The Subtle Power of a RASCI Chart

The Subtle Power of a RASCI Chart

Guest writer Sara Hanks offers constructive wisdom for project success in, “The Subtle Power of a RASCI Chart.”

During several recent project reviews, an unmistakable pattern emerged: projects consistently stumbled at the same exact step. The project leaders were quick to lay blame on the purchasing team, citing a lack of support. But a deeper dive revealed the issue wasn’t about finger-pointing or blame.


After several meetings with several people, my team completed mapping out the process, uncovering a glaring gap. A significant process step, vital to the project’s progress, lacked ownership. To engage the purchasing team, the planner needed to put demand in the system. In services, however, there is no planner function, so the process stopped until it was escalated. Several projects were delayed due to this issue.


This is where the transformative power of the RASCI chart came to our rescue. For those unfamiliar, RASCI stands for:


Responsible (R): The person who performs an activity. It’s vital to have a single ‘R’ for every step, ensuring there’s clear ownership and no overlap in duties.

Accountable (A): The person ultimately accountable for the correct and thorough completion of the task. This usually falls on a senior person who has the authority to sign off on the step. Some sources consider the (A) as Approver.

Supportive (S): Those who assist the ‘R’ in completing the task. They provide the resources or knowledge needed but don’t take on the main responsibility.

Consulted (C): The people who must give input before the task is completed, providing necessary expertise or information.

Informed (I): Those who need to be kept in the loop regarding the outcome of the task, but don’t necessarily have input on its execution.


For each step of the process, identify who is responsible for completing the task. With the clarity provided by the RASCI chart, we meticulously documented each process step and assigned who was responsible. The planner step of the process was assigned to the warehouse manager. We also discovered that by informing the purchasing team sooner, they would have more awareness of the project and could respond more efficiently.


But the benefits of the RASCI chart extend beyond merely assigning roles. With a clearer understanding of responsibilities:


Streamlining Approval Steps: Organizations often have multiple approval layers, some of which may be redundant. With clarity on who is truly responsible and accountable, teams can challenge and eliminate unnecessary approval steps, making processes leaner and faster.

Enhanced Communication: Knowing exactly who needs to be consulted or informed means that communication is more targeted. This can reduce the back-and-forth and make decision-making swifter.


Conflict Resolution: When roles overlap or are unclear, conflicts can arise. Clearly defining who is responsible for what can prevent such overlaps and the ensuing misunderstandings.


Efficient Resource Allocation: With a better grasp on who supports each step, managers can allocate resources more efficiently, ensuring that each phase of a project gets the support it truly needs.


Training & Onboarding: When introducing new team members to a process, a RASCI chart acts as a guide, detailing what each team member’s role is, ensuring faster integration into projects.


The RASCI chart’s benefits, as we discovered, are multifaceted. Not only does it bring clarity to roles, but it also optimizes processes, enhances communication, and leads to better resource allocation. It’s not just about finding out who does what; it’s about understanding how everyone can do what they do, better.


In the end, our experience with the RASCI chart was enlightening. It taught us the significance of clearly defined roles and responsibilities. As organizations evolve and processes become more intricate, tools like the RASCI chart will be essential in navigating the complexity, ensuring efficiency, and fostering a culture of clarity and collaboration.

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New Leadership

New Leadership

Guest writer Sonya Law returns this week with the Human Resources perspective in “New Leadership.”

New Leadership: It’s time to expand our definition of what makes a great leader!

According to Harvard Business Review: “Leadership is a conversation” It is less about issuing and taking orders than about asking and answering questions” which leads us to the first quality… 

Leader as Coach

Whether it is formal or informal both styles of coaching have value. We know in sport that coaching tends to be very structured although this is changing too, as coaching is as much about coachable moments on field as off the field.

As a leader within an organisation the value is in the coachable moments, in real-time its powerful.  

A good leader is self-aware and recognises what is needed to be said at the opportune moment. It is timely advice and the right guidance at the right moment and is well received by the employee and builds a positive feedback loop for the individuals growth.

These moments build trust, as they feel that the leader is going to be with them every step of the way, which creates shared commitment and purpose.  Its these strong emotional bonds that leaders need to maintain a positive feedback loop for learning and growth of their team.  When you have the people, both their hearts and mind you can extract unrealised potential and discretionary effort from each member of the team.


Why is this important?

Gallup Poll 2023, measure’s global engagement levels in organisations, currently at 15% engaged workforce.  Reporting that employees are not emotionally connected to their work and do the bare minimum.  

When you have a strategy to win and be the best, bare minimum, with 85% of the workforce disengaged and only 15% engagement it’s not enough, in a competitive environment to achieve high performance.


Why wouldn’t you want extra effort?

When people are emotionally invested you can extract discretionary effort and unrealised potential of employees, when there is an improvement in Leadership Effectiveness.  There is a positive impact to the overall human effort towards achieving the organisations goals.  

We need to turn our focus towards Leadership Effectiveness and adopting a more humanistic approach, to drive a high-performance culture.

What is key in driving a high-performance culture?  

Creating a work environment that builds emotional connection will elicit high performance because there will be high levels of trust.  Leadership is both an art and science, there is not a perfect formula, it is often knowing our style and being able to adapt, that is the best predictor of success.

