Putting Your Engineering Bill of Materials to Work in Service of ... Well, Service


Service information found in technical publications and manuals is surprisingly difficult to gather, sort, and find. With technical information sometimes trapped in heavy service manuals in the back of a technicians' trucks (and woefully out of date almost the moment they’re printed), it’s no wonder technicians don’t always trust the information they find.

When service information isn’t up to date or accurate - or when your technicians just aren’t sure if the information they have is correct – field service teams tend to over-order parts “just to be safe” or consistently call service centers for additional support.

These self-assurance measures not only harm technician productivity and efficiency but also negatively affect your mean time to repair (MTTR), first time fix rate (FTFR), and customer experiences. A poor service experience, one in which customers lose time and productivity, isn’t conductive to renewing contracts.

Your service content should be understood and trusted globally, by your technicians, dealers, customers, and end-users. It also needs to be configurable because of the great variety of product types your organization designs and manufactures. There are four ways you can begin to create technical illustrations, leveraging your PLM content and putting it to work for your service organization, using digitization and the power of associative service content.

1. Turn your 3D CAD design into service illustrations

Associative service content refers to any technical service documentation connected to an engineering bill of materials (eBOM). Most eBOMs contain 3D CAD data that describe certain components, parts, and the product as a whole.

This association allows you to use existing CAD illustrations to create service “stories” that graphically demonstrate maintenance or repair processes. High-quality service illustrations cut down on errors, don’t require as much translation, and are easier to absorb.

Even better, because you’re drawing information directly from your engineering content, technicians automatically receive the most up-to-date product information. The infographic below provides several tips on how to develop strong service illustrations:

Creo Illustrate Technical Illustrations

2. Take your design AR and VR and turn it into an AR and VR service experience

AR and VR are picking up steam in service applications, and the barriers to deployment and scalability are becoming smaller. Taking your engineering content and turning it into a service experience allows your technicians to get clear information and "check their work” when they’re done using digital overlays and mobile devices or head-mounted devices. With an AR/VR experience, your technicians can also receive just-in-time information, ensuring there are minimal delays.

3. Transform design documents into service publications

With the right tools, your design documents can turn into service publications faster and more accurately than ever. When your technical illustrators can produce illustrations quickly and directly from your eBOMs, the resulting documentation empowers your technicians with the context needed to quickly solve issues.

4. Your engineering Bill of Materials can become your Service Bill of Materials (sBOM)

When the original eBOM and sBOM don’t match up, technicians arrive with the wrong parts, order obsolete components, or are otherwise unable to complete repairs in a timely manner. When you pull your sBOM content directly from your eBOM, you ensure the product data technicians have is always up-to-date and configuration-specific. As such, errors are minimized, repairs and maintenance happen faster, and your technicians, not to mention your customers, are happier too.

With engineering and service working together to close the design loop, you can achieve the ultimate goal of designing for service, where your design helps create better service experiences and your service data can inform your design process for continuous improvement.

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