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Thread: Ideas for improvement

  1. #61
    Senior Member underground quester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    Quote Originally Posted by sprayandpray View Post
    Have classes early in the year - it does us absolutely no good to have a bunch of Newbies hit the field in the middle of the busy season. No one has the time to work with them, they are immediately given unrealistic loads and end up so frustrated they leave. Hell, look at Craig Harrell's letter in another thread - His goal is 70% retention up to 1 year - WTF! How about 75% retention up to 5 years? They need to re-think they're entire work force philosophy and I don't think


    Spray:

    I absolutely agree with you on both points. It is extremely frustrating to rush over to help nubees when your plate is already full. An earlier start would give the nubees more growth time in the slower months. Additionally, an area I find lacking is that of hand's on time in the field during training rather than so much in classroom theory. Hell, get them out, working the equipment immediately. So after 4, 5 or 6 weeks they have 10's of hours hands on experience, get them doing minor field repairs like fixing leads, changing batteries, checking computer equipment, etc. Teach them to be independent rather than dependent. I have lost count the number of times nubees have phoned me for new batteries for their equipment. Each time I tell them, "in the morning, get extra batteries and keep them on board". Few do.

    I also force nubees to take ORGANIZED notes and ask them to keep the notes with them. If they do, then I answer questions a second time. If they do not, I remind them, that they were supposed to write it down and keep it with them. Some new hires I find are lacking organization AND lacking motivation to get organized as long as others keep answering their questions.
    I did say SOME nubees - BUT NOT ALL NUBEES.

    But these issues go back to interviewing, hiring and training - none of which we control.
    Success is a journey, not a destination...

  2. #62
    Senior Member LadyLeatherneck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    Hey Spray! You are 100% right about nobody caring about what we have to say! That is the way it always has been! But just in case (I have a small bit of optimism here), why don't we really give this a shot? I know it will probably fall on deaf ears, but what if just one person of importance IS listening and we COULD make a real difference? I would LOVE to hear what you have to say, even if it doesn't make a difference, just for my own appeasement. I want to know what you think! opcornsmile:

    Oh, and by the way, give me back my reputation points guys!
    "There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."

    - General William Thornson, U.S. Army

  3. #63
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    Quote Originally Posted by PowerSweep View Post
    Once again, you offer problems, but no solutions.
    This thread is "Ideas for improvement"
    How do we fix the staffing problem? I can say this much... we hired A LOT of people in Illinois this year, but we lost A LOT of people.
    Give us ideas on how to fix that problem.... if we can't come up with ways to fix it, how do we expect those above us to do it? We are the ones out here everyday, you would think we would have a ton of ideas, but I just keep seeing everyone bitching about the problems without offering solutions.

    Second, those evaluations are not "Brainstorming teams" those are just feedback surveys to indicate opportunities for improvement. A supervisor must take it upon themselves to address his/her weaknesses as indicated by the survey. If you look at ideas that were posted before you, you might find an idea on how to improve the evaluation process.

    I see you have a problem with the bonus (bone-us) program, but once again.... no ideas for improvement. Change doesn't come by bitching alone. Change comes by providing the necessary people with a direction other than the status quo.

    When you bitch and expect change, it is like assuming that managers above you have thought of every idea & just haven't done anything yet. When you offer viable ideas, you are providing alternatives to the status quo that may not have been thought of previously. After you have offered ideas and nothing changes, you can then ask why we have not tried these ideas & you can expect that a reply is given to you.
    I would agree with powersweep that "bitching" will not render solutions, but you need to really listen to the bitching because that bitching is a symptom of the disease that is utility locating. The bitching is the cough caused by too many cigarettes, stop the smoking the cough goes away. I think in order to fix the problem of turnover, which leads to understaffing. There needs to be an understanding of why people leave (symptom), and why people are so disgruntled, and allways seeking a way out of this industry. I've never worked in an industry that has the volumn of disgruntled, angry employees as I have in this industry. I know of not one individual that works for my company that is not absolutly beaten down, burned out, over stressed, and fed up. This is not bitching, I am merely trying to point out some of the reasons you-the contract locating industry-cannot hire, and retain quality people. It is a catch 22 you cant keep the people required to manage areas, and you cant manage the areas without the required number of people. Reading some of the previous post the question was asked or speculation was made about what it takes to do this job, and how to best screen potential hires by a line of questioning (interview) to determine apptitude. I believe almost anybody can do this job if given the proper tools, support, and a work load befitting one indivual ,and not 3 or 4. So the evaluation process is not faulty, but the roles you are trying to fill. I would say a good place to start is to find a way to drastically reduce workloads. Simply answer the question "how can we as ABC locating service reduce workloads to a truely manageable level" and I dont mean a level that appears appropriate based on SIX-SIGMA models. I mean levels where guys can work 45, or 50 hours a week, and go home knowing they did a good honest days work, and covered all their bases.
    So that is my # 1 solution, just answer the question posed above throwing out all preconcieved ideas, traditions, and greed of this industry.

