Maximizing ROI and Usage of Test Equipment

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The Challenge
With so many variables to consider, making informed acquisition decisions around modern electronic test and measurement equipment can be challenging. While this article focuses on electronic test and measurement equipment, the basic principles of asset optimization can be applied to almost any hard asset. In the context of test equipment, asset optimization represents total equipment life cycle management to reduce costs and improve efficiency and productivity. 

Sorting through more than 100,000 products from 300 manufacturers and deciding whether to buy, rent, or lease requires thoughtful consideration. Tracking equipment costs and ownership expenses, making assets readily available for engineers, and evaluating labor and asset utilization rates are also part of the equation.

Across industries worldwide, we estimate that there is approximately $100 billion of test and measurement assets deployed in R&D labs, production facilities, and field service organizations. According to Frost & Sullivan, only about 30% of these assets are actually in use, leaving $70 billion of capital unused1. Yet, for all that investment, detailed data on asset utilization, testing costs, and the status and availability of test equipment is often inaccurate, incomplete, or unavailable. In fact, most companies would struggle to create a complete and accurate list of test equipment across all labs and facilities.

Another common sign of ineffective asset management is equipment boneyards, in which unused or rarely used equipment occupies storage space and incurs unseen costs for calibration, repair, insurance, taxes, depreciation, and other related costs—even when not in use.

Many organizations use a mix of partial but generally ineffective asset management solutions, including shared spreadsheets, ERP systems that are not designed for test and measurement equipment, and an assortment of partially effective programs and applications. Because these systems tend not to share data, they cannot provide the holistic insights needed for informed decision-making. Without basic information such as asset location, availability, calibration status, and financial metrics, opportunities to improve efficiency and productivity remain out of reach.

As Uber, Airbnb, and other asset sharing companies have shown, expensive and underutilized or underperforming assets can be shared to increase ROI, provided the initiative is supported by the right technology platform. With centralized access to real-time information, companies can gain insights needed to reduce CapEx and OpEx requirements, improve operational efficiency, and accelerate time to market.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the October 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.


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