Data is always the key to the proverbial management sequel, namely - Where are we now? - Where do we want to go? - How do we get there?
Maintainability data frequently answers the first question -Where are we now?
Subcontractors and suppliers frequently have little, if any, maintainability data. In fact, unless they have previously had to deal specifically with maintainability requirements, they often have no information about the maintainability of the items which they have delivered in the past. Data collection is not a strong point in many industrial companies. Many are interested in closing their contractual responsibilities at the end of the warranty period rather than motivated for setting up an after-contractual data follow-up procedure with their customers. The practical consequence of this philosophy is that collection of performance data on similar systems does not become a priority task -until the early phases of a new program development.
Unless we know where we are - how can we know where we want to go?
Thus, subcontractors and suppliers often are reluctant to accept maintainability targets without knowing the exact maintainability demonstration procedure.
Building of a corporate maintainability data base is the key, the starting point.
Such a data base (grounded upon actual product experience) is an important resource, a definite corporate asset. It can prove to be extremely helpful for subsequent developments.
With modern spread sheet and data-base programs it is relatively easy to build such a data bank based upon actual experience with a specific product. These data can then be used, for example, to customize and enhance an existing automated prediction software program and thus provide a
more accurate maintainability prediction on a subsequent development item.
A closed-loop failure reporting system (FRACAS) addresses the third question - How do we get there?
We get there - by first identifying, and then resolving, each problem one by one, as they are discovered. Again, the data - which has been, or is being, collected - is the key.
Some of the specific benefits for such maintenance/maintainability data are:
- Determine compliance with specified maintainability requirements
- Provide logistics and support information
- Assess adequacy of support resources
- Determine personnel requirements
- Determine deficiencies in maintainability and provide a basis for corrective action
- Establish repair time histories and build a corporate maintainability data base
- Detect excessive preventive maintenance