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Thread: New USIC Trucks

  1. #16
    Member flagsrme's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    Quote Originally Posted by sling'n paint View Post
    all of our tacomas are 4 cylinders...used to have 6 before we switched to Toyotas.


    Curious as well if they come setup with GPS tracking. They keep telling us that its coming but not sure when. They stopped tracking via phone a while back due to cost..$20 a phone if I recall. Now they're switch from Nextel to Verizon..not sure if Verizon has tracking ability.
    USIC put gps in our trucks last week during a team meet.

  2. #17
    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    Quote Originally Posted by flagsrme View Post
    USIC put gps in our trucks last week during a team meet.
    We can't get up to date locating equipment but we can afford GPS. How stupid of a move is this.
    I might not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was !


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  3. #18
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    Quote Originally Posted by sprayandpray View Post
    We can't get up to date locating equipment but we can afford GPS. How stupid of a move is this.
    It is a big sacrifice when you look at the cost of the unit and installation in each vehicle, the cost of spare units and maintenance and a monthly fee for each unit to be monitored. That is a big cut out of the pay checks of those that made the decision.

    Right?

  4. #19
    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    I've seen worse graphics for sure. You WILL notice a truck like that out in the field though, don't get caught using that to go pick up a pizza on Friday night!

  5. #20
    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    It is a big sacrifice when you look at the cost of the unit and installation in each vehicle, the cost of spare units and maintenance and a monthly fee for each unit to be monitored. That is a big cut out of the pay checks of those that made the decision.

    Right?
    Sure. And if anyone really believes that I have this slightly used bridge for sale !
    I might not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was !


    It's better to be Pissed Off than Pissed On or Stood On and Pissed Off Of !


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  6. #21
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator
    It is a big sacrifice when you look at the cost of the unit and installation in each vehicle, the cost of spare units and maintenance and a monthly fee for each unit to be monitored. That is a big cut out of the pay checks of those that made the decision.

    Right?


    Quote Originally Posted by sprayandpray View Post
    Sure. And if anyone really believes that I have this slightly used bridge for sale !
    People's ability to spend money is amazing.

    Instead of putting GPS devices in all the trucks activate the GPS in the cell phone, all modern cell phones have them. For a fee you can monitor the cell phone location in real time or create a report for a period of time. The fees vary from $6.00 to $10.00 per month per phone. I recall these fees being higher when I first looked at them a few years ago.

  7. #22
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    .
    Last edited by sling'n paint; March 5th, 2010 at 07:45 PM.

  8. #23
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    Quote Originally Posted by sling'n paint View Post
    $20 a phone is what it was costing our office and at the time the economy was starting to go down so they scrapped the gps via phone to save money. Guess now that things are picking back up for us they are looking into but like I said not sure how long it'll be before we see them.
    That $20 a month price matches what I remember from years ago.

    Since then there are more firms offering this and competition has lowered the price.
    This service is available from third party firms so you need not contract with your phone provider.

    I consider putting GPS on every employee 24/7 a waste and counter productive.

    I think it is a good idea for putting on suspect employees, gets the job done and saves thousands or tens of thousands of dollars a year. On a really large nationwide firm maybe a million dollars a yer.

    In addition to putting on suspect employees this practice must also be periodically done on non suspect employees. If by chance all the suspect employees fired for doing things they should not be doing are by chance of the same ethnic, religious or racial group you could face a discrimination lawsuit. To avoid this even your most trusted employees need to be occasionally monitored just like random and periodic drug tests. This gets the job done and does so at a fraction of the cost.

    Productivity can be negatively affected by such invasive supervisory methods as 24/7 gps tracking.

    First there is morale, a locator is above all responsible to the lives and safety of the people working on their marks and the people near the excavations. They are responsible for thousands of dollars of client utilities and sometimes up to a million dollars. Then they are, in their opinion, treated as they cannot be trusted to do their job. Employees act like they are treated, do not treat them like respected and capable employees and they will not produce like one. Worse yet the more explanation /justification you give them for this action the more resentful they become.

    Next the 24/7 eyes looking over their shoulder produces fear. Fear that months from now someone will call them in and say "look, you were not on this job long enough to have done what your paperwork shows. You have been cheating the firm."

    I have spoken with those who have gps tracking and for the most part their productivity is down. Their employer may not realize how much down but the locators knows better than anyone. For instance a locator does a job and one hour later a second ticket comes in for that site. The site was clear and no marks needed but if the locator clears the ticket from a different location someone can come back next month and fire them. So the ticket sits there until they go back, usually the next day. They arrive on site and since their laptop has a keyboard logger they call up all the drawings and wait a few minutes to make it look like they walked the site.

    It is also not unusual to get a ticket on a job where there was a ticket completed the day before for another contractor. This is common on construction sites, especially housing developments. One day you get a ticket to put in gas and at the end of the day or an hour or so after leaving the site you get a TV mains ticket. So the locator comes back the next day and sees that all the marks and flags are still in place. But since the gps shows their arrived and departure time they site their for a half hour reading or taking on their private cell phone. Then they do the paperwork and go to the next job. If they went in and out in three minutes someone could comeback and question their work or just outright fire them.

    Those things I have used as example above are actually happening with the locators I have spoken with. They have no choice because if they did otherwise someone can fire them. These are responsible and capable locators, good employees. They are forced to act like irresponsible , bad employees or their jobs are in jeopardy.
    In fact many save those jobs for overtime so they get good money and easy work.