When I think about building trust in teams, the gurus are John and Julie Gottman, they are well known for their relationship work with couples in building trust, but before now probably not thought of in terms of business relationships. The science or in this case psychology still stands, building trust and connection has the same elements. 

When an employee makes a bid for connection towards their manager, this is an opportunity for the manager to acknowledge them and transmit a feeling of being valued to the employee.  For example, you walk into the office each morning and say a quick good morning to your team, they try to engage with you, but you race to your first meeting, not allowing anytime for conversation.  This will affect the trajectory of their day and over time unmet bids for meaningful connection at work, will result in poor behaviours, disloyalty, and disengagement. 

However, in a thriving and positive workplace where space is created for meaningful connection between managers and their teams, behaviours you are more likely to see are: –

  • Helping Customers
  • Coming to you with solutions not problems 
  • Being more open to Change 
  • Raising issues before they become bigger.

Leaders energise teams.

They own it, by taking responsibility for their own energy levels. The best leaders I know have a morning routine, the alarm goes between 5am and 6am and they exercise because they know, when they do, they will have more energy to complete the tasks of the day. They report feeling more energised and increase in productivity and receptivity to those around them. Leading them to be able to not only boost their energy levels but that of their team.

They respond to emails with energy, they communicate with the appropriate level of energy and passion it takes to enliven a team.  Being aware about your own state and being intentional in the tone and energy of your emails and verbal communication and body language can motivate or demotivate your team, be aware and conscious of your energy levels.

Leaders who prioritise their self-care and that of their team by role modelling and having regular conversations about the importance of wellbeing.  Will have a more energised team to keep up with the pace and demands of today’s workplace.

Leaders foster inclusivity.

They do not have all the answers, but are prepared to lean in, listen and learn. They engage with experts in the field and want to understand how they themselves can be more inclusive in their language and behaviours. 

Leaders are Emotionally Intelligent (EQ)

They are aware that to be a great leader you need to be self-aware and be able to self-regulate your own emotions to provide a safe working environment. If we are divisive and reactive most of the time this will lead to an unpredictable and unstable environment.  

The most powerful tool in EQ is awareness, when you are aware of bids for connection from your team, these are the micro-moments that enable you to build emotional connection which creates a sense of belonging for your people.


Leaders have empathy.

Leaders who have empathy and build connection with their people, will get the best from them.

Some leaders, already know they wear their heart on their sleeve, and they understand it is a balance and to not demonstrate empathy, is a bigger risk, particularly in navigating the sensitivities of their younger team members (generational). 

When there is emotional connection in the team it elicits discretionary effort and a willingness to go into the trenches and even endure some stress. 

Empathy simply is not prioritising your comfort over someone else.  

Leaders find it hard to step into empathy because it is uncomfortable and makes them feel vulnerable. 

By paying attention to how you are showing up in this space, you could ask for feedback on how well you listen, your language (both verbal and body language) and experience for the other person. 

Empathy is a skill set and can be learned, you can develop your own style, and build it in 3 ways: 

  1. The first step in empathy, is making the other person a priority and showing genuine interest.
  2. Tune into them, it is a human skill like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice.  
  3. Empathy is a sense, of sensing someone else’s emotion. (If you have completed your MBTI, check your results for ‘Sensing’). Or any EQ, emotional intelligence test.

Your own personal and lived experience affects your level of empathy.  

Leaders who embrace diversity of human experience.  Can listen more effectively, expanding their “emotional range” having a “full life” helps with empathy and seeking out a wide range of experiences, making them more relatable. 

Leaders tell me most of their problems are people related and spend most of their time, effort, and energy on them.  When we build our empathy muscle and develop a more humanistic approach.

The benefits of a humanistic approach are: 

  • Improved people outcomes 
  • Focus on critical projects which impact the business.
  • Leading and implementing change 
  • Maintaining an engaged and energised workforce. 

Some leaders are good technically and they rise into leadership roles, and they lack the soft skills, particularly empathy which is a key skill in leading people.  Volvo have recognised this and trained 20% of their People Managers in MHFA (Mental Health First Aid) as they recognise the importance of a safe workplace both physically and mentally.  

Leaders who demonstrate empathy and have a sense of where people are at emotionally, allows them to resolve issues early before it becomes a conflict and litigious.


Leaders are prepared and value a Growth Mindset

Leaders who are focused, intentional and limit distractions get what they want. Why? 

They prepare for conversations, they prepare for meetings they know what they want to say, what they want from the team. They are always aware of the bigger picture and how they can collaborate and involve the necessary stakeholders and decision makers in important decisions and direction of the team and business. 

They do not leave things to chance.  

They have a process of reflection and analysis to ensure they themselves are growing and developing as a leader and engage in their own learning.  They value a growth mindset and know it’s important to being innovative and adaptive. 


Leader’s nurture young talent and innovation

Leader’s nurture young talent and recognise that good ideas can come from anywhere whether it is your first day on the job or you have been there for 20 years.  Providing systems where you develop your youth and innovation will deliver value to any organisation and is worth the upfront investment of time and effort. It’s important to provide opportunities for young people to connect and learn from leaders.


Leaders promote wellbeing. 

