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Your Guide to Digital Documentation of Equipment Parts

Your Guide to Digital Documentation of Equipment Parts

Historically, documentation of equipment parts was tedious and difficult to manage. As a result, parts catalogs and technical documentation became obsolete almost the second they were published in paper form. For technical writers, this has been a consistent frustration. Publishing new information is time-consuming and inefficient. And for those relying on this data, such as aftermarket sales and support teams, the inaccuracies in documentation led to a cumbersome sales process and a continual need for troubleshooting.

This is where digital documentation is changing the game. In this guide, we’ll look at what digital documentation of equipment parts looks like and key tips for making your transition from physical documentation to digital documentation a success. The result is that teams across your organization can benefit from up-to-date, easy-to-navigate parts information.

What is Digital Documentation and Why is it Important?

From operating manuals to parts books, when it comes to equipment parts, the amount of documentation necessary to support the use and sales of these parts is immense. Digital documentation takes the wealth of data available across these technical documents and places it in an online, searchable, format. This includes PDFs, catalogs, schematics, images, and more.

Placing your parts catalogs in a digital format, teams across an organization can all access the same information, in real-time. So whether a manual has been modified or a part has been discontinued, this information is provided to everyone in the same place.

This is critical for ensuring accuracy, keeping teams all on the same page, and making it simpler and more efficient for aftermarket sales teams and support staff to find the exact data they need to improve customer relationships.

Tips for Making Your Digital Transformation a Success

Transferring parts books into a digital format can feel overwhelming at best. For technical writers, this work can seem insurmountable. However, the beauty of switching to an electronic parts interactive catalog is that you can turn processes that were once tedious into efficient, automated processes.

Focus on Most-Used Documentation First

Realistically, it isn’t always possible to transfer all your existing technical documentation into a digital format overnight. The key is to start with the documentation that is the most used or has the highest value.

Through the collaboration of sales and support teams, determine what data should be priority number one. By tackling this first, you can become familiar with how a SaaS-based solution works, and you’ll ensure that teams have critical information up front.

Utilize a Relational Database

It is extremely difficult to accurately manage the thousands of parts found in heavy equipment and machinery. This is where a cloud-based solution can allow you to build relationships between parts, machines, catalogs, and support documents. It enables you to create a highly interactive electronic catalog system that treats each part in relation to other supporting information.

Automate and Reuse

Too often, technical writers wind up repeating their efforts, reformatting and recreating documents. When using a digital platform, the goal is to instead automate the process by building templates and reusing information.

This leads to significant time savings when formatting, publishing, and updating catalogs.

Bring Your Teams Together

Your company most likely has a vast amount of data scattered across the organization. The key is to aggregate this information into one centralized location. This allows your teams to work together to build out a robust set of digital documents that are easy to locate, simple to update, and accurate.

Don’t Wait! Start Now

Often, teams hold back on switching to a digital solution because they work with outdated content. However, the number one benefit of using a cloud-based authoring and publishing solution is how simple it is to revise and update content along the way.

Convert current manuals and documents now, regardless of whether or not all the information is accurate. Once you have this data in the cloud, making revisions down the road will take only minutes rather than hours. In fact, by going digital with your technical content, you’ll save time.

Interested in learning more about digitally transforming your documentation? Read our white paper!

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