Evaluating Grade Control Technology for your Business Pannel Discussion

The second day of the 2007 Trimble Dimensions conference featured a well-attended session that featured a panel of five contractors who had recently implemented grade control technology or been running it for several years. The panel fielded questions from the audience as to their experiences and shared some insights they had learned along the away. Below are some of the general commments offered to the questions that were brought up. How was employee retention affected with the implementation of grade control? None of the panel members lost operators. One was actually able to give his operators raises because of the increase in productivity - and more money is always a help with keeping employees happy. What type of training programs were set up for the operators? The main type of training that was provided was  done on the field. Either a product representative/dealer came out to inform everyone on how the technology worked or the contractor conducted the field training. One panel member said that he thought the key was to progressively introduce new features. Teach the operator the basics and once he has had a chance to work with those, teach additional features. What was the length of time it took to adjust to using the grade control technology? All of the panelists agreed it took a couple of weeks for their operators to become comfortable with the new setup. One contractor noted that one of the biggest hurdles an operator had was becoming comfortable pushing the buttons. They felt like they would break something and had to learn they couldn't do harm by engaging the in-cab monitors. What was the productivity increase that was realized after adding the grade control technology? All of the panelists said that they saw a 20%-30% increase after they added these systems. The discussion was appropriately wrapped up with the sarcastic final thoughts of the panel saying that their advice to anyone that competes in their market was to not invest in this technology so they could keep their competitive advantage.