Success Through Communication – The Don’ts of Having a Machine Down

Having a machine go down, especially one that is critical to a process, is a very stressful event. Let’s face it – machines are what makes the money and every minute lost can add up to a huge loss. But being down is a situation that we in the service center get see customers handle in many different ways. Some companies have a smooth transition from being down, identifying the problem and ultimately coordinating the resolution. While other customers, tend to panic in sometimes spectacular ways, which in the end costs the company even more. So what is the number one factor in our opinion that differentiates the two? It is simple: communication. Here are some of the don’ts of communication during machine down situation.

Don’t punish for the down machine

Machines will break. It is a fact. No matter how good your maintenance or how well you plan, somewhere and at some point, there will be a failure. The key to preventing a future failure is finding out the root cause. Your best bet towards this end is to interview the person most intimately aware of what that machine was doing when it failed: the operator. The problem is that if you make it a habit of punishing machine operators or even maintenance personnel severely for every breakdown you will have a very tight-lipped set of employees. This will ultimately foster an atmosphere of cover-up whenever something happens. Which is will only make failures more repetitive and the root cause never uncovered. Of course, there are exceptions such as an employee is doing something unsafe or repeating the same mistakes.

Don’t hide things from the technicians doing the repairs

One of the funniest statements we get from customers when we ask what failed on a repair item has got to be “Well you are the technician… you tell me!” Well this is wrong for a number of reasons. When you visit the doctor and he asks what symptoms you are having you do not say “Well you are doctor, you tell me!”. The motivation for keeping this information away from the service center, while baffling, can have a variety of different causes. Maybe the maintenance supervisor is embarrassed, or maybe his boss is standing over his shoulder and doesn’t want to have his job threatened. Maybe they want a warranty to be honored and are afraid it will be denied. Regardless of what happened, it is our job to get the machine up and running and the quicker we can have the information we need, the quicker the issue will be fixed. Sometimes, with no information, finding the problem can be a needle in a haystack.

Don’t repeat the same mistakes – keep good notes

Once the problem has been found and fixed with production running again the work should not stop there. For every breakdown there is a root cause, and unless it is addressed the problem will just repeat. Therefor whatever the cause must be communicated to management. Keep good notes and use the information you received from the service center to work with maintenance to get the issue resolved.

But if you do have a machine down failure or need help discovering root cause, we can help! In fact, call us 24 hours a day and we will be there to assist in any way we can. Be sure to visit us online at or call us at 1-877-249-1701 to learn more about our services. We’re proud to offer Surplus, Complete Repair and Maintenance on all types of Industrial Electronics, Servo Motors, AC and DC Motors, Hydraulics and Pneumatics. Please subscribe to our YouTube page and Like Us on Facebook! Thank you! Thank you!

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