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.

3 parts management problems; 1 intelligent solution

When you're responsible for parts management, you'll likely run into the same data problems time and time again. A bottleneck in productivity can be caused by any number of disruptions--inaccurate data, inefficient processes, and human error are no doubt familiar themes.

With so many moving (literal and figurative) parts to manage, operational malfunction seems unavoidable on the back end, but consumers expect orders will be timely and hassle-free. The last thing customers want to do is call to check on their order status because there's a delay in fulfillment. Ultimately, your organization's reputation--and bottom line--are at risk because of daily inefficiencies in parts management.

Seamless fulfillment requires a proactive approach in day-to-day parts management. After all, preventing these problems is easier (and often less expensive!) than reacting to them as they arise:

  1. Parts data is inaccurate, missing, or outdated
  2. When your client's mission-critical equipment is down, it's imperative that you have accurate information on-hand so you can quickly order necessary replacement parts. Keeping this information up-to-date can be a tall order as new models are introduced, updates are made to existing models, and older part numbers are superseded with replacements. Submitting an order with incorrect part numbers will cause delays in delivery and frustration for all parties involved.
  3. Business systems aren't integrated
  4. As your business grows, you may find it needs more systems to better support the parts management lifecycle and operate cross-functionally. But if one system doesn't "talk" to the others, you could be setting yourself up for an entirely new set of problems attributed to disjointed data. These integration concerns are especially prevalent when dealing with legacy systems which rarely "play nice with others."
  5. Parts content is lifeless
  6. Maybe you're ahead of your competitors and have successfully centralized your parts content by now. But is it inclusive of all data from various sources? Can you link service manuals and multimedia documents to it to facilitate future troubleshooting and training? If the answer to either of these questions is "no," you may not be as far ahead of the competition as you think.

Remaining organized in the parts management field has its challenges, but a centralized system that intelligently manages your inventory's lifecycle in a unified environment can reduce cost, downtime, and confusion. Get in touch with the ONEIL experts to learn more about our ONePARTS™ parts management and delivery system and how it can help your organization continue to delight your customers.

Go digital: 3 ways intelligent schematics make field support easier

One thing MRO, Fleet, and Field Support Managers have in common: they're sick of highlighters. The more complex their equipment, the more intricate the schematics, which means technicians spend a lot of time fumbling through binders of multi-sheet diagrams, then manually tracing wires and connectors to get to the root of failure. Simply put: the troubleshooting process is painful.

Let's work smarter.

Converting your electrical, pneumatic, or hydraulic diagrams to a digital environment is the first step in simplifying workflow (and reducing frustration). When your crew can quickly maneuver through the technical data they need--whether they're in the office or in the field--you'll notice a few major benefits:

  1. Reduced downtime (and therefore, cost). Why should troubleshooting be so labor-intensive? You've heard your techs mention it can take longer to trace back to the failure point than to actually repair the issue. With an intelligent schematics solution like ONeVIEW™, wires and components are hotspots, circuits are "turned on" via colorizing, component details are enriched, and the user can easily zoom and pan between sheets without missing a beat. And, with the option for could-based delivery, users can get the information they need anytime, anywhere.
  2. Reduced human error. Trying to keep your place as you leaf through several reams of paper to determine where that ground wire leads? Good luck. ONeVIEW's interactive interface allows users to interact with schematics by clicking into customizable, color-coded lists with direct links to the component they're searching for. It'll bookmark relevant areas and even populate a list of associated components. Make things even easier by tapping associated attachments to see exploded-view images for a clear, visual indication of what the real-world part looks like.
  3. Better training. A new generation is replacing your retiring field techs--do you have a plan to maintain that knowledge? Intelligent schematics are user-friendly and include the 3D renderings this generation expects. ONeVIEW even offers training modules and videos to catch your team up to speed now and in the future with automatic updates as equipment changes over time.

We're well-regarded in many industries for our product support solutions, and with good reason.

