An equipment manufacturer can develop the most innovative, efficient and productive machine on the market, but it makes no difference if it can’t be operated safely and fixed when in need of repair.

It’s a fact that remains front of mind for CNH Industrial’s Jill Wiggins as she works with AEM and its Technical and Safety Services team through her involvement as Chair of its newly formed Technical Publications Committee and her efforts to identify, influence and communicate industry standards.

“Our industry is changing rapidly, and both ag and construction manufacturers are adopting new technology,” said Wiggins, who is employed as a systems administrator at CNH Industrial. “Dealers, technicians and operators expect information that’s timely, that’s accurate, and that’s customized to exactly what they want to see. And manufacturers need to be current with where technology’s at on the publishing side of their business to be able to meet all of their customers’ needs.”

Making A Difference

Over the course of her decade-plus career, Wiggins has continually sought out and embraced opportunities to put her interest and growing experience in technical writing to good use while benefiting the industry. After graduating from a small liberal arts college with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, Wiggins initially wasn’t sure how she would go about making a living for herself. Eventually, though, she settled on working for a military contractor as its director of quality assurance. The company provided integrated logistics support for generators and autonomous vehicles and systems, and the on-the-job experience she gained help her grow in her understanding of technical writing and learn what it would take to work effectively with manufacturers.

Wiggins then joined CNH Industrial in 2008 as a contractor for the company’s publications group, where she worked as a process analyst. As part of her role at CNH, she helped to develop new global processes for the company’s publications group and eventually joined its product safety committee.

It was upon joining the committee that Wiggins was introduced to AEM and its efforts to serve its members through work being done by the association’s Technical and Safety Services team. She attended her first Product Safety and Compliance Seminar not long after, and she immediately sought to get more involved and make a difference.

“I saw that there was this bigger mission, and that there was a space for people whose companies are competitors to work together on safety issues,” said Wiggins. “Getting involved allowed me to be able to combine my interest in tech writing and publishing. I developed professionally through opportunities to work on safety and standards and see where they intersected.”

AEM Technical Publications Committee

AEM began offering a technical publications track at its Product Safety Seminar a few years back, and it sparked a tremendous amount of interest on the part of member companies. Sessions lasted longer than expected, roundtable discussions involving members were long and drawn-out affairs, and it seemed like company representatives could talk to no end about issues and priorities related to technical publications.

“And that made sense, because no matter what size company you are, everyone has a publications group, and everyone has to deliver instructions,” explained Wiggins. “We all want to have the most accurate, complete and safe instructions possible. So I think after the third year of the publications group having its own track, people started asking the leadership at AEM if we could have our own technical committee.”

Established in 2017, AEM’s Technical Publications Committee seeks to help “tech pubs” managers write and produce manuals efficiently and effectively, as well as address their organizational challenges for doing so. Examples include, but aren’t limited to, production delays, asset management and style inconsistency.

“Basically, we’re looking to have a space where everyone in the industry can come together and share solutions, seek help or guidance with new technologies, network a little bit and share best practices,” said Wiggins. “So what we have done is identified our primary objectives for the year, and now we’re starting to form some subcommittees and working groups.”

Wiggins also plays an instrumental role in helping AEM members stay apprised of all ag and construction standards development activities. Almost every ASABE, SAE or ISO standard for products contains information that influences operating or repair instructions and influences the materials included in decals and manuals.

“So depending on the size of your company, (as you might have only three people in your publication group) you might not have the resources to attend those standards meetings and stay up-to-date with every little change,” said Wiggins. “This is a really valuable resource for those companies, so that they can stay on top of what’s affecting their product. Because everything that impacts the product impacts the manual.”

Looking Ahead

Though Wiggins has learned and accomplished quite a bit in a short time working in the equipment industry, she is excited to consider what’s on the horizon for her career and her work with AEM. While she is an employee of CNH Industrial, Wiggins said she considers a lot of what she does as part of an overarching goal of helping people by improving safety and advancing the needs and priorities of the industry. That, she said, is the greatest motivator of all.

“I think it’s important to be passionate about what you do, and it’s much easier to be passionate when you know you’re making an impact on people,” she added.

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