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Thread: Casual Observances from an Innocent Bystander.

  1. #1
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Casual Observances from an Innocent Bystander.

    Through out my day I see things and hear things. None of which is sought. They just come to me on their own.

    Tuesday I hear that the local ELM office has about 120 or more tickets past due. Not sure if this is true or not. Then, I do a ticket for a home owner on Wednesday and when I'm done I tell him that I only do cable and the company that does phone, power, and gas will be out to locate those utilities for him. The HO tells me that ELM called him and said they wouldn't be able to get to his ticket 'til the coming week. Yikes. I told the HO that I had heard they were behind. The HO said that is what they told him, too. Then, yesterday, I am finishing up a locate that had already been marked by ELM. As I'm getting ready to leave an ELM truck pulls up. I tell the driver that all his stuff has already been located. He asks, Really? I say yes and motion to the paint on the ground. He hangs his head and says that is the second time today that has happened to him.

    I have to ask. What is going on? Running late on tickets and then double assigning them. That also means that some locators are crossing paths.

    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Casual Observances from an Innocent Bystander.

    The fingerpointing bandwagons newest member... Welcome aboard

    " look what that outfits doing now " " check out them guys over there "


    YYEEAAAHH!!! lets ride em hard...
    Kramit69 likes this.

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    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Casual Observances from an Innocent Bystander.

    And there is mr jingles again carousing around in my housing again back to the desk for some more bait...

    I had a guy with drug dogs staying at this place that tried to track this sucker down.. DAMMIT!!!
    Kramit69 likes this.

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    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Casual Observances from an Innocent Bystander.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    I have to ask. What is going on? Running late on tickets and then double assigning them. That also means that some locators are crossing paths.
    Hey Steve - The phenomenon you mentioned above can be easily explained if the ELM locators are home dispatched using laptop computers. The locator does the end-of-day duties and routes himself/herself for the first locate the next morning to a certain address. The locator arrives there in the morning and starts the ticket rolling without syncing or refreshing the ticket load first. Had the locator refreshed his/her ticket load before marking the locate, he/she would have realized the first line sup re-assigned that same ticket to another locator during the night. The receiver of the ticket during the night will arrive later during the day to find the job has already been completed by the person who owned the ticket the day before. This scenario happens almost daily by many; I may be one of the worst offenders......... just sayin'.

    While I am on the subject of ticket routing, I've had sups in the past do a sloppy job routing tickets to the noobs. Back when houses were being built I had 3 very green noobs on my team and a rookie 1st line. Numerous times I would pull into a developing sub-division and catch all 3 noobs on the same street with me; one for an irrigation ticket, one for a CATV drop install, one for a telephone drop install and me for a deep-dig ticket. Instead of routing all the shallow digs in a particular area to one noob, the sup spread the work amongst all three. Every day all three noobs spent a large amount of windshield time traveling in packs from area to area instead of each concentrating on a smaller area creating better production. There was a large amount of action but nothing got done.

    To stop this pack mentality, the senior locator in my group who had the ability to route tickets would wait until 11 pm to re-assign (i.e. clean-up) tickets to the noobs that my clueless 1st line routed willy-nilly at 9 pm. This senior locator did this service every night for many years behind all my rookie sups. These sups had no clue what my senior locator was doing behind their backs after hours but man, did it keep things rolling smoothly!

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Casual Observances from an Innocent Bystander.

    Wing's answer is often right but there is more than one reason.

    Some supervisors are lazy and just assign such tickets without looking closely at overall distribution.

    One problem is the software can be insufficient to the task. If there is no option for a map display the supervisor only sees long lines of tickets and cannot tell what is close to each other. It takes a lot of time to compare all of those tickets to a map. Our current software has a map display of all tickets in the supervisor's software, remember that the supervisor often has a different software than the locator. But for even this I have to click on individual points on a map to see what's there, time consuming. Then each ticket must be individually moved.

    As a locator we see just our tickets, the supervisor sees the tickets for their entire group and that is hundreds of tickets. Right now my group alone has 500 tickets I see, the heavy part of the season is not here yet. That is a lot of tickets to consider and sort through when making distribution decisions.

    Time is also a factor as distribution of tickets may not be the only duty. First I cannot really begin distributing the tickets until the field locators are all done for the day. So the 4PM or whatever end of day is never set for your supervisor. I have reports to write that cannot be completed until the field crews are all done and logged out of service. Our software does not have a High Profile button so each high profile ticket must be emailed to the supervisor. We have to copy and past these ticket numbers into a spreed sheet and mail them to our managers. Next we have an overtime report where the supervisor must open each time sheet, ours is in the software. We have to put into a spreed sheet the name, start time, start and end times for lunch, end of day time, hours spent on the job and minuets spent on lunch and finally write why overtime was justified. Do that for however many locators the supervisor has and you can see an hour right there on a busy day. Our software has no cut and paste ability, all typed in.

    Now I have a report to compile of all tickets that are not simply marked or clear, we call these subcodes. I have to manually search the completed tickets that day by each locator individually. This brings up a list of all tickets completed and fortunately I can sort these tickets by their completion codes. Now I have to take each subcode ticket and enter the information into a spreedsheet, no cut and paste in software. I have to write the ticket number, locator name, date, type of time chaged - regular or oncall, what code was used, whether or not they called the excavator to try to eliminate any problem, view each photograph to make sure documentation is correct. Finally
    I have to write a written explanation of what if anything is wrong with the ticket. Also if the ticket was incorrectly performed re-open the ticket and manually move it from my load, where the software put it, to the correct locator.

    Now I have to check and approve all tickets that have footage charge. Again the manual search looking for tickets flagged for footage charges. Each ticket must be measured by the supervisor the next day to insure accurate charges so a list must be compiled as the ticket is not reopened. If it is an update / remark ticket the the old ticket must manually looked up to see if the footage has been previously checked by the supervisor and that footage can be used.

    In the light or moderate season I may have a couple of hours to myself each evening. In the busy season if I have one hour a day to myself I am lucky. Usually in the busy season I work Monday through Friday from the time I wake up until the time to go to sleep. Often I get less than eight hours sleep and when the last locator is done Friday I have to go straight to sleep, exhausted. Remember, supervisors do not get paid overtime and a 60 hour or more work week is common.

    So yes, a lazy supervisor can be the problem but it can also be the problem with a supervisor overburdened with tasks, hundreds of tickets and sorting out many noobies and trainees.
    daman1 likes this.

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