Managing maintenance performance

Recent research has revealed 37 per cent of IT providers are struggling to meet service level agreements (SLAs). To me this comes as little surprise, every organisation requires a different level of service and different parts, so meeting four, let alone two hour SLAs is always going to be a challenge.

High speed delivery of spares is essential to maximising uptime. Resellers and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who manage clients inventories are providing an essential service. The potential fallout from any failure can be significant. Having a stable and varied supply chain available is a challenge in itself so when you try to speed up this process, costs can quickly skyrocket.

Business is being conducted more quickly and as a result, SLA times are being shortened. Two hour turnaround on any day support is expected and this is where leading inventory-as-a-service partners are pivotal in enhancing any SLA.

Inventory-as-a-service providers have the expertise to not only provide the IT spares inventory but also value-added services around remote support, technical training and repairs . For OEMs and resellers alike, ensuring the right support is in place will determine the success of a product or overall IT service. The logistics and management behind IT services are all invisible to the customer most of the time, but when required, performance needs to be meeting SLAs 99 per cent of the time regardless of technology or vendor.

The key to generating a high performance and meeting SLAs is a mix of managing logistics, ensuring all parts are fully working (minimal dead on arrival rates), with an understanding of customer systems.

Delivering a spare where it is needed in two hours is far from easy so having the right specialist logistics services is absolutely key. Add to this the global nature of most business and things become more complicated. In different countries, partners with local and varied linguistic knowledge might be required.

Parts need to be working when they arrive on site. Providers either need to have their own test and repair centres, or get help from inventory partners. There is little point spending all that time and money getting a part somewhere for it to arrive defective. A good partner will have rigs where parts can be put through stress tests to ensure they are in full working order.

Behind successful logistics and working parts, a lot of systems are required to know where parts are needed and ensure they are delivered as quickly as possible. Working with customers to integrate a partner into a business is critical. Service reports should be linked to the partner’s systems. Inventory-as-a-service partners, working closely with customers can create a seamless service by integrating notification and distribution together. These systems can be challenging to build, but once set up, maximum efficiency is much more easily achieved.

Performance, and guaranteed two hour SLAs 99 per cent of the time is ultimately the key basis of maximum uptime. Typically only larger inventory-as-a-service partners can guarantee this performance, able to manage large scale expedited logistics, test rigs and full integration.

One of the key selling points of inventory-as-a-service is the number of value-add services that come with it, especially remote support and technical training. Both of these can help to meet that all important two hour SLA by reducing call outs, and ensuring repairs can be made without site visits. With proper training, on-site staff can carry out simpler fixes, supervised by an engineer remotely viewing and accessing the IT system.

In short, for providers supporting customers with inventory management, and businesses dependent on IT hardware to function, a quality inventory-as-a-service partner is a must have to guarantee high performance.

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