Don’t over commit, don’t over promise: the hallmarks of effective troubleshooting.

“Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.” – Henry Ford“

Troubleshooting is troubleshooting; it's the communication and customer service that makes the difference,” says DIS-TRAN Project Manager David Perry. He says when customers email or call with a problem, it’s crucial to respond directly and quickly. “You just have to talk to the customer to work out a solution.” From there, superior troubleshooting is defined by:

1: Promptness.

Procrastination is a project-killer. “That’s something we do not do at DIS-TRAN,” David says. When confronted with a problem, the project manager should attack the problem head-on, right away.

2: Honesty.

When talking the customer, it’s important to ask questions about what the customer needs and how quickly they need it. “You want to be honest on both ends,” David says. “Solutions always work better when founded on honest appraisals rather than false promises.”

3: Realism.

It’s critical to never overcommit, David argues: “If you say two weeks, you must do it within 2 weeks. You can’t say you need an extra 3-4 days at the last minutes. Effective commitments are huge, and that’s something DIS-TRAN does really well. We do not overpromise.”

4: Bonus – An ounce of prevention.

Of course, we’d always rather prevent problems entirely, so we’re always on the watch for issues before they happen. That’s why DIS-TRAN employs such intensive QA/QC protocols.

DIS-TRAN’s troubleshooting in action.

David cites a factory-built substation project as a great example of these principles in action. When shipping the oversize substation parts over a long distance, we knew that clearances would be an issue. David specifically requested four low boy trucks from the trucking company but got only three; the fourth was a step deck. While traveling to the site, a quadrant of the substation being carried by the step deck hit a tree and a section of transfer bus was damaged. After getting the call from the trucking company, David and his team went into problem-solving mode. Thankfully DIS-TRAN’s use of 3D modeling meant we could recreate, ship and deliver the pre-fabricated in little time. “The next step was to call the customer, be up front about what happened, present the solution, and verify it was acceptable to meet their needs,” says David. (More information on this project is available in a detailed case study).