dgy at DakotaCom.Net
Tue Jun 13 15:05:34 CDT 2006
William Donzelli wrote:
>> Imagine the device you are selling is used in a manufacturing
>> environment. I.e. someone relies on your device to make
>> *their* products. Being "down" for an hour, day, *week* can
>> cost more than your product -- even if your product was a few
> Yes, when an AOL node went down, big or small, costs were staggering. We
> did not measure using hours, days, or weeks, but seconds and lost
> packets. Sidenote, when the pick-n-place robots went down at USR, it was
> about $1500 per hour per line.
A slot machine loses ~$3000 of business* for each hour it is out of
service. Note that most slots are run in 24/7 environments -- you
can't have scheduled maintenance (e.g., for a firmware upgrade)
"on the weekend". And, consider most locations have hundreds
to thousands of slots. Between failures, upgrades, maintenance,
etc. it is not uncommon for MANY to be "down" at a given time.
Operators do not like this. :> They don't wait for a new board
to be flown in. Or, send in a boardset for a factory upgrade, etc.
Consider that most organizations require *two* people to be
present when a machine is serviced and you'll note that labor
can get expensive, quick!
In the "gr[ea]y market", most operators have either very few
machines (and a "cousin" who can maintain them on their behalf)
or a *lot* of machines (and someone that they *pay* on staff for
this service). The same is true of arcade owners and folks who
run "routes" (i.e. the guy who owns the pinball machines,
juke box, video games, candy machines, etc. in your neighborhood
bar, bowling alley, etc.). Granted, their gross is typically
peanuts (contrasted with a casino). But, that just makes the
cost of any repair more significant (if they can't do it
themselves). And, of course, the attendant legal-ish issues...
Many medical devices are serviced "on site" by the owner's staff.
[Not true for devices in a doctor's office (obvious reasons).]
Granted, a CT scanner or MRI might require an (expensive!)
visit from the factory tech. But, they are lower utilization
devices and time on them already is heavily burdened so they
can afford that cost (?). But, many of the other little devices
(of which hospitals have *hundreds* of different types, models,
etc.) are serviced in a shop by techs on the hospital's staff.
This is becoming increasingly true of lab equipment as hospitals
try to ween themselves from "FREE factory support" for them
(the catch is the factory requires you to buy their consummables
at grossly inflated prices: "But, this is just distilled water??").
The *direct* cost of not being able to run a battery of blood
assays due to down time may not be great (i.e. the cost of those
tests themselves) -- but, the cost to the organization may be
considerable (if surgeries have to be postponed, beds have to
remain occupied, etc.)
A tablet press out of service for an hour could, conceivably,
result in several *million* dollars in lost product! Most
production presses operate in the 50-100,000+ tablet per hour
range. But, some can run at rates up to 750,000/hour...
that's 200 tablets per *second*! :> Imagine some of these
$5 antibiotics cranking off the line at $1000 (retail) per
second??! :> (of course, I don't imagine anything other than
*aspirin* is produced at those rates as you have to worry
about capping, sticking, lost product if your weight control
slips for a few minutes, etc.)
[realistically, there seems to be considerable excess capacity
in that industry so I think a "down machine" is more of a
scheduling hassle/inconvenience than anything else]
>> OTOH, if your design supports repair in the field, then you
>> have more options available.
> In todays environment, especially networking, often the cost one would
Networking is a niche. Those folks' *sole* interest is in that
equipment. It *is* their business. You *expect* them to have
hot spares, etc. Their business ceases to exist when that
stuff goes down.
You expect a carpenter to have two (or *five*!) hammers!
But, you probably don't expect him to have two *joiners*!
Two expensive for the size business that he has (i.e. himself).
Likewise, you can expect a hospital to have a few "extra"
EKG monitors. But, not two CT scanners. And, given that they
have a LOT of equipment on the premises, it makes sense for them
to staff for their own repairs. Many hospitals even have
their own labs to calibrate their test equipment, etc.
Same holds true of gaming devices...
> spend replacing the component (including the entire years salary for the
> tech) would get dwarfed by the lost revenue due to the downtime. I am not
I think you are looking at a different selection of industries
than those that I have been involved with. I'm sure Casino
operators, hospital administrators (and *especially* little one
man "route operators" KEENLY aware of what their costs are since it
is their *personal* cash at stake!), etc. have done the math
and figured out that they *can* save money by doing these things.
E.g., the (closest) local hospital has a staff of 6 just to
support medical instruments (they don't even touch PC's, etc.).
That's a lot of salary to throw at something that *could* be
handled with depot repairs!
Consider, a tech has to make close to $80-100K burdened rate.
And, by undertaking their own repairs, the hospital has to purchase
components, test equipment, etc. In addition, if they *don't*
buy in to the vendor's "we'll service it for FREE if you buy our
consumables" policy, then you often have to purchase the
piece of equipment as well (many devices are "sold" at greatly
inflated prices -- with the full knowledge that NONE are actually
sold; they are all given away as promotionals to get the consumables
in the door!)
Sure looks like a HUGE piece of change to invest... *if* they
could, instead, have saved all that by outsourcing it.
> exagerrating. I pretty much can not think of anyone of importance that
> does onsite board level repair in a working environment. Those days are
> long gone. Even the military pretty much went to depot repairs in the
And we all know how EFFICIENT the military is! :>
>> Caps are as likely to fail as a socket -- do you keep caps
>> out of a design? *Or*, do you design them in WITH PLENTY OF
> Remember, we are not talking about reliability (yes, sockets are a problem
> there as well), but yeild. My point is that socket use takes a big toll on
> yeild and manufacturing issues.
And *my* point is that the total cost of a socket (etc.) figures
in many other things -- that the guy walking the floor may not
care about but the guy in the front office eventually *does*!
Products that have short lifetimes (a cell phone, consumer
electronics in general... even network infrastructure!) are
usually designed to be replaced in the natural course of
business in short order. Other devices with more staying
power warrant reduced maintenance costs over those of
manufacturing (how many hospitals replace their CT scanners
every three years?? :> )
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