How a CCMS Empowers Service Technicians and Engineers

December 28, 2023

Many industries manufacture equipment, parts, and supplies that require regular maintenance and service support, including medical equipment, aircraft, heavy machinery, and automotive. It’s the job of a service technician or engineer to ensure the performance and reliability of this equipment, and a big part of their success is having access to accurate, up-to-date information on that equipment. In this blog, we’re looking at why a component content management system (CCMS) is the best choice to create, maintain, and publish this technical documentation.

The Pivotal Role of Service Technicians and Engineers

Imagine how you’d feel getting on an airplane if you didn’t think anyone was regularly inspecting it and performing maintenance. Would you get into a new car if you thought no one managed the robotic machinery that helped ‌build it? Or would you trust the diagnosis of a doctor who relied on an MRI machine that was never serviced?

The role of a service technician is critical. They are responsible for maintaining complex machinery, equipment, and systems. Without them, there would be no way to ensure the equipment was operating correctly or reliably. And when something goes wrong, it’s the service technician or engineer who is called to find the problem and fix it.

These technicians go through extensive training to do the work they do. But they also rely on technical documentation to support their work. That documentation must be accurate, up-to-date, and compliant with company or industry regulations. If that documentation is unavailable or outdated, downtime and delays may occur. Or worse, the equipment breaks down during a critical period, causing a chain reaction that might lead to serious damage and huge costs. This is why having a documentation strategy is so important.

Technical Documentation Used by Service Technicians

Here’s a list of the types of documentation service technicians need to perform their jobs effectively:

  • Technical Manuals: Comprehensive guides that provide detailed information about the operation, maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of equipment or systems. These manuals often include schematics, diagrams, and step-by-step procedures.
  • Schematics and Diagrams: Visual representations of the layout, connections, and components of machinery or systems, aiding technicians in understanding and troubleshooting complex systems.
  • Parts Catalogs: Lists of all components and parts used in the equipment, along with parts numbers, descriptions, and availability. Technicians refer to these catalogs for ordering replacement parts.
  • Service Bulletins: Notices or updates issued by manufacturers or regulatory bodies to inform technicians about equipment recalls, modifications, safety concerns, or maintenance recommendations.
  • Troubleshooting Guides: Documents that provide step-by-step instructions for diagnosing and resolving common issues or malfunctions in equipment or systems.
  • Safety Manuals and Protocols: Documents outlining safety procedures, guidelines, and best practices to ensure the well-being of technicians while working with potentially hazardous equipment.
  • Checklists and Inspection Forms: Forms used to systematically inspect equipment, perform maintenance checks, and record findings. They help maintain the reliability and safety of the equipment.
  • Regulatory Compliance Documentation: Documentation related to industry-specific regulations and standards, ensuring that technicians follow legal and safety requirements. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations in aviation.

Benefits of CCMS software for Service Technicians and Engineers

Imagine trying to store all this information in your head. Not only is it a lot to remember, but some of it changes frequently, so it’s important to manage it all in a repository where it can be easily updated and published. Let’s look at what CCMS software is, and why it’s the best choice to support service technicians and engineers, leading to enhanced productivity and service quality.

Modular Content for Precision

That is a lot of documentation listed above that a technician needs. Managing it all by using a technical writing platform, like a CCMS, as your documentation software centralizes the content and gives technicians one place to find specific information for the tasks they are performing.

With a structured authoring approach to creating content, technicians can organize their technical documentation by breaking it into components and topics that follow a logical framework. This topic-based authoring makes it easier for a technician to understand the parts of a document and find specific information quickly. When a documentation strategy follows a clear structure, it reduces the time it takes to locate needed information, improving precision and efficiency in the field.

image shows person working on industrial machinery

Consistent and Reliable Information: A Benefit of Component Content Management

A technical writing platform, like a CCMS, enforces content standardization. Part of the way it does this is through content reuse. Although there are many different types of technical documentation used to service equipment, there is also some similar content between the documentation. For example, all documentation related to a particular airplane would contain the same airplane description. All technical documentation related to an MRI machine would reference the same parts and components.

Thanks to the structured content model used in CCMS software, content is easily reused across content assets. When that content is updated in the source, every other asset that uses it is also automatically updated with single source authoring.