They promote wellbeing for themselves and the team, they seek to understand what is important to the people by asking them and make it a weekly focus to check in on their level of burnout.  Leaders prioritise safety and know their most asset is their People, understanding that wellbeing includes both mental and physical safety, they take a wholistic approach.  


Leaders connect people with Purpose.

They look for ways to connect people with their talents and drive purpose and passion where possible to ensure the people feel energised and not burnt out. Much of burnout and overwhelm is not being aligned at work and not having impact. Author Liz Wiseman wrote a book called Impact Players which explores this concept further. 


Leaders get uncomfortable and show up in an authentic way.

They are prepared to have difficult conversations that need to be had.  They do not put their comfort ahead of others and make space for these conversations in their day. 

Leaders create a sense of safety when difficult issues arise, to allow difficult issues to be raised and worked through in a respectful, open, and transparent way.  They look for ways to lead by example which gives those around them permission also, to be authentic at work. 


Leaders humanise the workforce.

They humanise the workforce and understand whilst financial sustainability and good administration is the foundation of any business there is a human aspect to what we do.  Even in the most competitive and brutal environment of Tour De France, Netflix series featuring cyclist Mark Cavendish shares the human side and pressures of competitive cycling. 


Leaders celebrate. 

Leaders celebrate with the team to create a sense of belonging and shared purpose.  The team that celebrates together stays together.  Having fun and being away from the stresses of the workplace and celebrating creates lots of moments of connection and may serve to improve cross functional relationships.  

Creating a high performance and winning culture, that establishes traditions and rituals to celebrate milestones, recognise the team and the wins along the way, will support the group in overcoming obstacles and building resilience.


Leaders are positive.

Finally, leaders who are positive, generous, charismatic, yet realistic, provide the most valuable thing to their people, they give hope.  When you are not winning, the work can feel like a grind and people who lift each other are vital to the group not losing hope.  A leader who is focusing on the positives, and moving forward will encourage the group to do the same. Positivity is contagious. We invest a lot in our people to build them up, be careful not to slip into low energy moods and negativity. Always be thinking as a leader, what can I do today to make it better tomorrow!


The bottom-line benefits are: 

  • Engaged workforce – improving productivity and reducing staff turnover.
  • Openness to change – digital transformation and critical business projects actioned.
  • Reduction in burnout – less absenteeism, increase presenteeism, reduced work cover claims and legal disputes. 


Raising questions?

Why wouldn’t you invest in Leadership Training?

Why wouldn’t you invest in Leadership Coaching?

Why wouldn’t you want to protect your leaders from Burnout? 

‘If you take care of your leaders they will take care of your people, who take care of your business’. 

Contact Sonya Law founder of SL Human Resources Consulting if you are interested in leadership training, coaching and strategies to avoid burnout in your leaders.

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My Perspective from Kansas

My Perspective from Kansas

Brace yourselves! Guest writer Andy Fanter is ready to challenge prevailing behavior with “My Perspective from Kansas.”

I want to establish my “street creds” before I make 18% of the US unhappy.  I have lived most of my 50+ years in Kansas:  Wichita, Kansas City, Lawrence, Baldwin City, Hartford, Great Bend, and Marion.  Oh, so now you have heard of “that Marion, Kansas”.  Trust me; I have seen worse in my eight years living in Marion.  


The attempt to save old buildings and rural America is a waste of time and energy.  There is an old building that has seen 18 months of renovations, $200k+ spent, grants, and the barbeque restaurant still not ready to move in and start cooking.  Meanwhile, two miles away on well-traveled US Highway 56, complete with semi-truck parking sits the closed Pizza Hut. Rumor has it the current owner, a farmer using it to store machinery in the parking lot, would sell for $50k or less.   The old buildings across the US have bad roofs, wiring, plumbing, heating/air, asbestos, etc.   The buildings need demolition and a metal building in place to give a business a chance to survive.


You want to come to Marion and debate rural America over—breakfast.  We can get a coffee and a donut at Casey’s convenience store and eat in the park.  Four diners have come and gone in Marion in my eight years living here.  3 of 4 were in old buildings, one tried Pizza Hut—but covid hurt it.   Marion has industrial land for cheap, some cities have it for free—they attract Dollar General.  You could build a nice manufacturing plant for 50 employees.  Marion is a mini big metro across the US—inventory of good housing is low, and if one is for sale it sells in a week.


You think visiting Kansas would be great to try the fishing and hunting opportunities.   The lakes have big problems with blue green algae blooms.  The last 15 years have seen a huge surge in nonresident hunting on public land, and private land being bought by non-residents to be used for hunting in the fall and winter.  The same nonresidents buy nice homes in the small towns to use during the hunting season.  I have a friend who manages over 600k acres for out of state residents who own the land.  The same nonresidents own 6 homes in a small town.  If you want to enjoy the outdoors in Kansas, better to write a big check for your own land, and hope no one trespasses.


So, what is this Fanter rant?   Good people live in rural areas, and you need to help them get closer to larger population areas to help your business.    Expanding rural broadband is more about corporate agriculture needing the services to control equipment.   None of these issues are unique to Kansas.  Texas would say it saw these issues 30 years ago.   Your future employees are likely in a rural area or working in a restaurant.  They need help seeing a better future working in your business.  For my part of the world, construction and construction machinery offer opportunity over a broad spectrum of dirty jobs to office jobs.  18% of people in the US are living in rural areas—it is time to squeeze that down to 15%.

