Are Those Bins Locked?
How many times, as a manager, when you were in the field doing safety or quality inspections have you walked up to a technician’s truck -- truck doors unlocked, tool/material bins unlocked, and not a technician in sight? Drives you absolutely nuts, doesn’t it? You think: What is the difficulty in locking your doors and bins when away from your vehicle? Why can’t I get this concept through to my crew?
Over the years, the value of the contents in the vehicle and the contents in the garage yard has increased significantly. A brownie meter, a butt-set, and perhaps a wheatstone bridge were the costly items a few decades ago and only people working for telcos were interested in the equipment. Now, a technician’s vehicle can contain thousands of dollars’ worth of computers, plug-ins, and test/splicing equipment. With the telecom industry still going strong, the black market for these items also is strong and, unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals looking for ways to obtain these valuable items.
Back at the garage, rows of computers are plugged into their docking stations charging over night, electronic plug-ins are stacked neatly in storage rooms, and rows and rows of copper cable reels line the yard. Is the perimeter of the yard secure? Are all doors and windows locked? Are technician’s truck doors/bins locked? No!
Well I, as an unscrupulous individual, am going to have a field day. A hole in the back fence has allowed me access to the yard. The first truck I come upon has the bins unlocked. Lucky me. I load my gunny sack with a fusion splicer, cable fault locator, and an IFD (intelligent field device -- i.e., computer). Two more unlocked trucks and my sack is full. All the while my accomplices are cutting copper cable off a reel and tossing it over the fence. In 15 minutes we are gone with a haul of several thousand dollars. Thanks for the hole in the fence and unlocked trucks.
Corporate security is everyone’s business, so why is it so difficult for some technicians to take the time to lock their vehicle? Training? I don’t think so. They know how to lock their personal vehicle. Productivity metrics? I don’t think so. A few seconds to lock up is not performance impacting. Will? Absolutely. Technicians need to develop the habit of securing their vehicle at all times. It should be as automatic as putting on a seat belt.
So, how do you get them to develop this desired routine? First, lead by example. Make sure the enclosure around the yard and garage is sound. Make a production out of walking the perimeter to ensure there are no areas for intrusion, and at the same time randomly pull trucks for a “security” inspection. Be very visible in this activity.
Also, I think a lot of times the techs don’t know the dollar value of the equipment they possess, and providing this information could create a sense of ownership in the security process.
Continue to reinforce positive behavior and attempt to make security on parity with safety. Safe and Secure.
If all else fails, payroll deduction for the lost items due to unlocked bins may have to be the final course of action.
Remember, security is everyone’s business. What has worked for you?
Byron retired as a senior manager of AT&T and now is an Independent Consultant in Telecom Operations. During the last 12 years of his career, he held the position of Vice President - Construction and Engineering for AT&T West. Reach Byron at email@example.com.
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