This month I attended the “Solutions 2.0” Conference in Bonita Springs, Florida. That event took me back in time — to almost two decades ago — when Maintenance personnel regularly gathered together to discuss Maintenance challenges and solutions.

Solutions 2.0” featured “Reliability” issues, a term I believe has evolved from the “Predictive Maintenance” and “Preventive Maintenance” terms of earlier times. Regardless, “Reliability” is one of the critical components in manufacturing and process facilities today. Corporations now readily recognize that “Reliability” effects their bottom lines — in a most significant way.

The other critical component for cost control is “Troubleshooting,” a skill that is often based on logical thinking. It has become the ultimate test for instrument technicians, electricians and electronic technicians, as well as mechanics and millwrights.

While most maintenance tasks in a plant are routine, knowing how to systematically think through a problem is vital to a plant’s operating efficiency.

And, troubleshooting skills are best acquired through hands-on practice, as well as multi-sensory training programs that provide a degree of simulation — simulation that occurs when full motion video is encountered in an interactive way.

Acquiring troubleshooting skills equips the worker with strategic thinking skills that can be applied to the analysis of problems in any industrial system. Developing logical thinking skills and the ability to create a personal troubleshooting outlook will prove valuable under any troubleshooting situation.

Developing logical thinking should arm one with the knowledge to:

• Define root cause problem solving
• Define troubleshooting
• Describe basic steps involved in any general troubleshooting procedure
• How to obtain information about any malfunctioning system
• How to compare problem symptoms to normal operation
• How to describe sources of information concerning normal operations
• How to describe sources of information concerning the background of a problem
• Recognize the difference between a symptom and a cause
• How to develop a troubleshooting plan
• Recognize the importance of schematics while troubleshooting
• Describe the steps necessary to repair a problem
• Describe the steps that can be taken to prevent future trouble

Developing logical thinking skills is the bottom line test of any good maintenance technician. Individuals with excellent logical thinking skills are worth their weight in gold. They’re the ones who keep American industry humming!

Hands-on practice and multi-sensory training, rooted in full motion video, are the best ways to acquire and sharpen those skills!

Enjoy your long Thanksgiving weekend. More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning