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Articles Offshore and (Clean) Energy and Processing Industries

Operation Excellence and Cost Savings through Documentation

Whether your market is challenging or booming, it is always crucial to look for ways to save money without undermining efforts to become a leaner organization. At the same time, the service (aftermarket) business is currently one of the fastest growing business areas for manufacturers and service providers.

However, the cost of service is also very high as the traditional service model focuses on reactive maintenance (e.g. shortening the downtime of a machine) rather than predictive maintenance (e.g. scheduling maintenance in advance based on a known need). As a result, time and money is lost due to (sometimes unskilled) service technicians needing too much time to troubleshoot an issue as maintenance information is out of date or difficult to find, use or understand because they have to work with complex, ambiguous, or poorly translated information in lengthy PDF files.

Although often still regarded as a necessary evil or afterthought, technical documentation can play an important role in reducing cost while facilitating operation excellence.

Challenges where technical documentation done the right way will have a positive impact include:

  • New markets and geographically dispersed service centers
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Complex, excessive information negatively impacting the customer and field service engineers
  • Increase of non-native speakers and inexperienced personnel with different levels of technical skills
  • Shorter response times on maintenance issues
  • Shorter, and preplanned, downtime of machines
  • Translation requirements
  • Risk of bad and costly translations
  • Ambiguity in documentation, leading to safety risks, equipment damage, injuries or worse
  • Liabilities
  • Reduce cost of service / maintenance
  • Reactive instead of preventive or predictive maintenance

Business Drivers for excellence in documentation and how this impacts the way we create, manage and publish content

In order to achieve excellence in operations, we need to:

  • Reduce cost and drive operational excellence
  • Improve project performance
  • Streamline and reduce permitting requirements for drilling
  • Reduce risk, operational overhead, and accelerate project time-to-market
  • Optimize maintenance and reliability of the service (aftermarket) business
  • Promote global workforce safety
  • Comply with regulations and operation standards (including EH&S and ISO)
  • Reach emerging markets with accurately translated documentation
  • Use excellence in documentation for competitive advantage
  • Optimize spare parts and service business

But what is the impact of these drivers on the way we create, manage and deliver documentation?

Etteplan’s Model for Technical Documentation

Operation excellence is achieved (partly) through documentation excellence, where content must be created, managed, and published in standardized ways. This entails:

  • Standardization on structure (ShipDex (see below), S1000D or DITA) so content is easier to reuse, manage, find, exchange, and published in multiple (interactive) publication formats, including PDF, and HTML.
  • Standardization in authoring with Simplified Technical English, so content is easy to understand, resulting in faster and cheaper translations, and printing.
  • Standardization on animations and illustrations by simplifying and structuring the 3D to SVG process;
  • Using trained and experienced documentation specialists to apply these standards with the correct systems in place.

Furthermore, a delivery model must be defined to allow information to be published interactively on mobile devices in addition to printed or digital PDF delivery. Last but not least, connections between your product and IoT (Internet of Things) devices must get defined, with the applicability of content validated.


  • Information is easier for end users and field service technicians to find and understand. This reduces downtime, allows easy spare parts ordering, and improves the customer experience
  • Immediate time and cost savings due to efficiency in creation, management, and exchange of data
  • High quality, up-to-date data, results in safe use and maintenance
  • Compliance with industry requirements, opening new revenue streams
  • Future proof data, as it is ready to connect to IoT and published interactively

You can outsource your documentation needs to Etteplan or we can provide software implementation services to keep your documentation management in house. For more information, please contact us today.

Shipdex – efficiently use and exchange technical information in the international shipping community between manufacturers, shipyards and shipowners

As shipping companies receive technical manuals in different formats, different structures, and different data quality from various manufacturers, end users encounter numerous problems in terms of information comprehension and use. For instance, end users need to store paper manuals in dedicated rooms or are obliged to use different viewers (or browsers) to view electronic manuals supplied in various formats, including HTML, Word, XML, or PDF files.

Moreover, since most shipping companies are using Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software applications to manage and optimize maintenance and material purchase processes, a protocol for standard data exchange resulting in an automatic generation of data is necessary.

Shipdex standardizes the development and the exchange of technical and logistic data within the international shipping community. As a result, it improves the production, management, and exchange of technical information eliminating or reducing the pain and high costs associated with the traditional way of working.

Shipdex is based on the international S1000D specification, already in use for more than 30 years in the aerospace and defense industries (naval, land and aerospace) and adopted by the Civil Aviation.

Etteplan is listed as a service provider on the ShipDex website (