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What Purchase Frequency Means for Equipment Dealers

What Purchase Frequency Means for Equipment Dealers

Guest writer Debbie Frakes writes about metrics today with her blog post, “What Purchase Frequency Means for Equipment Dealers.”

Purchase frequency is a crucial key metric for equipment dealers to consider when evaluating the behavior of their current customers and their marketing efforts. It refers to the number of times a customer buys products or services from a company within a specified time. Analyzing purchase frequency will help you recognize at risk customers, because it tells you when they start going to competitors instead of you. 


Know if customers are buying from competitors! 


Purchase frequency gives you insight into what your customers are up to. Construction, demolition, utility, and other businesses that use heavy equipment require a consistent supply of parts, service, and machines. That means that if they aren’t buying those things from you, they are going somewhere else. So, if their purchase frequency is decreasing, it could indicate that they are turning to one of your competitors. 


Learn your customers’ purchase behavior! 


Tracking the purchase frequencies of your customers will give you a baseline for their typical behavior, including when and how much they usually buy. Armed with that information, you can then modify your marketing messaging, timing, channels, and overall efforts to fit your customers’ usual purchasing habits and trends, making it easier for them to buy what they need from you. 


Improve specific areas of your business! 


As an equipment dealer, you really have multiple different businesses connected and rolled into one. To be successful, each of those different businesses need to be firing on all cylinders and operating at peak performance. If your parts department and equipment rentals are strong, but service purchase frequency is decreasing, then you must take a closer look at that section of the company and implement steps to improve it. 


How to increase purchase frequency: Distribute Emails


The best way to increase your purchase frequency is through email distribution. When you consistently send out effective messaging, you can double or triple the number of times that your customers buy from you. Email distribution can deliver an incredible return on investment of over 4,000%. 


Emails are effective, because they inform people about everything you offer—products, services, parts, rentals, advice you can offer for better equipment performance. They also keep your company top of mind and serve as reminders to purchase again, stock up on parts, or schedule an inspection. 


Ensure your emails are effective! 


You can only achieve higher purchase frequency if your email distribution is done the right way. Emails must be designed and written professionally, must compel the reader to act, and they require a CTA that links back to your website or landing page. More than anything else, you want to encourage your recipients to buy from you or schedule a demo, and then make it easy for them to actually do it. 


Email distribution also allows your salespeople to identify which customers or prospects are engaged by seeing who opens and clicks on the emails. If they follow up with those who are consistently viewing your messages, then they can possibly move them to purchase again. Plus, sending out specific messaging to customers whose purchase frequency is decreasing may just be the push they need to come back to you. 


If you want to understand your purchase frequency and increase it through email distribution, then contact Winsby Inc. today. They will help you get started creating and sending effective messaging quickly. 


Contact Winsby Today:

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Three Lessons from Dad

Three Lessons from Dad

Guest writer Alex Weaver digs down into life skills in his blog post this week: “Three Lessons from Dad.”

My Dad did not finish college but understood life and the opportunities that came his way.  He was a husband, father, farmer and beekeeper, businessman, entrepreneur, St Louis Cardinal baseball fan, and a lot of other things.

Our communications often occurred when we were riding in his old Ford pickup truck with stick shift, no air conditioning and AM only radio.  Windows were rolled down in all but the dead of winter.  

He did not organize his comments and lessons into topics and sub-topics but made observations that were for me to categorize.  These were mostly little snippets.  At the time I did not organize or use them as I now present them.  Over time I understood and lumped them into my way of living.

Lesson Number 1: “Know who you are and be who you are”.  Easy to say and write, complicated to understand and apply.  “Not everybody can or will be President of the United States”.  One emphatic theme was, “be a net contributor to our culture and society.  Build things up, don’t tear down or destroy social norms or institutions”.  It was as if he had a crystal ball and was looking at today.  He said it is better to work at a job / career that you enjoy, rather, than one that is drudgery.  Quality of life is important.

A Few Questions to help determine, “Who you are”.  for fun.  We never want to take ourselves too seriously. So said my grandparents.

  • Is your career only about how much money you can make? 
  • What about work – life balance?  
  • How many facets of life do you want to participate in?  
  • How do you determine your strengths and weaknesses?  
  • Can formal testing help you determine “who you are”?  
  • How do you overcome your “fears”, like public speaking?  
  • What gives you confidence and courage? 
  • Can you be wrong, instead of “always” right?  
  • How do you manage your time?  
  • Are you willing to fail?

How do you know who you are?  What do you read, how much do you read. How do you manage your own personal development? What motivates you and what doesn’t? What do you like, but more important, what do you dislike.  How do you spend your time – professional yes, but what time is left and how do you use it?  What are your personal goals around how you live your life?  How are you perceived by others?  What do you read and how often? What about music?  I like almost all music.  I love Apple Music and Apple Car Play.  Down the road I drive listening to Jefferson Airplane, The Beach Boys, and The Doors.  Beating out the time on my knee.

