Repairing high tech equipment can be a challenge, not only because troubleshooting the equipment is complex, but also because field technicians are often not allowed access to the Internet while servicing equipment. Limiting Internet access may seem odd, but it is common practice in some industries. This is particularly true in the high tech medical equipment or semiconductor industries where wireless Internet access may disrupt the safe operation of sensitive equipment, and companies want to protect their intellectual property regarding how their equipment is operated and serviced. As a result, technicians who don’t have the latest information to diagnose and repair equipment must make multiple service calls, or traipse in and out of the clean room (with the required change of protective clothing on each trip).
Properly servicing high tech equipment requires fast access to the right parts and service information. Otherwise, technicians spend too much time searching for information and ordering parts. In fact, technicians often order multiple similar parts hoping that one of them will “do the trick” to fix the machine. The extra parts are either stored locally (as “trunk spares”) or returned to inventory or the manufacturer, which incurs additional expense.
Fortunately, Enigma offers a field service solution with complete offline/online access to technical content and related spare parts (all of which can be driven by equipment serial number, model, customer configuration, etc.). Enigma’s solution enables manufacturers to assemble, distribute and dynamically update an integrated encyclopedia of parts and service information that ties into maintenance scheduling and ERP/inventory systems. Whether working online or offline, field service engineers are able to access all relevant technical content such as illustrations, engineering diagrams, part lists, operator manuals, service manuals, service bulletins, safety notices and other required product literature. Field technicians can look up the specific bill of materials of a particular piece of equipment, and see all of the relevant parts and procedures to complete the repair.
Toshiba America Medical Systems (TAMS), a leading provider of diagnostic imaging equipment, has a network of mobile customer engineers that provide on-site support at hospitals and clinics throughout the United States. The company recently selected the Enigma InService EPC solution to enable its field service engineers to more cost-effectively service equipment on-site, often in 100% disconnected mode. Their customer engineers can go to a customer site, access the as-maintained BOM, troubleshoot and fix problems and select required spare parts—without ever being connected to the Internet. Later, when it’s convenient, the technician automatically syncs up with the ERP system to complete parts orders and report problems. Scott Silcock, Director of Service Logistics Management at TAMS, said “We believe the Enigma solution that links parts and related maintenance information will make our customer engineers even more independent and capable of addressing a greater percentage of customer issues on the spot."
For OEMs that have to service complex equipment, it’s crucial that their technicians have the right technical content at their fingertips—online and offline—to repair assets more efficiently. What’s the net gain for the manufacturer? They are able to increase technician productivity, improve customer satisfaction, reduce the cost of maintenance and technical support, and facilitate communication between their engineering, field service, publications and parts departments.