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Thread: Audits

  1. #1
    Junior Member LocateChecker's Avatar
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    Default Audits

    How many out there are having their locates audited by someone other than in-house folks? I have heard one of the utilities in my area has started their own audits and have also heard the state is out looking at tickets.

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    Senior Member underground quester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    Quote Originally Posted by LocateChecker View Post
    How many out there are having their locates audited by someone other than in-house folks? I have heard one of the utilities in my area has started their own audits and have also heard the state is out looking at tickets.

    The local Gas utility has THREE utility auditors on staff for our area and the local Telephone company has ONE auditor. I have not seen any of them in about two years though, they seem to want to audit newbies and those with more than one hit with their respective utilities.

    The local electrical company has an auditor, but he is awesome! Comes out when I need help with a tough locate, or to locate non-energized power loops that kind of stuff. Also lets us know what is new in the ground in a given area that has yet to be sent over to us as prints or be placed on our computer program.

    No local First call or government auditors at this point...touch wood.
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    Senior Member RoadMap's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    The power company we locate for does audits every month. So far we have been good. And I think they pick the locates?
    If you are not a Liberal by age 20, then you do not have a heart! If you are not a Conservative by age 40, then you do not have a brain!!!

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    Senior Member RoadMap's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    Also AT&T does bonding audits on us. When I worked in southern Texas a couple of weeks ago I noticed that no one bonded nothing. I went through 3 bags of nuts in the first week. Then I ran out.
    If you are not a Liberal by age 20, then you do not have a heart! If you are not a Conservative by age 40, then you do not have a brain!!!

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    Senior Member MIG4000's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    Quote Originally Posted by RoadMap View Post
    Also AT&T does bonding audits on us. When I worked in southern Texas a couple of weeks ago I noticed that no one bonded nothing. I went through 3 bags of nuts in the first week. Then I ran out.
    Same over here in the Coast, it sucks that a few lazy techs make the rest of us look bad. When i get help from other Counties i have to tell them to PLEASE make sure you bond, lots of paint & flags. There's lots of replacing sewer, water & gas in this area thanks to KATRINA. Love the O.T.

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    Senior Member AULupstate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    I've never been a big fan of the 'in house' audits, nor have I been a fan of the Utility doing audits for a couple of reasons.
    1. Sometimes in house audits really do not mean a thing, the locator knows the audit is coming and if he rides around with the auditor the 'A' game is on. Not to mention the 'politics' that usually happen behind the office doors, some fail audits for that reason only and yet others who SHOULD fail never seem to.
    2. Utilities conducting audits on a contract company? Sure, no animosity there towards the locator (who took a good union job away).

    Are ALL audits laden with this? No, but if there is way to do a third party INDEPENDENT audit it should be explored. One that isn't beholden to the Utility or the Locating Company. Impartiality can be very good for both sides (or it can be very bad, depending on how you look at it). It's a definate that a third party audit would expose those 'hidden' problems on both sides.

  7. #7
    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    Quote Originally Posted by AULupstate View Post
    I've never been a big fan of the 'in house' audits, nor have I been a fan of the Utility doing audits for a couple of reasons.
    1. Sometimes in house audits really do not mean a thing, the locator knows the audit is coming and if he rides around with the auditor the 'A' game is on. Not to mention the 'politics' that usually happen behind the office doors, some fail audits for that reason only and yet others who SHOULD fail never seem to.
    2. Utilities conducting audits on a contract company? Sure, no animosity there towards the locator (who took a good union job away).

    Are ALL audits laden with this? No, but if there is way to do a third party INDEPENDENT audit it should be explored. One that isn't beholden to the Utility or the Locating Company. Impartiality can be very good for both sides (or it can be very bad, depending on how you look at it). It's a definate that a third party audit would expose those 'hidden' problems on both sides.
    That sounds like the best idea, having it done independently. Are there companies that do this?
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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    att does audits here on us and we have our own auditors....supposedly the sups....poor guys???!?!!!??
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Senior Member AULupstate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    As far as I know there isn't anyone doing it. I had it as a service but no takers. I figured if I was going to market it I would concentrate on Dig-Safe and go that route. I doubt ANY company wants their flaws pointed out and reported.

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    Senior Member beyond help's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    Quote Originally Posted by ifinditunderground View Post
    That sounds like the best idea, having it done independently. Are there companies that do this?
    NOT A GOOD IDEA. Most independant auditors we had a year ago were former employees that were fired. Some how over half our audits were bad. That is until the pics showed all was good.
    STRESS: The confusion created when one's mind overrides the body's basic desire to choke the living daylights out of some idiot who desperately deserves it.

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    Senior Member AULupstate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    Well help whoever HIRED former employees to do audits should HAVE SEEN THAT COMING A MILE AWAY!!!!!! I mean REALLY how INDEPENDENT is that??? That just proves my initial statement of Politics and Animosity.

