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Author Topic: Low pay  (Read 19968 times)

Offline RichieRich

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Re: Low pay
« Reply #30 on: 02-18-2008 -- 15:23:33 »
Larry, I think you missed the point about automation costing more.  Think of it this way.  A tech doing only handheld DMM's with just an old Fluke 5100 may only have to bill triple his wage or less to break even because ther is a very low investment in the infrastructure supporting him. 

Now surround that same tech with a million dollars worth of RF equipment to calibrate high end microwave.  All of a sudden, that tech has to bill 4-5 times his wage because he has to support the cost of the infrastructure, not just the cost of himself. 

The same with automation.  The tech has to bill more per hour because of the up front cost of automation.  Hopefully he can do that because he can certify more equipment in the same amount of time.  I believe that is the point that callab was trying to make.

Offline CalLabSolutions

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Re: Low pay
« Reply #31 on: 02-18-2008 -- 18:35:26 »
Let me expand on my point of Automation being expensive..

First of all I would like to point out that my company is not a calibration lab.  We are a software engineering company who among other things writes automated calibration procedures  I am very astute when it comes to the cost of automation and the advantages of automating a calibration lab.

There are two reasons a company invest in software. First, automation allows the technicians they employee to get more product through the door without sacrificing quality.  And second, allows a company to higher lower skilled labor (at a lower price), to do the same quality of work.

It is the company (not the technician) paying for the cost of automating the lab.  They either purchase software from a company like ours, or they pay a technician to write it in house; either way the cost automation is add to the overhead of the calibration lab, so the technician has to bill more per hour to breakeven. 

I the past a calibration technicianís salary was based on his depth of technical knowledge of calibration.  A technician who knows more was well compensated for that knowledge.  Today with automation, more and more technical knowledge is being programmed into the software.  All the technician has to do it connect it, and press this button.  So the technician of tomorrow needs to compete differently. 
Michael L. Schwartz
Automation Engineer
Cal Lab Solutions
  Web -  http://www.CalLabSolutions.com
Phone - 303.317.6670

Offline ck454ss

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Re: Low pay
« Reply #32 on: 02-18-2008 -- 19:49:38 »
I must say I love your thought process.  What happens when the "underskilled" tech plugs the meter into his nifty software and it doesnt work?  They end up calling the "The Technician of Yesturday" to help the "Technician of Tomorrow". 

Eric Sandhoff

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Re: Low pay
« Reply #33 on: 02-19-2008 -- 05:36:14 »
Metrology is not limited to PMEL Labs.   When I got out of PMEL in 1974 I went into industrial instrumentation.   (Instrument Technician)  There is a lot more money to be made calibrating temperature transmitters and DP cells in industrial plants than there is to be made in a cal lab.

For a PME weenie the transition is easy.   And there is a shortage of qualified technicians.

Offline jimmyc

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Re: Low pay
« Reply #34 on: 02-19-2008 -- 13:37:17 »
The first major change we need to make is this antiquated 1 technician, 1 name on the calibration certification and 1 tech number on the label quality system paradigm. 

Instruments today are multi-functional, a tech should not have to move standards around to calibrate it..  We should move the UUTs to the station with the standards and let the technician who works that station do that part of the calibration.  (and be able to track who did what and when) 

**Imagine if Ford, had each employee build one car start to finish, rearranging the plant as needed.

contrary to popular belief, calibration is not a manufacturing process, the "paradigm" as you call one tech per sticker is called metrology.  imagine if you went to get your kidney out and one station only opened you, you were carted away where another station removed your kidney, another tech installed your kidney, and yet another closed you.  the other problem of a "station" tech is what happens when joe the power ref guy goes on vacation?  Ford has multiple employees to fill that gap.  what small lab can hire just for that reason?  truth is the calibration worlds doing it to itself, you have labs that will bid any cost and basically just do the paper work because its the only way to break even.  no one would take their cars to a repair place they knew weren't doing the work just so they could get the new 3000 mile sticker in the window, yet mfrs are willing to do just that for their calibrated items.  can you blame the small lab for bidding less on every calibration, yes and no, but where does the underbidding eventually go?  downhill  as for the perfect world of setting up stations to do one function, who can afford that?  who's 5500s are doing meters one minute, scopes the next, then temp.  if i were a salesman, i would be pushing the same thing.

Offline Broken_Wings

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Re: Low pay
« Reply #35 on: 02-19-2008 -- 18:19:56 »
Nice kidney example.
I'll use medical malpractice as a way of describing why I like one tech one sticker.

Who do you blame for your infection and your body rejecting the kidney? Who is in charge if anybody?

When I certify something I take the blame for any mistake.

Under a multitech situation who does quality run to? Just because I see Tech A and B's mistakes and may have the power to fix them or tell them about it am I? I did my little part right but who's to say they won't blame the problem on me. The blame game only works good in calibration if there is one tech.
"My wings have healed." - Probably a parrot said this.

Offline ck454ss

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Re: Low pay
« Reply #36 on: 02-19-2008 -- 19:18:11 »
Id have to say the assembly line practice for calibration is really impractical. 

-What company is going to have "several" standards with multiple capabilities only being used to cal a certain portion of a test? (DC/AC/Resistance)

-If you use several "lower" capable pieces of equipment then you get back to the days of having dozens of standards to calibrate equipment instead of just one.  Major issues with recal costs and downtime waiting for standards to be cald.

-I dont know about how other labs run but I NEVER just grab 1 DMM and cal it then 1 scope and cal it then something temp and cal it.  I always grab multiple items of the same thing (ie DMMs, Scopes, Temp) and cal them all at the same time to reduce setup time.  I am a cal tech who hates setting up tests more than once to do the same thing in a day.  Totally annoying.

-The exeption to the rule is when a customer is paying a rush fee to get there equipment done immediately and they are usually waiting for it in the lobby.  The cost to do a special setup is included in the rush cost.


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