The Uptime Blog
Tags: MRO, aviation, aerospace, ATA, S1000D, PDF, Tablet, John Snow, aviation maintenance, InService MRO, iSpec2200
The 2012 ATA E-Business Forum was held in Phoenix this week and drew in almost 300 attendees consisting of airlines, OEMs/vendors, and technology providers. Phoenix was a great location with perfect weather and the topics being discussed—tablets, specs, 3D and RFID—were for the most part well-presented. The two most popular topics seemed to be: tablet opportunities in aviation maintenance; and the continuing conflict between S1000D and every other data spec.
Consistent with every aviation event this year there was a lot of talk about tablets. To listen to the technology providers, tablets represent a tidal wave of opportunity and airlines need to either buy their products to catch the ride of a lifetime or be lost under the crushing power of ridicule by being labeled old-fashioned.
Needless to say, talking to the airline attendees about the opportunity for tablets yielded a different story. Once you dig into the details you realize that each airline faces multiple potential issues/concerns including:
• IT support of multiple tablet brands (especially for BYOD)
• Security of airline and personal data that resides on the tablet
• Data synchronization and update schedules (revisions vary by content type)
• Digital signatures (most airlines aren’t yet authorized)
• Suspicion from maintenance unions (is this a ploy for more work with less pay/fewer mechanics)
According to the airline executives I spoke to, there’s a lot of interest in tablets but how soon they’ll be willing to implement is an open question.
Enigma delivered a presentation called “Tablets on the Tarmac – More Than Mobility” that introduced a benefit that’s been largely overlooked and offers significant ROI for maintenance executives.
The other hot topic was the slow-motion collision that’s unfolding between the S1000D standard and every other data standard used for aviation maintenance and operations. Most presentations were promoting S1000D and vendors were promising to convert an airline’s legacy SGML data into the latest version with low-cost and high accuracy. (Notably lacking was any discussion about converting PDF into usable XML.) In fact, one vendor tried to explain that they were “transforming” old data into new formats vs. “converting” old data into new formats. Despite this vendor’s best efforts, most in the audience were left asking, “You’re changing the data, which causes concerns about speed, quality and consistency, so who cares what you call it?”
Enigma also delivered a presentation called “When Standards Collide – A Unified MRO Process Across S1000D, iSpec2200 and PDF” that described challenges and offered solutions for working with multiple standards within a single MRO technical library. Many attendees claimed this presentation helped them understand why OEMs refuse to comply with standards and what airlines should do about it – STOP complaining about the lack of compliance and START owning the solution.
Based on attendee participation and detailed subject matter this was one of the better ATA E-Business Forums of the past several years. However, the ratio of airlines to vendors/suppliers is still somewhat disappointing. It may indicate that many airlines still don’t understand that controlling their data is critical to controlling their future. Since technical content is part of every MRO decision, and MRO is the second largest cost center in an airline, it’s time for airlines to get serious about managing the MRO technical library without relying on the OEMs.
Tags: MRO, Airbus, aviation, Boeing, technical documentation, ATA, S1000D, SAP, PDF, Tablet, Enigma, John Snow
Last week, the Danish Defense Forces sponsored SUGAIR 60 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The SAP Users Group for Airlines (SUGAIR) is a bi-annual conference for experts, executives and managers of MRO operations in the airline, aerospace and defense industries. Enigma was invited to describe the challenges associated with moving to the S1000D data standard and to discuss the opportunities for tablets in the hands of technicians. It was also an opportunity to update SUGAIR members on the SAP-Enigma integration strategy. (The deep integration with SAP has made Enigma the de-facto standard for delivery of technical information in SAP projects for A&D.) SUGAIR 60 had an impressive list of airlines and defense organizations in attendance and the feedback Enigma received was very positive.
