Recently I addressed the too-familiar telephone call that the “filtration system is not working.” When the call comes in — and so seldom during regular business hours — filtration tech experts have to react quickly to solve the problem.
Now, the question is how do you avoid getting these types of calls in the first place? Well, you can turn off your cell phone, but maybe isn’t the best idea. Instead, the better approach is proactive troubleshooting.
Proactive Filtration Tech Troubleshooting Ideas
As you know, I’m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. The great sleuth talks about checklists and separating the consequential from the inconsequential facts. This systematic approach works perfectly for troubleshooting — take a systematic approach with a comprehensive set of questions and logic charts. After all, we all know that most problems, maybe 90% or more, that arise with the filtration system have been experienced before.
A different approach involves “walking around” or random analysis. Sherlock and Dr. Watson are also very good at this. They see what’s not there to uncover the facts. This observation approach can help with the unique problems. I’ve written before also about the Japanese approach of “Genchi Genbutsu,” which further explains this option.
Becoming an Expert Troubleshooter
Becoming an Expert Troubleshooter, though, requires developing several “soft” skills over and above your technical expertise and great depth of knowledge in many areas. These characteristics include:
- Critical thinking: Ask probing questions to everyone at the plant from operators, mechanics, to process and R&D engineers to encourage conversations
- Excellent communication: Listen to the answers and ask the same questions in a different way or use the answers to formulate different questions and keep an open mind.
- Empathy: Try to understand potential frustrations.
- Motivational: Praise everyone who provided you with the answers, ideas, etc. to inspire the plant
- Ability to teach: Look for teaching moments so problem-solving permeates through the organization.
In the future of work, we’re going to be looking more at talents in addition to expertise. Cultivate your troubleshooting chops. Keep walking around and keep learning. In the meantime, let me know your area of expertise; maybe I can use your skills.