  4. #64
    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    Very nicely put Gryphon. I don't have the answer, but enjoyed reading your well thought out post.
    There is a fine line between "Hobby" and "Mental Illness."
    "America isn't free, in America you are free to follow the rules." -Anthony Cumia


  5. #65
    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    The problem lies with the contracts. When you (the contract locating company) are making $6.00 on a power locate ticket, no matter if it is for a mailbox or for a mile long project, YOU can not make money. This eats into the locators production and then I am told they are not meeting production? Well no S@^t. There #'s are going to be low. When the whole contract is written like that and then you are fined for tickets going past their due date the company is going to lose money. THIS IS HAPPENING NOW. That company in that district will lose money everyday.

    You have too quit lowballing bids if you plan to make money. You pay a fair wage, now make the work fair. Hire the amount of workers needed and quit killing your current workers. This has got to stop. Nothing will ever get better until this company learns that. This company is now a for profit and not a tax write off.


    I will get off my soapbox now.


  6. #66
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    Quote Originally Posted by UULC View Post
    The problem lies with the contracts. When you (the contract locating company) are making $6.00 on a power locate ticket, no matter if it is for a mailbox or for a mile long project, YOU can not make money. This eats into the locators production and then I am told they are not meeting production? Well no S@^t. There #'s are going to be low. When the whole contract is written like that and then you are fined for tickets going past their due date the company is going to lose money. THIS IS HAPPENING NOW. That company in that district will lose money everyday.

    You have too quit lowballing bids if you plan to make money. You pay a fair wage, now make the work fair. Hire the amount of workers needed and quit killing your current workers. This has got to stop. Nothing will ever get better until this company learns that. This company is now a for profit and not a tax write off.

    I will get off my soapbox now.

    This is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Thanks UULC.

    UULC is pissed, and would probably leap at the chance for another job if one was available for adequete pay. This post sounds like bitching, but he is stating what he needs in order to make him happy "quit killing your current workers" in other words reduce the workload to manageable levels or run the risk of losing UULC to some other industry. This is the crux of the problem with contract locating. Why not find out what is motivating people to leave a job with seemingly great perks, freedom, pay. I mean the benefit of having a company truck is awesome right? So why would so many want to give that up? unless there was some other much more powerful reason to do so. I would say that, that very powerful reason is the undue, and un-nessasary stress placed on people to perform under situations and circumstances that they know going into they cannot win. Say you have two football teams, team one is allowed to field the regular, and recommended number of players, the number of players that have allways been the "accepted" number. Team two gets to put 3 times as many players on the field. Which team is going to consistently get the living snot kicked out of them, and how long do you think that players on team one are going to stick around to continue to lose, and to continue to get the snot kicked out of them? Oh team one will probably find some way to cheat the system and win a game occasionally, but than the penalties will begin to play a factor and the cheaters will get fired for cheating to win the game. Oh I forgot to mention, everytime team one loses they are intimidated and threatened with the lose of their position, and livelyhood, and yelled at because they did not get the total number of yards they were suppose to.

  7. #67
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    To All:

    I WAS a supervisor with this certian company. I have since parted ways under very good terms. This is a problem I personally know about and this is happening now. A locator with this company quit last thursday because he would not put up with the crap being dished out. I just wanted to clear this up. I was not a locator when I left and I was probally one of the very few who would stand up and be the punching bag for the locator.

  8. #68
    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    Whoa!!! Whoa!!! Whoa!!!

    So what your saying is you would ve stood up for this guy but you didnt in his hour of darkness???

    I think this famous book was written many years ago that made a point in effect to the same thing...

    I think the offeding persons name was PETER...

    Who denied looking out for soemone else also....

    This famous book was written to make a point to others in the future to be strong and make that stand...

    But do to your weakness of the spirit you are attempting some kind of confession to the forum to cleanse yourself of the guilt and remorse
    I spose???

    Well fellow members we must all consider these character defects of UULC, and take this into account at his flogging...


    Last edited by USIC1; July 8th, 2008 at 07:27 PM.

  9. #69
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    USIC1:

    Whoa!!! Whoa!!! Whoa!!!

