University of Twente Student Theses


Improving coordination of after-sales service logistics with a service control tower

Plas, I.M. van der (2020) Improving coordination of after-sales service logistics with a service control tower.

[img] PDF
Abstract:The Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) operates RADAR systems produced by electronics manufacturer Thales Netherland B.V. (Thales) on their eet. Directie Materiële Instandhouding (DMI) is responsible for the maintenance of these systems throughout their End Life Of Type (ELOT). Thales provides the RNLN, now the asset owner, with a after-sales service that consists of, among other things, spare parts service, assistance with repairs, and obsolescence management. The logistics that support this after-sales service are called after-sales service logistics. Both organizations wish to improve the communication and coordination within the after-sales service supply chain, as it is believed that this could reduce obsolescence related costs and improve the maintenance planning adherence. In the literature a fairly new concept has been introduced that supports the inter-organizational communication concerning after-sales service logistics, namely a Service Control Tower (SCT). This generated an interest from both parties to investigate what possibilities this SCT could provide concerning the improvement of the coordination of the after-sales service logistics. As more parties within the naval sector were interested in these developments the Maritime Remote Control tower for Service Logistics Innovation (MARCONI)-project was initiated, which aimed to develop innovative service logistics for this sector. We contribute to this MARCONIproject by investigating the possibilities for a SCT within the context of the after-sales service logistics between the RNLN and Thales. This gave rise to the following research question of this Thesis: How can a service control tower support the coordination of the after-sales service logistical processes? We conducted our research by using two methodologies we deemed suited for our research goal. Firstly we used the Managerial Problem Solving Method (MPSM) to design a general structure in which to conduct our research. This methodology provides the user with a research cycle, which can be used to solve a knowledge problem. Our knowledge problem concerned possibilities for functions of an SCT within the current enterprise architecture of the asset owner and the OEM. In order to describe this enterprise architecture and to develop a new one where the SCT is integrated, we used the Architecture Development Method (ADM). The ADM is a research method developed by The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) to assist the transition between two enterprise architectures. We set our scope to four processes within the after-sales service, namely (i) the procurement of spare parts, (ii) obsolescence management, (iii) order tracking and (iv) asset monitoring. We choose these elements as they were the processes that were mentioned multiple times as processes were improvements in coordination with the OEM could be made during our oriental interviews with employees of the RNLN. We then choose to map the enterprise architecture of these four processes, describing the problems that were encountered by the parties of the after-sales service supply chain. Based on these architectures and problems we devised four new architectures where said processes were supported by a SCT environment, in which data could be shared throughout the supply chain. In the process of procuring spare parts we recommend that within the SCT environment the status of the procurement process is monitored and delays are communicated throughout the supply chain. From appendix D we learned that there were often hundreds of parts that had delays within the ordering process, without this delay being communicated downward in the supply chain. This resulted in mechanics at DMI not being informed about the absence of spare parts that they required for their maintenance tasks. This wasted time across all parties involved and frustrated many employees. By monitoring the status of orders, employees can know beforehand whether or not the maintenance planning can be adhered, and if delays do occur, the planning can be adjusted so to not waste days were maintenance cannot be conducted because of the absence of parts. iii Regarding obsolescence management our main recommendation is that data concerning obsolescence is registered more precisely and more detailed within the information system SAP of the RNLN. Currently information about obsolescence is received via paper reports or emails, but it is not always known who is responsible for these obsolescence notifications, thus they are also not always processed within the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system of the RNLN. When obsolescence is registered, it is registered within the long text of a part in SAP that is normally used for miscellaneous comments. We suggest that obsolescence becomes a standardized data type, that is linked to discontinuance date in order to be able to analyse this data and to communicate it more effectively throughout the supply chain. Concerning order tracking, we found a very cumbersome process for the registration of delays on outstanding orders from Thales. When a part was ordered, and a delay occurred, there was not automatic notification send by Thales. Employees of DMI could find out about the delay in two ways. They either had to log in to a customer portal and manually search for the order, comparing the new estimated delivery date with the delivery date stated in SAP. The second method was by manually processing a Excel file that Thales sent once every month, in which all outstanding orders were presented in an unfiltered manner. Meaning that still every order number in the Excel file had to be compared with the order number and status that the employees of DMI had registered previously in their ERP-system SAP. We recommend that within the SCT environment delays on orders is automatically shared an notified to DMI, so that a faster response can occur. Lastly, concerning the process of asset monitoring we recognized that during the operational lifetime of a RADAR system a lot of data was generated and registered by the RNLN which could support other after-sales service processes if shared with the OEM. Currently most of this data about, failure rates, failure modes, repair rates and the eventual spare part demand is kept private within the environment of the RNLN. We recommend however that both Thales and the RNLN discuss what data each party might be willing to share for the benefit of the entire after-sales service supply chain. Sharing failure rates for example could help improve the accuracy of Last Time Buys (LTBs) resulting in better obsolescence management. On the other side, communicating more details about the system configuration down to a Shop Replaceable Unit (SRU) level can provide DMI many benefits regarding their maintenance capabilities. All in all we recognized multiple opportunities for improvement and suggested ways in which an SCT environment could support the coordination of after-sales service logistics between the RNLN and Thales. We suggest that this report is taken as a starting point for a conversation between the RNLN and Thales about the future of the after-sales service supply chain.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Industrial Engineering and Management BSc (56994)
Link to this item:
Export this item as:BibTeX
HTML Citation
Reference Manager


Repository Staff Only: item control page