The Value of Training

Written by Randy Noland - Managing Editor/Cofounder, MachineControlOnline.com and
Paul F. Hahn - Associate Editor, MachineControlOnline.com

Would you hire a machinist who wasn’t exactly sure how to use a lathe?  What about a mechanic who knew only “a little” about tuning a car?

It takes good tools and good skills to do any job well. Yet even with this knowledge, companies routinely ask their highly paid technical employees to use company software and hardware tools with little, if any, training. In these circumstances, it’s not difficult to see that a lack of education and training can hinder employee productivity and, ultimately, company profits.

If you want to see your software systems deliver on ROI and productivity promises, you need to train your employees to effectively use the tools of the trade.  Without proper training, even the greatest software solution’s promises will go unrealized.  To expect results from your tools without training employees on the skills they need to use those tools is unfair to the employee and unprofitable to the company. Without proper training, the productivity gains that you had hoped to realize from implementing expensive software and computer systems don’t fully materialize. To make matters worse, untrained employees often hinder the productivity of trained colleagues because they must rely upon others to accomplish their tasks.

When you invest in training, you ensure that your employees get the skills they need to accomplish their tasks quickly and cost-effectively. As a business manager, you know that the link between training and employee productivity is well established. What you might not know are some of the other ways training contributes to your company’s bottom line.

Training Increases Company Value
Today, intangible assets, particularly human capital, represent up to 85 percent of a company’s value, compared to 38 percent 20 years ago. Yet many companies fail to grow that value because they do not make the investment in training their employees.  The situation is particularly troubling as the baby boom generation reaches retirement age. This impending talent drain is a real problem for today’s businesses. 

Effective training results in increased employee retention and shorter recruitment cycles. Training can turn confused, unskilled, and uncooperative workers into great employees. Trained workers are happier with their jobs, and happy workers are much less likely to leave.  This is especially important to information technology companies because low turnover allows them to retain their most expensive and efficient employees. 

With the complexity of the modern workplace and shortage of skilled workers, companies need to commit to ongoing training if they want to keep and grow their human capital. 

Training Helps You Achieve Your Business Objectives
The evidence is overwhelming that training is essential to achieve a range of business objectives. Effective training ensures your equipment operators, IT professionals, your supervisors, and your decision makers have the skills and knowledge they need to implement the right solutions in the right way.  This reduces your total cost of ownership by allowing everyone to avoid expensive mistakes.

Training also provides a foundation for your company to increase its competitiveness, and in this economy, that can be sheer survival. Now, there is growing evidence that firms are using training as a strategic weapon to close productivity gaps between themselves and their competitors. Training ensures that operators, grade checkers, and office personnel receive information that is geared to their needs, thereby increasing productivity, ensuring implementations are successful, and keeping your organization one step ahead of the competition.

When you consider that teaching your employees new skills and methods will help them do things more efficiently, you can see that as employees’ skills increase so will your company’s ability to compete.

Training Helps You Manage Change
A significant challenge to all technology implementations is managing change.

Many construction companies underestimate the impact that technology has on employee behavior. Because new software solutions affect the known work processes of your employees, some workers are reluctant to change the habits with which they have become comfortable.  This reluctance can manifest as simple “foot dragging” -- a refusal to learn new technologies -- or worse, active efforts to utilize and maintain “shadow systems,” which usurp company resources and sabotage implementation efforts.  Whether resistance is intentional or not, when employees are left on their own to deal with change, frustration inevitably leads them to revert to old behaviors. Training implementation and management will keep moving the progress ever forward.

And what about employee turnover? The company that implements a training program is better equipped for new employee training reducing downtime of the inevitable employee/operator turnover. Construction companies and grading contractors are among the highest percentage of employee turnover.

Effective training is an essential part of a comprehensive change management process. Training programs can mitigate change management issues by building employee confidence in new technologies and processes.  Training helps employees understand both the why and the how behind the change.  Effective training can rejuvenate enthusiasm and encourage greater flexibility. Moreover, employees actively engaged in their own training are more likely to support, rather than work against, change.

Companies who spend wisely know that simply deploying software and new grading systems alone does not create value.  Consider using some of your technology budgets on training to maximize the benefit of what you already have. This also helps identify the right solutions going forward.  A company that provides employees access to the training and support will reap the full value of their technology investments. (Hearnes, 2005)

Paul and I have spoke to some companies that offer various system training. I must say that I do not have personal experience with all mentioned (at link below), but please, contact these companies and do a little research. With winter approaching and lighter work loads commonplace, a fantastic training opportunity awaits you and your company.

 

Training Resources for 3D Machine Control and Data Prep as researched by MachineControlOnline.com

If your company offers training and is not listed below, please go to our website  and click on “Directory” - Post your company and services. Its quick, easy and its free.

http://machinecontrolonline.com

Take-off Professionals (TOPS)
www.TakeoffPros.com

(623) 776-9546 ext 108 US

TOPS provides data prep services and training. Training should give a student the tools necessary to perform tasks. They also need an understanding of how the software relates to different circumstances, this allows them to learn beyond what the course has taught. Usually, training consists of completing a sample job. That limits the learning to one set of conditions, we train to various job types increasing the users general knowledge beyond a single site.

