The ability to perform required maintenance and to provide essential
operational support of a product (In this reference guide the term "product"
refers to the end item for which the customer is paying. "Product" can range
in size from a large intricate system down through a subsystem, an equipment,
or an item. For Government contracts, "product" could mean an entire weapons
system, part of a weapons system, or a non-military item. "Customer" can be
either a Government or civilian procuring agency. See the Glossary for
definitions of these terms.) depends on having appropriate Support and Test
Equipment (STE), including:
Performance monitoring equipment
Fault isolation equipment
Material handling devices.
This template explains how to systematically determine appropriate STE by
using Logistic Support Analysis (LSA) methods and output information. The
essential elements of this template process and how they work together are
shown in the associated graph. (see figure below) Each process step is
numbered and referenced by number in the explanatory text of this template.
Application of this template process will provide control and direction to
identifying appropriate STE in a timely and efficient manner.
Required STE is unique to each product development or acquisition
situation. Therefore, this template cannot cover all requirements for
determining STE. This template does present one approach to this complex
process. Alternative and/or additional steps may be needed or required,
depending on the particular situation. Also, the reader should consult any
applicable directives to ensure compliance with a particular contract.
To be effective, the STE for a particular product must be appropriate,
adequate, and available. Whether the selected STE is appropriate and adequate
depends on how carefully the product design LSA information is determined and
applied. (See the Logistics Support Analysis Reference Guide for a detailed
discussion of LSA.) Availability happens when the right planning and
scheduling are done to ensure delivery of the STE with the product.
This sounds like a fairly simple, straightforward process. However, it is
not. STE selection influences and is influenced by many elements of product
design. Some examples follow.
The product design determines what STE is needed. The selection of STE,
however, must wait until the design is stable.
Enough time must be scheduled during the production phase of product design
to allow STE acquisition and/or development
The availability of appropriate STE determines how maintenance is done,
which is documented in technical manuals.
Changes in STE can greatly affect technical documentation, sometimes
causing extensive rewriting. This can be expensive in the later stages of
technical manual development.
Use of complex STE may require technical documentation of its own.
If complex enough, the STE may require user
training. This would increase training costs for additional instructor and
student guides and longer training sessions.
STE can become complex because of design constraints and require its own
support. However, it should never become so complex that its own requirements
overshadow that of the product it is meant to support. This situation can be
Basically, the STE determination template process deals with four major
Selecting individual pieces of STE to support a particular product
Determining how many of each kind of STE are needed depending on the
Allowing enough time in the schedule for STE development and/or
Delivering the selected STE at the right
The logistics analyst, using LSA, can play a major role in answering these
concerns. The analyst can determine what STE is already available in the
customer's inventory and pass that information to the product designer. If
this is done early enough in the product design process, the product can be
designed around the existing STE.
Remember, understanding STE requirements and considering all available
solutions early in product development can reduce support costs while
providing appropriate, quality product support.