By Jim Boyd, Manager of Fleet Technical Services
This article was originally published in The Eagle Eye News, First Quarter 2017.
The week in the Dallas shop – like all other SEFL shops – is long and super busy. We are loaded with PMs (preventive maintenance) and repairs that need to be accomplished. The days are hectic and it seems like Friday is never going to get here. We are all waiting for the weekend to roll around so we can spend time with our families, catch up on chores at home and relax a bit, right? Right? Not always. We had an opportunity to conduct a Saturday training session in Dallas on what, for us, is one of the most pressing needs we have…use of the digital volt-ohmmeter (DVOM).
As technology seemingly spins out of control in our industry – and with tractors potentially ramping electrical systems from our 12-volt standard out to 36, 40 and even 48-volt systems, the need to improve our skills in this arena is of great importance. Rare is the component of a tractor now that does not have an electronic aspect to it – and thus, the need for electrical troubleshooting. We asked for volunteers in Dallas and immediately – we had a roster of six technicians (our size limit for this class) who were willing to sacrifice a Saturday to invest in their personal skills!
Our technician Jose Tovar volunteered to deliver the Quality Focus and did an admirable job – on short notice – discussing the A and B Parts of Quality and how improving our skills is a great way to make sure we can meet the needs of our customers…and become better at it with these newly improved capabilities.
The technicians who gave up their Saturday to attend the event were Kevin Carr, Jonathan Taylor, Mack Jones, Danny Sotelo, Brian Wooten and Jose Tovar. The early part of the morning was spent on meter basics and as all of us got on the same page, we rapidly moved to circuit building, voltage, amperage and resistance measurements – and then on to voltage drop measurements. The beginning circuits are simple – yet revealing in what we can learn from them. The banter around the table was fun, relaxed and filled with learning as we did team exercises.
Our new shop manager, Ricky Couch was on hand all day to assist us – making sure we had everything we needed – right down to the snacks and beverages. The volunteers especially enjoyed the hamburger and hot dog cookout at noon. This allowed us to have a short lunch break and head right back to the training session. Ricky’s input and hospitality was immensely appreciated and he kept us well fed and hydrated.
After lunch, the challenges became tougher – we moved to our large training board which far more closely replicates a vehicle. Technicians were posed with group challenges and the skills we worked to refine that morning now took on a different aspect…as they became more real life. The board is tougher and the lessons became more realistic as dawning looks of comprehension overcame the faces that may have had some concern and trepidation only moments before.
As we wound the afternoon down, technicians were provided helpful handout sheets and we then did a final “test” exercise that allowed our associates to show off their newly improved skills as we worked through pass / fail scenarios that allowed us to see – real time – how their decisions affect our repair processes. We are very proud of the efforts of these technicians and just wanted to share our day and say a great big THANK YOU to each of them for their volunteerism and willingness to sacrifice personal time to advance our professional goals.
Great work, Dallas Team!