Our mission is to train a user to become proficient in the use of software as it applies to their needs. We offer support through our TOPS Data Check program to make sure they are on target with their data and takeoffs.”
-Marco Cecal, President TOPS This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

GeoShack
www.GeoShack.com

(15+ locations - see website for location nearest you)

“First, we'll ask you about your job and the work to be done, then recommend the best option to fit your needs and budget. Our people are experts in all realms of job site accuracy and will make sure you walk out the door with not just quality equipment, but with the right equipment.”
-Scott Beathard, President GeoShack

Carlson Software, Inc.
www.Carlsonsw.com

(
800) 989-5028 US

Get training direct from Carlson Software  ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or through the Members of Carlson College™  Carlson Software offers professional training at our facilities in Maysville, Kentucky and Boston, Massachusetts. In addition, Carlson Software offers regional training throughout the U.S. as well as on-site custom consulting. Comprehensive Training Calendar. Other Carlson College members are certified exclusively for SurvCE Training -- Click Here for listings.

“Our training encompasses the complete project life cycle from data collection, surveying, civil site and road design, data prep for 3d machine control, 3D machine control operation, site supervisors, change order implementation electronically (connected job site), invoicing/billing and much more.”

-Bruce Carlson, President & Founder, Carlson Software, Inc.

For information about upcoming classes, read the most recent Carlson College newsletter.

Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS)
www.TopconPositioning.com|

(925) 245-8300

Topcon University: Topcon University is dedicated to educating and training Topcon customers, dealer representatives and employees on its state-of-the-art technology and systems.  Its slogan -- Productivity Powered by Learning – underscores its mission:  to provide the awareness, understanding and expertise necessary so customers can get the most from their Topcon products and systems.

At TU Online, customers will find fast, easy-to-use, one-stop shopping for a number of high-value training and information aids, including:
On-Demand Learning Portal;
Recorded TU-Live webinar sessions;
Instructor-led training course list;
Product manuals, quick start guides & related information;
TU approved software & firmware downloads; andTU calendar of events

For more information, please visit www.TopconPositioning.com

Roper Laser
www.RoperLaser.com

(770) 422-1717 US

“Join one of our regularly scheduled training classes for Carlson Takeoff and other software products or have us train your operators on-site for 3D machine control. Roper Laser will help you get the most out of your investment.”
-Bill Roper, Jr., President, Roper Laser

Harken-Reidar, Inc.
www.Harken-Reidar.com

(540) 635-6742 US

"Automated Machine Guidance will build an inaccurate model very accurately.  As a result, the data prep must be what we, at Harken-Reidar call, 'millimeter-accurate data'.  Combine this need with the trend growing across America that data prep professionals must be licensed as a Professional Engineer or Land Surveyor and we are seeing a significant movement within civil design firms to undertake the development of 3D/GPS machine control data sets.  Just in September our company has received 3 inquiries from very large design firms to learn how to develop 3d data for GPS guided construction.  The engineer's data can now be developed as part of the project and be sent to the surveyors for QA/QC, formatting and dissemination.  This is creating the need for a new position entitled 'Construction Site Data Manager'.  The data prep industry is maturing very rapidly because we have noticed that developing a finished ground surface is no longer satisfactory.  Now we must ensure that other concepts are included in the data, including developing data for the machinery involved, construction phasing, environmental sensitivity and supporting data to assist the machine operator."  -Harry O. Ward, PE, President, Harken-Reidar, Inc.   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

Machine Control Technology, Inc. (MCT)

www.MachineControlTechnologyinc.com

(405) 279-4202 US

“Machine Control Technology Inc. (MCT) has opened its doors in Meeker, Oklahoma and is now accepting students for upcoming courses in 2D & 3D automated machine control. MCT, a premier GPS training facility offering multiple levels of construction training for every phase of the site. Each class is tailored to fit your company’s needs from 3D model analysis thru site inspection. The foundation of Machine Control Technology, Inc. is simple; “I teach the entire company how to successfully apply the automation tools available today. Those tools being Lasers, Sonics, Cross-Slope systems & Global Positioning Systems. However, more importantly, I teach the mistakes”
-Bill Crumb, President, Machine Control Technologies, Inc.

Leica GeoSystems
www.Leica-geosystems.com

877-LEICA-MC (877-534-2262) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“Leica provides comprehensive training through Training, Support & Service (TSS) group. The primary goal of TSS is to provide training and support for our customers and dealers. Training sites include Atlanta, Houston and Denver. On-site training is also available.:
-Chris Mazur, Leica Machine Control

Trimble Navigation
www.Trimble.com

“Trimble offers a blended training solution. This includes self paced online lessons, webinars and instructor led sessions.  Our dealers offer similar programs. The dealer will provide the instructor and use Trimble web based material to create the blended solution. Trimble has access to locations around the globe which are used for Trimble to Trimble, Trimble to dealer and Trimble to customer training.Trimble has a learning center that hosts the lessons as well as a catalog and calendar. From Trimble.com, Support and Training, then Learning Center or "http://42123198102.learn.com/learncenter.asp?id=178426"
-Thomas Dobson, Trimble Navigation, Worldwide Training Manager

 

Survey Solutions Online
www.Survey-SolutionsOnline.com

Survey Solutions is located in Madison Georgia, just southeast of Atlanta.

The instructor, Pat Harris, is a registered Land Surveyor with twenty years of field experience and an equal number of years in Survey Software sales, training and development and high tech equipment sales and training. His resume includes sales manager and trainer for C&G Software in Atlanta, GPS sales manager for Allen Precision Equipment, GIS sales manager for Ashtech, Southeast sales manager for Topcon Positioning Systems and Software Training Manager for Tripod Data Systems.

The company was formed in March 2009 to serve the Land Survey and Construction industry in the USA and Canada.

Contact information is as follows:
Pat Harris
Survey Solutions, LLC
1270 Apalachee River Rd
Madison, GA 30650
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
706-752-0855 office
404-520-1460 cell

Please visit the resources above and get your training ON! If you provide training services and are not listed, again, please visit www.MachineControlOnline.com - click on “Directory” and list your companies services for free.

Please click for this reference training list

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