When working on an unfamiliar or particularly challenging piece of equipment, sometimes just finding the problem to fix can be a bit tricky. Resources such as service manuals, advice from colleagues, or even the Internet can all be indispensable when troubleshooting, but sometimes an out-of-the-box solution can yield the best results.

When biomed and clinical laboratory equipment specialist Jon Sears with the Baltimore VA is having difficulty, oftentimes he will go straight to the equipment vendors themselves.

“It’s just a matter of getting through the tech support people,” he says. “If you can get through the front lines to the engineering group, they’re just like any other engineering group out there. They don’t mind pointing you in the right direction to work on things. A lot of times most of the engineering is reserved for most of the company’s field service representatives, but a lot of times they’ll talk to you.”

Sears also uses his background to build rapport with vendors. Taking time to build a relationship and a level of trust with vendor service departments has paid off for Sears, who turns to them for more than just troubleshooting advice.

“A lot of times I’ll call them up and I’ll take to them about reference manuals or files I need. A lot of the time they have it on their computers and they’ll just e-mail the file."

We’re interested to hear about any go-to troubleshooting techniques and tips you’ve picked up. Have you opened any doors thought previously closed?

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