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Thread: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

  1. #16
    TMO
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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    i like the explorer tablets we have ,very fast, and as far as the gps , e sketches , ect.. , its not that big of an issue for me . bottom line is , a guy could have a cut a week as long as he's doing all the things the company has set in place, he still has a job . tomorrow is my first day off in 6 weeks, and todays hours total me out at 76.54 hrs. Total tkts run per hour for our group hovers around 2-2.5 , which is almost half of what it used to be before the new documentation was introduced. But , it has driven the shop to hire alot more techs per area , so what we are suffering through right now is caused by poor planning by the shop - ie- they just wanted to see the effects on production before they made any increase to the workforce. we have 20-24 traniees in claases every 4 weeks lately.

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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    Quote Originally Posted by TMO View Post
    i like the explorer tablets we have ,very fast, and as far as the gps , e sketches , ect.. , its not that big of an issue for me . bottom line is , a guy could have a cut a week as long as he's doing all the things the company has set in place, he still has a job . tomorrow is my first day off in 6 weeks, and todays hours total me out at 76.54 hrs. Total tkts run per hour for our group hovers around 2-2.5 , which is almost half of what it used to be before the new documentation was introduced. But , it has driven the shop to hire alot more techs per area , so what we are suffering through right now is caused by poor planning by the shop - ie- they just wanted to see the effects on production before they made any increase to the workforce. we have 20-24 traniees in claases every 4 weeks lately.
    In so many way what you describe is bad for the locator.

    When a company cuts it’s workers productivity almost in half, has to double it’s workforce and double it’s equipment (locating equipment, trucks, phones, etc.) overhead they produce a financially unstable company. This is because doubling overhead does not result in the client utility companies doubling what they pay per ticket and there is an immediate loss of profit.

    With a locator they have to do X number of tickets in each 8 hour workday to break even, anything less and the company looses money and cannot stay in operation. With a locate firm the experienced locator who can do more than X number of tickets is what keeps the company out of the red and in operation. As the number of tickets above X done a day increases the percentage of profit per employee increases and profit suddenly soars.

    It feels great to not have to worry about productivity because the electronics / gps documents that you followed the overly tight rules so the boss cannot complain to you. Feels great making a lot of overtime because the new equipment has reduced productivity. But this is NOT how a firm makes money and one day expect for everyone to come into the shop and turn in the trucks because the firm just went out of business.

    The warning signs are sudden pay and benefits cuts, paychecks being issued late and finally paychecks bouncing.

    Making a lot of overtime money today does us no good if the company goes out of business tomorrow. Having to do half the amount of work today does us no good if the company has to double overhead and goes out of business tomorrow.

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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    Quote Originally Posted by utilicrap View Post
    I think professional sums it up just about right. Once upon a time issues like this should have and would have been handled on a case by case basis. I have never worked somewhere where they had such little trust in the employees.

    I'm also interested in these tablets. I'm pretty skeptical that they would be any more practical than hour current machines. I'm still not too sure why we aren't just taking photos of locates.

    I always assumed that we had GPS on our vehicles since I began.

    For what its worth-- I have never seen non disclosure forms in our area.
    Well you can expect to get those non-disclosure forms now, you can bet somebody from corporate or Dycom is reading these forums.

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    TMO
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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    The warning signs i'm keeping an eye out for is for the 'suckers', the gap managment positions created that suck money from the company instead of earn money for the company and are easily done away with and thier duties rolled over onto another more vital position , to be cut , then the truck decal get changed . I think it smuch more likely to get bought than to flat out fold up . Not good either way . one thing is for sure , 2010 is going to be the year that these changes by corporate get tested . I dont think its make or break yet , but it wil be .... Another more pressing concern for me , is when summer is over and we are potentialy overstaffed , am i going to be starving for hours for the winter? We'll see.

