Loyalty versus Lowest Bidder in Wireless

I was reading a book where they mentioned how purchasing is done differently among companies and people. We all want a good price for what we get, right? Well, is the lowest price always the best? Sometimes it’s good enough. What about when getting high-end work done? Is it lowest bidder good enough for a wireless deployment? That is how most of the business is done. Except maybe among broadcast where they usually only put out the bid to people or companies they really trust. They know who is good and who is not, at least they used to. They usually build loyalty into the offer.

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Today’s world revolves around investors, who really have very little loyalty beyond the bottom line. I see it often where a contractor may have a horrible reputation but continues to get work because they are very cheap. It takes awhile before they are found out to be cutting corners or not paying people.

Many companies have lists of contractors that they know are not good, or don’t meet their standards. They also keep lists of acceptable vendors that were pre-qualified. The idea is that they have at least showed their qualifications on paper before getting the work. Then they need to win some jobs and get the work. If they do good work then they can be rated or graded on the work they have done. This is a normal system.

However, what happens when a company gets caught doing shoddy work? It seems some people change company names and they are back in the game. How can we stop this? We will have to do the due diligence by researching the bad seeds. This is why there are some people who are blacklisted in the industry. We just need to make sure that the blacklisting is justified. This is where loyalty and reputation come into play.

So loyalty between a sub and a company is earned, not given. Once you meet the minimum requirements you must do the work and do it well. If a company puts a contractor on the short list, it should be for good reason, either that company does great work or a particular crew really impressed the customer. That often is the case, where there is the “A” team that can really impress. We can’t all be on the A team but if you work harder to care for the customer’s needs then you will make a positive impression. Customers need to have someone they trust to do good work and be honest with them. Is that you?

Now, what about that crew that stinks? You know who I mean, the ones that run out of hardware so they use tie wraps to finish securing the mount because it’s Friday and they don’t want to do a return trip. Maybe you didn’t see the crew that did it but you saw the work. How does that not make it into the close out package? Do you report that to the tower owner? That is one more thing we need.

It’s hard to bring you’re “A” game when the customer might not pay you or if you are working for a customer that may be on thin ice. Sometimes the contractor does not pay its subs. This causes so many problems in the industry. If the customer hires someone they trust then they know the payment terms. If the sub is working for someone new or someone who is a piss poor manager, then payment will be late or not happen at all. The end customer suffers, the sub suffers, and people spend the rest of the time pointing fingers. That is going to destroy trust. If the PM purposely screws a crew by not paying the workers for getting the job 80% done then bringing in a cheaper crew to finish it just to pay the last crew a lot less money. That is just shameful. This is another issue with trust among workers in the industry. Loyalty and trust is a 2 way street not only to be earned by the hard-working crews but by the customer who is supposed to pay them and treat them fair!

Again, trust is earned and it’s a 2 way street. Remember that there are project managers that take pride in cheating hard-working crews because they think they are saving money but it really hurts the industry. When will this stop? Let’s hope today, but let’s face it, there will always be snakes in the industry, or any industry for all that matters. We need to get names of these people so we know who to trust. Names should be on a loyalty list of naughty and nice people to work with.

This industry is small, what comes around goes around like Karma on here we need to play well with everyone. Just because you compete against someone doesn’t mean they are the enemy. You may have to work together on a future job or you may team up one day. So treat your fellow workers with respect and learn from them and teach them something. We all need to learn to work together. Loyalty in the industry among coworkers is just as important as loyalty between customer and contractor.

Loyalty needs to be earned and it is hard to gain back once it’s lost. So many times there are people associated with bad companies. All you can do is work hard to regain trust and respect. It is not easy but it can be done. We all need to learn from our mistakes. The lowest bidder and the layers of subs really can cause problems in any industry. So let’s be fair when we bid and let’s understand the scope of work so we can all be fair to the workers as to not get in over our heads!

So let me ask you something, if you needed brain surgery or a heart transplant, would you put it out to the lowest bidder? Maybe it would be nice to have someone with a good reputation, a name that you can trust, someone who you got to know and someone you can trust. It should be the same in the wireless deployment industry. After all, if they could do the work themselves they would, but they don’t because it is a specialty.

The wireless deployments are not going to end anytime soon. It is time to build loyalty among the players in this industry. Let’s build a wireless industry based on trust. We need good leadership to do that. It is something that will be earned over time. Let’s each start with ourselves, let’s do the best we can for our own sake to make this the best industry to work in. In the wireless deployment industry we are looking at NATE, CTIA, FCC, OSHA, DOL, and each other for leadership. We now have TIRAP. They are the groups working to make sure that there are examples of safety and workmanship. It is up to each person out there working to align with the leadership and become a leader in their company. To become the poster child for quality and safety for fellow workers to follow should be the goal. Just because I say align doesn’t mean we should follow blindly, we all need to point out faults when we see them. Here is your chance to set the example of being the best worker you can be in safety and quality. With enough people working hard to be the example them more people will want to align and follow only to become the future leaders.

I was talking to Richard Bell, the owner of Bell Tower, and he is setting the example of how to act in this industry. He is 73 years old and a neat guy to chat with. He has safety on his mind even now, he knows so much about the industry and he shares all of his information with everyone. Go to his web page and you will see his safety policy. He shares it with everyone, there are no secrets there. This guy is setting a great example! http://www.belltowercorp.com/safety_first.htm

Tell me what do you think?

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