The machine and the technician are the deepest, farthest-reaching records in Shepherd.  Without either one of them, there is no field service, indeed any service.  As such it is crucial to map your data right. Doing so would be easy if there was a correct answer, but there isn’t. Modeling technicians, engineers, and service staff is far easier than finding the right way to represent plant, fleet, or machinery in Shepherd.

Out of the box, Shepherd models equipment in a 3-level hierarchy:

  • Category
  • Equipment Type
  • Make/Model

Four out of five customers do not activate the third, highest level in the hierarchy: Category. 

As one climbs the hierarchy from Equipment to Make/Model to Equipment Type and then optionally to Category, the quantity of data that one chooses to store at each level typically falls. Piping & Instrumentation Diagrams belong at the Equipment level while the natural place to store Operations and Maintenance manuals or Troubleshooting Guides is most likely the Make/Model record. There is little occasion to store any documentation at the Equipment Type or Category level.  Shepherd makes all such reference material available to technicians on service orders assigned to equipment in whose hierarchy such documentation exists.

In many cases, however, the first question is whether or not to even model an item as an equipment record. This is a difficult question that the customer must answer.  Shepherd does offer this guidance: if the item is critical or if it has its own maintenance regime then it is wise to model.  For example, there is little value in modeling the bolts that hold an engine block in place to most companies.  The company, however, that manufactures and offers warranties on those bolts will, of course, wish to model them.

The criticality criteria applies when a component or machine is essential to an operation.  Allowing the technician to report on its operational status is essential in such situations.

In just about all cases, it is useful to model based on the desired reporting output.  Will you report on profitability or cost per machine?  If so, model each machine that merits a report.  Will you require operating expense reports for each stage in your production?  If so, model accordingly.  Is it valuable to segment your plant into meaningful arrays or sectors? If so, build those concepts in your hierarchy.  

Shepherd has model data to meet many complex as well as simple requirements.  Getting it right together means your implementation will pay dividends for decades to come.

If you want to learn more about this aspect of Shepherd, get in touch.

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