Old Guard’s 10 Rules for Field Service.
Here are 10 Rules that may help you through your time as Field Service Technicians.
Of course, I have ignored this, my own advice on many occassions, and suffered almost all the consequences mentioned and many more!
Of course, you will have your own list and probably could add many more of your own rules but these are solely my personal views and reflect my experiences of almost a half century in service.
Many of you will say “Get real! We would not be allowed to do that in my company!” If that is the case then I will say to you “Move On!” Go somewhere else where you may be more appreciated and valued, it very rarely gets any better in such flawed companies.
1. Get home safe and intact every night to your home and family. First rule of service, no-one dies if their business equipment or similar (excluding Medical Technicians, X-Ray Machine technicians etc) does not function correctly. Your life is worth more than correcting any machine problem, ask your partner or family for their opinion if you do not believe me!
2. Protect the Safety of End Users and their Environment. Do not override or reset or compromise any safety features, fuses, interlock switches, even when ordered by your management (try to get the instruction in writing = it will never happen!) or requested by the customer, even as a temporary fix. Do not ask the customer to help you move, install or repair a machine. In the case of any incident you will be found personally responsible and liable and no one will have any recollection of ordering or requesting you to take such an action.
3. Do not make any problem worse. You are paid to make it better, if you have made it worse, then your very reason for being there is gone, as you should be! This will still happen to you from time to time, in spite of your best efforts and intentions, by plain bad luck (Murphy’s Law), but if it is happening to you too often, you are in the wrong job. Technical Support and Advice/Help lines should be the absolute last resort and are never there to do the job for you!
4. Do not complete (bodge) a poor repair and then dash off to the next call only to do another poor repair. Many do just this; however have some respect for yourself and especially your colleagues that then have to later follow you and undertake work you should have already done. If your own reputation is not important to you and you do not take pride in doing a good job and employing your skills then find some other trade.
5. Work on the faulty machine you are actually attending, in a timely manner, until it is completed. Do not worry about the next call and its response time, down time, contract etc. These are and must be the responsibility of someone who earns a lot more than you! This is usually the same person who hustles you to get to on the next call then blames you for not completing the previous call correctly at your next review meeting.
6. The End User/Customer is not your friend. They may be very friendly and you may be friendly with them but when things go wrong none of this will matter and they will drop you in the crap without a second thought. As a secondary matter, always check that the fault the customer is describing and reporting is actually what is wrong. Do not waste time chasing your own vision of what you think may be wrong.
7. Resist the temptation to have or begin a relationship with your call despatcher, controller or route planner, no matter how attractive, kind and friendly they sound/appear. When it ends, as it surely will, you will discover very often that at the end of each working day you could not be further from your homebase or each first call in the morning is in the very worst commuter traffic area. Payback is a bitch!
8. The official Service Manual, published by the manufacturer, is a good friend, there to assist you and no one can be ever be found wanting by following the manufacturer’s advice therein. If it is wrong, then it is for others higher up to point that out to the manufacturer. If your company tells you to ignore the Service Manual instructions then I would suggest that you start looking for another employer as shortcuts and compromises elsewhere, which will negatively affect you personally, will surely follow very soon.
9. Demand adequate training on the machines that you are required to service. Technician Training is always the first thing to get dropped or skimped on. The customer is paying for, and assuming, that he is getting a competent trained Technician to attend and not you, standing there not knowing where to begin. Lack of training injured or killed many willing and helpful technicians and made many faults far worse.
10.Look after your company vehicle even if only just enough so it remains safe, if that is your choice. Do not drive an unsafe vehicle as any people sending you out in it have little care for your welfare. Similarly, do not drive like an idiot or try to do too many calls or too many miles in a day. See Rule 1 if you need to find a reason for this rule.

So, there you have it, good advice that many of you will probably laugh at and ignore but if it makes one of you think and reconsider an action thus preventing an accident or serious mistake then I will consider the time taken typing this well spent. Be careful out there !