If something goes wrong with a piece of equipment, an error code or warning light will be displayed to the Operator. This is supposed to be helpful, right?
Telling an operator or technician there’s something wrong with their machine is, of course, the most logical thing to do. It has value. It can keep people safe. It can save money. All is good with the world. Except…
Error 9236 (shown on my console)
3 Flashes, 5 Flashes, 2 Flashes (ie 352)
Here comes the frustration
Even though we have the best intentions (safety, money, productivity), I, taking the roll of the Operator, am now about to move into full on frustration.
It’s likely that my machine has stopped, or potentially it’s still going but I don’t know if I should stop working. What does this mysterious code or flashing light mean?
So begins the search…
Today, I may ask a colleague, hunt for that manual I know was in the cab or the desk drawer back at the yard, maybe search Google, maybe find a PDF that I think fits this machine… and maybe pinch, scroll, and zoom until I realise this error code is not listed.
And please bear in mind, at this point, I’m not in an office. I might be on a site, maybe underground, maybe in a confined space. But I am definitely not at a desk.
AAAAHHHHHHHHH (this is me as an Operator politely being angry).
So where is this elusive satisfaction you talk of?
Well, at the risk of being accused of blowing our own trumpets, it’s time to for the white knight to ride in. This is our (YOUR) Companion App.
It’s already loaded with all the error codes, and these codes are associated to each machine (or groups, if that makes more sense). And these codes can be added to if needed, and amended if needed (all in real-time from a dedicated, secure, simple to use self-serve platform). But I, the Operator, don’t care. Because they’re just there. Ready, in my pocket!
“But I get no signal,” I hear you cry. “No worries, the app will still work perfectly,” we politely answer.
“But my Operator neither speaks or reads English.” “No worries,” we say, “Everything is translatable to any language.”
So now I start the app, tap in the error code, and lo and behold, I can see the light. Well, the great information you have provided against the error code. Now I know what’s wrong!
Can it get any better?
The short answer is yes. And this is where I get super excited about how information, once digitised, can be made to work so much harder, with hardly any effort.
So now we can link our Error Code to a task or a troubleshooting flow that guides the Operator, using simple steps to actually resolve the issue (with rich, often graphical information, multiple branching, and simple navigation). This flow itself can jump out to identification steps, or jump out to parts and much more, all in the context of the original Error Code.
OK, this is cool. Any more?
There’s loads. But I’ll leave you with this.
Once the process above has been completed, the Operator has progressed through the steps, and has read all the information, all that data is going to be sent back to you.
I’m not going to go into why this data (and all the other data from all the other Operators combined) is so cool and so valuable, but trust me it is. Let’s leave it as a story for another day!
So, for now, if you’re interested in making the lives of your Operators easier and safer, while also making it simpler for yourself to create and update Error Codes (along with plenty of other vital skills and product knowledge), give me shout at firstname.lastname@example.org