When something goes wrong with a piece of equipment, the responsibility for a satisfactory response falls on a company’s service technicians. These highly trained individuals are directly responsible for ensuring quick and thorough responses to complex problems. So what type of person is cut out for this demanding profession? We went straight to the source to find out.
For Tim Pickard, a high-school hobby became a life-long profession. While growing up on a farm, Pickard learned the basics of equipment repair by fixing farm machinery. His interest in the equipment led him to study Diesel Technology in college. Now an industry veteran of almost 20 years, he is still learning and adjusting to changes. The biggest change has been the level of sophistication in the equipment. According to Pickard, almost all repairs are now done through a laptop computer. “When we first started with the laptops, it was like a different language. But once we got used to it, the system actually made troubleshooting easier.” To keep pace with rapid industry changes, Pickard participates in several training programs, including meetings with Liftech’s on-site training specialist. The in-depth training is necessary to cope with a rapidly changing industry. Pickard says, “Years used to go by before any major equipment changes were made, and now you see them every year.”
While the industry has been changing, Pickard’s customer base has remained steady. He often works with new clients, but also has a core of customers he has served for years. Having long-term customers makes providing outstanding service easier for Pickard, who says, “I pretty much know the repairs that will need to be done, so I can set up a schedule with the customers beforehand.” Another reason he is able to keep a loyal customer base is his passion for getting the job done right. “With today’s market and prices, it’s obvious customers are really looking for someone who can come in and get the job done right the first time,” he says.
An 11-year veteran of the industry, Carlos Ventura knows being a service technician is about more than just making repairs. It is also about providing top-notch customer service, which he does by simply treating the customer fairly and under- standing the importance of doing quality work. “I want to make sure when I leave the customer site that I’ve made a good repair, not just something that will get them by,” he says.
Ventura initially studied motorcycle repair and came to the material handling industry with only a general knowledge of the equipment. He was a maintenance intern at M&G for two weeks before earning a permanent position. Little by little through training, literature and education, he learned the industry. Easing the transition was his natural technical prowess. “If it has a motor I can figure it out. I’ve always been good with things like that,” he says.
In the last decade, Ventura has noticed a change in the industry. “There is a much larger push toward safety than there was when I started.” He cites tighter company safety guidelines from the customer side and more safety education from his employer. Safety assurance is another key to Ventura’s good customer service. “One of my biggest obligations is to make sure the truck is safe to operate,” he says. “When somebody is in a bind and I take care of the problem, that’s pretty rewarding.”
Wisconsin Lift Truck
Wisconsin Lift Truck (WLT) Road Service Technician Erik Scrabeck began his career servicing a different kind of equipment. Originally an automotive technician for Goodyear, he developed a strong mechanical base. When his manager left Goodyear to join WLT, he encouraged Scrabeck to do the same. The uncertain nature of the automotive industry at that time provided extra incentive to learn the new field. “As up and down as the automotive world can be, changing industries made sense,” he explains. “Forklifts were just like cars with hydraulics, so I learned the hydraulic end of it and went over to WLT.” Fourteen years later, he’s still at it.
Scrabeck’s existing knowledge was supplemented by WLT’s in-depth training programs. “The company has been instrumental in my forklift upbringing. They have been very good at educating us on new equipment and testing procedures he says. The training has come in especially handy with the recent move toward high-tech diagnostics and servicing. Laptops have made traditional troubleshooting methods almost obsolete over the last few years, and the rapid pace of change means technicians have to stay constantly up to date. Scrabeck credits WLT’s involved training program for helping him do just that.
The depth of experience and training Scrabeck possesses help him perform the most important part of his job—providing outstanding customer service. He believes that he owes it to the customer to get them back up and running in the quickest and most cost-effective manner possible. “You have to know your customers and be able to prioritize,” Scrabeck says. “It’s this customer-oriented attitude that keeps his 5 primary accounts satisfied and ensures their continued business. In his years in material handling, Scrabeck has seen a lot of change, but with WLT’s support and his own dedication, he continues providing top-notch service.