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Maintenance Minute - Manage Your Sandwich

Posted 2 years 294 days ago ago by Admin

It was an ordinary day and I was having an ordinary lunch with my friend. Something we do each week to break up the day, share some laughs and conduct some business. Today, it was double patty melt day at our favorite hole in the wall restaurant. It is the hard-to-find, off the beaten path restaurant where everyone knows your name and you know them too.   When the server returned with my friend’s patty melt, he quickly surveyed his sandwich and quipped, “Hey, you forgot to add mayo.” In one motion she whirled around and without hesitating she replied, “It’s not my responsibility to manage your sandwich.” He was left speechless, but I could not hold back my laughter. 

Within a few minutes he was supplied with a small pack of mayo, and all was right with the world. I then began to ponder her words and ask myself some questions. Was it really her responsibility and better yet, what would have been the outcome if she indeed made it her responsibility to take full ownership of serving her customer?

As professional aircraft mechanics, is it our responsibility to manage our customers' aircraft or just wait for them to place an order? Keep in mind that for some owner-operators it can be a daunting and challenging task to understand the OEM aircraft maintenance schedule. If a customer does not utilize a system that creates a status sheet of inspections and component life limits, the possibility of overflying the due date is greatly increased. A status sheet is also a great tool for the mechanic to use to provide a more accurate quote when scheduled maintenance is due.   

Taking ownership of customer’s aircraft is an opportunity to go the extra mile and to show that you care about their safety. Taking ownership is also a great way to display the essential tools of customer service and communication. Serving our customers and keeping them informed will create trust and trust will produce a deeper relationship and a deeper relationship will create more business and the circle continues.

The business of aircraft maintenance and operation is complex with many moving parts. Unfortunately, we are not afforded the luxury of a mistake. We must look after one another and hold each other accountable. Our priority is to keep everyone safe and legal so at the end of the day, we all go home to our families.   

It is said by some that the best companies are in the people-building business and then the people will build the business. My mission is to provide a safe and legal aircraft to those who entrust it to me. Also, to equip and empower other mechanics to do the same.

Back to our lunch and the server. Even though I got a good laugh out of her comments, I have come to consider this a great example of what not to do. Knowing it is our responsibility to manage the aircraft in every way will leave no question of where our duty lies in any situation.