3 Overlooked Techniques for Improving Service Productivity

Written By: Carolyn Gross
  • 2/21/2018
Techniques for improving service productivity

Imagine referencing a 2D part drawing that looks nothing like the component you have in front of you. Where do you go from there? Do you order a part that looks correct on paper, but doesn't seem to fit the equipment you're working on?

Managing service information is an effective way to improve service productivity. Here are three practices that will allow you to consistently create accurate, up-to-date technical documentation:

1. Link parts information to engineering files

Engineers change parts all the time. This means service content doesn’t always reflect the most up-to-date product engineering adjustments. Also, manually tracking parts changes is incredibly time consuming – some technical communication teams dedicate several hours to review changes.

One way to automate this process is to transform engineering bills of materials (EBOMs) into service bills of materials (SBOMs).

BOM transformation establishes “associative links” between engineering data and the service information created from it. For example, if you have an online parts catalog, and an engineer makes an adjustment to the braking system, your technical team will be notified of the change. Some systems actually apply changes automatically. 

2. Make your service information more accessible 

Once you have a sustainable method for generating accurate service information, you need to make it easy for your field service technicians and customers to access it. Implementing some of the tips below isn’t going to happen overnight, but in the long term, they’re effective strategies for improving service productivity:

  • Create an online parts catalog: Some of the most successful service-focused manufacturers in the world allow customers to access parts information online.
  • Accommodate mobile users: Create mobile-friendly technical illustrations that users can interact with. Let them zoom in or out and explode whole products into individual parts.

3. Ensure your service information is contextual

Allow technicians to zero in on information associated with specific product configurations. This eliminates the need for technicians to sort through static materials. Instead of spending time deciphering a product’s configuration and which information is relevant, the technician can focus on resolving the issue.

Providing this level of flexibility hearkens back to the point I made above: Make sure your service information is digitally accessible. Printed materials, for obvious reasons, don't allow technicians to identify configuration-specific information.

Having access to accurate, up to date service information plays a huge role in your ability to keep the equipment your customers depend on up and running. During a one-hour webinar, PTC’s Dave Duncan and Tech-Clarity’s Michelle Boucher discussed the impact service documentation has on aftermarket strategies, citing Boucher’s latest research into how companies have addressed this issue:

Your service information is a strategic asset

  • CAD
  • Retail and Consumer Products
  • Connected Devices

About the Author

Carolyn Gross

Carolyn Gross is a service marketing director for PTC. In service since 2001, her areas of concentration are connected service and service parts management. She is passionate about the aftermarket, writing, and dogs.