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Thread: USIC Email

  1. #1
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default USIC Email

    I came across the year-end email from USIC. Its a pretty positive email


    Dear USIC Colleagues,

    It’s with great pride in you and in our company that I write this year-end message to you.

    Like most companies, USIC entered 2009 in the face of a scary economic environment. You’ll recall our goals all year have been to provide the best quality locating service in the industry for our customers, protect as many jobs as possible while we survived the deepest recession of our generation. We also wanted to exit the recession stronger than we entered it to ensure that USIC would have a competitive advantage in 2010. Much like in racing, the economic growth years are the straight-aways where powerful companies can excel by sheer force of size, but recessions are like curves on the race track where nimble companies with the best strategies willing to take chances can pass other competitors and build market share. In 2009 we managed our resources well and we are exiting the curve a stronger company than we entered.

    Together, we successfully accomplished these goals by proactively controlling our own destiny. USIC did not lay-off employees or mandate pay cuts as many, many companies had to do to cope with the bad economy. They likely will exit the recession smaller, weaker and with less speed for the growth years ahead of us.

    First and foremost, we took good care of our customers. While we still were responsible for far too many high profile damages this year (579 through November, an average of 52 per month or 2.5 each day), we have improved our quality substantially this year. Our technicians have improved our quality index 34% this year to 1 damage in 3,238 locates (compared to 1 in 2,453 last year). We’ve paid out $13 million in damage expenses to our customers so far this year (an enormous amount of money, equating to almost $4,000 per employee). This is real progress, and I know over time we can do better. For example, our top three Districts in terms of Quality have quality ratios which range between 1:8,400 and 1:10,000. Therefore, all other Districts have room to improve to achieve best in class quality.

    Speaking of customers, USIC like most companies this year lost some customers due to the economy. Through hard work though, we’ve added more new customers than we’ve lost this year. You may have been involved with or heard that we lost three large customers this year—this is true, and we lost these customers to competitors that bid much lower than our pricing to buy the business. It is essential that USIC not give away its quality by lowering our operating standards to the level of our competitors—this would not be good business in the long-run. It has been my experience that customers that have enjoyed USIC’s high quality for years eventually come back after living with the pain of a lower-priced, lower-quality competitor. In fact, one of the customers we lost this past summer has asked USIC to take back half the work, and we will do so, starting in February 2010 at a fair price.

    Ticket volumes across our 20-states have been down 6% in 2009 compared with 2008. While this has been an economic reality of the recession, all of you have worked hard to contain costs, and do your jobs effectively. Your hard work in 2009 will pay off in 2010.

    It’s still too early to tell how quickly the economy will recover next year (economic experts have varied opinions on that subject). However, it is our view that the construction industry bottomed-out in 2009 and that ticket volumes should increase a modest 2% next year. Infrastructure work (roads, bridges, utility plants, etc.) should remain strong next year with the Federal Stimulus Package continuing to drive that work. We believe that our residential work will start to increase by mid-2010; yet, on the other hand, we expect that commercial building construction (offices, malls, etc) will probably continue to decline in 2010.

    Since the economy is not yet out of the woods, USIC needs to continue to run our business carefully by gradually restoring our normal business practices. As first steps in rewarding our employees for your hard work in 2009, I am pleased to announce the following:

    First, USIC will provide the maximum matching contribution of 50% of the first 6% of contributions for those employees participating in our 2009 401K Savings Plan and this matching contribution to you will appear on your first quarter statement. For those of you that did not participate in 2009, I urge you to enroll in USIC’s 401K Savings Plan for 2010 as this is a great benefit for you.

    Secondly, as a reward for good 2009 performance we will be reinstating pay increases for eligible technicians, supervisors and support staff early in 2010. Rather than waiting for your service date to review your performance, all eligible employees (based on performance) will receive their pay raises with an effective date of January 8, 2010.

    The financial resources necessary to fund the cost of these pay increases has been funded by the excellent work we did together in 2009.

    Looking forward to next year, USIC must continue to improve the quality of the locating services we provide to our customers—both in damage prevention and the timeliness of our locating. Providing customers the best quality product in the industry is by far the superior business strategy for USIC and, over time, this strategy will prevail and we will continue to add well-priced and long-standing customer contracts. For our USIC employees, providing a superior quality product to our customers means job security for you for the long-term.

    As 2009 draws to a close, I want to thank all of you for your contribution and your dedication this year, which was a very difficult year for everyone. Collectively we improved our hiring, improved our training, increased the number of our tenured locators, we reduced out of pocket overhead spending and we reduced most of our variable locating costs as well. We have invested in over 600 new trucks for 2010, we spent almost $4 million for new locating equipment, new laptops for locators and a variety of equipment and software to support Mobile Dispatch and our other centralized systems. Decreasing damages and saving the costs associated with them allowed us to invest in these critical business assets. In 2009 we also began rebranding our Company USIC, which is synonymous with high quality, which is resonating with our customers.

    Taken as a whole, USIC performed VERY well in the curve of the race track. We got lean, we maintained our speed of change to prepare for the changing environment ahead, we invested to build the business for the future, we have more tenured technicians to undertake the increasing work load we expect to see in the straight-aways, the economic growth period that is bound to be ahead.

    Please spend some quality time with your families and enjoy the holiday season, remaining thankful for the many benefits we enjoy in America.

    Best Regards,
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Default Re: USIC Email

    Nice read....surprising that its here before it hit the emails of the employees

  3. #3
    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Email

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post

    First, USIC will provide the maximum matching contribution of 50% of the first 6% of contributions for those employees participating in our 2009 401K Savings Plan and this matching contribution to you will appear on your first quarter statement.

    Vvvvvaaavvvoooommm!!! MAXXED!!! CHA-CHING!!!


    You hear that Lostit ???



