Manufacturers (OEMs) often revise service and parts information for their products, and need to distribute those updates to their dealers, owner/operators or service organizations. Traditionally this has not been an easy process for the OEM's product support organization. On the other hand, product updates can be a burden on dealers, owner/operators and service organizations as well. A further complication for everyone is that revised information must be implemented in online and offline environments, since field service typically needs both. Therefore, OEMs, dealers, owner/operators and service organizations need fast, frequent updates of service and parts information that requires almost no effort.
Because of the difficulty in achieving this goal, most OEMs simply “republish” all of the service and parts information on a quarterly or bi-annual basis. This causes three problems:
- There may be a long delay between the time when new parts and procedures are approved and when they are received by the field.
- Critical information like recalls, service bulletins and sales promotions must be handled separately, and often they do not get integrated with the existing service and parts libraries. (i.e., information gets stored in multiple locations in the field.)
- Because there are large amounts of data, dealers, owner/operators and service organizations may delay installing the latest revisions into existing processes. (i.e., OEMs cannot be sure if, and when, updates are being put into practice.)
Another approach is to republish complete service and parts libraries more frequently (e.g., every day or every week). OEMs that use this approach require dedicated computing resources to execute this process and, even so, the burden on field organizations to inplement all this data will cause most of them to ignore many of the updates. Rather than re-send entire service and parts libraries, whether quarterly or weekly, most companies would prefer to send only the information that changed. The problem is that many OEMs cannot reliably identify and isolate every change to the service and parts content, so field organizations are left wondering if the new data is complete and accurate.
To address these issues, Enigma’s Revision Manager technology has been implemented as part of the InService EPC update process. With Revision Manager, Enigma does the work of identifying and isolating changes. It automatically generates an incremental update package of service and parts information that contains only the data that has been modified. Revision Manager compares the latest version of product information against the version that is currently deployed, and generates a list of differences. These differences are recorded in an XML file that specifies which objects (documents and images) are new, which were deleted and which were modified. In addition, the table of contents (or catalog “structure”) from the new update package is compared to the currently deployed catalog to ensure the updated catalog has the proper user interaction and workflow. In most cases, an incremental update of the service and parts catalog is built and ready for distribution in minutes.
InService EPC’s Catalog Manager then creates an update package that can be distributed to the Web and to the field, allowing those catalogs currently in use to be quickly revised so they reflect the latest product information. The result is smaller, faster and more accurate update packages that are easier to deploy and install.
Enigma InService EPC’s Revision Manager and Catalog Manager technologies help OEMs ensure that dealers, owner/operators and field service organizations always have the latest service and parts information. OEMs no longer need to wrestle with decisions about how often they should update technical content because InService EPC removes virtually all of the previous effort to revise a service and parts catalog.
For more information, download our fact sheet on “Keeping Service and Parts Catalogs Current.”