Badmouthing (most) parts men.
A friend of mine used to joke that all parts men were failed mechanics and it amazes me how many don’t seem to be very good at their job. Most fellows are reliable enough with automotive parts and the better ones are pretty good at being able to cross reference when you’re in a pinch, but have problems when you start dealing with logistical aspects of the job or in more industrial things like hydraulic, electronic, and pneumatic components.
It used to be that parts men did formal apprenticeship training and they were paid good money and were worth every penny because they knew the parts they carried, could do quality checks, understood inventory management and could do purchasing work too. Whatever you came in to ask for, they knew what you were talking about. Outages of commonly used parts were unheard of. Today it seems many of them are just parts gophers and it’s more of a stepping stone position rather than a career.
All these thoughts relate to a parts/warehouseman I worked with for the last year who just left his job and is the best fellow I’ve ever seen at this job. His only formal training is as a musician but he’s incredibly smart, has an amazing memory when it comes to numbers and is always willing to learn; by most measures one of the most formidable men I’ve known.
An interaction with him that I’m fond of occurred while he was juggling stock to deal with a truckload sized delivery in the warehouse and in passing asked him if he was familiar with familiar with the Tower of Hanoi puzzle and he was! In trades and labour positions I think that’s as good as a job reference.
Through his hard work the job of every person in the plant was made easier. His colleagues and replacement are all great at their job but he did so much, so well, that his absence is turning out to be as profound as his presence.