Apr 25, 2019
Training to Infinity
This year’s Paving for Bonus issue includes a brief wrap-up from the World of Asphalt 2019/AGG1 Academy and Expo held in Indianapolis back in February. These co-located shows and conferences offer a host of information for all segments of the industry, of course, but I’d like to call out the paving portion of the education they offer right here.
Specifically, the People, Plants and Paving conference offered a number of paving, compaction and pavement maintenance seminars for attendees. This kind of classroom training is reminiscent of lectures in high school where you let the instructor pour good information into your brain. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and get immediate answers from the instructors. That kind of training is valuable to companies who have a number of crewmembers sitting side-by-side, taking notes together, and then discussing or comparing what they learned afterward.
Notice that you want the members of your team to keep talking about what they learned.
Training shouldn’t—and doesn’t—stop when members of the crew get home from a conference, a tradeshow, a state lunch-n-learn seminar or a dealership’s workshop. Your crewmembers are learning on the job all the time. It’s not easy to stop and correct someone’s technique while you’re striving for a 1,000-ton day, but the learning is happening. Are you teaching the right stuff?
When John Ball—the proprietor of Top Quality Paving & Training, Manchester, New Hampshire—travels to companies to train paving crews, he uses video as well as lessons in the field to bring crewmembers up to speed. When he videotapes the crew, he’s not out to embarrass anyone; he’s out to capture good and not-so-good techniques that he can go over with the whole team the next day.
When you’re in the thick of paving, you don’t stop to discuss the best way to grab material from between the endgate and tunnel in a manner that protects the feed sensor’s wires. But if you look at the laborer’s technique the next day, you can share his proper, best practice with the newbie on your crew.
If you take a quick video of the screed operator getting a depth reading and then laying the straight edge across the mat while wearing his tamp shoes to keep from marring the mat, you have multiple points of best practices to show the new hire who has no idea yet how important any of those things are.
If you take a short video of the roller operator struggling to scrape pick-up off a dry drum, you don’t want to berate him, but you can show how this could have been avoided with proper filling of the water tank, proper maintenance of the spray bar and nozzles, and proper monitoring of the spray system during operation. You can use the video as an opportunity to discuss with your compaction team members rolling patterns and using the heat of the mat to keep steel drums and rubber tires hot.
You get the idea.
Training is an ongoing process. You reinforce lessons all season long. Whether you take a rainy day to set up and watch a couple lessons from the Asphalt Paving 101 course from AsphaltPro magazine or you use the free Training Solutions eNewsletter we send out every month in your regular tailgate meetings, you’re adding to and reinforcing your crew’s knowledge base. You’re adding to your opportunity to make full pay on project after project this paving season.