The inspiration for this article came from my wife who was laid up with a back injury for three months and wanted to occupy her mind and find a way to stay active. She decided to take up rubber stamping and card making so she took to YouTube and watched people who know the business perform their craft. In the space of three months she’s making professional cards that are nicer than anything in the stores. She uses heat guns, glue guns, embossing tape, brads and fasteners, and a vast array of (somewhat pricey!) coloring stamps and pens.
So, what does that sound like? A lot like the planned maintenance we perform on ships. As a professional maintenance trainer, I am always looking for ways to improve the quality of training and the delivery of experience and expertise to junior personnel. I have seen examples across industry of very complex training – computerize androids or three-dimensional exploding pictures that must cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to create. That is certainly one solution, but I kept thinking there must be an easier way. Perhaps it is “old school” but there is actually a good deal of research, and out school system bears it out, that an experienced instructor using the tools in question is one of the most effective ways to train.
Recently, when faced with a knowledge gap in the Fleet, our team collaborated with the Navy to create a short set of videos targeted on a specific piece of equipment and a single maintenance check. In most maintenance-related business, incorrect repairs can lead to lost operations, safety issues, and dramatically impact the bottom line. In this case, with a limited time frame and budget, we fell back on what we knew. Using nothing more than a camera and a microphone, we teamed with the Navy, chose the subject matter experts who have been doing this maintenance for years, filmed them performing the maintenance and sharing the tips that they had learned over the years, and used an editing crew to make sure that the video came out well.