Benefits of Joint Use Departments: Part Two

Posted by Ashley Little on July 10, 2014

benefits_of_joint_use_departments_part2We have already discussed the benefits of having a joint use department, but what if your business is too small to truly support a full “department” dedicated to joint use? Outsourcing joint use management to a third party administrator (TPA) may be the answer. Here is why we think this route is a good one to consider:

Smaller utilities, including electric co-ops, municipalities and small local telephone providers, often simply do not have the means to maintain a full joint use staff. They are in the business of doing more with less. Individuals within the company often perform multiple functions—many unrelated to their main job descriptions. For example, a Senior Engineer might maintain spreadsheets and maps detailing pole attachments, transfers, sales, violations, bootlegs and attachment contracts.  That person would then spend time working with the company’s accounts receivable department, advising which billings should be created. When billings come in, the accounts payable department contacts the engineer to ask for validation ons what is being billed.  This person would also take on managing and negotiating attachment contracts, the validation of annual rentals and construction invoices, and they could also find themselves in charge of unauthorized attachments, remedying double wood, managing pole transfers, seeing to pole violations, issuing permits to attach, conducting make ready, resolving disputes, and on and on and on—all in addition to their regular, everyday job duties.

It is a lot for one person or a small group of already taxed employees to take care of, and the potential for something to go wrong—like missing revenue opportunities or creating an overworked, unhappy employee—is significant. So what is the alternative? Finding a TPA to take over joint use and “become” your joint use department.

Third-party joint use administrators offer a number of benefits:

  • Your core focus is to maintain safe reliable service. A third party can focus on the details of managing the assets required to maintain reliable service.

  • They can spend significant energy maximizing assets, making sure they are well-utilized and maintained.

  • Without the day-to-day responsibilities of running your core business, they can consistently meet your company’s corporate and regulatory deadlines.

  • They can work quickly, helping to avoid attachment permitting and transfer backlogs, or can come in to clear backlogs if they currently exist.

  • A team dedicated solely to handling all aspects of joint use management can take the hassle of contract management off an internal employee’s plate.

Think your company is too small for a joint use department? Never. A dedicated, third-party joint use administrator may be just the right size, and just what is needed.

Download Alden’s Services brochure and learn more about how your business can benefit.


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