SUGAIR attendees found the S1000D discussion very enlightening. The audience came to realize there is a lot of cost and effort required when implementing a functional S1000D environment; more than previously understood. Many of the “features” touted by S1000D vendors and consultants require custom implementation because OEMs (Boeing, Airbus, et al) have implemented the standard in different ways. (New standards often seem to make matters more complicated, as vendors try to establish or retain a perceived competitive advantage.) The attendee’s reaction reflects the concern expressed by airlines at last year’s Aviation Week MRO IT in Chicago. It turns out that because certain S1000D attributes are considered optional, or vary by OEM, most airlines and MROs won’t be able to reap the benefits of S1000D without a customized solution. However, Enigma did demonstrate some of the potential benefits of S1000D including:
- Fault isolation decision trees – dynamically generating the next information set based off the technician’s inputs, and recording the user’s path to feed a symptom/resolution knowledge base
- Truly interactive maintenance operations – where each maintenance step performed is passed back to the system of record
The next topic generated a huge amount of interest, which is the ability to make PDF data behave like XML...no conversion required. Enigma demonstrated the extraction of text fragments from PDF documents and the dynamic (on-the-fly) creation of job cards based on that PDF content. Furthermore, Enigma demonstrated the ability to link back and forth between XML and PDF documentation so that PDF functions essentially the same as XML. Given the amount of PDF that resides in aviation technical libraries (and the amount of PDF continues to grow) this capability helped many in the audience wake up to the opportunities to leverage existing data (without a complete data conversion initiative).
As in the past, the topic with the greatest “cool” factor was Enigma’s discussion and demonstration of a tablet-based solution. This is not a special tablet-only implementation of Enigma; it is standard InService® MRO using style sheets that have been tailored to the unique requirements and capabilities of a tablet device. The demo showed how single source access to the complete technical library can support routine maintenance as well as non-routine maintenance disposition and correction, and seamless, enhanced maintenance turnover events. By this point in the presentation, Enigma had run over the allotted time but the attendees readily offered more time to complete the demonstration/discussion.
For many attendees, the social highlight was a boat tour of the canals around Copenhagen, which was sponsored by Enigma. It was a great opportunity for members of SUGAIR to connect in an informal way, and for the many defense and airline organizations to get acquainted and compare notes.
Throughout the three-day event Enigma reinforced the strong bonds we've developed with many SUGAIR attendees, and we extend a heartfelt thank you to the members of SUGAIR and to the Danish Defense Forces for their gracious hospitality. Enigma believes that participating in SUGAIR 60 allowed us to help solve today’s (and tomorrow’s) aviation maintenance challenges, and from the feedback we received the airline, aerospace and defense attendees gained valuable insight for how to leverage SAP and partner technology to create success.
Tags: Maintenance, Electronic parts catalogs, parts and service, parts catalog, technical documentation, MTTR, field service, PDF, medical equipment, Enigma, John Snow
Field Service 2012 has come and gone in Las Vegas, but there is much to report from the event. Not counting the hardware and software vendors, FS 2012 hosted over 200 attendees from over 100 companies. General manufacturing and high tech companies were the biggest industries represented, followed by A&D, medical equipment and semiconductor tool manufacturers.
The Enigma booth was incredibly busy, answering questions from attendees and demonstrating the advanced capabilities of InService® EPC. Based on these conversations it’s apparent that more and more companies are looking for knowledge management solutions, and Enigma has the technology and expertise to turn their piles of documentation, parts catalogs and service bulletins into an interactive, integrated field service solution.
Some of the comments from attendees reminded us of how much work is still to be done to improve aftermarket service and support. One VP of Services said, “All of my support content is in paper format. I have 1500 field technicians and the only electronic device they have is a cell phone. Now what?” Now what, indeed. After a fairly comprehensive demo, this VP realized Enigma has solutions that can improve any field service environment, whether it’s based on paper, smart phones, tablets or laptops.
Another VP of Field Service told Enigma, “We spend far too much of our budget on printing costs. I’m thinking of buying tablets or laptops for the field but I don’t know how to get all the necessary data into the right format and onto these devices." They went on to say that maintaining the accuracy of technical data and making sure it was safe from prying eyes was a significant worry. Again, a demonstration was all that was necessary to relieve this executive’s concerns and help them grasp the reality of Enigma’s technology as a profit driver.
Jonathan Yaron, Enigma’s CEO, was part of a panel titled, “Delivering Faster Service With Higher Quality And Fewer Support Calls: Integrating Knowledge Tools And Technical Libraries.” One of the concerns raised during this session was the use of social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Chatter, etc. The panelists almost universally felt that sharing maintenance advice and best practices on such an open, unregulated environment carried very high risks to the service organization. In fact, one of the speakers said, “Using social media for sharing best practices carries significant risk because such content would be part of any future legal investigation. If a technician makes a repair based on a Twitter or Facebook post, and there’s a problem down the road, then there will probably be a liability claim and any unsanctioned maintenance instructions will be brought into the discussion. What’s needed is a secure way to collect, evaluate, enhance, approve and distribute service and parts information and best practices quickly and safely.” That’s exactly what’s needed. Enigma couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
These issues, and more, were addressed at FS 2012 in Las Vegas. For those who attended, we’d love to hear your feedback on what you learned and what you plan to do with what you learned. For those who didn’t get a chance to see Enigma’s product in action, visit our home page to request a personalized demo
. You might find what so many at FS2012 found; Enigma’s software improves service execution
and increases profits
PDF documents comprise the majority of service and parts information, yet it is difficult for IT systems to extract data from a PDF file. This limitation negatively impacts parts and maintenance operations for all industries; this post addresses the impact on aviation, but in future posts we’ll look at other industries beyond aviation.
