Part Two: How to request outside help when Murphy’s Law impacts the bindery.

When it comes to unexpected bindery breakdowns, if your internal people cannot handle the situation, they must seek outside help. The faster your team recognizes this, the more time is saved.

The best way to get help is still via the telephone. As the support process progresses, e-mails, texts and even remote diagnostic portals are all excellent tools. But they should always be considered a supplementary means of communication. Verbal communication in real-time still rules!

When a call for assistance is made, your caller/team must:

1. Know the correct vendor contact information and service department phone numbers. Be sure they’re available in easy reach of the machine.
2. Have the authority to authorize the support request. Phone support and service dispatch are chargeable when there is no service/maintenance agreement.
3. Be able to identify the machine that is down, including model and serial number. For electrical matters, the schematic number is critical.
4. Understand the nature of the help that’s needed. The problem could be a mechanical, electrical, workflow, or parts issue. It’s rare that the first person answering your call will be versed in all of these disciplines. Callers will save even more time if they can get the right individual advising them.

5. Be clear whether troubleshooting, service dispatch, or both are needed. The vendor’s telephone support team is probably in a different group than the field service personnel. Too often people believe they will be getting a service engineer just because they talked to a tech support representative. Support people focus on diagnostics and troubleshooting. Field service departments provide dispatch.

When remote troubleshooting is pursued, the caller must be able to understand the suggestions given and be able to carry out these remedies safely. In addition, the channel of communications must be kept open, and your personnel must be able to make calls from the machine’s location. If your switchboard is closed after hours, an alternate means of enabling vendors to call in to your facility must be available.

And, naturally, it goes without saying that your caller must be able to follow safe practices and be equipped with the proper tools to take measurements. There are guidelines for safe maintenance on machinery that must not be ignored. If your team is not prepared to carry out procedures suggested by remote support personnel, it is a waste of time to continue with phone support. It might even be dangerous to do so.

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