Eric Larkin from Arena Solutions on BOM Management for the Service Market


Eric Larkin, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder or Arena Solutions, a very innovative and powerful BOM (bill of material) management application, describes how Arena Solutions is rolled out on service parts accounts. He describes some of the differences between finished goods implementations of Arena Solutions vs. service part implementations.


Title: Eric Larkin from Arena Solutions on BOM Management for the Service Market

Here we learned that with regards to service parts, Arena Solutions helps companies know what they build and when they built it. That is they provide a comprehensive revision history. This allows companies that use Arena to ship out to customers exactly the correct service part product version that matches their equipment. A service part BOM (bill of material) management implementation will tend to have more materials, but a less complex BOM structure, so the challenges on the master data side are a bit different, but that the essential process of implementation remains similar. Companies that use Arena often model all products, that is service parts and finished goods in the same implementation. I could personally see a pure service parts implementation of Arena, and on of the reasons could be that the service organization could decide to go with a different BOM solution than finished goods.


This interview is filled with information that should be valuable to anyone interested in BOM management for service parts. I wanted to thank Arena Solutions for letting me record and post the videos here.


Interviews with Tim Andreae SVP of MCA Solutions


These interviews are with Tim Andreae, SVP of Marketing for MCA Solutions. Tim has extensive experience in strategic work and has been with MCA for over 8 years. His longevity in the planning and service parts space makes these interviews particularly relevant. In these interviews I asked Tim both about the history of MCA as well as exiting things happening at MCA currently.

Title: Tim Andreae Introducing MCA Solutions

Here Tim explained that MCA Solutions came out of academics after Dr. Morris Cohen had spent considerable time consulting in the service parts industry. He also explained many of the important challenges in service parts planning, and which MCA has been designed to handle. Furthermore, because service parts are counter cyclical, MCA has continued to receive demand for its software even with the difficult economy. Costs are one part of the equation, but excellent service organizations must be in stock in order to meet service agreements, and this is where MCA can really improve service organizations.

Title: Tim Andreae on How to Plan Service Parts

Here the multi use aspects of MCA Desktop were described. This is a low-cost way to get access to MCA technology for simulation, and to test the software for a possible future full implementation. This is a low risk way to test the fit of software, allowing companies to become comfortable with it, and then to prepare a plan for how the software should be rolled out. On the other hand, the company can simply continue to use MCA Desktop in a more limited way, and get all the benefits of performing simulation in a top offering.

Title: Tim Andreae on How to Plan Service Parts

Tim discusses what I believe is a very important topic for service parts improvement. That is the fact that the majority of service companies out there are still using systems that were never designed to manage all the complexities of service parts. This causes all types of problems as the assumptions of finished goods planning systems are simply different from those of service systems. As Tim points out, companies doing this are probably struggling, and they are also carrying far too much inventory. Inventory savings from 10 to 50% can be expected depending upon the level of sophistication prior to the MCA implementation. And secondly, service levels correspondingly increase at the same time.

Title: Tim Andreae on Performance Management

In this video we learned that MCA has a new product called Performance Management creates a real-time dashboard with service management best practices built right into it. Every company I have consulted with has been extremely interested in knowing their metrics in real-time. There is also a strong connection to the MCA SPO planning tool, which allows those working in Performance Management to drill down into the planning tool to get to extra levels of detail.


In these video interviews I learned quite a lot about both what has made MCA Solutions different from other vendors since its founding, as well as interesting things that MCA has recently introduced including MCA Desktop and Performance Management. I would like to thank MCA for allowing me to record the interviews and post them on this site.