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    Senior Member sprayandpray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    Well you can expect to get those non-disclosure forms now, you can bet somebody from corporate or Dycom is reading these forums.
    Here in Texas, non-disclosure agreements are not enforceable unless the co. pays you the amount of $ you would lose if you couldn't work at your chosen profession for a given amount of time.
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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    Quote Originally Posted by TMO View Post
    The warning signs i'm keeping an eye out for is for the 'suckers', the gap managment positions created that suck money from the company instead of earn money for the company and are easily done away with and thier duties rolled over onto another more vital position , to be cut , then the truck decal get changed . I think it smuch more likely to get bought than to flat out fold up . Not good either way . one thing is for sure , 2010 is going to be the year that these changes by corporate get tested . I dont think its make or break yet , but it wil be .... Another more pressing concern for me , is when summer is over and we are potentialy overstaffed , am i going to be starving for hours for the winter? We'll see.
    If it comes to the point of collapse / bankruptcy the decision would likely by made at the majority stockholder level, Dycom. Dycom would have to decide if it was worth pumping any more money into.

    Selling Utiliquest presents a problem, it is too big. Another holding company would likely have to buy the controlling interest in the firm. But by this time it would not be worth much money and an interested buyer would ahv eto be found. Who wants to buy a dying firm?

    It is too big for most locate firms to buy out and still not worth much money, they would buy it to get the remaining contracts.

    If there is a problem and preventing collapse is sought in a large firm like that expect to see sales of divisions of the firm. Like all the offices in some states or regions.

    I can tell you what one Utiliquest office did when they got more work load than locators. They went to a four hour workday five days a week. This way the employees could not claim unemployment. Locators either tried to hang onto the job or get work someplace else which I think was the goal.

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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    Quote Originally Posted by sprayandpray View Post
    Here in Texas, non-disclosure agreements are not enforceable unless the co. pays you the amount of $ you would lose if you couldn't work at your chosen profession for a given amount of time.
    Is that non disclosure or non competition you guys got? Sounds like a non-competition clause.

    I ask becasue my understanding of a nondisclosure agreement you agree not to divulge information the company has declared proprietary.

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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    2-2.5??????that is alot of production you guys must be generous
    Quote Originally Posted by TMO View Post
    i like the explorer tablets we have ,very fast, and as far as the gps , e sketches , ect.. , its not that big of an issue for me . bottom line is , a guy could have a cut a week as long as he's doing all the things the company has set in place, he still has a job . tomorrow is my first day off in 6 weeks, and todays hours total me out at 76.54 hrs. Total tkts run per hour for our group hovers around 2-2.5 , which is almost half of what it used to be before the new documentation was introduced. But , it has driven the shop to hire alot more techs per area , so what we are suffering through right now is caused by poor planning by the shop - ie- they just wanted to see the effects on production before they made any increase to the workforce. we have 20-24 traniees in claases every 4 weeks lately.

  9. #24
    TMO
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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    Quote Originally Posted by alamo View Post
    2-2.5??????that is alot of production you guys must be generous
    ? You lost me there.... I have days that are chocked full of clears and address's i work mulitple times , and a guy can break 4 per hr for a full 10 - 12 hr shift.

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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    Quote Originally Posted by TMO View Post
    ? You lost me there.... I have days that are chocked full of clears and address's i work mulitple times , and a guy can break 4 per hr for a full 10 - 12 hr shift.
    We used to do this, but with the emphasis on 'positive response' we still have to visit each clear site , even if we cleared it the day b/4. Have to have new pictures in case one of our flags fell over.
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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    Quote Originally Posted by sprayandpray View Post
    We used to do this, but with the emphasis on 'positive response' we still have to visit each clear site , even if we cleared it the day b/4. Have to have new pictures in case one of our flags fell over.
    That is the center of the problem, the requirements are that you are physically on the site. GPS tracking does not allow you to not go to the site that you found clear yesterday, you have to go again.

    If it was a site I marked yesterday on some other excavator’s ticket I always went back to see that my marks were still in place. If you go back and your marks are still in place you cannot just write it up and drive away. The company requires you to tone the utility every time and the GPS would record you not being on the site long enough to tone. So you either tone it again or sit and read a book until it is time to leave.