Suggestions:  Conduct a test with three people you interact with – ask them “who you are” – one reply should be “good person”.

My life’s journey opened the door to the Construction Equipment Industry.  As a kid, l liked Tonka toys.  As a working adult, I liked the real thing better.

Know who you are and be who you are ……. and be all you can be.

Lesson Number 2: Do the right thing – always”.  Never an excuse to not be of good character.  Values and standards matter.

My dad believed that we were all intrinsically “good”.  The standard of “right thing” was a mix of the Ten Commandments, Civil Law, and other values communicated by grandparents and parents.  Respect for elders, women, and the infirmed was not optional.  Positive relationships with those around you help guide you to “do the right thing”. 

As below, listen first and speak / act. 

Lesson Number 3: “Understanding or Perspective is Important – Listen first, speak second”.  

First on every list should be, “be a good listener”.  This takes time.

This is the most difficult for me.  I always want to jump in with my thoughts.

Humility fits here.  To be a good listener, you must be humble. Humility is putting others first.  Listen and you relate better with others.  Model this trait and challenge others to pass it on.  Build relationships by practicing good listening habits.

All three of the above traits speak to leadership.  A friend of mine, who reads constantly about leadership noted, “Great Leaders learn from Great Leaders” – Here are his top 5 recommendations on leadership books.

  • “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink 
  • “Trillion Dollar Coach” by Schmidt, Rosenberg, and Eagle
  • Principles: Life & Work” by Ray Dalio
  • The Emperor’s Handbook” by Marcus Aurelius 
  • Your Next Five Moves” by Patrick Bet-David
  • The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do” by Ken Blanchard 

The things of value in our lives are often what we learned from those who preceded us. I learned a lot from my dad.  Thank you, Dad.

I mentioned one of my dad’s interests was beekeeping.  Next time we will look at the life of bees and lessons we can learn from bees.

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AVID – An Academic Powerhouse

AVID – An Academic Powerhouse

Curriculum Designer Caroline Slee-Poulos is back with a guest blog on the topic of AVID – An Academic Powerhouse.

When you get right down to the nitty-gritty of things, Socrates was right. No, I don’t mean our Owl, Socrates, the Learning Without Scars logo. I do mean the ancient Greek philosopher who was generally regarded as a figure to ridicule during his own time. His methods of questioning and building argument are referred to as the “Socratic Method” to this day.

If you think about it, teachers are treated the same way: they are heroes to villains, archetypes more than individuals. This blog post isn’t about that, however. It’s about a program that has been quietly at work for 43 years: AVID.

AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. It is taught as an elective in public schools, and was developed by Mary Catherine Swanson in 1980. 

The program was a response to a bussing program taking place in San Diego, California. With the arrival of students who were economically and otherwise disadvantaged, there was a belief that these students could NEVER be college ready. Today, AVID is a program that focuses upon both career and college readiness. The greatest value, in my opinion, is the emphasis it places on questions. An AVID student is required to do a tutorial (usually twice each week) in which the student must bring in a question about one of their content-area classes. This process asks students to go through their process of learning, understanding, and problem-solving to pinpoint where they are stuck. In response to this question, students (including peer tutors) work together to help the student answer their question. They do this by…asking MORE questions!

The results of this method are wonderful: students are able to refine and solve their own questions, as well as building collaborative skills, communication skills, and critical thinking skills.

As we look at the struggles faced in the job market today, we often here that new hires are lacking the critical thinking skills required to succeed on the job. In one of our classes, we highlight open-ended questions as a key tool for engaging with customers.

AVID classes address both of these issues, starting in elementary school. Some schools are working to bring these methods into every content-area class, as opposed to just an elective. Although AVID was created as a response to an opportunity gap, its benefits are applicable to all students, and in more places than just the K-12 public school classroom.

As a teacher and curriculum designer, I look at AVID as being on a spectrum with other courses and educational opportunities, including our own here. It is never too late for a student to gain a new skill. We always continue to learn, as long as we live.

Today, I encourage and challenge you to bring questioning into your academic vocabulary. It will change the way you think about problems.

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Unraveling Mysteries: The CSI of Industrial Component Failure Analysis

Unraveling Mysteries: The CSI of Industrial Component Failure Analysis

Guest writer Jim Dettore gets into the nitty-gritty of CSI with “Unraveling Mysteries: The CSI of Industrial Component Failure Analysis.”


In the world of engineering and manufacturing, industrial component failure can be a perplexing puzzle to solve. Just like a crime scene investigation (CSI) unfolds on TV, engineers embark on a journey to uncover the truth behind why a vital industrial component failed. In this blog post, we delve into the intriguing similarities between industrial component failure analysis and investigating a crime scene. From gathering evidence to reconstructing events, let’s uncover the secrets of these parallel worlds.

  1. The Scene of the Incident:

Just as a crime scene holds crucial evidence, the site of an industrial component failure is a treasure trove of information. Engineers meticulously examine the surroundings to find clues and collect physical evidence (Facts) that could reveal the root cause of the failure.

  1. The Gathering of Evidence:

In both scenarios, evidence plays a pivotal role. Engineers use a variety of tools, such as microscopy, spectroscopy, and non-destructive testing, to examine failed components, just as forensic experts analyze crime scene evidence to build their case.

