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5 questions about VISTA's Tips From the Pros™ training programs

The Tips from the Pros™ training series from VISTA is designed to deliver refresher training to existing heavy equipment operators. These DVD-based video training programs summarize the safest, most productive work techniques for a variety of common equipment types, such as crawler excavators, wheel loaders and tractor-loader backhoes.

1. Who are these training programs designed for? These training programs are ideal for experienced equipment operators who have reached a plateau in their level of performance, as well as those who may have picked up some bad operating habits that may be affecting their productivity and safety.

2. Why was the Tips From the Pros™ series created? Some fleet owners treat training as a one-time activity. When a new operator is first hired, he receives basic training to help him become competent on the types of machines he will be operating. It’s often treated as a simple check-off on a list of new-hire orientation tasks. But competence is not the same as proficiency. To become truly proficient at equipment operation requires ongoing learning and practice. In addition, the knowledge a trainee receives in new hire training tends to fade after a while. Refresher training like Tips From the Pros™ shares important operating principles and reminders with seasoned operators to help them operate at their best and continue to grow their skills. VISTA created the Tips From the Pros™ series to meet the needs of our customers who believe it’s important to continue to cultivate the safety and productivity of their equipment operators, long after they are hired.

3. What challenges do these programs address for fleet owners and operators? What typically happens is that one set of operating techniques becomes common to all of the operators within a fleet - because your operators tend to teach each other - both directly through field training, and indirectly, by example. Often, less experienced operators pick up bad habits from their more seasoned coworkers. Another common challenge is complacency. After a while, many equipment operators may start to forget what they’ve learned and may cut corners or become careless in their quest to reach their production targets. That’s when accidents often happen. Complacency also tends to have a negative impact on productivity. If you want to continue to grow your team's capabilities, you must bring in best practices from outside your organization. Tips From the Pros™ can help equipment operators break through complacency and advance from competence to proficiency. They are an effective medium for sharing best practices that all of your equipment operators - new and experienced alike - can learn from.

4. What types of machines and topics do the Tips From the Pros™ training programs cover? These training programs focus on these common machine types:

  1. Tractor-Loader Backhoe

  2. Crawler Excavator

  3. Crawler Dozer

  4. Motor Grader

  5. Front-end Loader

  6. Rigging and Lifting

  7. Snow Plowing Topics covered include:

  8. Inspecting the machine and the jobsite,

  9. Planning the job,

  10. Machine adjustments,

  11. Material handling techniques,

  12. Working on slopes,

  13. Cutting and shaping materials, and

  14. Analyzing loads

5. What misconceptions do people have about the Tips From the Pros™ training series? The "tips" name is a misnomer; it implies that these training programs only contain basic operating techniques. Actually, they are designed with intermediate to advanced skills levels in mind. Based upon the nomenclature of college classes, if "101" is a beginner-level course, these Tips From the Pros™ training programs could be considered to be "201" courses - ideal for taking your operators’ knowledge and skills to the next level. Click here to view our Tips from the Pros products. NOTE: During the month of February, all Tips From the Pros™ training programs are being offered at 15% off of the regular price for e-newsletter subscribers only. See earlier article to learn more.

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