People Don’t Plan to Fail, They Fail to Plan
With the current economic conditions, it would be naive to think we aircraft maintenance technicians might be exempt from cutbacks and downsizing. Consequently, if we are impacted by cutbacks or downsizing, replacing employment will as well, be extremely challenging at best. We could sit back and let the cards fall as they will, or we can take action now to prevent or minimize the devastation. It has often been said, people do not plan to fail, they fail to plan.
Quite often we AMT’s may not always be aware just how much our conduct has on the bottom line of our employers. If we order a part in haste, and accidently order the wrong part number, on the surface one might think, “Hey, what’s the big deal, I made a simple mistake”. However, management may not take the same approach if the correct part we should have ordered was in company inventory, yet the incorrect part number that we actually ordered was not in company inventory, and we forced our employer to spend hard to come by liquid assets to purchase a part we will never use. This simple oversight might get further compounded if we are AOG waiting for the wrong part to get in.
The above example illustrates why we must slow down and double check ourselves. Additionally, in such situations it might be prudent to employ “Resource Management” into the equation and consult with our supervision or a technical representative from the manufacture to validate our intended execution is going to be nothing shy of perfect. Considering the financial impact and the down time in the above example, if it took us an additional two hours to validate we ordered the correct part, that two hour investment to validate accuracy would certainly be a wise investment of our time.
In the above paragraph we coined the term “Resource Management”. Accept the fact no one knows everything, and all you know, is all you know, regardless of your experience or years in the business. When we open a maintenance manual, we are employing “Resource Management”, when we ask a co-worker to double check the maintenance we just completed, we are employing Resource Management. Recognizing that Resource Management can become a major weapon in your arsenal against mistakes should force us to appreciate the value of Resource Management. Additionally, we should consistently be looking to expand our library of resources we might need to rely on in the future. Again, remember no one has all the answers, but having a large arsenal of resources, and knowing where to get the answers puts you leagues ahead of the AMT that failed to plan.
It’s a worthwhile education to analyze “Why Did We Order the Wrong Part Number? Was it Complacency? Was it a lack of Situational Awareness?” If we can identify the root cause of our mistakes, this allows us to set up defense mechanisms to prevent their reoccurrence.
Complacency is truly a deadly disease in the aviation industry. Where ever there is complacency in aviation, you will find mistakes. The most frightening aspect of complacency, is the fact that each and every one of us are complacent, now the only question remains, is just how complacent are we? One suggestion to combat complacency is to perform a “Risk Assessment”, to determine if we can afford to be complacent. For example: had we performed a brief “Risk Assessment” as to the possible ramifications of ordering the wrong part number, certainly we would have taken the necessary steps or required time to validate the correct part number was ordered.
Having and developing a keen sense of “Situational Awareness” is crucial to our success as AMT’s. Quite often our environment is designed for failure. If you are behind schedule, consistently pressured to drive harder, constantly interrupted, you are working in a “Target Rick Environment”, and failure in some form is enviable. When you have performed a “Risk Assessment” and you realize the magnitude and consequences of errors, you simply must design, develop, or find a way to ensure your environment is conducive to a successful execution.
There is a huge difference between “Technical Competency” and “Professionalism”. Historically, we have fought diligently to strengthen our knowledge and skills in the “Technical Competency” arena. In today’s economic times we simply must invest both time and energy into enhancing our professionalism as AMT’s. We may possess the “Technical Competency” to order a part, but if we fall short in our “Professionalism” to execute without error, our employer might determine they would be better off without us employed as to minimize these costly mistakes.
It’s pretty exhilarating to pick up several hundred dollars worth of tools off of the tool truck that comes to the hangar. But never in a million years would we consider investing that money into furthering our education. Ask yourself this question, in an interview, what might have more value to you, those wrenches you purchased, or several certificates proving you have invested in your education as an AMT. Will your tool box accompany you in the interview so you can show off your tool box to your potential employer? If your NOT selected for the available position, could it have been because the individual that did get selected had more certificates in their resume, than you did?
Times are changing, and to keep up with, and stay ahead of the times, we have to educate ourselves. We need training, we need training certificates advertized on our resumes. We have to position ourselves above the competition. We must invest in our ability to obtain employment, and we must invest in our ability to retain employment.
People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.