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Time and money wasted by ordering the wrong parts.


Corporate had a dilemma.
The divisions were solving their problems using the shotgun method.
Order many parts, perhaps one or two will work, return all the rest.
Each part ordered had to be shipped.
We were an international company.
If the part didn’t exist in the system, corporate paid for the making of a new part.

Each division had its own way of tracking parts. Most used Excel spreadsheets.

Corporate put this problem to each of its divisions.
Find a solution, was the call.

Our graphics department’s solution was to put pictures to the Excel spread sheets.
We created a picture with the correct part number, and part description.
My suggestion was to then show the part in its location in the overall assembly.

At that time, I was the only Technical Illustrator who know HTML.
My suggestion was to put this effort on our internal web, our intranet.
The user could now bring their laptop into a clean room, as opposed to a technical document.
Updates could be done within hours instead of weeks as with hard copy documents.
My suggestion then was to highlight the part in the assembly.
Once the user moved the mouse over a listing of parts, that part would be highlighted in its parent assembly image.
Select the part from the computer screen and be taken to an image of the individual part with its correct ordering information.
A link then to return the user to the parent image assembly.

The next logical step was to generate a ‘Drill Down’ path from the overall top level assembly,
to each sub-assembly containing these parts.
Some of these parts were individual parts or assemblies that needed replacement on a periodic basis.
These were referred to as a FRU; Field Replaceable Unit.
Others were problem parts that had worn out, or were causing problems and needed replacement.

During the development, I created several web based layouts suggesting how each problem could be addressed.
Then presented these concepts in a weekly meeting.
I still have a lot of these early concepts.

The final layout configuration contained a number of my concepts.
We came to a consensus the application was to called the VFI (Visual FRU Identifier).
The VFI concept was then presented to Corporate and they loved it.
So much so, they dictated the VFI, an intranet web based application, was to be a deliverable with each tool sold.
Our VFI was used by the technical support team that maintained each tool sold to a customer.
The divisions like it as well, now every department that has a salable item wants our VFI to support its product.

Corporate determined the company saved $500,000 in the first six months of application,
just by not ordering the wrong parts.

BTW, would you like to see an example of what this PAR is about?
VFI Concept


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