4 Roads to Getting the Job Done Right

Technician hiring and training tips to ensure the best work possible.

Hello, 2017! As I write this, however, it is still November 2016 and our beloved country is licking its wounds from a very long, exhaustive and divisive presidential election process. One thing I think that we can all agree upon is that the sensation of change is definitely in the air. Let’s talk about how this can also be reflected in new and upcoming technology changes within our industry.

Just because we have new and exciting technologies on the horizon does not give us the excuse to forget decades of proven industry technologies, standards, experiences and methodologies. As you have seen over the years in Tech Talk, I often look as much to the experiences of the past as to the promises of the future. I hope that readers have enjoyed – and taken away some worthwhile ideas from – this mix of old and new.

Reflecting back, I have to ask, “Have we learned to get it right?” Whether you are an installer, service technician, dealer or integrator, you must all agree that the only way to do a job or task is to do it “the right way.” If you do it the wrong way, at the bare minimum it will cost you money and time. However, in our profession, at the maximum it could cost you, or your customer, personal injury. Therefore, it should be obvious that a special effort needs to be made by all to get it right the first time.

Education Can Mesh Old & New Experiences

I have always said there are only four ways you can get your work done right. Let me briefly run through these scenarios.

#1) Hire experienced and knowledgeable staff. While this will cost a dealer more initially, long-term savings can often be realized. At the very least, experienced tech management will not only see the job is done right, but pass on veteran insight to other staff.

#2) Learn by trial and error. Sadly, I have to report this is still the most popular method of learning to eventually do it right. This should not be the case. As with many others, I can confess that when I was a young installer/dealer this is how I, often painstakingly, learned what was the right and wrong way to do my job. While my innate concern for life-safety equipment performance kept me out of serious trouble, I did have my beginner’s fair share of false alarms and even an occasional miss that would often mystify me. The customer was not always happy. Years of trade experience and learning from others have considerably corrected this deficiency.

#3) Receive education/training from a formal program. This can include certification programs from organizations such as CEDIA, BICSI, SIA and ESA. It is also encouraging to see an increase in voc-tech programs in our educational institutions. I would really like to see our industry promote and maybe even subsidize more voc-tech programs. It is a win-win for all. One of the top areas of concern in our industry these days is a shortage of skilled technicians. 

#4) Learn from other’s experiences. This final way is one of the most popular avenues of tech education. What might first come to mind is on-the-job training (OJT). But a word of warning: This is only as good as the quality of experience being passed on with the OJT experience. It is easy to pass on bad practices.

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About the Author


Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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