I recently attended an Ingersoll-Rand paver and compactor operation and maintenance training session at the I-R Road Institute Training Center at the Letterkenny Industrial Development Area of Chambersburg, PA, and it was definitely time well spent. Personally, I gained a much better understanding of the paving and compaction process, and more importantly an appreciation for the skill required to place a quality mat. I even had an opportunity to operate a paver and a roller, although my rolling pattern looked like a large sidewinder snake had just crossed over the mat.
I attended the session with a group of road pavers from the Syracuse, NY public works department and the crew on hand represented a good cross section of experience, from veteran paving operators to those who recently joined the crew and were preparing for their first season. What I found impressive about the interaction that took place during the two-and-a-half day training session is that even the veterans, who knew their way around a paver and a roller, were picking up additional insight and new techniques that would help them do a better job when they returned home.
What I-R has developed over the past 30-plus years through its Road Institute Training Center is a practical hands-on approach that allows participants to take classroom discussions and immediately apply that knowledge by setting up and operating paving and compaction equipment used to reinforce the techniques taught.
From a contractor's perspective, I can't think of a better investment than sending members of your paving crew to training provided by equipment manufacturers. If you're investing hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment to improve the productivity and quality of work you deliver, think about spending a little more to train your paving crew on how to get the most out of that equipment. It's a great way to provide a solid foundation of basic operating techniques for new hires, and an equally great way to refresh and continue to educate veteran operators.
Companies often tout how their employees are their most valuable asset. Training those employees can only add to the value they provide when producing quality constructed roads that your customers demand. Equipment manufacturers continue to raise the bar in the development and introduction of technology designed to improve the paving process. And they also know contractors are willing to pay a premium for technology that will help them deliver a better product more efficiently in order to generate a profitable return on their investment.
Training is the essential component that allows your people to get the most out of what the technology is capable of delivering. Knowledgeable operators are more productive, and they also take great pride in delivering the best product they can deliver. Invest in them and they will help exceed the expectations of your customers and the profitability you expect.