The value of experience by John Greivell

Occasionally, we will get some input from some of the other members of the RAECO team.  John Greivell, our VP, ran into this experience:

“During a recent customer meeting, I was shocked by the customer’s description of the problems they were having with an application.  We hadn’t designed the system, but were being asked to see what we could do to improve it.  The problems were related to process upset conditions creating a bit of havoc on the analyzer… nothing that couldn’t be fixed, but definitely something that should have been taken care of in the original design, and certainly something that should never have gotten to this point.

So I asked the customer – “how did it get to this?” and I got what I expected.

The combination of datasheet, manual and salesperson all indicated that the application was an easy slam dunk.  The reality is that when you are measuring in ppm, ppb, hundredths of a milligram per cubic meter or even percent levels, lots of things can have an impact – on accuracy, precision, repeatability, maintenance time and even life of the system.  Fortunately we were able to tweak the system, make the desired improvements and get the customer back to productive things.

It was a great reminder for me and for my team – the reason we ask so many direct and sometimes pointed questions about a potential project is because we’ve seen so much of what I just described.  We can’t have an attitude that assumes the customer knows what all the implications are – our job is to make sure we understand the project goals and expectations (in detail) and point out the solution that best fits the goals, and the potential issues (there are always potential issues) that comes with the solution.  And the only way to do a good job at that is to know what you’re doing – which only comes with experience.”

Are you being asked the right questions?

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