Restructuring of Operations Produces Positive Results
The broad-based restructuring of a central component of any department’s operations is likely to have far-reaching results. For Duke Realty, those results were positive.
“The outcome was meeting our goal of developing an operational system that sufficiently trains and develops the staff to meet the Duke goals of complete customer satisfaction in alignment with our vision and mission statement,” Nettle says. “A secondary benefit was a more unified and focused team with a clearer vision on how to achieve their goals.”
More specifically, the restructured program brought the desired benefits to the department’s front-line technicians.
“The skill level of the techs has increased at all tech levels, which created both a higher quality in work production and enabled us to increase the technical level of the work assigned and managed by lower level techs,” Nettle says, adding that productivity also increased. “We had lower electrical bills due to increased knowledge of system operation and lease standards, allowing for a more optimal operation.”
One perhaps unexpected benefit of the restructured training involved communication among technicians and supervisors, which can suffer if technicians are not confident enough in their skills to ask for assistance.
“When you’re not sure of something, you tend to not want others to know,” Nettle says. “You’re not going to ask questions, and you’re not going to divulge issues and problems. You’re going to try to deal with the situation yourself, and it delays the problem being solved. A lot of time and effort is wasted.
“But when you start learning and gaining more confidence, you also learn that if you ask questions, you get answers. Communications is where the biggest breakdowns occur. As they increase their knowledge, they understood things better because maybe the instructor talked over somebody’s head.”