  1. The Timeline Reconstruction:

Reconstructing events is vital in both investigations. Just like a detective pieces together the sequence of events leading to a crime, engineers trace the history of the component to understand its operating conditions, maintenance history, and any incidents that may have contributed to the failure.

  1. The Witness Accounts:

Witnesses provide valuable insights in a crime investigation. Similarly, operators and maintenance personnel offer their experiences and observations about the industrial component’s behavior, which can be crucial in understanding the failure’s origins.

  1. The Suspects:

In the CSI of industrial component failure analysis, defects and material issues are the primary suspects. Analysts evaluate potential culprits like fatigue, corrosion, stress, or material anomalies to identify the most likely cause of the failure.

  1. The CSI Toolkit:

Just as crime scene investigators have advanced tools at their disposal, engineers utilize cutting-edge technology to aid their analysis. Finite element analysis, thermography, and other sophisticated techniques assist in deciphering the mystery behind the failure.

  1. The Eureka Moment:

Solving a crime often involves a sudden revelation. Analysts experience their Eureka moments when the evidence finally leads them to the definitive conclusion, uncovering the “smoking gun” behind the industrial component failure.

  1. The Prevention Strategies:

Ultimately, both investigations seek to prevent future incidents. By understanding the root cause of a failure, engineers can devise strategies to improve design, materials, and maintenance practices to ensure similar failures are thwarted.


The parallels between industrial component failure analysis and investigating a crime scene are undeniable. Both require meticulous attention to detail, a methodical approach, and the determination to solve complex mysteries. The next time you encounter an industrial component failure, think of it as an opportunity to be a detective – unveiling the truth behind the enigmatic world of engineering mishaps.

So dear readers, embrace your inner investigator and embark on a journey of discovery, for the world of industrial component failure analysis truly is the captivating CSI of engineering!

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The Top Three Heavy Equipment Jobs That No One Knows About

The Top Three Heavy Equipment Jobs That No One Knows About

Guest writer Isaac Rollor is back this week with a blog post on the top three heavy equipment jobs that no one knows about – other than technicians! 

Most of my blogging in the heavy equipment world focuses on issues related to heavy equipment technicians. However, recently I was speaking with an industry insider who complained that any college aged worker looking for jobs in the heavy equipment world is bombarded by marketing towards technicians and operators. There is truly little focus on filling other technically focused heavy equipment positions that are currently in high demand. This really piqued my curiosity because it’s a true statement. Open any search engine and type “Heavy Equipment Jobs” what will you find? Jobs for operators and technicians, training for operators and technicians. Millions of dollars in search engine optimization focused to make sure that anybody who wants to be around yellow iron becomes an operator or a technician.

To be honest, this is something that was never obvious to me, though it should have been. As a subject matter expert, I always knew that there was opportunity beyond working as a technician. I didn’t promote these opportunities because I was busy making sure every knew how great being a technician is. To investigate the matter, I called up a college aged family friend who is currently considering a career at the OEM dealer level. I was quite sure that even though I had never evangelized opportunities beyond being a technician, people must know that other opportunities exist beyond the role of technician. Surely, they did, right?! My assumptions fell flat when my contact couldn’t name any other position beyond “master technician.” When I pressed him for more detail he said, “I guess a technician could work for the parts department or maybe move into sales.” No mention of the service department, no mention of failure analysis, no mention of remarketing……. because he didn’t know. No one ever told him that there were many other jobs that a highly technical heavy equipment expert could move into during a career in the industry.

As I thought more deeply about this, I realized that for many years I was like a doctor who was prescribing a particular medication because there was currently a surplus of that medication. Okay, so that’s a little over top but it makes my point. Just because there is a massive need for technicians doesn’t mean that everyone who shows interest in heavy equipment is a good fit to be technician, even if they have the aptitude or ability.

Right now, there are a lot of talented people who think that technicians and heavy equipment operators are the only positions in high demand with the heavy equipment industry. I still think that being a technician or operator is a distinguished career choice, but I would also like to offer up my top three job title picks for 2023 not including technician or operator.


Product Support Manager:

As a Product Support Manager, you will collaborate with multiple teams to deliver the best possible experience to the end user of your OEM’s product. This position can be found at the manufacturer or dealer level. Many Product Support Mangers were technicians prior to taking on this position. Having a technical background is greatly beneficial because in this role you will be guiding warranty repairs, serving as the subject matter expert for failure analysis questions and directing teams from service, parts, sales, and warranty to get a customer’s machine running again. One of the great parts about the role is that you get to travel and see a lot of interesting construction, forestry, and mine sites. All this travel requires a 4×4 vehicle and it is customary for most employers to provide you with a company vehicle.

Here are the typical qualifications/requirements for this role:

  • Work independently.
  • Possess basic mechanical skills for equipment setup and operation.
  • Equipment sales experience.
  • Effective communication and people skills.
  • Excellent customer service skills.
  • Excellent computer skills.
  • Expected travel within the area of responsibility, minimum of 50% of the time.