The Role of Task Cards
Task cards (or “job cards”) are documents containing detailed instructions that guide aviation technicians as they perform maintenance on airframes, engines and components. Task cards are critical to ensuring fast, accurate maintenance and regulatory compliance. Task cards may be physical (paper) or virtual (electronic) documents, depending on the business process of the airline or third-party maintenance shop (MRO). Each task card contains the information (parts, procedures, tools, skills, etc.) necessary to work on a specific piece of equipment (by tail-number/serial-number) and must be signed-off when the job is complete.
PDF Maintenance Documents
The parts and procedures defined on task cards are based on OEM maintenance manuals but also include airline best practices, in the form of customer originated changes (COCs) or customer supplements. The ATA (Air Transport Association) recommends that these OEM maintenance manuals use SGML or XML as the data format; however about seventy percent of the manuals currently in use are PDF. (Component maintenance manuals, which make up a high percentage of the serviceable items on an aircraft, are provided almost entirely in PDF format.) This is a problem for maintenance organizations because SGML and XML are highly-structured formats that simplify data extraction; however, the lack of structure in PDF makes it difficult to convert the text into task cards.
Another issue is that OEMs update aircraft, engine and component manuals on a regular basis (typically quarterly), and often specify different parts and procedures for individual aircraft tail-numbers (or equipment serial-numbers). To ensure accuracy, each new OEM revision must be compared to previous maintenance manuals and combined with the relevant COCs and supplements before being converted into updated task cards. With so much PDF data being modified so frequently, airlines and MROs have difficulty synchronizing technical content for maintenance planning and execution.
Aviation maintenance manuals and parts catalogs are broken down into tasks/subtasks and assemblies/parts, which are readily understood by engineers and technicians. Regardless of the data format used for this information (SGML, XML, PDF, etc.), end-users will see little difference. It is when a software system (ERP, EAM, MRO, etc.) tries to utilize this data that the limitations of PDF become clear.
Maintenance manuals that use SGML or XML employ special identifiers that call out tasks, subtasks, parts and other relevant information. These data elements (TASK, SUBTASK, PNR, etc.) allow text within SGML/XML files to be recognized and utilized by other business and IT systems. PDF, on the other hand, is a linear stream of text without any content identifiers or embedded data elements (only formatting rules and a few metadata fields). As a result, for an IT system to extract data from a PDF file it must first search the document and the results must be interpreted to identify the proper information. This is a slow, error-prone process that eliminates the benefits of automation. To effectively use PDF, maintenance organizations are forced to cut-and-paste the necessary data from PDF into whatever planning and inventory systems they are using. To make PDF useful for maintenance automation, the SGML/XML data elements that are missing from PDF must be “inserted” in a way that allows it to act more like the other, richer data formats. Only then can the maintenance organization realize the potential of fully integrated IT systems.
Overcoming PDF Limitations
Enigma has the ability to overcome the limitations of PDF documents, processing them in a way that enables this relatively flat file format to act almost like SGML and XML data. Enigma’s tools enrich PDF files, allowing them to be leveraged by maintenance planning and execution processes, like automatic generation of task cards. With PDF data comprising well over half of the airframe, engine and component documentation, airlines and MROs are finding Enigma’s PDF tools to be critically important to improving maintenance productivity, accuracy and compliance.
To learn more about how Enigma enhances PDF, download our fact sheet, "Putting PDF to Work – Making PDF Data Interactive."
Aircraft Commerce held their Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference—APAC in Singapore this week. It was the second year that the publication has hosted part of its MRO conference series in Asia; last year’s event was in Bangkok. It seems the change of venue was a wise move, as attendance this year was considerably higher. More than 30 airlines and MROs sent delegates (except for the Chinese airlines, who seem not to attend these events unless they are held in the PRC). Floor “traffic” throughout both days was lively and the conference proceedings were also well attended.