You can also enforce terminology standards in a CCMS, ensuring that equipment, parts, and components are consistently referred to throughout the documentation. Standardization minimizes the risk of errors and misinterpretations when servicing equipment.

Streamlined Information Access in Technical Documentation Software

While the idea of storing all your documentation in one place isn’t unique to a CCMS, it does provide some additional benefits that relate to how that content is managed and delivered. A CCMS supports the concept of single-source content, meaning you create it once and use it wherever you need it. It not only reduces content silos, but it also supports content reuse (mentioned above) and the seamless updating of content.

With CCMS software, service technicians and engineers can swiftly access comprehensive documentation, repair manuals, and technical information. They don’t have to search a service bulletin system for updated notices. They don’t have to go to a parts system to find parts for the equipment they are servicing. They only have to go to the CCMS and search for the needed information. This ready access to information in the documentation software significantly reduces downtime and enhances problem-solving.

Deliver Content To Any Channel, In Any Language

Technicians need technical documentation in different formats depending on the situation and their work.

For example, a technician servicing a machine that controls the production of a petrochemical might want a printed checklist and access to the technical manual on their iPad. An engineer working on a mechanical issue with a wind turbine might want a PDF schematic to visualize the components of the turbine and also have access to a website that lists some common troubleshooting advice.

A CCMS enables them to publish that documentation in various formats, including HTML-based outputs and printed PDFs.

Much of the technical documentation created for manufacturing industries must also be available in multiple languages. The technical manuals for an aircraft used worldwide would need to be available in the language of every country that buys it. A CCMS provides translation management capabilities to support the localization of documentation, ensuring its accessibility by technicians across the globe.

Compliance and Traceability in a Technical Writing Platform

Regulated industries such as medical device manufacturing and aerospace must comply with complex standards and regulations. Any documentation created for these industries must also adhere to these compliance requirements.

A CCMS can maintain compliance with standards and regulations through version management. Versioning tracks all changes made to a document, including when it was made and by whom, so you always know when and why changes happen. Versioning also makes it easy to roll back to previous versions if necessary.

For example, if a piece of medical equipment was serviced following the latest technical manual and the problem was not resolved, you could look back at changes to the manual and find that an update was incorrect and needs to be rolled back.

Improved Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing Through Single Source Content

Service technicians and engineers often talk and rely on each other when inspecting and servicing equipment. That collaboration can also happen within CCMS software to enable knowledge sharing and enhance problem-solving.

A great example is a troubleshooting guide. A technician might have a problem they are trying to troubleshoot and want help from other technicians. They can assign the problem to other technicians and get their input on resolving it. The input from other technicians is then added to the guide once approved.

In addition, technicians can contribute new or updated information to technical manuals, suggest additional maintenance steps in a checklist, or point out parts that work better than others. This exchange of knowledge and sharing of best practices helps technicians do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Cost Savings as a Result of Great Documentation Strategy

The last benefit we can share with this type of documentation software relates to cost savings and ROI. If you think about how you manage all the technical documentation listed above‌, you might find you have multiple document or content management systems. Every time a change is made to a document, you have to go to that system and make the change. If there is content that is the same in other documentation, you will also have to find that and update it (assuming you are tracking content across assets).

Also, because that content is stored in different locations, it takes more time for service technicians to locate and find the necessary information. And if that information is not kept synchronized, you run the risk of mistakes being made.

Maintaining all your content in a CCMS and leveraging structured authoring, content reuse, and collaboration, along with the other capabilities discussed above, improves efficiency, reduces downtime, and minimizes errors in service and maintenance operations.

Unlock the Potential of Modern Service Excellence with CCMS Software

The work of service technicians and engineers is of paramount importance across various industries, ensuring the reliability and safety of critical equipment and systems. Their roles demand access to accurate, up-to-date, and compliant documentation to perform their tasks effectively. The best Component Content Management System (CCMS) can help simplify the lives of service technicians and engineers by enforcing content standardization and minimizing the risk of errors, using content reuse and structured authoring. It also revolutionizes how technicians access information, reducing downtime and facilitating swift problem-solving.

In a world where precision, safety, and efficiency are paramount, a CCMS is an indispensable tool for empowering service technicians and engineers with the resources they need to excel in their critical roles.

And if you would like to learn more about how the Paligo CCMS improves engineering documentation, take a look at our post on the “Top Reasons to Use Paligo for Manufacturing Documentation“.