Supportability with Lucas Marino

Supportability entails matching the design and logistics requirements of an asset to its operational needs. When buying equipment, decision-makers are usually quick to base their decision on the upfront capital investment without weighing in the effects of continuous operational expenses. Other foregone considerations in valuing an asset can touch on areas like supply chain requirements, equipment obsolescence, personnel training, configuration management and environmental impacts.  Lucas joins us on this episode to help create an understanding of supportability.

Some of the important insights include:

  • Differentiating supportability and reliability
  • Reasons for implementing supportability
  • Challenges and opportunities for supportability

Differentiation between supportability and reliability

To successfully deploy a supportability strategy, having the right people and resources is a fundamental starting point. 

Reliability relates to maintaining the performance of an asset within its expected output. Supportability asks the question; What shall we do to ensure this asset achieves reliability?

Why buy into supportability?

Most large equipment need a system-wide approach to properly function. Supportability comes in to account for the entire asset and how it gets influenced by internal and external factors.

Supportability will also come in as the system complexity increases. 

Additionally, the assets under consideration must also be of high value to justify the investment being made.

So how do we get started with implementing supportability?

The best way according to Lucas is to simply start. He points to a great resource by Benjamin Blanchard called Logistics engineering and management . Reading these use cases is one thing, but implementation is another. And by getting starting, teams can realise the arising challenges and start working towards abating them. 

Who is involved in supportability activities?

Because of its dynamic nature, supportability requires a cross-functional team for it to work. These team members might be trainers, maintenance personnel, people to perform  Level of Repair Analysis, Spare Parts, Inventory among others

The takeaway is that organisations should look at the short, medium and long term commitment in implementing supportability programs. Dynamic teams will ensure the relationships and understanding between resource needs are taken care of. 

What is an ILS plan and how does it affect supportability?

Supportability is only a part of Integrated Logistics Support systems. We are also likely to hear the term Logistics and Supportability Analysis (LSA). This term refers to supportability practices. 

What if I ve chosen an asset only to realise supportability does not work?

Often this challenges comes in various degrees. The way around an asset whos supportability analysis is not justifiable, it will likely depend on how critical the asset is to everyday performance of the facility. If it is a crucial asset, chances are that you should consider a replacement. If it is not crucial, the facility might still operate with the asset not undergoing supportability investment.

It is strongly advised that organisations carry out sufficient research into alternatives before investing in an asset. 

Advantages of supportability analysis

Supportability can be thought of as a high-level risk mitigation strategy for the future. The more organisations can plan for the future of an asset, the less exposed they will be to unexpected operational expenses. 

With proper testing and training. Supportability teams can ensure high equipment reliability through its life. 

Tools that can complement supportability analysis

Depending on whether you are working with governments or private companies, your organisation might be locked into specific software. Examples of existing software tools include Optium, PowerLogJ, SLICwave among others. 

You should be aware that these tools are by no means cheap, and that they also don t do everything. The underlying requirement is having the right skill set for the job. Should you opt for more flexibility, there are numerous software companies on the web that can customize applications to suit your needs. 

What makes the biggest difference?

People are at the centre of supportability success. The right people will make holistic decisions that ensure asset longevity. 

One thing to change?

Lucas recommends that organisations avoid analysis paralysis. Without getting feet wet with some trials, it is hard to justify larger investments into this department. Even with small pilots, ensure the analysis paints a true viability picture for supportability. 

Start small, fail small and learn as you grow your supportability initiatives.

Eruditio Links:

Lucas Marino Links:

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