Many of the speakers talked about the importance of “data cleansing” and the “data integrity” in the various MRO IT systems. Sharhabeel Lone of SAKS Consulting opened the proceedings by highlighting “key strategic mistakes in MRO technology implementations”, and provided examples of failures in this domain and their consequences (a news item about a CFO losing his job due to an IT systems glitch drew some audible gasps from the audience). The fact that he kept returning to the obvious need for “clean data” might have seemed unnecessary to an IT crowd, but it says a lot about the persistence of this problem in MRO IT implementations.
A different, and also well-known issue, came up in the case study presented by Cathay Pacific, who presented their lessons learned in the implementation of an MRO IT system (Ultramain): the crucial need for proper management of process change. A survey conducted after the system went live found that many engineers were having a hard time adapting to the new way of working and found “clever” ways to continue working as they were used to. Some were exporting data from the new system and using it in “private” databases and spreadsheets. Insufficient and inadequate change management procedures are another obvious trap that everybody keeps talking about but many keep falling into.
But the presentation that most caught my attention, and not in a positive way, was the one given by InfoTrust Group’s VP of Sales, Jason Duffey, who spoke about the new documentation standards: S1000D (for technical publications) and Spec2300 (for flight operations). Mr. Duffey lauded the new standards as “consolidating” existing standards and enabling airlines to re-use and distribute content as they please. S1000D in particular was portrayed as heralding a “new age” in the industry, one in which airlines will be free to do as they please with technical documentation. Documentation nirvana is just around the corner.
When the time came for questions from the audience two people spoke up. The first, a representative from Lufthansa, asked how the new standards would set the airlines free, especially when OEMs are forcing them to use proprietary viewers. He went on to question why the OEMs won't provide the data in standard formats that allow airlines to make real use of it by integrating into their IT systems. (As an example of this policy, he mentioned the A380 content, which may only be viewed with Airbus’s application and incorporates tags in a way that cannot be re-used by Lufthansa.) The second comment came from a software vendor who asked (sarcastically) how one could talk about “consolidation” of standards with S1000D when technical documentation for all existing aircraft will continue to be provided in ATA iSpec2200 (or older standards) and PDF for decades to come; only new aircraft (B787 and A350) will use S1000D. Mr. Duffey could only concede that he agrees with this statement. If most aircraft rely on data that is not S1000D compliant, and new aircraft use S1000D data that cannot be integrated with existing IT systems, then where exactly is the “huge business benefit” for the airlines?
These two comments highlight the problematic situation in which airlines and MROs find themselves as a result of the OEMs’ anti-competitive policies regarding technical publications. Instead of allowing the airlines to make best use of the technical content for their MRO operations, Boeing and Airbus are adopting policies that restrict airlines by forcing them to use proprietary systems that limit airlines' IT choices and infringe on their ability to realize technological advantages and savings. Airlines are thus unable to leverage the wealth of information contained within their current technical publications to enhance their maintenance operations: work scheduling, job card generation, parts list synchronization, inventory cleanup, etc.
While this may not seem like a major issue for a small, single-fleet airline, it is. Airlines that get “kidnapped” by the OEMs will find themselves with few options when it comes to reducing maintenance costs, optimizing inventory and sourcing alternate parts (PMA). This trend can already be seen as Boeing has become a competitor in aftermarket MRO (see Boeing Shanghai) and their S1000D policy will further reduce the ability of independent MROs to develop efficiencies that are possible only with proper data ownership. This seems to be an effort on Boeing's part to take MRO shops out of business and to compete directly with airline maintenance organizations. In the words of the Lufthansa representative: “this is a disaster for the airlines”.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out between the OEMs and the airlines/MROs. Hopefully, the strong message that came out of this conference—that “content is king” when it comes to successfully implementing MRO IT systems—will prompt the airlines and MROs to adopt a more independent approach vis-à-vis the OEMs and take control of the content that shapes and determines the efficiency of their maintenance operations.
In my previous post (The New Flying Fortress) I suggested that the way Boeing and Airbus deliver technical data is unsuitable for modern day maintenance systems. This post describes how OEM data formats limit the airlines, forcing them to treat maintenance planning (ERP/MRO) and maintenance execution as separate worlds. The difference is like getting a vinyl record album when all you own is an iPod.
Part of the problem with OEM data is historic; the maintenance manuals for many older fleets were not created according to AMTOSS standards. But the main problem is that OEMs designed their systems as a standalone/closed environment.
