The Pros of Proactive Product Servicing
Just as athletes can experience an injury that takes them out of a game, systems can experience component failures that require downtime and repair. A prime goal of proactive product servicing is to avoid unscheduled shutdowns. Routine maintenance should be scheduled to provide an optimum trade-off between the cost and inconvenience of servicing, and the likely greater cost and inconvenience due to unscheduled failures that servicing could have averted. Vulnerable parts should be replaced with new ones at strategically selected times during routine maintenance. Sometimes, an impending failure can be detected by inspecting the part or by embedded instrumentation. A further strategy for avoiding or mitigating the impact of field failures is provided by new technology: the remote, and often continuous, monitoring of products using sophisticated instrumentation. Forewarning of an impending system failure allows for repairs in a minimally intrusive and cost-effective manner -- ideally, without users even being aware of the problem.
This article is published as Doganaksoy, N., Hahn, G.J., and Meeker, W.Q. (2008), The Pros of Proactive Product Servicing. Quality Progress 41, November, 60–62. Posted with permission.