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    Senior Member underground quester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    Quote Originally Posted by AULupstate View Post
    As far as I know there isn't anyone doing it. I had it as a service but no takers. I figured if I was going to market it I would concentrate on Dig-Safe and go that route. I doubt ANY company wants their flaws pointed out and reported.
    AUL:
    Most of my working career has been spent in one form of auditing or another mostly to do with ISO 9000, but also analysis on flow through on cross dock operations, staging within warehouses/storage compounds and storage/logistics within a warehouse environment.

    Put simply, what did the product look like before it was shipped, what happened during loading, intransit and what condition did it arrive in. Then how was it unloaded, handled across the docks into trailer/trucks and what did the final customer see. Quite frequently, it was unrecognizable from what was seen at point of origin.

    So, during audits on various forms of processes occuring during the cycle we would generate a report and discuss with the consignee, transport, logistics personnel, shipper or manufacturer,.Essentially, wherever analysis suggested that process improvement was indicated was who we would address the issue most directly with.

    In most cases one would believe that if a work process for example was faulty it would be a simple matter of making certain your facts are solid, then pointing out the obvious to the party concerned.

    No so!!!

    As you clearly point out few companies want their flaws pointed out. But, the individual/company would go to the ends of the earth denying fault, nor make efforts to improve or experiment with alternatives. And, what I always found amazing was that our efforts were intended to improve their bottom line, not COST them more money. Human nature to defend your own turf I guess otherwise, the company/individual would have to take responsibility and god forbid that should happen.

    Fewer still want to make the effort it will take to correct the situation. In some cases the fixes we thought were easy were the hardest to sell. Sometimes, the million dollar problems were easier to see and to fix.

    In many cases, the people involved with spearheading change were "balls to the wall" already, so it was easier for them to continue than to go against the prevailing current. Even when that current would make the corporation more money.

    Another lesson I learned was that if a corporation was in the black fiscally, it was tough as shit to get them to make changes EVEN when I would show them in the end they could make more money. Because, their way was what they knew and were comfortable with and the suggested way was going to cause initial angst and perhaps ruffle some feathers. Well guess what, that initially is what occurs in change, then people get used to it and it becomes no big deal.

    Within the requirements to maintain an ISO 9000 registration, it is MANDATED that INDEPENDENT audits must occur and that continuous improvement must be shown and documented. Again, many corporations hate outside navel gazers being imposed upon them. Partially because working toward improvement and change is frankly too damned much work.

    Another lesson learned was that if you were a weak or easy going auditor some companies loved you cause they could blow smoke up your ass all day long and not have to improve a thing. Then advertise to their customers that they were ISO 9000 registered implying that somehow your product was now better than a competitors.

    Many times I would see companies refuse certain auditors because the company believed the auditor "didn't like the corporation" or "were out to get them" because they were trying to get the company to follow the guidelines. Which incidently are 100% written by the corporation, agreed to with the registrar and then filed with the ISO registrar. Many times i would see companies be late on their audits because there was this bickering about who was going to perform the audit. It is probably best to not have the same auditor every time, fresh eyes see things from another perspective and can make suggestions for improvement. Also, I believe familiarity can breed laziness on the part of the auditor and corporation. I also ran into conflict of interest situations where companies wnated to give me say a 40 ounce bottle of RYE "just cause we like ya". Ya... bullshit!!! No one offered me a bottle after a tough audit, I can assure you.

    Anyway, too long a response. Just wanted to share some of my perspectives from too many years in auditing, process analysis.
    Last edited by underground quester; November 17th, 2008 at 09:55 PM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    Our 2 ex DM's are going to start auditing us now - of course 1 of them just got out of Locator's class. I think their main emphasis is going to be on how well we memorized the Decision Driving and 10 Deadly Sins. Evidently our main concern is to reduce Insurance Premiums. Lordy Lordy!
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    Senior Member gypsygirl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    I think an independent auditing company would be a good thing. It would just be a matter of explaining the benefits and economics of it to sell the idea. But also as UGQ has stated... most people do not want change, even if it could be beneficial.

  15. #15
    Senior Member shovelhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audits

    Quote Originally Posted by sprayandpray View Post
    Our 2 ex DM's are going to start auditing us now - of course 1 of them just got out of Locator's class. I think their main emphasis is going to be on how well we memorized the Decision Driving and 10 Deadly Sins. Evidently our main concern is to reduce Insurance Premiums. Lordy Lordy!
    We're working for a private equity firm brother, so of course we are looking to reduce costs everywhere.

    There's so much of it going on in Illinois, that more than a few techs feel they are being "singled out" or outright harrassed.

    And don't even get me started on this " Safety Audit" bull......


    Priorities? Who needs 'em...

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