For many products, it is important for the customer, the supplier, or both to monitor the performance of the product in actual use. This monitoring may be done through tracking warranty data, collecting specialized information, customer complaints, and surveys. Monitoring, and subsequent analysis of the data, is done for three reasons:
- Identify performance problems
- Identify needed changes in policy, procedures, or design to resolve performance problems
- Identify and document lessons learned
The first two reasons are somewhat obvious. Despite our best efforts to design properly and to validate the design through development testing, some problems may not evidence themselves until the product has been fielded. It is then important to determine if the problems are serious enough to require correction and, if so, the best means for doing so. If the product is warranted and the problem is covered under that warranty, then the supplier must take the necessary action. If the problem lies in the customer's maintenance policy and procedures, then changes to those items need to be considered.
The third reason, to identify and document lessons
learned, may not be as obvious. Lessons learned are important because our
design and manufacturing tools are imperfect and experience is a valuable
resource. As already stated, despite our best efforts to design properly and
to validate the design through development testing, products are seldom
perfect. They are imperfect because our knowledge and tools (models,
analytical techniques, manufacturing processes) are imperfect. Field
performance can be monitored and the Lessons learned from that monitoring can
be used to refine our knowledge and tools. One way to capture the knowledge
represented by lessons learned is to capture them in design guidelines, such
as those documented in Appendix C .
As noted in 2.2.2 , demilitarization and disposal (or in commercial terms, retirement and phaseout) of a product is a part of the life cycle. DoD does not define it as a separate phase, and many companies and customers consider it as the last stage of the O&M phase. As some products near the end of their useful life due to obsolescence or wear-out, the customer or supplier may need to address several critical activities:
- Recovery of precious metals or other valuable, recyclable materials
- Salvage of equipment and components for use in other products
- Safe disposal of hazardous materials
- Logistics support of demilitarization and disposal (retirement and phaseout)
These activities can be made more efficient and
economical if they are considered during the design of the product. As noted
in 126.96.36.199 , the extent to which the maintainability engineer will be involved with designing for demilitarization and disposal can vary from company to company. In most cases, the maintainability engineer, safety engineer, and logistics managers play at least some role in designing for demilitarization and disposal and in carrying out the associated activities.