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Thread: Dumb Policies

  1. #76
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    Default Re: Dumb Policies

    sounds like stake center too
    Quote Originally Posted by RD_Wrangler View Post
    Well now. Let's see. USIC has some dumb policies to be sure. I won't argue that fact. Hell, most of the field employees won't argue that.

    BUT, I've seen the alternative.

    I worked for SM&P/USIC approx. 6 years total, as well as 2 years doing private/long-haul f/o contract work.. Did my share of b*tching and moaning as well. But I can say, after seeing how the locating world is WITHOUT them, SOME of their policies and business practices are a godsend to the business as well

    USIC-ers have the absolutely AWESOME ability to click a little button and see the tickets assigned to their areas AS they come in...REAL TIME. Imagine a world where you either pick up your paper tickets at the office or receive them in an email each morning to print them off. Since the tickets you are receiving were what were called in the day previous, rather than 48 hours, you will have a max of 36 hours and usually closer to 24 hours to respond. Now imagine trying to run an area 300-400 sq. miles, (because your company has underbid their contract so badly they have to stay half-staffed just to try to break even), this way. Knowing that as you are in the far NE corner of your area, rather than being able to see what tickets have come in for the area and go ahead and take care of them while you are there, that you will most likely have to drive BACK the next day, very often to a site within 2 minutes of where you are now.

    While we're discussing auto-dispatch. You USIC-ers have a state-of-the-art system, which automatically assigns you tickets for your assigned area as they come in. Un-assigned tickets popping up are a rarity when compared to the alternative. Try to imagine being dependent upon a chain of individuals who sort through, scan, and pass on to ANOTHER individual, who sorts through and scans, (and so on) until you finally receive your requests. Know how many tickets *I* receive that are due in 15 minutes and are 100 miles away? Even worse, know how many times I have to answer for a ticket that I never even saw, that didn't get done? Know how much wasted time I have to spend tracking these down, re-routing my day, trying to repair relationships with contractors who USED to trust me because of tickets "lost in the shuffle" through simple human error caused by being under-staffed in ALL departments?

    And USIC Supes. Your load-management options are phenomenal. You can literally see at any given time the tickets your techs have, where they are, where they are in correlation to surrounding locators (in case you need to shift some off to someone lighter with a couple easy clicks), and what is late/due/coming due. Imagine sorting through paper tickets by hand, assigning them in piles for a crew of 10-15 by trying to recall who covers what areas/towns...then physically scanning some to email and handing them physically to Locators who had to waste time driving to an office. You can also pull up, at any time, any ticket closed by any of your technicians, and view within 15 minutes of it's being closed, what time it was done, what was billed, pictures of the locates, etc...talk about a time saver in damage investigations!

    Imagine also not even KNOWING who is your immediate Supervisor for any given day. Or if you DO know, being all to aware that the Supervisor will most definitely turn his phone off at 5pm weekdays and NEVER have it on during week-ends. So, if you have an issue with an emergency call during those time? You are on your own, Bub. NOBODY is gonna answer. All the way up to the top...NOBODY.

    Imagine telling your supervisors your needs in basic supplies, and never seeing a thing. The antique computer you have (and USIC-ers have NO idea what an antique laptop is) barely being adequate to run the 2 years out of date prints (that you ask for updates for from NUMEROUS people and never get). Imagine being given the option of using an out-of date RD400 base model or keeping the stripped-down model 7000 that has reset itself every 5 minutes from day one you got it. A situation you have in your experience only witnessed being handed to the technicians who continuously abused their stuff. Not someone with 8 years under their belt, a total of 5 at-faults in 4 and 5 way areas (3 of them drops) in all that time, who maintains their tools impeccably. Imagine stating numerous times that you REALLY need a ventilator so you can access MH's properly multiple times over 3 months, and STILL driving up to MH locates and sighing.

    And crews... imagine being a veteran tech, and being thrown into a crew of extremely poorly trained individuals, whom you continuously have to go bail out, because the company you work for doesn't take the time to actually train these poor guys on the basic technical aspects of locating, and then being handed back the late tickets you couldn't do in your area, because you were doing THEIRS.

    Imagine NO communication. WITH ANYONE OR BETWEEN ANYONE. From the top down, the company you represent seems to be continuously flying by the seat of it's pants and NOBODY knows what anyone else is doing, or what is going on from day to day. And mores the pity, most don't seem to know WHAT the hell they're doing. Dispatch, Ops (this is the vehicle and hardware/software guys if you didn't know), management, etc...NOBODY.

    Imagine trying to perform a job for a company with 2011 production expectations, while using tools and technology from 2001. A company that will spend the money on GPS (that USICers love the gripe about), but still use paper tickets and out-of-date technology that ceased to be industry standard 10 years ago. Now imagine doing this every day after seeing how much better it can be...

    USIC-ers, you DO have valid complaints. But, before you gripe TOO much...imagine the alternatives.

  2. #77
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    Default Re: Dumb Policies

    As I said before, in my opinion, those in the top positions of contract locating have generally never done it, therefor, underbidding to them means they need to push their workers to produce more.
    I remember one time being on a conference call with one of the major powers in the company who looked at numbers and compared 2 employees, saying one was not producing nearly enough, and wanted to let them go. My response was that employee also travelled at a minimum of 30 to 40 minutes between locates due to the immense size of their area and the locates being spread out. I explained that I would be happy to change the grids to make the area smaller, and have another locator drop in production to fill that other void.
    The response was we aren't changing the grids, so they need to do more.
    It really was impossible for them to do any more tickets in the area, so I would give some road grading tickets to them to help them out once in a while.

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