What process business case can ECLIPSE be applied to?
The ECLIPSE suite, whilst designed specifically to meet ECSS standards, can be used for any kind of business case or process. Within this influence article we will focus on Inventory Management, and particularly in an Inventory Database.
Effective Inventory Management is key in space projects and programs, and is mentioned in various standards, the most prominent being ECSS-M-ST-60C – Cost and schedule management.
Why is Inventory Management Database important?
The inventory database is a tool dedicated to track information related to the inventory assets pertaining to the program. This tool supports the Logistics Engineer in the development phase and in the exploitation, tracking all the inventory assets and avoiding mistakes in the spares procurement. It also supports the Project Controller for accounting of the customer’s assets through the project lifecycle.
Items are subject to Inventory Control provided that they:
- are paid for or made available by the customer,
- are not included in the Deliverable Items List (DIL),
- have a lifetime in use greater than a duration specified in the business agreement, and
- have a purchase value or, in the case of items manufactured in house, an estimated market value greater than a threshold specified in the business agreement.
All of the above information should be tracked within the inventory database.
How is Inventory Management currently treated on space projects?
To date many companies manage inventory lists through Office tools such as Excel, Word and store them in their document management system or equivalent share drives. Some projects have used self-built applications; however the data may fall into the “silos of information” by not being integrated into other key processes.
What issues can this treatment cause?
Whilst many projects will implement strong CM processes to manage the inventory lists, the lack of centralization or dedicated software and the usage of Office tools to record such important data sets is subject to the weakness of any process: human mistakes. Lack of configuration control using office files, time spent locating the correct inventory list and or managing/tracing changes all point to potential inefficiencies, project delays or uncertainties within projects, which space projects can ill afford.
How can ECLIPSE support the management of Inventory Databases?
Within the ECLIPSE suite is a module called DAB – Database Application Builder. This module allows users to build their own applications/databases to treat records of any nature and assign users in a secure manner on a record by record basis.
DAB users can build a CI structure as a metadata type. With this CI structure, which can be built at PDR phase, project teams can then link all related inventory items and associated documents that have been performed or written. One of such type could be the inventory list for that particular CI.
With the configurable nature of ECLIPSE, DAB can be configured to meet Annex I (normative) Inventory record – DRD which is defined within ECSS-M-ST-60C – Cost and schedule management.
DAB Inventory Management Database features:
- Configurable tree metadata to link items to products or program phases
- Configurable metadata to meet ECSS inventory records DRD
- Numerical and Calculation metadata fields for performing cost planning
- Ability to relate inventory items to each other
- Action Management allowing ability to track change requests to inventory records
- Ability to perform updates and audit changes
- Dashboard; statistics and reporting
- Relationship creation with other ECLIPSE processes such as NCR’s, RISKs, RIDs, etc
- E-mail notification integration