    With the smart stick one of the Utiliquest guys here wrote about each individual spray of paint will be GPS recorded along with time, date and amount of time you held the spray button down. So you will at least have to freshen your marks. You cannot freshen the marks on just one utility and call it done because the smart stick records the barcode number of the paint can and knows what color paint you are using so all utilities must be freshened.

    On technology alone this is a firm that is “improving” itself towards closed doors.

    Another problem some locators have mentioned is managers issuing orders to route the tickets based on the time they are called in. Do them in the order of oldest ticket first. So if they do a ticket and the house next door has a ticket they cannot do the next door ticket. They have to leave the site, do older tickets regardless of where they are and them come back to the house next door when it’s “it’s turn”.

    Those low production numbers are not due to those locators not caring or not doing their jobs, it is them following orders that if they disobey, and make the company money, they will be fired.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    hey PL, Some companies ( I have one in mind) used a non-disclosure agreement instead of a Non-compete because they were trying to fold the training you recieved by the company as "proprietary" information. And that if you left, you would take this information to other companies. Their theory behind this was that, Non-disclosure agreements had a better chance of sticking in court cases then the Non-compete forms. After all is said and done, and paying a lawyer 750bucks an hour, he stated it was a coin flip. I had just as much going for me, as did the company. He said with all likely hood it would probably be settled out of court if it were not for the distinct lack of money in my pocket.

    As for everything else.... spot on

    mke

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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    Quote Originally Posted by TMO View Post
    Total tkts run per hour for our group hovers around 2-2.5 , which is almost half of what it used to be before the new documentation was introduced.
    Just curious to see if you've noticed any significant change in the amount of damages. Has the additional documentation actually saved anything during claim settlement?

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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    hey PL, Some companies ( I have one in mind) used a non-disclosure agreement instead of a Non-compete because they were trying to fold the training you recieved by the company as "proprietary" information. And that if you left, you would take this information to other companies. Their theory behind this was that, Non-disclosure agreements had a better chance of sticking in court cases then the Non-compete forms. After all is said and done, and paying a lawyer 750bucks an hour, he stated it was a coin flip. I had just as much going for me, as did the company. He said with all likely hood it would probably be settled out of court if it were not for the distinct lack of money in my pocket.

    As for everything else.... spot on

    mke
    The thing about a non-disclosure agreement is that it is regards "proprietary information" which is:


    Information that is not public knowledge (such as test results or trade secrets), conveyed by a manufacturer to an external party due to its position in the procurement process. The recipient is generally duty bound to desist from making unauthorized use of the proprietary information.

    Training is centered on reading the utility drawings and operating the electronic locating equipment.

    The utility drawings are from the utility company so any “proprietary information” in them does not belong to the locate firm so they have no proprietary information rights.

    The training for the electronic locating equipment is based on the operation manuals from the manufacturer which again is not any proprietary information they have a right too.

    There was a famous case against a computer hacker who stole an operations manual from a phone company substation. It was charged that the book contained proprietary information and that information made the manual worth thousands of dollars making the theft a felony. The defense produced a book purchased for less than $20 from a tech book firm containing all the same information. Turns out the phone company wrote that book and made it available for sale so their subcontractors had to pay for the information rather than be supplied it. The court held that since the information was readily available to the public the phone company had not proprietary information rights to their manual. The felony charges got knocked down to petty theft and criminal trespass.

    They would do better with a non-competition agreement.

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    Default Re: Anyone work for Utiliquest? GPS and Tablets?

    The company I worked for did not base all of their training on the manual. There is alot of tricks you can do with a 810's transmitter. He thought that information was solely his. My lawyer and I felt that this didn't pertain to me, since I was not trained by him, or any of his employees. I was trained by the locator of the company that contracted us out.

    As my lawyer told me "anyone can sue anybody, for anything at anytime." he aslo followed that up with "the two types of people who win civil suits are people who have nothing to lose, and those who can throw money at any given situation." And he let me know that I had to think long and hard on how much money I wanted to waste, because the person on the other side was willing to throw more money then I had at the situation. The kicker is, after all that leagal wranglings, I still worked for the company for another 3 years.

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