Equipment Utilization Case Study: Space Company Leverages Assets

Budgets are tight. Quality and delivery demands are tougher, and the pressures of today’s global marketplace are growing by the day. That’s why every company must make the best possible use of existing resources—and do so immediately by increasing equipment utilization. This is the story of how one business is winning the battle… with the support of The Sente Group.

The Challenge: 

1,600 engineers. 140 different projects. All on tight schedules. And always somebody who didn’t have the test equipment they needed, when they needed it. What to do? For many individual engineers, the answer was to stockpile any equipment they could get their hands on—“just in case.” But hoarding only created more equipment utilization problems:

  • Time wasted searching for equipment
  • Unnecessary equipment purchases
  • An abundance of obsolete equipment
  • Equipment past due for calibration
  • High-value space wasted storing assets
  • Time and resources are taken away from high value work like developing and bringing new products to market

Equipment sat idle in nooks and cabinets across the company, pushing utilization down to 15% and costing the company as much as $10M per year in excess costs. At a time of strained budgets, the situation became urgent.

The Solution

The only way to raise that utilization rate and cut those related costs: Start getting engineers the equipment they needed on time by enabling them to share effortlessly. It took the award-winning approach of a Test Resource Management solution from Sente, including:

  • A refined set of practices for coordinating equipment utilization between projects and programs.
  • Sente’s sophisticated Scireo® software enabled the process workflows and put important decision-making data at users’ fingertips.
  • Accountability practices to track where process breakdowns occur and provide closed-loop feedback to resolve those issues—thus injecting trust into the new processes. So engineers know they’ll get what they need when they need it, and cooperate more
    fully as a result.
  • Real-time metrics drove incentives at all levels of the organization to eliminate waste. Implementation was quick, driving rapid results.  Engineers continued to provide feedback to make sure the solution fits their needs.

The Results: Higher Equipment Utilization

By getting engineers the equipment they need when they need it, the customer quickly reduced engineers’ “just in case” stockpiling of equipment, freeing up equipment capacity company wide.

Within three months, the customer had:

  • Increased data accuracy to over 95%.
  • Decreased engineers’ wait time for equipment requests from 16 weeks to less than 1 day and often less than an hour.
  • Reduced past-due calibrations from 10.5% to less than 0.2%.

Within one year, the customer had:

  • Cut its capital budget for test equipment by 50% increasing equipment utilization
  • Used that savings to reinvest into business growth that produced revenue growth of over 100 times that first-year savings.
  • Equipment utilization continued to climb as assets were leveraged.

The company ultimately:

  • Boosted equipment utilization from 15% to 65%—a 4x increase.
  • Reduced calibration demand/costs almost 40% and improved lab responsiveness by more than 300%
  • Cut test equipment assets in half—while doubling its business.

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