How can you tell if a technical document is standalone (i.e. for reference only)?
PDF format — When OEMs deliver manuals in PDF, they're telling airlines they don't care about business productivity. PDF is of limited use for integration, automation or e-commerce. In fact, PDF is designed to behave, quite literally, like electronic paper.
- Scanned PDF displays text as a raster image, like a picture, so that a person can read it but a computer cannot. Optical character recognition (OCR) may convert the raster to computer text but conversion accuracy raises valid concerns for highly regulated industries like aviation and there is very little automation possible.
- Standard PDF allows cut/paste and search/extract of specific text strings, allowing some level of automation, but the result will be a customized solution that must be closely monitored and maintained.
For example: Most airlines receive Boeing MPD (maintenance planning document) in PDF format. However, they create this document using sophisticated tools and could easily publish it in a more usable format such as SGML, XML or MS-Excel spread sheets (like Airbus does).
Structure, layout and presentation — OEMs often design their technical content for printed paper, not for computer displays. Such an approach means that the maintenance information can be easily understood by mechanics but presents a greater challenge for computer systems. On paper it may look good, but a deeper look at the data reveals:
- Inconsistency with the ATA spec—yet it still prints properly
- Missing data tags—important information that isn't properly marked
- Fragmentation—related information marked as separate topics
OEM maintenance data that comes in PDF format or that has inconsistent design cannot be easily linked to the airline's ERP system. Without this integration, maintenance accuracy, efficiency and costs, will suffer.
As an example, inventory management and forecasting is critical to an airline. One of the most important features of ERP/MRO is the management of parts, tools, equipment and resources. In the ERP system airlines need to have: master configuration, parts list, alternative items and important part attributes such as position, symmetry, interchangeability, priority and serialization.
Having the illustrated parts catalog (IPC) as a paper document may be handy when standing next to the aircraft, but it doesn't help much when planning maintenance and inventory. What is really important is to know the correct parts beforehand and to understand which parts can be used in each location. In that sense, even if the OEM's IPC is delivered in SGML/XML (not PDF) it is still for reference only. Here are a few examples of the problem:
- Alternative item group (AIG)—Alternate parts can be inferred from the documentation, but it is not provided in the actual part data. Explicit references to alternate parts are sometimes included, other times they're only mentioned within the text, or they may only appear in the PNR (the part index section of the IPC).
- Interchangeability information—In this case Boeing claims to have adopted the Airbus attribute, but they're not using it. It appears in the document type definition (DTD), that specifies how computers should interpret various tags, but it has never been added to the data itself. Airbus is slightly better, but still this information is often missing. One might assume that the master configuration interchangeability is always one-way, but when you get to the unit configuration it is hard to tell.
- Position, symmetry, priority—All behave in the same manner.
When airlines request the original structured information they can get it...sometimes. (Maybe if they're a really big customer.) But the IPC is an example of a larger problem of data quality and consistency that holds true across all the maintenance manuals. In an industry that operates some of the world's most sophisticated machines, and has some of the highest safety concerns, the documentation strategy of Boeing and Airbus is sending the cost of maintenance into the stratosphere.
Will the OEMs ever provide data in a format that ties into the airline's MRO/ERP and improves maintenance and planning? Or will they try and force airlines to use proprietary applications that don't? Today, mechanics are getting aircraft information off the equivalent of a record player, when what they really need is an iPod.
Deciding what to do when an OEM changes the maintenance procedures is a tremendous burden for many airlines. For most MRO modifications, choosing whether to adopt the new procedures is left up to the airline.
The industry hoped that by implementing XML/SGML documentation standards, smarter change management systems would emerge. And, with varying degrees of success, they have. (I’ve discussed this in a previous blog post, “Change Management for Aviation Data”.) But a lot of airline and OEM documentation exists in other formats, with PDF representing the largest share of this content. Unfortunately, PDF makes automated reconciliation more difficult than with XML. However, we find that with just a tiny bit of planning (and some smart software) there is no reason for PDF content to cause you trouble.
Many purists are quick to react to PDF content with condescending ‘legacy system’ labels. The normal response seems to be, “You’ve got PDF data? Too bad. You’ll have to deal with it manually until you replace the entire system with XML content.” As a software engineer, I understand the desire to deal with only one type of data, in a clean, structured format. But this idealism cannot withstand the realities of today’s industries, especially for airlines where the lifecycle of the equipment, and therefore the maintenance documentation, is very long.