Let us introduce you to our ONeVIEW intelligent schematics solution and take your from-to processes from lifeless to interactive. Download the ONeVIEW brochure when you're ready to ditch the highlighters for good.

More Documentation Managers are using a CMS for their technical documentation solution- here's why

Proving the need for a Content Management System (CMS) can be challenging for Documentation and Training Managers, but the need to save time and money couldn't be simpler. As part of your role, you're charged with developing and preserving technical documentation to help customers operate and maintain your equipment- this material impacts key partners within your own firm, too. Engineers, operators, trainers, help-desk personnel, and even legal, marketing, and IT groups all rely on the quality of your material in some capacity.

While it's true each business unit has its own priorities, there's a uniform need to improve customer satisfaction, reduce downtime, and intelligently manage content. Decision-makers understand how a CMS can support these needs, but they're under pressure to prove its value. Because we regularly provide clients with technical documentation solutions, we've noticed a few key themes driving demand for CMS implementation. Any of these sound familiar?

  • Legacy data must be maintained, but publication backlog and development cycles are too long, so end users have outdated information- or worse- no support information at all. Reformatting or updating disjointed data with each engineering change or parts upgrade is a drain on your time and resources.
  • Accessibility issues quickly become lead-time pitfalls. If you can't dynamically generate your technical information to distribute to web or mobile environments, your end-users can't get the real-time support they need. And, system integration barriers often exist, making it next to impossible to incorporate necessary information from other business applications.
  • Compliance and language requirements from relevant transit authorities, governing bodies, or industry-specific specifications can put you in the weeds as you work tirelessly to meet standards. The documentation development process can be grueling and costly, not to mention risky. Failing to meet specifications could result in end-user confusion, injury, or worse. Customer safety and your reputation are at stake.

Whether you have files created internally, outsourced to a strategic business partner, or a combination of both approaches, a solution like ONEIL's ONePUBS™ CMS acts as a one-stop-shop with complete authoring, publishing, and interactive delivery of technical content that can be reused, updated, and even translated in real-time. Bonus: it also provides configuration control, tracking and orchestrating updates to conform to the scheduled update cycle.

How's that for traction? Download the ONePUBS brochure to be the MVP of your organization's next technical documentation meeting.

Solve these 3 problems (and more) when you integrate interactive parts manuals

Keeping accurate, updated parts documentation on long-life equipment is a never-ending task. Part models and vendors change frequently, rendering your material outdated and virtually useless when it's needed most. During inevitable equipment failure, how can your team efficiently identify and replace the parts they need to get back in gear?

After properly troubleshooting the issue, your mechanics are tasked with getting replacement parts in-hand right away. Lead time matters, and you need a streamlined solution to simplify the process for your field technicians, help desk personnel, dealers, and procurement teams.

Meet ONEIL's ONePARTS™ parts management and delivery system, serving logistics, parts management, and e-Commerce to manage your supply chain:
  • Interactive, user-friendly, and accessible remotely.
  • Compatible with your eCommerce or ERP system to facilitate easy ordering.
  • Decrease equipment downtime while driving after market part sales.

When you partner with ONEIL to integrate an interactive parts manual, your entire organization benefits. With infrastructure that allows your techs to self-serve anytime, anywhere, they're less likely to need the support of help desk personnel who could put lead times at risk by providing outdated information. Handle times decrease, diagnostic information is captured to help predict future failures, and warranty costs are reduced as unnecessary part replacements become a thing of the past.

Our customers tell us interactive parts manuals are a game-changer in streamlining operations and keeping the end customer happy. Whether you're managing a fleet of motor coaches or aircraft, our team of technical illustrators and industry experts puts the right information in the right hands at the right time. It's what we do best.

ONEIL's ONePARTS interactive parts data management and delivery system has no per-seat licensing or end-user costs. No hooks, just solutions. Contact our experts to learn how this tool can put your business in the fast lane.