The U.S. Coast Guard maintains many different fleet assets using paper-based maintenance procedure cards (MPCs). MPCs number in the hundreds for each class of vessel in use. Due to the volume of MPCs, printing, maintaining, and updating them entails significant expense and effort. Maintenance officers with the U. S. Coast Guard wanted to explore the possibility of moving MPCs to a mobile format by conducting a pilot test on the 87' Cutter.
Many mobile technologies were not appropriate for this environment due to the inherent hazards of performing maintenance on a naval ship and the lack of available wireless connections in maintenance bays and vessels to update content and retrieve maintenance reports from technicians.
Handshaw and Vector saw the opportunity to use Handshaw's existing learning content management system (LCMS) technology to build and store the online maintenance cards and deliver them in a web-based format to mobile devices. The LCMS already had the capability to collect information from users in the form of questions that could be reported back to a database for maintenance officer review using the SCORM communication standard.
In converting the MPCs to digital format, more detailed and meaningful support resources could be provided to technicians than a paper-based format would allow. Vector CSP had existing videos of experts completing and explaining 24 particular procedures, which were also embedded in the LCMS content.
Handshaw provided a prototype online maintenance card using Lumenix® Developer and a template for creating additional cards to Vector CSP. Handshaw then trained a Vector CSP project staff of eight writers to handle the conversion of over 500 cards.
While maintenance cards were converted, Handshaw worked with technology partner Standpoint Technologies to provide a synch application that moved content from the LCMS onto the target mobile devices. This application also imported the data collected as each maintenance procedure was performed in a format that could be emailed to a maintenance officer for review.
All participants in the pilot groups reacted positively to the mobile performance support system. Even with no other impact, switching from paper to a centralized LCMS-based solution resulted in noticeable cost savings.
In addition, pilot crews reported performing maintenance more quickly and consistently when using the new system.
Finally, reporting from maintenance was noted to improve, as paper-based cards were sometimes held until the end of a full maintenance cycle - whereas the pilot system enforced and enabled reporting at the end of each work shift.