    I think gps tracking has a good and usable place in managing employees but used incorrectly is counterproductive.

  9. #24
    Member animal's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    Sometimes I’m just amazed of what comes out of post what’s wrong with
    Previous marks still good
    Reference previous ticket

  10. #25
    Senior Member big boots mcghee's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    I have spoken with those who have gps tracking and for the most part their productivity is down. Their employer may not realize how much down but the locators knows better than anyone. For instance a locator does a job and one hour later a second ticket comes in for that site. The site was clear and no marks needed but if the locator clears the ticket from a different location someone can come back next month and fire them. So the ticket sits there until they go back, usually the next day. They arrive on site and since their laptop has a keyboard logger they call up all the drawings and wait a few minutes to make it look like they walked the site.

    It is also not unusual to get a ticket on a job where there was a ticket completed the day before for another contractor. This is common on construction sites, especially housing developments. One day you get a ticket to put in gas and at the end of the day or an hour or so after leaving the site you get a TV mains ticket. So the locator comes back the next day and sees that all the marks and flags are still in place. But since the gps shows their arrived and departure time they site their for a half hour reading or taking on their private cell phone. Then they do the paperwork and go to the next job. If they went in and out in three minutes someone could comeback and question their work or just outright fire them.

    Those things I have used as example above are actually happening with the locators I have spoken with. They have no choice because if they did otherwise someone can fire them. These are responsible and capable locators, good employees. They are forced to act like irresponsible , bad employees or their jobs are in jeopardy.
    In fact many save those jobs for overtime so they get good money and easy work.
    Detailed notes can be a beautiful thing. No one would get in trouble for putting "Refer to dig number 12345" or "Site just located yesterday, marks still present" on their newer tickets, and as long as they revisited the site to confirm things were still marked and had the photos/documentation to prove it you could easily justify spending only a few minutes on a job that would normally take much longer. GPS could easily show you revisited the site as well, even if it was just for a few minutes.

    And I agree on having GPS for those that want to cheat the company out of money, as well as cheat their respective teams out of someone they can count on, but it shouldn't be the rule. It should be the exception. If you have suspicions that someone isn't being truthful then you should audit them, ride with them, and, ultimately, fire up the GPS and start comparing notes.

    The problem is that too many people in management don't do the necessary homework to flush the cheaters out. They may have their suspicions about a certain employee, and may do a little investigative work to try and prove that employee is stealing, but they don't see it all the way through. They may audit a couple of jobs, maybe have a conversation with and/or ride along with the suspected employee, but typically they end up complacent with their findings and let things go, or simply forget about them. GPS will just give them an opportunity to do things they way they prefer to - sitting on their butts.
    My boots may be red but I'm no clown.

  11. #26
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    Quote Originally Posted by animal View Post
    Sometimes Iím just amazed of what comes out of post whatís wrong with
    Previous marks still good
    Reference previous ticket
    Because this can still get the locator in trouble, even fired.

    Some managers order a full hook up and remarking of all locates even if the old marks survived. They think that if you made a mistake the first time you will find it the second time. Mostly you will just repeat your mistake and the marks stay the same. For that matter you will probably get in trouble unless you were told you can write up the way you suggested.

    I do not have a problem doing the way you suggested but many locate firms will now that you can make those entry's on you laptop. Now many, if not most all, of these software packages allow the client company to see the results of the locate tickets in real time. You can expect someone there to object becasue they just paid full price to have it marked and you did not remark it.

    With all these different people looking directly over the locator's shoulder with gps and records access one of those people will inevitably find a reason to complain. They find reason to complain if for no other reason that they think it is their job to find a reason to complain.

    I am job result oriented. As long as the employee is capable of doing the job within safety needs and successfully completes their work I do not care which hand they hold the paper clip in. (I actually had one supervisor reprimand me for how I put the paper clips onto the my own notes.)

  12. #27
    Member Locateforlife's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    This is starting to sound like those that have something to hide are getting worried. A GOOD Technician has nothing to worry about. The best way to improve production......... KEEP CHATTER TO A MINIMUN. In my 13 years that is what seems to be what slows manay people down. Talking their way out of locates is not the way to prevent a damage. Spend the time to do it right and then IF there is a damage there is alot less time wasted doing invetigations.

    GPS is common in alot of industries. BIG DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Besides this thread is about the new USIC trucks not GPS. Lets get back on the look of the trucks.
    GOD BLESS THE USA & the Damage Prevention Techs that are the heartbeat of the Utility industry.[/COLOR][/COLOR][/FONT]
    OPINIONS ARE LIKE A-HOLES EVERYONE HAS ONE.

  13. #28
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    Wow... Looks like Mall security vehicles! haha
    At least you have a truck though!!

  14. #29
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    I think It looks like a Mall Security Truck! haha
    at least you have a company vehicle! (mine looks better :-p)

  15. #30
    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: New USIC Trucks

    Pro Loc is correct. Our contracts require a site visit on every ticket, no matter the circumstances. Currently our Sup allows us to clear tickets without the visit if we just located the same address earlier that day. However, anyone with any sense will now go back to that address and re-take pictures.

    There is a plan currently being talked up between trusted locators that will show management how worthless their GPS scheme is going to be. Stay tuned.
    I might not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was !


    It's better to be Pissed Off than Pissed On or Stood On and Pissed Off Of !


    The views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not reflect the views of my employer. or my wife , if that matters.

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