Parts Sales and Service Representative

As a Parts Sales and Service Representative you will be responsible for forecasting the parts and service that a fleet of machines will need over its lifetime and then building a strong relationship with your customers so that they buy parts from you and set up service contracts with your dealer or manufacturer. Having a technical background is always helpful when working in this position. This experience will help you connect with your customers. The parts sales and service representative (PSSTR) can work at the manufacturing level or dealer level. The PSSR will frequently bridge the gap between the service department and sales department. A lot of times the PSSR spends more time with the customer than the salesperson who sold them the fleet of machines in the beginning.

Here are the typical qualifications/requirements for this role:

  • Previous customer service experience.
  • Certification in office management, or related programs is beneficial.
  • Communicate effectively with customers and internal team members.
  • Travel if required.
  • Demonstrate aptitude for problem-solving.
  • Initiative-taking; adaptable to change with strong organizational skills.
  • Purposeful and able to work both independently and within a team.
  • Fluent in computer literacy. Proficiency in Microsoft Office and a DMS system experience.
  • Candidate must be detailed orientated and have an important level of accuracy, able to adapt to a challenging environment.

Technical Trainer

As a technical trainer you will be responsible for training technicians and service personnel to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair equipment. This position isn’t a good fit for anyone with stage fright. It’s common to have 10-15 highly technical learners in your classroom ready to learn about a new product/technology. This is a highly visible role, and this position is available at the dealer and manufacturer level. As a technical trainer you will typically work for the training department, but you will frequently work with the service department, publication department and warranty department to develop content and deliver content.


Here are the typical qualifications/requirements for this role:

  • Must have a high school diploma at a minimum, BS or BA degree preferred. Minimum of five (5) years of industry experience or equivalent experience in the areas of Adult Education, Training and/or Continuing Education.
  • Previous training with College/Technical School programs and courses supportive of proficiency in mechanical aspects of construction/mining equipment preferred. Prominent level of technical knowledge, competency, and aptitude on construction/mining equipment that includes but is not limited to repair experience/knowledge, with on-the-job training/experience with great emphasis on machine troubleshooting. High degree of industry knowledge relative to best practices with training development and delivery.
  • Well versed in training curriculum design and development. Experienced with presentation, classroom, and material preparation skills. Should be intimately familiar with Instructional design as well familiar with best practice teaching methods.
  • Excellent computer and software skills pertaining to business systems, training development and training delivery required. Proficient in the use of Power Point, Excel, and Word. Preference of knowledge concerning media development software products utilized in course ware development. Capable of assimilating into or learning any software application needed to perform development and delivery of training programs.
  • High degree of motivation, creativity, innovation as well accept empowerment to ensure training classes are best practice, productive and training results are recognized as a “value add” to the participants and to their customers.
  • Excellent classroom presentation skills, demonstrating outstanding classroom and shop demonstration/instruction technique.
  • Ability to understand and support company training strategy.
  • Ability to think outside of the box, challenge the status quo and encourage continuous improvement with all training classes.
  • Establish effective relationships throughout the organization. Ability to be objective, show and foster respect for all individuals, and ability to foster collaboration among team members to create a positive work environment.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills required to communicate with all levels of the organization both internally and externally. Ability to convey sensitivity to others and share appropriate information to resolve issues (inside & outside the organization) cooperatively and fairly. Demonstrated ability to be adaptable and receive constructive criticism and modify behavior as a result.
  • Set ambitious standards of performance and deliver work products and service to meet or exceed quality/quantity standards.

All these jobs are currently in high demand. It’s hard-to-find people with the skillset necessary to perform these roles at a level of excellence, but anyone who has a passion for heavy equipment can excel in these positions. If you would like to learn more about these positions, I encourage you to visit OEM websites and search for these titles. The big three heavy equipment manufactures will have immediate openings for these positions. If you want to discuss these roles in more detail, please email me directly at and I am happy to point you in the right direction.

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Wait…Wait! Don’t Sign It!

Wait…Wait! Don’t Sign It!

Guest writer John Anderson is back, with a word of caution this week, in “Wait…Wait! Don’t Sign It!”

Well at the very least let’s think about it first. Given all the changes in Dealer Systems over the past few years, you will no doubt be looking to either renew your existing services with a supplier or perhaps move to a new supplier in the upcoming year. The world has changed, and the balance of power has shifted to you, the customer, but nobody realizes it. The contracting process is your chance to exercise your newfound wisdom.

Whether it’s a hosted SaaS model as described by Greg Greedy in last week’s blog or server onsite from 2015, why do you need a contract beyond one year with a Dealer System provider? We know the barriers to change are great enough that you are unlikely to jump from system to system without some significant benefit. We know the rate of innovation is slow enough that a one-year contract won’t leave you in dust. Pricing remains competitive and there is no resource constraint that will drive prices up, like fuel or food. So why the need to sign a contract longer than one year? The purpose of the contract should be to lay out the terms of service, the “who does what” and how much. It should be used to cement expectations, establish remediation options, and even deal with ownership of data issues. None of these requires extended contracts.

With Dealer Management Systems you absorb the cost of installation and training up front. The underlying development has been done and recouped many times over. The infrastructure for hosted solutions is already in place and data centers are plentiful. You will be paying for the hardware and networking separate from the software contract. Most suppliers will chase you and apply extreme pressure to sign a multiyear contract but why? Why the need to lock you in. As I have said before the Equipment Distribution marketplace is at least 5 years behind the outside world. 

