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As I See It: The Fundamentals of TSM

Posted By Joel Kent, Friday, April 20, 2012

I'm back. Have you signed up for an NTS course yet? Maybe this is the one for you and your team: Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance (TSM).

What is TSM, and how can it help you and your bottom line?

Troubleshooting is an all-inclusive term for the instructions you give a technician who is faced with a system that is not performing correctly. The customer calls and says, "It's broken!" You tell your technician, "Find out what's wrong a fix it!"

Simple enough, right? Hang on a second.

There are some things you don't necessary tell your technician, but nonetheless they are important instructions:

    1. Do it quickly. Do not spend too much time on site. Customers get upset with long calls that turn into many billable hours. Customers also do not like to think the technician is stumped and must call tech support.
    2. Do it properly. Find out exactly what is wrong and fix it.
    3. Do it right the first time. Comebacks cost more than money. They cost your reputation and your ability to send the technician elsewhere to make money.

The NTS TSM course will prepare your technicians to handle this process by introducing them to some of the tools available to them, including TDR Meters, Video meters, Sound pressure meters and VOM as well as some of the intangible tools of the trade.

It will also teach them the Troubleshooting Mindset - how to organize the attack on the problem in a logical, orderly manner to prevent going over the same areas over and over and getting the same answer over and over.

Service is the art of repair. Maintenance is the ability to keep equipment working by constant inspection and testing. Maintenance is not really practical for alarm companies, but your commercial customers may want to know how to keep their systems in top shape.

The technician is encouraged to think like a detective and organize the Investigation into false alarms and narrow down the symptoms until you find the cause.

Lastly, when all else fails your technician needs to call tech support, he should be prepared to reply to each question the support specialist poses with an answer. They are taught to take notes and record all meter readings before calling tech support.

TSM is taught in a two-day format with all lecture and class participation and in a three-day format with practical exercises after each chapter (required in New York).


Joel Kent is a senior NTS Instructor and owner of Windsor, CT-based FBN Security Company.

Tags:  April 2012  As I See It  Troubleshooting  TSM 

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