Feb (02-06) - Hot spares

February, 2006  Editorial

As mentioned in previous columns, I have to report that there are many machine types and models which are much "rarer" than we have seen over the past few years. See below.

The service conundrum: How should understaffed and overworked IT departments optimize their maintenance dollar? No one would want to publicly announce this, but it seems that many firms have more money than time. It's oh so much easier to pickup the phone and call in a service technician than it is to diagnose or self maintain. Most fixes on printing equipment are fairly simple. The more complicated solutions often include maintenance kits which aren't covered under maintenance anyway. Here's what I recommend:

Hot spares with depot repair. The math is straightforward. If the machines are of the desktop variety, it is often far far cheaper to send in replacement printers for those that may fail and have the failed units sent back for repair than it is to buy service agreements for the installed base. Its similar to the insurance sales pitch. If you assume a worst case scenario of double the failure rate you expect, it is quite often way less expensive to have a spares/depot program in place:

- No down time. Only the time it takes to put the newer printer in place and the failed unit back in the box and slap a label on it.
- Follow the learning curve. It will become more easier to diagnose and repair at your leisure if you are so inclined, without leaving your users hanging
- Some users are just plain lazy and will participate in the quick fix if it avoids anything more than a phone call.
- You still own the failed units and its is almost never a total loss.
- Any money invested in replacement spares remains an asset. Dollars that go to maintenance companies are lost when the contract expires leaving you with nothing to show for it
- It easy. No one has to spend time on the phone describing the problem in great depth. We can find out the issues once we get it back on the bench.

This is from IBM, you may find it useful:
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