This represents the potential for major cost savings and significant quality improvements for suppliers and customers.
So now, let’s look at some real ROI cases. The ROI examples used for this paper are taken from different parts of the Logistics Support Process. Still, all examples are associated with savings resulting from the reuse of XML- based information.
Some real-life ROI cases include:
- 63% cost reduction by an aerospace engine manufacturer that simultaneously increased the number of parts catalogs from 81 to 132 while reducing the number of Authors from 18 to 3
- 20% productivity gain by aircraft mechanics by providing customized job cards (for example, an engine removal procedure was reduced from 100 pages to 30 pages, thus making 200 mechanics more efficient!)
- 48% cost reduction in the production of technical documentation using S1000D
- 20%+ cost reduction in the production of computer-based training by using S1000D and SCORM
Let’s examine these last two ROI cases in more detail.
Production of Electronic Publications Using S1000D Resulted in a 48% Cost Reduction
The company had documented Integrated Defense Systems for years with Microsoft Word and structured FrameMaker in this example. They were delivering thousands of units of remote weapons stations to various platforms and customers, along with ongoing product updates and modifications.
This company did not have a hard requirement for S1000D but wanted to increase its aftermarket business and reduce costs. So, after determining that the S1000D specification was a good fit for their documentation, they decided to move ahead with adoption.
In their existing authoring environment, they had found that the effort to author using MS-Word versus structured FrameMaker were very similar. The effort for various authoring projects was approximately the same, regardless of whether Word or FrameMaker was used. In other words, using a “structured” format (FrameMaker) did not significantly affect the overall effort to produce technical documentation. The biggest challenges noted by the company were:
- Lack of configuration control
- Less than optimal reuse of information units
So, with these challenges in mind, the company implemented S1000D and focused on the following areas:
- Improved configuration control
- Reuse of information units that are common among different model types
- Improved author productivity (focus on content creation only; no formatting needed)
- After only nine months, the company demonstrated a 48% cost reduction (in terms of hours) compared to the average of earlier projects. In addition to the 48% cost savings:
- 87 technical publications were produced in only 3.5 years (that is two weeks per publication
- Projects can start later and still finish on time
- More work is accomplished with fewer people
- Revision cycles have been reduced from 3 months to 3 days
Production of Computer-based Training Using S1000D Resulted in a 20%+ Cost Reduction
In this example, the company wanted to reduce the costs associated with producing their Computer-Based Training. The existing methods for creating CBTs involved using Microsoft PowerPoint and special CBT editors, which allowed for limited content reuse and configuration control. This was especially problematic when there were changes to the aircraft.
So the company embarked on a project to reuse 3D models from CAT- IA together with S1000D data modules. First, the 3D models from CATIA were reduced and converted to 3D XML. Next, scripts were developed to generate a mapping between the 3D XML from CATIA and the XML from the S1000D Data Modules.
The scripts focused on mapping:
- Task numbers
- Task descriptions
- Hot spots on the 3D images
- 3D logic
Mechanics working on an aircraft can now perform Computer-Based Training and Simulation Scenarios in a web-based system. Any changes to aircraft design are reflected in the CATIA models, and those changes are mapped (via the 3D XML) to the S1000D-based work instructions. With minimal effort, aircraft mechanics can now easily update their Training and Simulation environments.
The cost reductions resulting from this project are well over 20%.
Next, we will look at how you can team up your S100D solution with SCORM. What is SCORM, you ask? Wouldn’t it be ideal if the product information used to train technicians was the same information used to repair and maintain your products in the field? And wouldn’t it be better yet if learning content could be easily updated every time your technical documentation changed?
While content reuse between different information resources has long been a promise of XML, when it comes to aerospace and defense technical documentation, the reality is that many organizations are still coping with content “silos” in their technical publications and training departments. Regardless of how dedicated your training staff may be, the manual and ongoing effort to keep training information synchronized with technical documentation can be overwhelming and often leads to outdated and inaccurate learning content being used in the classroom.
Next up: An in-depth discussion of the S1000D and SCORM specifications to facilitate content reuse between technical publications and training by defining an API that will connect learning content tools with S1000D Common Source Data Bases (CSDBs).