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Q&A: Working with an experienced Logistics Support Analysis partner

Heavy equipment manufacturers know most of their equipment’s lifetime cost is incurred after it’s fielded. Scheduled maintenance, repair tasks, manpower, and other requirements should be well-defined and properly analyzed from the beginning to get the most value over its lifecycle and realize true return on investment.

Successful Logistics Support Analysis takes a structured approach in defining, analyzing, and quantifying maintenance and support requirements to optimize equipment performance. At ONEIL, our dedicated team of Logistics Support Managers work with military and civil customers to ensure their mission-critical equipment is safe, reliable, and properly maintained from early concept to end of life. We sat down with Paul Marx, ONEIL Logistics Support Manager, to discuss this process and the value he and his team bring to our customers each day.

As Logistics Support Manager, you help ONEIL customers save time and money. What types of research and analysis do you perform to help them get the most out of long-life equipment?

Product Support Analysis (PSA), formerly Logistics Support Analysis (LSA), involves research of nearly every aspect of equipment that needs maintenance support throughout its useful life. I most frequently perform Level of Repair Analysis (LORA) which is a software-supported algorithm and reporting tool that determines the most cost-effective level of maintenance where the repair of equipment should occur.

The LORA provides insight to customers, allowing them to make budgetary and future equipment and facility decisions for a projected number of years. The LORA is also a tool used to gain political budgetary allocations for new equipment and support for the life cycle costs of the equipment. With some information about the equipment entered into the software, algorithms are run that produce tangible reports and repair-level decisions. A human can then make an “informed” decision.

In line with the LORA, often a Maintenance Allocation Chart (MAC) is developed to assist maintenance writers with a set of known tasks to be written and to give the end user of the manual the ability to see what tasks they will perform on a given piece of equipment. This report is often a section within a maintenance manual and can change over time.

A third product of analysis and one that goes hand-in-hand with the MAC is a Maintenance Analysis (MA). Typically a spreadsheet, this report is a one-stop place to see the overall PSA that has been performed throughout the logistics analysis process. This report usually contains equipment component parts information, who can repair it, how long it should take, tools needed, failure information, cost, and reflects what PSA was performed.

All three of these PSA processes are living documents that can morph as equipment conditions, age, history, usage, and geographic location change. For that reason, analyses are repeated every few years during the life cycle of the equipment. These reports often go from “Predictive” in nature to “Measured” analysis and become more accurate over time.

How does Product Support Analysis contribute to customer success?

PSA is critical to the success of a customer in that decisions on the cost of maintaining a piece of equipment for many years can be made early on. These decisions can be made while the equipment is still in development and the manufacturing phases of a life cycle. The PSA on a piece of equipment can lend insight into what support equipment will be needed, what facilities will be needed to repair it, personnel requirements, their level of training, and on and on. With that in mind, a piece of equipment may be designed slightly differently based on knowledge that a trained workforce and facilities are already in place for it, and that means cost savings for everyone.

How do end users benefit from Product Support Analysis?

PSA is a means to see into the future and know what you and taxpayers will spend to keep equipment working and performing at its best. Engineers and manufacturers can pre-plan much of what they’re doing based on solid historical evidence of similar types of equipment and the analysis of its performance. This can be significant cost savings to manufacturers and taxpayers. Any project that realizes cost savings in both areas can be sure of future work coming in the door.

What does a successful Product Support Analysis program look like?

A solid PSA program reaches out to get analyses done at the most thorough level based on the complexity of the equipment and the length of time its use is anticipated. With a solid team of people and many years’ experience in maintenance of equipment at ONEIL, the best and most cost-effective way is often already known. In a nutshell, a simple piece of equipment may not need as much analysis to know how it will perform, but the more a customer invests in its engineering and development, the more important PSA becomes.

Realization of the cost of equipment development and maintenance ahead of time ensures the focus is on customer satisfaction. That is a win-win.

Each day, Paul and his team perform a wide range of critical analyses to optimize support strategies for customers of all sizes and product lines. Learn more about how ONEIL supports the complete product life cycle with Logistics Support Analysis and, as always, contact our product support experts with your questions. Chances are, we’ve answered them before.