If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and five minutes finding the solution.
Einstein had it so right. Thoroughly understanding a problem is what builds a framework for the solution. Once we have illustrated problems in full color and from all angles, the right answers clearly present themselves.
Never has Einstein’s assertion been more true than in automotive design, maintenance and repair. Automotive engineering continues to progress in complexity. Electronic and mechanical systems are interlaced so completely that problems are extremely difficult to isolate.
Because automotive systems are difficult to sort accurately, automotive repair technicians often resort to approximate or “general” diagnosis techniques in order to recommend repairs.
Approximate Diagnosis is responsible for a rapidly increasing margin in revenues to the automotive repair industry and in direct costs to drivers.
A technician’s ability to confidently pinpoint the root cause of failure in a system allows them to make the right call, replace the right part and only the right part.
Heavy lifting doesn’t need to be heavy spending if we do the job rightBuzz Aldrin
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin understood accuracy, economy and scarcity. HIs mission with Apollo 11 proved this axiom and it lives in our cultural consciousness as an economic truth we reach for. The issue of scarcity, economy and accuracy challenged Apollo 11. The mission was successful in the end because their team “did things right”.
Accurate diagnosis is by far less-expensive than processes that approximately identify problems.
Recommending repairs stemming from general conclusions feels expedient, but it rarely fixes problems. It requires a great deal of persistence and skill to follow a problem through the course of finding a precise cause.
“Problems cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.”Albert Einstein
Automotive engineers are brilliant and responsible for an ever-increasing degree of freedom and flexibility for travel. The automotive technician, or mechanic, however, is the one who has to out-think the engineer in order to maintain what engineers have designed. Mechanics are scientists who often have a different way of thinking than engineers do.
Automotive technicians work to solve problems inherent in mechanical systems operating usually under variable conditions. Mechanics successful at diagnostics are scientists who love identifying pattern-failures and who catalogue and predict them.
The automotive repair industry has changed significantly and people who have integrity in the repair industry have had to change with it. Good service and economy now demand that diagnosis be spot-on. No longer is it more cost effective to settle for a best-guess than it is to nail down cause of failure.
Unless we hold standards of definitive certainty when it comes to recommending repairs and maintenance, we are literally creating a false economy consisting of fixing things not broken, and spending money that need not be spent.
Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent themAlbert Einstein
If your concept of a mechanic is someone who couldn’t make it to college, think again. Accurately recommending a repair on modern vehicles is no longer a visceral activity, but an intellectual one. Technicians have to be six parts intellectual and four parts genius in order to serve customers with integrity.
Thoughtful, caring and smart—these are the key ingredients of good technicians today. A modern technician pays attention to details and notes pattern failures. They create a career-database of knowledge enabling them to prevent problems for customers. This is true genius.
The pace of change in the automotive industry is hard to keep up with! Everything updates so quickly—how do professionals keep up when they work a forty hour week? One cannot, unless they are training continuously.