Maximizing Construction Equipment Operator Potential for India
We are aware of the Formula 1 car races where drivers get paid millions even though the cars they drive are cutting edge and have the best of intelligence possible. It is because the top car companies still believe that the person driving the machine needs to be the best to get the best out of the machine.
However, when it comes to India and especially the construction equipment segment the fact that “The man defines the machine” goes for a toss. We have seen numerous sites where people purchase high end imported machines only to be operated by personnel who barely have a legal driving license leave alone proper formal training and education to operate the machine.
Will such operators be able to get the maximum out of the machine? “NO”.
Will they be able to make more profits for the contractors? “NO”.
Will they be able to ensure uptime of the machine? “NO”.
Can this scenario be changed? “YES, definitely”.
So how do we bring about this change? Below are a few steps that contractors can effectively use to turn around this scenario.
TRAIN YOUR OPERATOR:
Almost all construction equipment companies in India provide training for operators. Most of them financed by the company fully or at least partly financed. Contractors need to jut ask the company representatives and get their operators enrolled. The operators not only get trained and operate the machines to get more productivity, maintain the machine well and get higher uptime from the machine resulting in better profits but will also somewhere be grateful to the contractors to have them educated and invested in them. Operators feel a lot of pride in being respected by the contractors and this is one of the easiest and best ways to demonstrate the same. These trainings can be done in monsoon time when both the operator and machine are idle to ensure no productive time loss.
INCENTIVIZE OPERATORS BASED ON PERFORMANCE:
Just like contactors get incentives for quick project completion, a similar mechanism can be put in place by contractors to get better productivity out of the operators and machines. If contractors can incentivize meeting daily work targets, zero breakdowns on monthly basis and meeting additional productivity targets, the operators will learn quicker, operate faster and maintain the machine better. An additional monthly expenditure of thousands can earn lakhs and even crores additionally for the contractor.
CARE FOR THE OPERATORS:
Having a group Mediclaim for operators and their immediate family costing a few lakhs can ensure higher retention of operators and resulting in higher uptime. Otherwise in the time a couple of operators quit and their replacements start work, lakhs in machine idle days is anyways lost. Apart from this, getting insurances will also add brand trust for the contractors. This will especially go a long way in the current COVID scenario.
TRAINING FROM OEMs ON BUYING NEW MACHINE:
Request your equipment manufacturer to get your operator and maintenance team trained if you induct a new product. Most manufacturers also look forward to such requests as trainings will ensure better machine usage and good feedback from user. From an operator standpoint this is important so that he gets the necessary confidence and learns quickly to use the machine effectively.
INCLUDE OPERATORS IN MORNING MEETINGS/DAILY BRIEFINGS:
The operators crave for respect and their right place in the scheme of things mostly even more than money. When they are included in ground level meetings it helps to get them aligned to meeting the bigger project timelines. They also understand how important their role is and look forward to delivering. This also emphasizes the importance of their work to the operators and achieving the target gives them a strong sense of satisfaction.
ENSURE TIMEPLY SALARY PAYMENTS:
Although managing cash flows is the construction line is not an easy thing but when we spoke to operators many of the good operators who were working with small and big contractors for years did so not because they were paid higher but because they were paid on time every month and respected for their work. Operators see timely salary payments as a big plus and this will go along way in operator retention. When salaries get delayed the operators see that as a sign of financial struggle and start looking out for other options as they feel the company/contractor is struggling. If not full salary payment on time, at least a part payment at the start of the month might ease the financial stress to a great extent for the operators on the personal front.
Listed above are simple steps which will ensure that operators are technically and emotionally poised to give their best resulting in higher productivity, profits, uptime and machine life for the contractors.
You can try these out and let us know your thoughts on the same. We also look forward to hearing from all of you on any other ideas that you may have in this context.