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Evaluating the System

Using call-off contracts, supervisors could easily farm out most of the day- to-day maintenance work with selected contractors. On completion, they could measure the executed work in the specified units. The contractor would submit an invoice based on the approved rates.

Together with an engineer from the company, I followed a maintenance job from initiation to completion. The job was to pull a spade from a 4" 150# line containing product after it had been prepared and made safe for maintenance work. The job was executed by a contractor. The work permit was obtained, the necessary precautions were taken, and the job was completed efficiently by the two contractor's fitters assigned, without any incident or hold-up.

From the moment the contractor's fitters were involved up to the time they went away, it took a little less than one hour. At this time, I was not familiar with the agreed rates, but on the basis of my observation, I expected that the contractor would invoice the company for 2 man-hours of work. When the actual invoice arrived, prepared strictly in accordance with the agreed norms, it was for 8 man-hours. The schedule of rates indeed specified an effort of 8 man-hours for removing a 4" 150# spade from a line at ground level, and for remaking the joint. The company's engineer who accompanied me was more embarrassed than shocked. His embarrassment was caused by the fact that such gross discrepancies had not been discovered earlier. They had simply been accepting the norms which had been agreed between them and the contractors.

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