    So what your saying is you would ve stood up for this guy but you didn't in his hour of darkness???

    I was not employed with this company last week. I know this because I stay in contact with all the locators on my old crew. He had a new supervisor and was harassed. He just decided to leave. I would have stood up for him if I was there. He was a good and valuable employee.

  10. #70
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    When you (the contract locating company) are making $6.00 on a power locate ticket, no matter if it is for a mailbox or for a mile long project, YOU can not make money.
    I told a surveying outfit something similar when I was with SMP. They had called in a planning ticket for about 8 miles of r-o-w. I told him that ATT pays the same whether it takes 5 minutes or 5 hours. "We don't make money on tickets like this", I told him. Of course, the idiot just gave me a blank stare like I wasn't there.

    Going back to working with newbies, they SHOULD be hired on during the slow period of the winter months. And they SHOULD be out locating and their mentors SHOULD be working with them. LET THEM LOCATE! Our DM's answer was to RIF the newbies. HOW THE H*LL ELSE ARE THEY SUPPOSED LEARN THEIR JOB?!?

  11. #71
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    newbies will always come and go....i'm starting to think there is nothing at all that can be done to retain them......my opinion

  12. #72
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    I have this idea.... may not make everyone's working lives better, but may help everyone learn from the mistakes of others.

    Whenever there is an "at fault" damage, many times the responsible locator doesn't even know it. Other times, the responsible locator is the only technician that knows about it.
    I say that any time managment determines a damage to be the result of failure to perform the locate correctly the locator should be brought back to the sceen within 24 hours.
    I also think that the methods the locator took to perform the locate & the proper way to do the locate should be recorded on to a DVD and the teams in the area should be shown this DVD to help improve the skill sets of the teams in the area. This is a much better way to learn from the mistakes of others - VS - reading an email or piece of paper about it.

    I have a very detailed idea on how to do this, but figured you guys would get the idea.
    Does anybody think there is any value in doing this?

  13. #73
    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    My take is management wants the train (the locator) to roll on "priority numero uno"...

    The company is less concerned about the train wreck unless it is substantial (costly enough to recreate the event as you suggest)...But time is money so that discounts benefitting from sharing recreations of low profile damages that steals time...

    For the most part its about business- the locating arena like most other operations you better catch on quick, and not hinder the money end of the operation with non productive events, keep those tracks lubed and get out of the way of the money train...

    A perfect example is the safety stuff - How it s stressed that your welfare is the companys greatest concern which is true to the extent you may cost the company by creating liability...
    On the other hand if our health was truly the companys concern would nt the insurance be more affordable to use???

    JMHPerspective
    Last edited by USIC1; July 20th, 2008 at 12:39 PM.

  14. #74
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    Quote Originally Posted by PowerSweep View Post
    I have this idea.... may not make everyone's working lives better, but may help everyone learn from the mistakes of others.

    Whenever there is an "at fault" damage, many times the responsible locator doesn't even know it. Other times, the responsible locator is the only technician that knows about it.
    I say that any time managment determines a damage to be the result of failure to perform the locate correctly the locator should be brought back to the sceen within 24 hours.
    I also think that the methods the locator took to perform the locate & the proper way to do the locate should be recorded on to a DVD and the teams in the area should be shown this DVD to help improve the skill sets of the teams in the area. This is a much better way to learn from the mistakes of others - VS - reading an email or piece of paper about it.

    I have a very detailed idea on how to do this, but figured you guys would get the idea.
    Does anybody think there is any value in doing this?

    i think personally that is a great idea!!! in the end it is either being to lazy to do the job right or lack of experience......all locaters exp. and inexp. can learn something new from damages... good point dude well taken....
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

  15. #75
    Senior Member GODFATHER's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ideas for improvement

    Ok, after reading this whole thread Im amazed at one thing. No one has mentioned "Union" I know that at the slightest mention of this word we are fired and if anyone tries to get one going that they will pull out of that state (supposidly) I for one think it would be a way that the locator would have a voice in what is going on and someone to back them up. With how large the locate industry is im suprised that one of these union giants havent jumped on this subject. We all know for a fact that all locators are mistreated to the utmost power. Managment makes empty promises all year round and always will and until we as the "Locators" can get a voice in on their B.S. then this will always happen until the end of time. That is just my idea I know it will never happen and I will probably get Bashed for the idea but you know its in the back of all of your heads!!!!
    C.Y.A. like everyone is out to screw you and ya will be fine!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by big boots mcghee View Post
    Like I said, welcome to the world's largest locating company, one that's full of piss poor communication, dogshit planning, and mistreated slaves, err, employees.

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