Each company faces their own set of challenges, some more severe than others. According to McKinsey, instances of corporate crises are increasing, with companies spending more than US$100 billion globally trying to resolve them. Understandably, companies have a vested interest in developing a crisis prevention team. The bigger the challenge, the greater the need for more qualified technicians to resolve the issue. In times of crises, it takes a highly competent engineer or specialist to step in.
Meet Mr. Mohammed Yacob, Manager from the Training and Diagnostics Department. His job not only entails dealing with escalation cases, he also conducts products and skills training internally for Canon employees. We sat down with Mr. Yacob to learn more about his job scope, what kind of challenges he faces and how he mastered the art of resolving these issues.
In Canon, technical escalation refers to machine-related issues that even supervisors cannot resolve. When it happened, the case will be escalated to my department and we will take over.
There are two main groups – the Corporate Service (CS) team and the Production Printing Product (PPP) team. The CS team is segregated into different zones. Each zone consists of its own leader, supervisor and at least one Technical Support Specialist (TSS), the latter who has been trained by the Diagnostics team to isolate the problem and look into all the issues in the field.
When there is an issue that is too challenging for the engineers, the TSS specialists will take over. This includes visiting the customers and working out a solution. If the issue still can’t be resolved, it will then be escalated to us. In such cases, the TSS will provide us with all the information they have, such as the sample prints, customer requirements, and customer environment so that we are able to efficiently assess the problem and fix it.
If there are any cases escalated to us, we will study them thoroughly before going down to visit the customer. Firstly, we will analyse and base our judgment on a few key aspects, such as the facts of the situation, print job history and any prior troubleshooting that has been done. When we are confident of resolving the issue, we will pay the customer a visit and start working on correcting the problem.
We will conduct training when there is a new product. Sometimes, we carry out half-day training programs when there are some new features such as a change in platform.
Annually, we conduct a Technical Competency Assessment for our staff. This looks at closing individual competency gaps with training programmes, such as our ‘Upscale of Engineers’ programme.
One key challenge we face is the fact that we are training adults who mostly range between 45-55 years of age. Generally, they have a shorter attention span of about 10-15 minutes. It can also be tough training people who are experienced, as they already know the industry and certain technologies well but are unfamiliar with the range of new products and the digitisation process.
However, with a lot of patience, we are usually able to help everyone get on the same page and groom staff who can manage our tough problems effectively and efficiently.
I like that it’s challenging – now that we have set up a TSS team, only the more challenging issues come to us. I enjoy the challenge! Being a mentor and teacher to others, I also find it very meaningful when helping to close the competency gaps of engineers. It’s very fulfilling to play a part in improving their skill sets.
I was selected as a Canon Service Meister, which is the highest level of technical competency in Singapore. I was once one of the only 3 Service Meisters in Singapore.
In addition, I helped train an individual for the 2013 World Service Meister Competition that was held in China, and emerged as the second runner-up. That was a very proud moment for me, and makes what I do in the company even more fulfilling and meaningful.
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