AT&T Long Lines- The Bell System Unit For Nationwide and Worldwide Communications (Organization)
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AT&T Long Lines

"Long Lines"
The Bell System Unit For Nationwide
and Worldwide Communications


Table of Contents Chapter Links:

Essential to any business is good management. Generally speaking, good management has two main ingredients. First is a competent, dedicated group of people. Second-and equally important-is the alignment of duties in such a way that people can work efficiently to get the overall job done well.

What about a nationwide business like Long Lines? What is its organizational structure? What are the responsibilities of its main groups and how do they fit together?

Board and Staff

Although Long Lines in many ways operates like an individual company, it is a department within the corporate structure of AT&T. The authority for any Long Lines undertaking stems from AT&T proper. That authority is delegated by the chairman of the AT&T Board of Directors to the Long Lines Department Board.

The Long Lines Department Board is the governing body for Long Lines. Its chairman is the AT&T vice president in charge of Long Lines. Subject to approval by AT&T's board chairman, the vice president of Long Lines selects one member of his staff--usually the director of operations -- to serve on the Long Lines board. Other members are designated by the AT&T board chairman.

An executive staff, which reports to the vice president in charge of Long Lines, is responsible for basic functions essential to running the business. (See next page for information on executive staff responsibilities.)

The Executive Staff

Composed of executives who report to the vice president of Long Lines: the assistant vice presidents for accounts and finance, international services, personnel, public relations, and regulatory matters; the general attorney; the director of operations; and the vice president-- government communications. Shown below are their major responsibilities:

Legal - Advises management on legal aspects of Long Lines operations on a day-to-day basis. Represents Long Lines in all legal matters affecting company property and service. Appears for the company in formal proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission. Represents Long Lines before state tax commissions and local tax officials in connection with all tax matters.

Operations - Supervises the planning, engineering, construction, maintenance and operation of Long Lines services and plant. Determines through market research the new instrumentalities required to keep pace with changes in the way customers manage their businesses. Establishes or recommends rates and regulations for Long Lines services; promotes and sells these services; coordinates this work with other Bell System units.

International Services - Negotiates with foreign companies and government administrations to establish or extend telephone service. Represents interests of Long Lines in subsidiary companies concerned with overseas services. Acts as coordinator in negotiations on communications matters with U.S. government departments and agencies (other than the Federal Communications Commission).

Regulatory Matters - Determines policy on regulatory matters and serves as liaison between Long Lines and the Federal Communications Commission. Formulates policy and practices on division of interstate revenues with associated companies, Develops economic studies to determine costs and earnings requirements.

Government Communications - Makes sure the federal government gets communications that are reliable, survivable, fast and economical. Acts as coordinator for the Bell System in providing these services. Sees to it that Long Lines and associated companies are responsive to all government communications requirements--from immediate needs to long-range development of new communications ideas.

Personnel - Plans programs for recruiting and training employees; establishes wage and working practices; conducts labor negotiations. Administers programs concerned with employee welfare benefit, pension, insurance and medical plans. Coordinates Long Lines activities in Telephone Pioneers of America, an organization of telephone people with 21 years or more service.

Public Relations - Studies environmental trends and reports their potential impact on the business. Helps gain public and employee understanding of Long Lines policies, plans and goals. Provides information about the business to employees and the public. Carries out advertising program with other Bell System units to promote services and let customers know how to get the most out of them.

Accounts and Finance - Administers accounting system which records Long Lines assets, revenues and expenses; prepares financial, statistical and administrative reports to meet requirements of government and of management. Maintains system of audits and controls to protect company assets and insure that management policies are carried out. Handles Long Lines payroll; renders bills to private line customers and others; pays employee vouchers and bills from others. Programs and operates all Long Lines data processing equipment; coordinates planning for all company computer systems. Handles Long Lines funds and banking arrangements.


Key Administrative Groups - These groups make a major contribution to the smooth functioning and future progress of the business:

Education Assistance Committee (Part of Personnel):
Chairman: assistant vice president--personnel.
Encourages development of employees' talents and abilities.
Determines policy and supervises administration of Tuition Aid Plan. This plan helps defray tuition costs of employees who take courses at accredited educational institutions.

Advertising Council (Part of Public Relations):
Chairman: assistant vice president public relations.
Determines advertising needs of the business.
Develops balanced advertising program and coordinates it with other Bell System units.

Budget Council (Part of Accounts and Finance):
Chairman: assistant vice president--accounts and finance.
Supervises development of procedures to help control employment and expense. From estimates turned in by each department, it prepares balanced budget that takes into account the earnings requirements of the business.
Responsible for seeing the budget is adhered to throughout Long Lines.

Business Procedures Steering Committee (Part of Accounts and Finance):
Chairman: assistant vice president--accounts and finance.
Concerned mainly with use of computers and other data processing machines in helping to run the business efficiently.
Approves or recommends projects, priorities and project assignments associated with data processing equipment.

Operations Organization

Operations - In the organization of the director of operations, the engineering, marketing, overseas operations and operating staff groups are headed by assistant vice presidents, the Areas by general managers.

Makes long-range plans for plant construction, Prepares long-range studies on future needs for new developments and techniques such as satellites and their introduction in the plant. Sets technical standards for engineering, construction and maintenance. Assists in development of new services and instrumentalities for private line customers. Makes or supervises economic studies concerning such matters as revenue requirements and depreciation rates.

Operating Staff
Plans most effective way to use new and existing facilities; operates a center for management of the continent-wide public telephone network and a center for keeping close watch on status of facilities in the network. Consolidates force and expense budgets for the entire operating organization. Coordinates Long Lines efforts to promote safety on and off the job.

Coordinates construction program processes estimates and undertakings requiring Long Lines Department Board approval; files applications with the Federal Communications Commission; prepares engineering practices and procedures. Develops system designs for mechanized data processing to help carry out construction programs and coordinates their implementation. Prepares, reproduces, distributes and schedules the many circuit order items needed to get message circuits and broadband facilities into service.

Keeps eye on existing services to make sure they are doing best possible job for customers. Develops new service offerings and modifies existing ones to meet changing needs of the market. Establishes rates and regulations for services. Coordinates promotion and sale of services with other Bell units.

Overseas Operations
Develops methods and reviews results with communications agencies abroad to assure smooth operation of joint overseas telephone service. Engineers, constructs and maintains deep-sea telephone cable systems. Supervises operation of C.S. Long Lines and other ships used for construction or repair of ocean cable systems.

Area Organizations
Each of these self-contained units handles operations within its own boundaries and works closely with associated companies in whose territories it operates. Reporting to the general manager are heads of engineering, sales, and operating groups in the Area. The general manager also is responsible for budget, personnel, public and employee relations, general service and other Area staff functions.

Why the Areas
Long Lines is divided into six territorial areas for efficient handling of its complex, widespread operations.

Each Area takes care of engineering, sales, maintenance and network operations in its territory; each is managed by people with a high degree of experience and authority. With upper level supervision close to field activities, all phases of the business get responsible attention when and where needed.

The arrangement also strengthens team-work between field groups, and-equally important-makes for close coordination with other Bell units which help Long Lines provide nationwide service.

NEXT CHAPTER: Running the Business

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