November 5, 2014

Today’s post will begin by quoting from PLANT ENGINEERING (“Logic and plant engineering: become a more effective problem-solver by avoiding these common fallacies”):

“Troubleshooting problems in plant equipment and systems requires a flawlessly logical thought process. Like many of the skills needed in the world of plant operations and management, logic is something maintenance managers and facilities engineers are just assumed to have. Yet good logic is a skill that rarely comes naturally.

Lack of training in critical thinking leaves us all the more prone to errors in logic, which are known as fallacies. Only by learning common fallacies and avoiding them in our day-to-day thought processes can we develop the critical thinking skills we need to be effective problem-solvers.”

In fact, the ultimate test for instrument technicians, electricians and electronic technicians, as well as mechanics and millwrights will be their troubleshooting skills.

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.

Acquiring troubleshooting skills equips the worker with strategic thinking 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
• Obtain information about any malfunctioning system
• Compare problem symptoms to normal operation
• Describe sources of information concerning normal operations
• Describe sources of information concerning the background of a problem
• Recognize the difference between a symptom and a cause
• 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!

More on Monday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning (Mondays & Wednesdays)