This post is the second of ten entries that will discuss product support financial drivers for solutions supplied by a commercial or military focused capital good Product Support Enterprise [PSE]. The 10 topics that will be discussed are the following:
- # of products employed by end-users
- End-user product utilization rate
- Product failure
- Environment in which end users engage the product
- Preventive maintenance processes employed
- Volatility of product technology
- Regulatory requirements
- Chronological age of the product installed base
- Life cycle stage of the product
- Manufacturer’s warranty coverage
The utilization rate of a product materially drives the financial impact of Product Support upon Total Ownership Cost [TOC]; an aircraft end-user that flies 500 hours/year will spend less on Product Support solutions than that of an aircraft end-user that flies 3,000 hours/year. The Product Support processes most impacted are correct/prevent unplanned failures and conformance to safety/regulatory requirements.
There are three primary ways in which a product’s utilization can be measured:
Period of use (i.e. 3 hours), frequency of use (i.e. 8 trips, 20 cycles), and output from use (i.e. 500 miles travelled, 1,000 pieces produced).
Choosing the appropriate utilization measurement can significantly impact the understanding of this key Product Support financial value driver. For example, if mileage is the only utilization measurement for a truck, and if the truck spends many hours idling, Product Support estimated costs based upon only mileage utilization may result in inaccurate forecasts; utilization measurement may sometimes require a blend of several factors.
The following four deployability types that can be employed to segment the planned utilization of a product, as well as be compared to a baseline utilization level:
- Preparing for deployment (i.e. garrison training); 1.00=baseline
- Non-deployable (i.e. schoolhouse training); ~1.25 of baseline
- Deployed (i.e. combat, humanitarian); ~2.00 of baseline
- Stored for future deployment (i.e. advanced deployed); ~.05 of baseline
Recently I delivered a weapons system Product Support Business Case Analysis [BCA] to a TACOM lifecycle management command program office in which the products were to be employed in all of the four above deployability types. The product studied was to be fielded over a 6 year period, but the distribution of the product’s deployability types had yet to be decided, but regardless, I had to estimate the impact of Product Support upon TOC in order to deliver my Business Case Analysis.
Given several known and unknown factors, I applied the following distribution of the products to be fielded for each period that a product was in-service: 70% preparing for deployment, 10% non-deployable, 15% deployed and 5% stored for future deployment. Using the variance factors from the baseline, the utilization of all the fielded products from the baseline was calculated as 1.15= [(70%*1.00) + (10%*1.25) + (15%*2.00) + (5%*.05)]. This weighted cost factor was applied to all processes that were driven by product utilization. For example, if the utilization baseline was 1,000 hours year, then a 1.15 weight factor would drive the annual utilization rate for each fielded product to be 1,150 hours.
Knowing that the Mean Time Between Failure [MTBF] was 2,000 hours and the weighted utilization was 1,150 hours/year and that the average cost of a repair was $2,000, I could estimate that the annual Product Support cost for the correct-failure Product Support process per fielded product was $2,875= [(1,150hrs/2,000hrs)*$5,000]. This was a simplified calculation, but it provides an overview of how utilization impacts Product Support costs.
Hypatia©, a Giuntini & Company financial software tool, provides a highly automated means of calculating the above and other product support financial value drivers, as well as an effortless way of being able to change any utilization assumption and immediately understand its impact upon total ownership costs.