Virtual Service - After sales support
Planning for effective service need not wait until practical prototypes or production products are available
Service and Warranty Engineering and Planning are emerging as more urgent tasks in the development of new products as we see the sales models for new products and technology evolve. With the cost of service being built into the ownership model of some of the most innovative new products, OEMs are recognizing that Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is no longer the sole burden of the customer, but a possible competitive advantage for their enterprise. Rightly so, during product development more attention is being placed on the servicability and maintainence of cutting edge products. Is the consumer buying the car or are they investing in personal mobility, is the utility buying a turbine or are they buying an expectation of megawatt hours of production, is the construction firm buying the excavator or are they buying the hole, or is the municipality buying a train or the mobility of their citizens?
Engineering the service operations of a new product is more than merely imagining from the CAD design data a likely order of operations, nor is it just establishing a Bill of Service from the Bill of Materials. One cannot just reverse the Bill of Process from assembly and assume that it will support planned or unplanned maintanence activities. Visibility and accessibliity of a replaceable component during after-sales service is very different than when we are constructing a new product around that component. The decisions made during engineering to optimize assembly and initial build are likely different that decisions one might make to optimize maintainence and repair.
Virtual Service engineering and planning is relevant for the development of:
Assessing the serviceability of a product without access to the complete product is an exercise in extreme imagination and creativity. An exercise that is fraught with risk for the enterprise if imaginations or creativity fall short of recognizing crtical errors. Many can recount a nightmare scenario where a commonly replaced component is completely inaccessible without the removal of key components or subassemblies. The sparkplugs that require the removal of the engine, the filter that requires the disconnection of the pump, an access panel too smally to allow the components to be removed.