What is Test & Measurement Equipment Management?
Charles Motzko- August 9, 2012The following is my basic working definition for Test & Measurement Equipment (TME) Management. Others will have their own definition, but I believe there are common core attributes that are emplace in successful all TME management processes. The following is a brief attempt to define and identify those common core attributes.
Common Definition… TME Management is the combination of management, financial, economic, engineering and other practices applied to tangible and intangible assets and accessories with the objective of providing the required level of service in the most cost effective manner.
Note: … a cost efficient manner is a totally different scenario. The differences between cost-effective and cost-efficient TME management goals will be covered in subsequent postings.
The hallmark of a good TME management process encompasses the whole ownership life cycle (acquisitioning, commissioning, certifying, calibrating, tracking, operating, maintaining, repairing, modifying, replacing, decommissioning, and finally disposal) of physical and infrastructure assets. One of the primary goals of a TME management process is to provide and support traceable measurements, uncertainties, and measurement data collection as describe in the organization’s Quality Assurances/Control Policies and Procedures. Operating and sustainment of TME assets in a constrained budget environment require some sort of prioritization scheme. Many institutions use a Risk Based Asset Management model to assist in achieving the overall organizational goals. These process models generally fall into two classification, usually with some blending, that is weighted towards the organization’s mission:
• The Engineering Case… Effectiveness centered on technology and quality
• The Regulatory/Contractual Case … Compliance centered on obligations and documentary standards
Note: Financial considerations can only come into play once the initial conditions and requirements for effective TME management are met.
Typical TME management processes use various physical and technology-based oversight techniques for the tactical management of the assets, required infrastructure, supporting accessories, software/firmware, plus location/deployment, and custodial responsibilities. The organizational policies and procedures govern the scope of TME management activities such as the selection, planning, and acquisition of the assets, acceptance through incoming inspection, maintenance and calibration, regulatory and documentary standards compliance and eventual retirement and disposal (Question: On retirement, how long is the calibration and maintenance records maintained and who is responsible for the archival management?).
TME management is becoming a recognized profession within the logistics, service, and support domain. The TME and technology management professional's purpose is to ensure that equipment, accessories, and systems used are available, operational, safe, and properly configured to meet the mission requirements; that the equipment is used in an effective way consistent with the highest standards of care by educating the equipment user; that the selected equipment is designed to limit the potential for loss, harm, or damage to the user, DUT, and facilities through various means of analysis prior to and during acquisition, monitoring and foreseeing problems during the lifecycle of the equipment, and collaborating with the parties who manufacturer, design, regulate, or recommend safe devices and systems. The structural definition of TME management can be summarized with the following diagram:
Summary of TME Management Core Attributes and Support
1. INFRATECHNOLOGY: Describes the “technical tools” used to support technology based economic growth or value-add. Infratechnologies include:
Measurement and test methods.
Artifacts such as TME or standard reference materials that allow these measurement or test methods to be used effectively/efficiently.
Scientific, engineering, and measurement databases.
Process models such as metrology and calibration management systems.
Technical basis for both physical and functional interfaces between components of systems technologies or processes.
Ref: Puskar, E. (2010). Assessing Documentary Standards at NIST, Proceeding of WSC Academic Week, National Institute of Standards & Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, July 9, 2010.