Wayne Smith, Vertex’s CEO, is often heard saying, “We must focus on providing quality services to the customer.” When questioned to define quality services, Wayne simply says, “It is providing the customer what he needs and wants when is wanted.” Then he adds the customer doesn’t always know what he needs, and it is the consultant’s role to help determine and define these needs. Of course, this requires considerable knowledge about the customer’s business. This can be a challenge for an employee who doesn’t have a work history with this particular client. When asked how a consultant should get up to speed quickly on the customer’s business needs, Wayne always responds by saying, “Read the Standards.”
You may have read this month’s article titled “Network Evolution and Standardization.” As discussed in that article, Vertex’s major client has written network standards that cover almost every aspect project administration, construction, engineering and building a wireless network. It has made a considerable investment in these documents, and it is a wealth of knowledge. Because the standards are a little dry to read, the challenge becomes how to get personnel to read 25 to 50 of these documents – some that are more than 100 pages long.
There are many benefits from getting employees to read and learn these standards. These include establishing a standard set of definitions of terms and language as well as setting a baseline of knowledge by which work can be judged. This facilitates communications among all parties, reduces miscommunication and errors, and increases efficiency, effectiveness, quality while reducing project cost.
Vertex’s approach has been to develop a body of assessments or examinations designed specifically for the field consultant. For example, construction oversight consultants must be knowledgeable of different standards than a consultant who is working with dark fiber cell site projects. Each assessment requires a minimum score to pass and to proceed to the next one. The real focus for these assessments is to ensure that our consultants know what kind of information is in each standard, how to reference this information and stay on top of an ever changing body of knowledge. These assessments are located in the “the Vertex Training Cloud.” Employees can access them from anywhere at any time.
We are currently in the early implementation phase of the Vertex Training Cloud and the focus is on our own employees. Of course, we want their skills to be top notch and up to date. The next step is to open access to both our client’s employees and construction contractors and subcontractors performing installation services. In the near future, Vertex will introduce interactive training materials for certain administrative procedures.
In summary, we think this is another critical tool that we are implementing that gives us and our partners an important avenue toward higher quality work, improved efficiencies and improved cost control.