Before describing how to implement change management on PDF content, let’s first recall the reasons change management is required: Airlines often modify the OEM maintenance manual to incorporate best practices, accomodate special needs, or include customized parts information. As a result, when an OEM revises the manual, airline personnel must:
- Identify all the changes/conflicts between the OEM version and their own
- Decide if the airline-generated content is still relevant in light of the OEM update
- Choose whether to accept, reject, or edit the new OEM content
- Then, and only then, distribute the updated airline content as the new version
In the days of paper-only distribution, change reconciliation was the #1 cause of delays in adopting new content, sometimes requiring more than 12 months to complete. Combining structured content, like XML, with Enigma 3C® Revision Manager has cut revision management from months to hours, by automatically incorporating changes wherever appropriate, and providing side-by-side comparisons for all potential conflicts. Conflict identification can occur at any level of granularity. (I.e., often a large task is split into many subtasks, and an OEM change to subtask 1 does not necessarily conflict with airline customizations on subtask 4.) When presenting the side-by-side comparison, areas of text that require review are highlighted and color-coded for fast comprehension and decision making.
Enigma’s intelligent revision management can also be applied to PDF content, allowing for granular comparison and update of PDF-based documentation. This means that PDF documents don’t need to be replaced wholesale; rather, specific PDF pages within larger documents can be reviewed and approved individually. When displaying conflicts, pages are still displayed side-by-side, with color-coded highlighting to guide the reviewer to each decision point. As PDF content often lacks metadata, we have also implemented smart file management for versioning and filename control, using Documentum® (or any popular document management system).
PDF content is viable and reliable for any maintenance environment—for airlines or any other industry. This is not to say that PDF is better than XML, which is an industry standard, but rather that PDF is more than a legacy format and should be treated as such. With the right software, reconciling changes in PDF maintenance content is a snap.
Manufacturing companies trying to expand their aftermarket parts and service business must grapple with a problem that is unknown to most of their executives—the issue of old (or poor quality) product information. (i.e. maintenance manuals, service bulletins, technical specs, parts catalogs, etc.) Any customer with machines more than five years old is, in all likelihood, making maintenance decisions based on outdated paper documentation—or the electronic equivalent, scanned PDF. Customers running old equipment will eventually rely on old information.
There are billions of machines in use throughout the world that fit that description, and service and parts decisions are being made for them based on old information. Modern authoring tools with robust data formats, like XML, may help future generations of technicians, but OEMs that want to improve aftermarket revenues must find a way to use yesterday’s service information to help today’s mechanics and parts managers. That means getting parts and service information that’s in an old format on-line, tying it into parts ordering systems and then updating and maintaining this information for the future.
Before they begin, OEMs must clearly define their aftermarket business objectives because decisions about cleansing, converting or re-using old data can have significant implications. In fact, for anyone trying to improve aftermarket profits, the cost of making their old data usable is probably the biggest unknown expense they will face. Poor data decisions can easily double the time and money needed to implement a new aftermarket initiative.
For instance, if service information is in paper format there is really no other option than to scan it into an electronic format. But what then? Should the company take the next step and use optical character recognition (OCR) to convert the scanned document into a true, text-based format? If so, what level of conversion accuracy is required? (Accuracy requirements will vary by industry and be driven by the risk of potential errors—in terms of money and safety.) If OCR is deemed too expensive, perhaps metadata or searchable keywords can be added into the file header or the properties of the new electronic document. (This may be a manual process or it may involve OCR, but on a more limited scale and therefore with far greater accuracy.) But what types of metadata/keywords are most useful to aftermarket business activities? What about non-textual information like graphics, schematics and illustrations; or parts lists, calibration and inspection tables? The answers to these questions, and more, will have a significant influence on the time and cost of getting the aftermarket solution up-and-running.
Of course, if the OEM has source documents in an electronic format, so much the better. In fact, it is reasonable to assume that any document printed in the last 20 years was created on some type of electronic authoring tool. Since electronic data will provide much better quality than scanning and OCR the question then becomes how to obtain the original files? And what about any revisions and ongoing updates/modifications?
When trying to improve aftermarket revenues, there are a large number of data issues that deserve thoughtful consideration. Because of Enigma’s vast experience serving the aviation, automotive, oil & gas, rail, defense, utilities and high-tech industries, we are well positioned to provide you with insight and solutions to even the most difficult data problems. The key to success in the aftermarket is cleansing old data to drive new business.