Just 5 years ago if you bought a cell phone you did it under contract. That contract started at 3 years and was very penalty laden if you wanted out. As consumers felt they were being held hostage the government and upstarts entered the picture and now options range from monthly prepaid, to simple no contract month to month. The original premise was the providers needed the guaranteed revenue to be able to invest in the infrastructure but that is no longer the case. 

Home and business internet was like telephone services and required a long-term commitment for the same reason. Companies like SpaceX have changed the game. Through offers like Starlink they only ask for a 30-day commitment. Gone are the 2- or 4-year covenants that made it impossible to change.

Dealer systems are no different. There is absolutely no reason a multi-year contract should be required. The recent influx of equity partners makes it truly clear from a supplier perspective. If all the existing customer base sign a 3-year contract and they already know what their profit margins are, it’s a slam dunk to sell the company or show stable growth to potential investors. A few PowerPoint slides with a projected growth target and you have an investor’s dream. What they want to do is mitigate the risk and accentuate the revenue opportunity by showing they have the market “locked up” for three years. No need to worry about performance or innovation. No risk of a new upstart with the next best thing for at least 3 years. The revenue is fixed, the risk is eliminated and a couple quick wins to show some more opportunity is all it will take to drive the value up of the software supplier for either share price or acquisition. 

It is time to push back. If they need a three contract it better have a good escape clause. It should be performance driven. It should provide more than just price protection; it should offer innovation guarantees and development commitments. A good contract serves both parties. If a supplier really backs themselves and believes they are going to provide you with excellent value for the money spent, they will not require a 3-year locked in contract. Read the contract carefully and see what it provides for your business. Don’t just ask a lawyer to read it, absorb the spirit of the contract and see what it offers your business. 

I say it every day, the world is changing. Business is changing. Your customer’s expectations are changing. It is time you contributed to the change. Take the time to read your contracts. Ask yourself what it provides for you. Ask why some suppliers have open 1-year contracts and others require heavily weighted 3-year contracts. Ask why it may have multiple renewal dates rather than a simple inclusion of services. Ask what both parties’ obligations to ongoing development are. Ask how you get out. 

I have yet to jump from an airplane, but I check the location of the emergency exits every time I fly. Check your exits and the services before you find yourself at 30,000 feet for 3 years.

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A Tabletop Exercise: A Survey Within a Survey

A Tabletop Exercise: A Survey Within a Survey

Guest writer David Jensen continues to make observations from rural New Mexico with “A Tabletop Exercise: A Survey Within a Survey.”

As a first responder in the Fire Service, a firefighter learns the value of a tabletop exercise. An actual tabletop containing several buckets of sand provides the platform for creating a simulation of a wildfire incident. We survey any number of data points (weather, topography, fire behavior) to build a simulation. The simulation only comes to life when you match the data points with a small relevant set of behavioral questions. The questions form the tabletop exercise. The choices presented on the tabletop are neither right nor wrong. The questions do require a behavioral answer. In effect we are conducting a survey within a survey. When you conduct the tabletop exercise, the data points (survey 1) translate into actual behavior (survey 2) on the ground during the fire simulation. The exercise allows you to drill down to the decision-making tree of the Incident Commander. The survey within the survey.

As an HR Professional, I again experienced the importance of a tabletop exercise built on behavioral questions. As an example, a key HR deliverable was a location-wide employee satisfaction survey. The initial data collection was outsourced to an independent collection service. The extensive surveys covered many aspects of employee satisfaction ranging from pay and benefits to the choices in the vending machines in the breakroom. Upon completion of the survey, the collection service would provide a vast amount of data. The data dump was not the end of the process, it was the start. After reviewing the data, a tabletop exercise would be assembled to be used during the follow up with small group employee meetings.

The tabletop questions would provide an assessment of the motivation and the concerns of the small group. The survey within the survey. The tabletop was the link between data and behavior. The issue regarding choices in the vending machine may really be about a manager’s unacceptable behavior.

The tabletop exercise with a few relevant behavioral questions can be applied to a variety of data collection efforts. Our legal system is a discovery phase leading to a court room tabletop exercise. The foundation of effective job interviewing is asking performance and behavioral questions drawn from a resume. The survey within the survey. The value of a 360 supervisory assessment comes to life when you follow up with an effective tabletop exercise with the supervisor receiving behavioral coaching. Paper and pencil inventories concerning personality, values or ethics become useful when followed up with and validated by a tabletop exercise. Again, a survey within a survey.

In some circumstances, a short concise tabletop exercise may stand in place of extensive and expensive data collection. The right set of relevant questions can identify trends that will point you in a direction. Recently, I developed a tabletop exercise that asks a small number of behavioral questions. The possible answers trended towards an experience-based solution or an option-based solution. The provided choices were neither right nor wrong. How participants responded was then matched to data on individual participant success in one-to-one customer communication and customer retention. A survey within a survey.

Bottom-line; in this era of super computers and AI, a few relevant questions presented using a tabletop exercise in a person-to-person encounter should not be overlooked, it should be embraced. It is the person-to-person conversation found in the tabletop exercise that translates data into behavior.

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