  4. #4
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Email

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    I came across the year-end email from USIC. Its a pretty positive emial

    <SNIP>

    Dear USIC Colleagues,

    It’s with great pride in you and in our company that I write this year-end message to you.


    First and foremost, we took good care of our customers. While we still were responsible for far too many high profile damages this year (579 through November, an average of 52 per month or 2.5 each day), we have improved our quality substantially this year. Our technicians have improved our quality index 34% this year to 1 damage in 3,238 locates (compared to 1 in 2,453 last year). We’ve paid out $13 million in damage expenses to our customers so far this year (an enormous amount of money, equating to almost $4,000 per employee). This is real progress, and I know over time we can do better. For example, our top three Districts in terms of Quality have quality ratios which range between 1:8,400 and 1:10,000. Therefore, all other Districts have room to improve to achieve best in class quality.

    Speaking of customers, USIC like most companies this year lost some customers due to the economy. Through hard work though, we’ve added more new customers than we’ve lost this year. You may have been involved with or heard that we lost three large customers this year—this is true, and we lost these customers to competitors that bid much lower than our pricing to buy the business.

    <SNIP>

    Best Regards,
    There is a way to deal with low ball bidders but it does have hazards.

    To protect your firm from low ball bidders requires preparation the first of which is to document all damages on jobs you have located. Documentation is of all damages from at fault to a contractor digging without a ticket.

    You need to simultaneously start a database of all damages by locators of other firms.

    Seems like almost every damage generates an emergency ticket or a call to remark a ticket. Whenever a ticket is completed where there is a damage has occurred a entry filed need be created. You need to note whose utility got damaged and a followup to determine which firm did the locate. If at all possible document who was at fault especially if the competing firm messed up.

    Some states require a reporting of damage to call before you dig authority for every damage with a determination of who is at fault. See if you can get copies of these reports under their being public records.

    Now your firm has been underbid by a firm that has a much poorer record for at fault damages. The way to affect all future contract bids nationwide, for all locate firms, is to pierce a corporate shield.

    What is needed is a damage to a utility where the locate firm is at fault and where significant property damage, injury or death resulted. The most likely utility would be gas followed by electric. Turn over your data showing that your firm lost the contract to that firm with a seriously dangerous record for not doing a safe job due to the other firm low balling the bid to the lawyers representing the injured party.

    What this does is place legal responsibility on the client which is where it belongs. The call before you dig laws requires the owners of the utilities to correctly mark their underground utilities. The locate firms are only subcontracts of the marking, the laws require the utility owners to get utilities correctly marked. The purpose of these laws is to insure that the public is protected against hazard, not that the utility owners pay the least amount of money to have the service performed.

    If an attorney can show to a jury that the utiltiy owner chose a firm with a higher damage rate due to simply paying out less money then that action is in conflict with the safety laws that require them to have the utilities marked. Jury sympathy lies with the injured person rather than a business. In such a case the attorneys of the injured would press for higher punitive damages, perhaps millions more, against the utility owner.

    If the corporate shield between the utility owners and the locate company is pierced in this way it would affect every utility operator and locate firm in the nation. It would make accepting the low ball bid in favor of a locate firm that has a higher damage rate unfavorable and may eliminate it.

    All of us can see some negative aspects for the company that first does this. One is that they utility companies may be wary of awarding contracts to that firm. My take is that you do not have the contract anyway so there is nothing too lose.

    Any company that does this had better keep their own at fault damage rate low because the other locate firms will use that poor damage rate to take any existing contract away.

  5. #5
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Email

    to the person that wrote this letter.......THANK YOU!!!! p.s. i dont even work for your company. ......what a perfect explanation of life and business and mostly honor and respect!!!!! I would love to work for this company!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Senior Member beyond help's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Email

    Quote Originally Posted by yahoo View Post
    to the person that wrote this letter.......THANK YOU!!!! p.s. i dont even work for your company. ......what a perfect explanation of life and business and mostly honor and respect!!!!! I would love to work for this company!
    Came from the man himself.
    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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dave72's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Email

    Quote Originally Posted by USIC1 View Post
    Vvvvvaaavvvoooommm!!! MAXXED!!! CHA-CHING!!!
    Is that a good thing ? I'm not familiar with 401k stuff, we dont have that here. Our retirement package is fully matched with user contributions (1:1), is a separately held entity (so we dont get the shaft like the GM guys etc).. but its still an investment vehicle at the core. The guys that retire say they take home the same cash as when they were working.
    (May you live in interesting times)

  8. #8
    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Email

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    It’s still too early to tell how quickly the economy will recover next year (economic experts have varied opinions on that subject). Infrastructure work (roads, bridges, utility plants, etc.) should remain strong with the Federal Stimulus Package continuing to drive that work.

    Remaining thankful for the many benefits we enjoy in America.

    Best Regards,
    How the Federal Stimulus Package Works:

    It's a slow day in the small town of Pumphandle and the streets are deserted. Times are tough. Everybody is in debt and everybody is living on credit.

    A tourist visiting the area drives through town and stops at the motel. The visitor lays a $100 bill on the desk telling the motel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night. As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

    The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer.

    The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his feed bill to his supplier; the Co-op.

    The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute who has also been facing hard times. The "working girl" has had to offer her "services" on credit.


    The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.

    (Almost done... keep reading)

    The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves.

    No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town now thinks that they are out of debt and there is a false atmosphere of optimism and glee.

    And that is how a "stimulus package" works!

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

  9. #9
    Member PokerAdam's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Email

    This is an e-mail from the beginning of 2010. Do you have anything from more current years? Just wondering if they were able to continue the trends.

  10. #10
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Email

    Nothing at the moment. Maybe we can get somebody to compare how things are today to what they were like at the time of the letter.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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