Keeping the Saw Sharp

A field service technician has a lot of tasks to juggle if he hopes to perform well. Some companies have better systems than others, but there will always be some overlap and “gaps” that a tech needs to fill. Besides the core of mechanical repairs, we also need to keep our eyes open for customer needs, make sure parts are coming as ordered, deal with jobs that go much longer than expected, try to keep scheduled appointments….and on and on and on!
I will admit that it can be a big challenge, and I have seen others struggle with it as well. Truth be told, the only ones that never seem to struggle with it are the ones who don’t really care, and have no qualms about leaving someone else hanging because “it’s time to go home”.

I have found that there are ways to manage it though. I do not always do this perfectly, but the better I do at it, the better the results. I believe there are 3 keys that can make a huge difference in avoiding mayhem and staying highly productive. Here are my productivity hacks.

1. Use some way to “brain dump”.
You may be a good multitasker, but it is surprising how much bandwidth your brain can tie up with trying to remember everything. I typically keep a notebook on my console. Every day I start with a fresh page, date it at the top, and scrawl everything down. I call this my work journal. It has been very helpful, especially when a question comes up about when a previous event occurred.

Periodically through the day, I will transfer the important items to my phone reminder list or calendar. Recently I have started using EverNote after a friend’s recommendation. It is very easy to use, and sends me a reminder email on the morning of the task. I highly recommend it.

2. Take 10 minutes at the end of every day to clear the day. When I get back to the office at the days end, I mentally go through a process:
– make sure all today’s paperwork is complete. Time card, service reports, parts orders, etc. Don’t worry if this takes too long the first couple of times. If you implement this process, it will get better rapidly.
-Transfer any incomplete work to tomorrow’s list.
Make sure you know what is the next action or job to start with the next morning.

3. Take 10 minutes to start the day right. Followup on any outstanding parts orders and information requests. Make sure your service truck is stocked and clean. Make sure you have the parts required for the day’s work. Quickly visualize through the job to make sure you aren’t missing anything that will cause you a hangup.

The honest truth is that most days, it seems like I hardly have the time to sit down and plan or strategically work through things. I feel like I need to get out and WORK! But I have found that taking time to sharpen the saw saves a whole lot of time, wasted energy, and frustration when cutting down that forest of work.

What about you? What tips do you have for being a more productive technician?

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3 thoughts on “Keeping the Saw Sharp

  1. I agree with all the above. Technology is a great asset as well. I have a iPhone and being able to take pictures of how things go back together really speeds things up. Also instead of having to write s/n’s down I can just take a pic. Especially for the hard to see numbers like pumps and motors, you can position your phone and take a pic. Also when you are working on a machine for the first time, try to gather as much info off of it as you can. Mast numbers, tire sizes, belt numbers, filter numbers, side shift numbers, etc. Sure helps you and the parts person in the future. And it impresses the customer when you don’t have to make a second trip or bother him for the information. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great input Rod. i use my iPhone all the time for the same reasons. Cant say how many times I’ve taken a photo of a tag on the backside of a part I couldn’t access without disassembly. Thx.

      Like

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