The Uptime Blog
Vintage Parts Catalog or Mission Critical Service Tool?
a list advertising parts for machinery along with prices. (from Dictionary.com)
Over the years Enigma has connected with a lot of OEM companies who tell us they maintain and actively use a parts catalog. By many definitions they would be correct, whether that was a printed page distributed via snail mail or even a collection of PDFs that could be shared via email, they published a list of parts and associated prices to share with their internal service teams or network of dealers/distributors.
End of story, right? Wrong.
Vintage Parts Catalogs – what a parts catalogs used to be
“[A] list advertising parts for machinery along with prices” is an antiquated definition of a parts catalog, even by small scale manufacturer’s standards. It’s entirely inadequate to describe the types of tasks that parts catalogs are regularly called upon to perform while maintaining the uptime on an expanding fleet of complex equipment.
While technically speaking, companies may have a printed parts catalog – or even what they consider to be an electronic parts catalog (collection of PDFs), those definitions are far too limited to be of value to an OEM looking to support their equipment after the sale or to support their network of dealers that maintain their equipment.
The expectation of what a parts catalog does and can do has evolved. Service technicians, dealers, and even customers want immediate access to in-depth information, not just a list of parts and their prices. They want to see illustrations of individual parts, sub-assemblies and their relationship to the entire piece of equipment. Service techs and dealers want access to service manuals, service bulletins, marketing product sheets as well as parts availability. The manufacturers themselves want the parts catalog to become part of their revenue model with facilitated ordering and to provide analytics on orders, parts or service searches, and maintenance.
Integrated, Illustrated, Electronic Parts Catalogs – what a parts catalogs looks like today
Parts catalogs have advanced to become the backbone of the service organization. Today an electronic parts catalog is a vital part of an OEMs aftermarket maintenance information structure and knowledge base. It’s a mission critical tool that allows maintenance and repair teams to access service information, identify parts, check availability and order online, share best practices, and integrate with other business functions.
According to the The 2012 Field Service Benchmarking Report by WBR Research, over the next five years, the service market will:
• Involve more integration with customers and focus on core deliverables for business growth
• Be technology product driven due to the demand (gratification) for immediate information
• Move toward predictive maintenance, BI to OLS, customer self service, and cloud based software services
• See “Bring Your Own Device” to work impacting delivery models outsourcing of more service related activities; consolidation of service providers into adjacent space”
Enigma has been pre-emptive in researching and adding features and functions to our parts catalog to stay ahead of the changing service trends. We offer a web-native application that enables equipment manufacturers to easily publish and distribute accurate, up-to-date parts and service information for their dealer/distributor networks.
Parts and Service Information
Parts catalogs house far more than just parts information
Transactions and Integration
- Illustrated parts catalogs display a parts list and assembly illustration together with dynamic part information (pricing, location, availability)
- Parts lists, alternative parts and assembly views that provide dealers and service technicians with the information they need
- Part cards display detailed information regarding the selected part, such as price, cost, quantity in stock, quantity on order and warehouse location (BIN)
- Complete parts, sales and service information delivered by serial number, product line, model and options
- Support for multiple data formats including tables, text, graphics and video
- Shopping carts, lists and e-commerce integration to streamline and automate the parts ordering process
- Choice of DVD, web/online or print distribution packages, with incremental updates
- Administrator tools to generate and automatically distribute parts and service updates
- Open architecture enables integration with back-office applications such as warranty, diagnostics, inventory and ERP systems
- Search functionality that enables simple or advanced searches according to free text, serial number, part number, description, product type, family and model
- On-the-fly creation and viewing of collaborative e-notes for maintenance and feedback
- Bookmarks and history to save and recall the model, assembly and serial number filtering, and allow users to easily return to previously viewed parts catalogs or product information
- Complete support for foreign languages and currency
- Dashboard Reporting providing business intelligence and predictive trends
- Flexibility for on-line, off-line, and mobile service environments
- Browser and device independence to address BYOD concerns
Is Your Parts Catalog Vintage or Mission Critical? Questions to Ask Yourself
The following are some questions to see how your parts catalog compares. Is your company operating a vintage parts catalog or have you embraced the modern definition, features and functions that are necessary to succeed in the aftermarket support of complex equipment?
- Does it include more than just parts (ie Service manuals, service bulletins)?
- Does it include dynamic illustrations of parts assemblies with hot spotted parts?
- Does it easily support multiple file formats (even video)?
- Is it integrated into critical business systems (like ERP, PLM)?
- Can it scale as the business grows?
- Is it easily navigable and provide contextual search with highlighted search results?
- Is it mobile and can it be accessed online or offline?
- Does it provide analytics to managers and/or executives?
With a good sense of the type of parts catalog you’re operating, along with a clear understanding of where the service industry is moving you’ll have the tools you need to successfully navigate your company’s service growth.
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