – existing and new.

All partners are asked to replace all collateral, including posters, flyers, etc. on Wednesday 1 June.

Send us a photo of your new Jump display by 6 June and you are in the draw to win a dinner shout for your whole Jump team. All entries to be sent to Shelley at jump22@diaa.nz

Please do not send Jump modem inquiries to Skinny

Some partners are continuing to contact Skinny when they have a question about the supply of modems, and as we are currently experiencing 2-3 week delays in the shipment of modems, these inquiries seem to be on the rise.

Please do not contact Skinny or the Spark Foundation (or Sue Kini for that matter) if you have a question about modem supplies. All these inquiries must go to jump@diaa.nz

Most of these inquiries relate to partners running out of modems. We clearly want to avoid this situation if at all possible. Part of the problem seems to be caused if modems are issued without Profile Forms being completed. Almost invariably, we find that when a partner reports ‘no stock’, their Google register indicates a number supposedly being available. We rely totally on the Profile Forms to update your Jump registers – when your stock drops to the pre-set trigger level (cell G2), we automatically generate a new order for you.

We aim to set the trigger level equivalent to 2-3 weeks of your turnover; if we get this right and you always complete the Profile Forms, you should never run out of modems.

This is not an exact science of course, but we do our best to smooth things out. At any point in time we have up to 2000 modems in what we call the pipeline – between the supplier and the end customer through a local delivery partner. This only represents an average of around 6 modems per partner. The combined value of this stock is around $500,000, so we try and keep the pipeline as trim as possible.

We are happy to adjust your trigger levels if you are consistently running out of modems, so please do get in touch (jump@diaa.nz) and we’ll see if we can improve things for you.

Not too late to register for the Jump Update webinars

Thank you to the 150 partners who have already registered for the Jump Service Update briefings next week. There are important changes that take effect on 1 June 2022 and we do need a representative from all our 318 Jump delivery partners to attend, so please do register using the link above.

We have five scheduled times, one each day from 23 May and each briefing is just 30 minutes. We are trying to make it easy for everyone to fit this into their schedules. Be careful when registering to choose the Service Update New Information briefings, not the New Partner briefings. New partners or new staff involved in delivering the Jump programme are of course welcome to register for the New Partner Briefings as well.

Unfortunately Skinny Jump is not available at that location

Some observant partners have noticed this new message popping up when they do an address checker and wondered if this is a positive sign that there is likely to be coverage in the near future.

The fine print says: This address is in an area that has reached the maximum number of modems that can be connected to its cell tower.

This is nothing new – it just means that we can’t connect any new Skinny Jump customers. There are two reasons :

(1) No 4G coverage;

(2) Cell tower at capacity.

Because of the widespread deployment of Spark’s 4G network, the most likely reason is that it is a capacity, rather than a coverage, issue. Hence the new message. But unfortunately you can’t read anything between the lines about the likelihood of coverage coming to an area where there is none.

Our advice to customers is the same – check again from time to time, as capacity issues are changing all the time.

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.

The Jump top-up challenge: where’s my 30GB?

I had an interesting call from one of our most experienced Jump partners today; she was seeking clarification about the top up process. While she frequently explains the top-up process to customers when they sign up for Jump, she had never actually done a top-up herself, and was quite confused by the information presented on the Skinny Dashboard when she did try and top up the Library demo unit.

She had succeeded in adding $5 credit to her Jump account, but was surprised when she didn’t see 30GB data added to her plan. Instead she saw the information above: 6144 MB (= 6GB) data that was going to expire at 3.30pm and 15360 MB(=15GB) data that was going to expire at the end of the month.

There is an explanation about the ‘free’ 6GB and the 15GB in the fine print above, but I totally understand how this detail can get overlooked – in some telephone surveys we conducted last year, many customers didn’t know about this free data, so we do wonder if this is always being explained when the customer signs up. Even if it is, customers might not fully appreciate this until they go to top up.

But where is the 30GB that I just purchased? Check out the words below the ‘Credit Remaining’ of $5, you will discover that there is no current plan. And just below that ‘Get a plan‘. You must click on this to add your 30GB data plan. When you do this you will discover the 30GB data joins the two freebies and your ‘credit remaining’ drops by $5.

We strongly encourage every partner issuing Jump modems to personally go through this process – we’ll even pay the $5 if necessary. It is well worth $5 (soon to be less than the price of a cup of coffee) for you to have a first-hand experience of the top-up process.

People needing help when topping up make up the largest group of callers to the Skinny Help Desk (Care Team). If we can help Jump customers be more confident in topping up this would enable the Care Team to focus on helping with the much more challenging technical issues.

PS. A box of Chocolate Fish for the partner who brought this to our attention! I am sure she is not the only one that gets confused.

Jump coverage checker bug fixed

During the last month, Jump delivery partners may have noticed an unprecedented success rate when using the Skinny Jump address checker – every address entered has been getting the green light for coverage, even addresses that have no 4G coverage!

Like the old adage, if it looks to good to be true, then it’s probably not true. And unfortunately this happens to be the case here. Skinny software developers have identified a bug in the address checker that was preventing it doing its job and this was fixed overnight on 31 March.

So from 1 April, we are back to the real world, and this means you will again be finding customers who are unable to get the Jump service either because they are not in coverage or because there is no capacity on the nearest cell tower. Please provide these customers with a copy of the explanatory leaflet, as some customers can get quite argumentative, especially when their neighbours have Jump service.

You are also welcome to complete an online application form for anyone who cannot currently get service; we double check their address for coverage and follow up with them when we become aware that coverage is available. It also provides a useful database of areas where there is demand for Jump but no capacity.

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.